To-do lists don’t work. In fact, they often quickly become “Didn’t Get It Done Lists” for even the most well-intentioned entrepreneurs.


Because most people make a daily to-do list packed with more tasks than they could ever accomplish in one day.

I call this being “Time Optimistic™”.

Time Optimistic is a state of mind that lets you think you can organize the office, put together your email newsletter, write a blog post, add new inventory to your website, finish that special report, make a couple joint venture calls, take care of the kids, run a few errands and cook a cozy dinner for ten – all in one day.

How do I know about being Time Optimistic?  Well if the definition of  Time Optimistic were in the dictionary, you’d see my picture next to it.  😉

When I got started in business, I’d write these looonnng to-do lists… I’d easily fill up an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper each day fully anticipating that I’d get it all done.

But I kept falling short.  Day after day.  And it was frustrating. 

In fact one of the most common concerns I hear from small business owners is that there’s not enough time in the day to get it all done!

Finally I decided that if I was going to run a successful, profitable business, I needed to get a handle on it.

I knew it was time to learn to manage my Time Optimistic nature. (Notice I said manage, not cure.)

I tried a lot of different systems, read a ton of different books, listened to various experts – until one day, it occurred to me….

“What would happen if I scheduled the activities on my to-do list on my calendar?”

Make an appointment with myself to get the things done that I KNEW would move my business forward.

What if I made an appointment with myself, just like I did with clients and colleagues and stuck to my scheduled appointment time?

It’s sounded like a practical approach,  so I decided to try it.

My first big wake-up call happened when I tried to schedule everything that was on my 8.5 x 11″ to-do list into one calendar day.  There weren’t enough slots. It was at that moment that I realized I’d been like a hamster on a treadmill, running as fast as I could with no hope of ever “catching up”.

And I knew I needed to get real with my time.

So I started scheduling my most important tasks on the calendar each day.  And then I stuck to the schedule.  And tracked how much time it actually took me to do things versus what I’d expected.

And I called them Action Appointments™.

When you set up Action Appointments with yourself, you’ll also find that the things that you imagine will take hours, usually take no time at all.  The things you think will be quick and easy, usually take the most time.

Hour-by-hour, in as little as 15 minute increments, I scheduled each task as an Action Appointment .

And I was AMAZED at what happened next!

I had been so worried that if I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list that my business would start to fall apart.

But what really happened shocked me.

When I scheduled Action Appointments, I actually completed things!  And because I was now committed to scheduling and completing the tasks that I knew would  grow my business – it began to grow at a pace that I’d never imagined possible.

I went from feeling like I was constantly scrambling to check things off a never-ending list, to feeling like I was in control of my business and my LIFE.

And the big surprise is that even though I was doing less “stuff” the actions I was taking were key to the growth of my business.

I’ve scheduled Action Appointments with myself every day since.

Schedule? Structure? Yuck! What About the 4 Hour Work Week?

Many people get on the road of online entrepreneurship because they’ve heard that running your own business offers you freedom from a schedule, the ability to do what you want when you want to.

And it does – to a point.

The good news is that as an entrepreneur you do have the freedom to work whenever you want to. But you have to put in consistent time on your business every day.

If you’re at your most creative from 12:00 -4:00am, there’s no reason you can’t work between 12:00 and 4:00am.  But you have to schedule that time as work time on your calendar and then keep that appointment.

When you have an appointment with yourself, it also makes it easier to say “no” to people who want to eat up your time during the day because “you work from home”.

Because of my Action Appointments I also know exactly what I need to do that day when I hit my desk in the morning.

Scheduling Action Appointments Does Not Require You to Be Inflexible or a Perfectionist

Without Action Appointments I couldn’t have built a successful business, taken care of my family, managed the house etc.  It would not have happened.

But I don’t want to give anyone the impression that every day is  smooth sailing and I never miss an Action Appointment. Some days life happens.

I have days when I don’t get it all done.  When there are literally not enough hours in the day.  When there are not enough slots on the calendar for the important tasks.

I still have days that feel out of control, times when I feel overwhelmed.

But it doesn’t worry me because I always get back to my Action Appointments. If Tuesday was chaotic, I start fresh on Wednesday with my new Action Appointments. And I get right back on track.  It’s one thing to lose focus for 24 hours. It’s another to lose focus for a week or two.

Action Appointments Will Work for You Too!

How about you?

Do you feel like you have too much to do?

Do you sit at your desk paralyzed, not knowing what to do next?

Do you end each day frustrated or demoralized because you didn’t get everything done?  Or even worse, not making the money you know you could be if only you could fit it all in.

Then it’s time to start making your own Action Appointments.

In fact, soon after I saw the results I was getting,  I began introducing this approach to my coaching clients to see if it would work for them.

I saw the same transformations in their businesses too!

New clients who had been struggling endlessly to get things done and dragging a mile long to-do list with them day by day, started making Action Appointments and almost immediately started making more money. They were also less stressed, happier, felt more and control and most importantly, were becoming more realistic about their time!

Try scheduling  Action Appointments™ with yourself this week and let me know how it works for you by posting below.

Remember, you can learn all the best business building strategies in the world and they won’t do you any good unless you take action!