As a business owner, you run into one of two issues. The first is procrastinating because you think you have more time than you actually do. The second is thinking projects will take less time than they actually do. The struggle is real, which is why business owners need to learn how to allow enough time on their calendar for projects.
The first thing to realize is there really is no right or wrong way to do this. However, there are some tips you can use to figure out what works for you. Here’s how to allow enough time on your calendar for projects.
Learn from experience.
Sometimes knowing how much time we need to put on our calendar for projects is a matter of experience. As time goes on and you have more experience running a business, you’ll know how long projects actually take.
Just note that you’ll totally screw this up in the beginning. That’s okay because you’re still learning your own rhythm. Heck, I’m five years in and sometimes I still screw up. One week a project will take me a couple of hours and the next week the same project will take me five.
Use time-tracking to help you.
One thing you can do to help you organize your calendar for projects is to track your time for a few weeks. Lots of invoicing service come with a time-tracking feature you can use. You can also do it the old-fashioned way with a timer.
What you’ll want to do is use the time-tracker for each project. Meaning, if you have two different projects, then track the time separately. Another option is to track your time based on similar types of projects. For example, how long does it take you to complete a series of blog posts?
Once you have a few weeks’ worth of data, you can calculate the average time it takes you to complete certain projects. This gives you a starting point you can use to allow enough time on your calendar for projects.
By the way, you can do this for meetings too. The good news is with meetings you have more control over the situation so you don’t waste time.
Always give yourself a cushion.
Despite our best efforts, it’s safe to assume that projects will take us more time than we anticipated. Sometimes they take us less time, but even if that’s the case you always want to give yourself a cushion for those times when you are delayed.
For example, let’s say your calculations tell you a particular task usually takes you three hours on average. You may want to allow an extra hour to be safe. So, with the example I gave earlier, I would allow three hours on my calendar for that weekly project. It’s somewhere in the middle and it gives me some extra wiggle room.
Learning how to allow enough time on your calendar for projects is a learning process. Don’t stress about it too much as you’ll get better at it with time.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.