The basics.  Even the best of coaches can loose track of the basics. Like time management.  Time management is pretty key to balance.  And we all want balance, right?  We want our coaching clients to have life balance too, right?  And yet life happens, our own balance is rocked and sometimes we need to get back to the basics.  Like time management.

I’m surprised at how many coaches come out of training without a plan for effective time management. Put simply, I’m surprised at how many don’t really keep much of a calendar.  Ouch.

Two initial steps to get you started:

1.  Don’t be without a scheduling tool for 2012.  If the way you did your calendar for 2011 worked well for you, then you probably know what system you’ll be using for 2012.  But if it wasn’t working, find a system that will best meet your needs.  I’ve decided I’m making a transition to Google calendar.  That seems efficient for me because I will have easy access on my phone.  Also, because I can create and share family calendars in Google calendars, I will be much more efficiently organized overall.  You may use a paper and pencil day planner and if that works for you, great!  Just don’t be without a calendar for 2012.  I challenge you to identify your scheduling tool now if you haven’t already.  Don’t wait until January.

2.  Once you have identified your calendar system for 2012, schedule time to sit down with it and get it organized with all the important dates and information you will need starting January 1.  Yes, I’m saying schedule a time – before January 1.  If you’re continuing with a system that has worked for you in 2011, you probably won’t need a lot of time for this.  But if you’re starting with a new system, you many need a couple of hours or so for this – and maybe more time if, in addition to scheduling, you’re learning a new computer interface or how to synch with your phone, for example.

If you are a naturally organized and efficient with your calendar, you probably stopped reading by now.  Congratulations to those who find this easy and natural!  As I mentioned, I have over the years had mentor coaching clients who start out as coaches with essentially no time management tools.  For me (and I have observed this with my colleagues – experienced coaches – as well), I will fully admit to times where my balance is rocked and I need to get back to basics.

In an upcoming post, I will be talking about actual “time management” and how that is different from scheduling a calendar.  However, now I am off to work on my 2012 Google calendar…

And by the way – if you absolutely love your calendar system, please share in comments!  I’d love to hear what is working for you.