Yesterday I took a trip into the city to meet my Business Coach and NLP Instructor, Kevin Creedon. I knew that I needed some support because it felt like I was always working, even when I wasn’t, I was still thinking of building my business, blogging or preparing a class or presentation. I felt myself wilting under the pressure.

Kevin taught me some great tools that I want to share with you. He offered me a step approach that I’ll use to restructure my schedule.

He explained that most businesses fail within the first couple of years of start up because the business owners don’t leverage their time properly. They make the common mistake thinking that the more time that they spend working on their business, the more return they will get. Kevin says that is a recipe for disaster. He advocates a pay yourself first approach to have a truly successful life and business.

As I listened to Kevin describe his approach to time management, I recalled hearing similar guidance offered by Jack Canfield. Jack is an Internationally famous speaker and author of several books including, “The Success Principles” and the “Chicken Soup For The Soul” series of books.

In August of 2004, I had attended his 8 day Living Your Highest Vision Seminar in Las Vegas. He talked to our group and shared the secrets to his success. Jack explained that from the time that he began working, he always took time off each week to recharge himself. He clarified that meant he would do things that had nothing to do with work. He said that he still maintains the same policy today. Every few days he schedules time for him, no phones, no laptops, no blackberry or anything to do with work. He explained that this time gives him the ability to focus better and to maximize every aspect of his life.

Like Jack, Kevin agrees that this approach is best when creating a new business.

He recommends coordinating your business, family and personal calendar at the same time each week in the following way:

He mentioned that as Steven Covey says, Begin with the end in mind. By allocating time for the things that you love, you will then be able to schedule everything else around it. You can always add time for business after you’ve determined your personal and family schedule. By doing that, you will get to spend more quality time with those you love and have more fun. Everyone benefits when you are happier.

Here’s Kevin’s plan:

1.    Plan Out Your “Me” Time First – Think about what you like to do to recharge. For me, this includes lunch with friends, going for a pedicure, manicure or a massage, taking a class or yoga, hiking with my Women’s Hiking group or just sitting home, listening to music, books on tape, reading a book or magazine. Block that off on your calendar on a weekly basis. Write it in pen so that it is indelible and permanent. That’s your time for you, no excuses.

2.    Plot out family time next –  On your calendar each week, block off any time that you want to spend with family. This includes any time preparing or eating meals with the family, evenings relaxing, watching movies, family obligations, Mate dates, lazy weekend days, going out, all family oriented activities and chores like doing laundry or cleaning. You may want to seriously consider outsourcing the chores to give you more time for “Me” time.

3.    Plot out your business growth time. Each week decide much time you want to spend on marketing, advertising, generating new products, writing, speaking, joint ventures. This includes all teleclasses, networking event, blogging and client appointment time.

4.    Finally Kevin recommends scheduling a time each week for emergencies to occur. He suggests keeping a morning or afternoon during the week open so that you can juggle appointments. For example what would you do if you broke a tooth and had to run to the dentist? I’d schedule it on Friday afternoon, because that is one of the windows of time that I have designated as cushion time for emergencies.

Tell me. What do you think about this 3 way Coordinated Calendar approach? Please share your comments and stories. I’d love to hear your insights into how you have managed to divide your time between business, home, family and personal care. Just click on the link for comments and share your feedback.