Planning Your Day – List or Agenda?

I struggle to find balance in my life so I had the brilliant idea last week that since I had so much to get done, I would set a daily agenda and outline what needed to be done during which hours to successful run our virtual tour business as well as my personal life.  Now this may work well for some people but it backfired for me.  I had this great calendar set up last week that told me when I would blog and when I would eat and when I would make cold calls and when I would sleep.  By the end of the week, I felt like a complete and total failure because I did not stick to the schedule AT ALL!!  In retrospect, I actually accomplished a great deal last week but because I did not do it in the hours I had planned to, I felt defeated.
It is often difficult for someone who is used to working set hours to move into the world of being self employed.  One of the challenges and benefits of being self employed is that you set your own hours and you decide what you are going to do within those hours.  For some people, this is freeing but for others it’s a recipe for disaster.  Many entrepreneurs thrive in this freedom because they weren’t great at fitting in someone else’s box.  Many entrepreneurs have struggled with ADHD – whether inattentive type or hyperactive type – and found that the structure of the corporate world was actually counterproductive for the way they were wired.  This was certainly the case for me!
If you have the luxury of structuring your own day based on what works best for you, then it’s important to identify whether you work best from an agenda or a list of objectives.  The challenge to being agenda driven in our virtual tour business is that if a Realtor calls wanting us to photograph a residential real estate virtual tour for them, they usually need it done right away.  If I get a call from a healthcare company wanting a proposal, then creating that proposal immediately takes precedence over anything else.
What I realize about myself is that I work MUCH better with a list of objectives than I do with a pre-set agenda.  I work best when I can focus on a task for a while and take frequent breaks.  I scrapped the agenda and went back to a list of the things I need to get done today.  There are some things that must be done within certain time frames – for example making cold calls isn’t very effective at night when no one is in their office – but for the most part, working from a list allows me to do what I do best when I am at my best.  Working from a list of specific objectives causes me to get more done and also provides me with a concrete sense of accomplishment as I cross things off the list. 
The key is to find out what works for you and do it consistently!