Making the decision to go into business for myself wasn’t made lightly. It took some time to make sure I was fully committed, and more importantly — that I could make a living. After all — I kept reading all of the enticing and mesmerizing articles that make it seems like every person who goes into business for themselves makes millions the day after starting their own business.

You can be highly successful successful — but there is a process.

Here’s what I quickly learned. There will always be business owners who have more money in their bank accounts. Some of these owners have more funding or the connections that you could only dream of. Some of them may have an expensive office while you’re working in a coffee shop.

You will grow into your own success.

However, when it comes to the hours in a day, we’re all of the same level playing field. Sure. You may have a couple of tricks up your sleeve, but we all have the same 24 hours in a day. No matter how much money you have, there’s nothing you can do to change the hours in a day.

Getting the most out of your personal 24/7.

What makes some of us more successful than others isn’t the money, connections, or luxury items. It’s about getting the most out of those 24 hours. This was something I struggled with initially. I’m my own and I can work whenever I want. Nope. It doesn’t work that. Once I found the right calendar software, I created a schedule that as made me more productive and successful because of the following reasons.

Helps You Create, and Stick to a Schedule

You’ve probably heard a lot of successful people tell you that you need to wake-up before dawn in order to become more productive and successful. There’s some truth to that, but only if you’re a morning person. If you’re a night owl, then this isn’t the best advice.

So, the first step you need to take is deciding when you’re most productive and then creating a schedule around that. If you’re an early riser, then tackle your most challenging task in the morning.

Also take into consideration when you won’t get distracted. If you work from home and have kids, you probably can’t get much done until they leave for school at 7:30am. In this case, your most important uninterrupted work schedule may be from between 7:30am to 10am.

Organizing your most effective schedule.

After determining and organizing your schedule, add all of your most important meetings, appointments, and tasks into your calendar. This way you know exactly what your schedule will look like. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to wake-up and know what to expect for your day.

An exacting schedule will keep you focused and prevents you from aimlessly, wasting your days. It also prevents distractions from sneaking up on you. If you have a meeting scheduled at two pm, then you know that you can’t grab a cup of coffee with a friend — nor can you work on another project.

Tracks Due Dates and Deadlines

With calendar software you have an accurate and up-to-date calendar of due dates and deadlines that also reminds you of what you need to get done and by when.

This can be a key for you. Before I started using a calendar, I would start working on a project for one client — only to get an s.o.s. email reminder about an assignment that was due for another client by six pm that night.

No back — and forth bouncing.

Had there been better organization, these events and situations would have been that big of a deal. Constantly bouncing back-and-forth between clients — makes ALL tasks a big deal.

Cuts the fiascos.

Calendar correctly handles all of this for you and these fiascos will no longer undo you. No missing a couple of deadlines — you know exactly where you are going.

Plan — schedule — complete.

Now that I have my calendar, I can plan my schedule more accordingly and complete all of my assignments by the due dates.

Receive Notification Reminders

No matter how organized you are, there will be times when you may have forgotten about an upcoming appointment, meeting, or assignment.

Yes, you will get a reminder.

Thankfully, your calendar app will send you a notification so that you’ll always be on top of these items. Additionally, receiving these reminders gives you a chance to prepare.

More than a reminder — smart suggestions will help you.

Let’s say that you have a meeting with a client at a coffee shop. Calendar software will remind you of the basics, such as when, where, why, and with whom, as well as smart suggestions on when you should leave so that you’ll arrive on-time.

Most of these tools also give you weather updates so that you can dress properly.

Makes Scheduling a Breeze

Have you ever tried to schedule an appointment or meeting with someone? It can get exhaustive, what with all of those back-and-forth emails trying to figure out a date and time. The good news is that you can use your calendar to eliminate this time-consuming problem.

Sharing your calendar, especially for the best inclusion of other individuals.

Just share your calendar with others via email or an embedded link. They then select a date and time that works best for them. Like magic, the event is automatically added to everyone’s calendar.

Even more promising is the rise of machine learning. Tools like Calendar uses machine learning to analyze your history. Previous meetings and schedules can be traced if you wish. This allows Calendar to make smart suggestions on where, when, and which type of meetings you should schedule for your best outcome.

Keeps Others in the Loop

As mentioned — you can share your calendar with others. Besides making scheduling a breeze, it also allows you to keep others in the loop. For example — if you and your team just started a new project — you can use your calendar software to assign deadlines for your team. They’ll see all expectations laid out in plain sight for completing assigned tasks on time.

You can also also intersperse your personal information.

On top of work, you can use your calendar for your personal life too. You can create a family calendar. This calendar will highlight when you’re out of town — when the kids have a school function — or when your spouse has a doctor’s appointment.

This way your family is all on the same page and there aren’t any last minute conflicts. No sudden need to leave an important meeting to take your son or daughter to the dentist. This is a simple way to create work-life integration.

Eases Stress and Anxiety

Due dates. Meetings. Side gigs. Family and social events. Home improvements. Doctor’s appointments. This is too much for any of us to remember and store in our heads. We overcommit and overwhelm ourselves — which leads to an increase in stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety can lead to some serious mental and physical illnesses including heart disease. We’ve heard it: the weakened immune system, respiratory and digestive issues, insomnia, and depression.

Yay! Enter Calendar.

Recording important due dates, task reminders, and special events on your calendar gets them out of your head. When your mind isn’t cluttered you’ll be less to forget something important since it’s written down in a calendar. Scheduling also prevents you from double booking events. Double-booking is not just stressful, but embarrassing — when you have to reschedule a business meeting because you already had plans to meet with someone else.

Everyone Else Already Has Calendar Software

If you own a computer or smartphone then you already have a built-in calendar app. Microsoft Office comes with Outlook by default, Apple products include Apple Calendar, and all Gmail users have access to Google Calendar and Microsoft Calendar. This means that pretty much everyone you know is already using some sort of calendar software. So, why aren’t you?

The new that is out.

You don’t want to be the only person who misses a due date or appointment because you weren’t using calendar software. That might give the impression to others that you’re not a reliable individual. The new Calendar is one calendar that will combine all of your other calendars into one place — no matter where these other calendars reside. One place — one calendar — and never be in the “sorry I forgot,” category ever again.