Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time Blocks

I'm trying out a new calendar method this week. No calendar system or day planner has ever satisfied me. They tend not to have enough hours -- or to have too many options for viewing. I can never figure out what to put where. They make me feel more discombobulated than organized. I haven't enjoyed the palm pilots and pocket organizers, either. I like something with paper pages. I'm old school that way.

So, I decided to keep it simple. I wanted a calendar with room to write that spans from 5:30 a.m., when I typically get up, to 9:30 p.m., when I'm typically getting ready for bed.

I looked for something simple like this with lots of hours in the day and couldn't find it anywhere. So I bought a 99-cent one-subject notebook at Walgreen's. It's bright green. I like green, makes me want to go -- and it's a relaxing color, something you can tolerate with your morning coffee.

I drew lines down the center of the first thirty or so pages. The first column is labeled at the top of the first page, Monday, July 19. The second column, also on the first page, is labeled Tuesday, July 20. The left margin of each page lists the half hours of the day: 5:30a.m., 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, etc. The homemade calendar pages run Monday through Sunday. Sundays have an extra column with "notes from the week."

I made tabs for the beginning of each week with bits of yellow sticky notes. Some people might laugh at my calendar. That's OK. It was a very peaceful and reflective hour I spent making my homemade calendar just the way I like it. It felt very good. I kept thinking -- It's MY TIME, why shouldn't I organize it just exactly the way I want to? Why should I be confined to the categories on someone else's calendar?

Chuckle if you will, I like my little calendar and it's cut-up-Post-it tabs. I think this is going to work out great for me. What will the business owners think? The more I am around small business owners in this new profession of mine, the more I see that small business owners are quite a bit like me. They are exactly the types of people who would create their own calendars! I like it. I like them. I like me. It's a very happy situation.

I am my father's daughter in this respect. He owned a small manufacturing business for most of my childhood and teenage years. He marched to the beat of a different drummer. He was creative. He took risks. He invented stuff. He had patents. I like that about my dad. I like that about me. Honestly, I just LOVE my new calendar.

And I promise to keep you posted about how it works for me.

Oh, and by-the-way, I've decided not to put all the business cards I get on lead sheets and hole punch them and put them in binders like many agents do. I did buy a hole puncher and some binders. But I like the method I've come up with for myself better. I'm going to tape business-owners' cards to large index cards, write notes about my contacts with the business owner and his or her employees on the index cards, group them in batches and store the batches in large ziplock bags.

I tend to work with a larger lead pool than other agents who I know who are just starting out. It seems I make more approaches than many agents. I like cold calling. It generates tons of cards.

Some people might find my 99-cent calendar and ziplock business card groupings a bit crude. I consider the homemade calendar and ziplock card packs to be an efficient use of my time and money.


  1. Use what works for YOU. It doesn't matter what works for someone else. I used to take an organizations directory and write notes next to names that would help me remember them. Like "plays violin" or "green sweater" "3 kids, boy,boy,girl" "Husband Roger" Anything that helped ME remember them. It's what works for me.

  2. Whatever works! If that calendar and baggie system keeps your brain in gear, go for it! I do recommend that you scan those business cards or otherwise enter that data and your notes about those people into your computer and then back it up off-site, so you have all your key information in more than one place. will give you 2 gigabytes for free. Also consider And picasa, if you decide to scan those cards.