Your time in 2016

The second major task I planned for yesterday (after the MOAS – cash flow forecast) was to review and finalise my calendar for 2016.

Again, the 20th anniversary this year of utilising The Entrepreneurial Time System created by Dan Sullivan at The Strategic Coach (see the links at the end of this post if you want to know more).

I started the 2016 planning process last August during my annual retreat but much has happened since then and so I needed to go back and review based on my current reality and vision.

In the good old days I would paste a Sasco Year Planner to my office wall and start adding coloured dots for the different types of days:

Free Days – time “off” to rejuvenate.

Buffer Days – time “on” to prepare.

Focus Days – time “in” to generate revenue from my unique abilities (speak, write, coach, network).

The arrival of iCal, synced devices and the cloud has made the wall planner unnecessary in 2015 – I can go right in there on my desktop and allocate time and that will instantly be reported to Phillippa and the rest of the 7connections team via Google Calendar.

There has been a significant change in the way in which I view time since my 60th birthday.

The distinction between Free time and Buffer time is becoming blurred.

That’s because I don’t have as many people dependent on me for their happiness, so the differences between work, rest and play are less problematic.

In fact, much of my last two years has been about targeting Tom Morris’s definition of True Success – doing what you love to do, when you love to do it, with the people you love doing it with.

Creating that environment has, in hindsight, been my biggest achievement since 60 and there is rarely a day that I don’t look forward to what I’m doing.

Consequently, I’m as happy spending a week (like this one) in The Bunker, preparing myself for work, creating content, thinking – and then popping out for a bike ride, or a dog walk, or reading a book – as I would be on vacation.

I seem to have fashioned a sweet spot where work is a pleasure and it feeds me – it no longer eats me.

So – I have allocated the usual 12 weeks of free time in 2016 but will decide on the hoof whether they become Bunker weeks like this current one or true vacations.

For those wondering where The Island spirit is, I have a month of extreme adventure booked for February 2017, about which you will learn more in the future.

The approximate breakdown of my 2016 days then, is:

Weekends 52 x 2 = 104 days (up to 20% of which will be surrendered for conferences and trade shows).

Bank Holidays = 8 days.

Free/Buffer weeks 12 x 5 = 60 days.

Monday – formal Buffer Days in a working week 40 x 1 = 40 days.

Total Free/Buffer Time = 212 days (+/- 10).

Focus Days (the balance) = 153 days.

That’s 153 days to deliver on my Unique Abilities and get paid for it.

(some of the Buffer Weeks may be about content development for which I will get paid later – what my friend Karl Hartey used to call “future profit days”).

So my 2016 calendar is done and I now have a clear idea of my income requirement for the year (MOAS) and the time I have available to hit my targets.

More importantly, I have a plan that is based on “pace not race” and will help me to avoid burn out.

Adding that to the vision mind map prepared on Monday will focus my mind on what to do next – a time activated action plan.

Add together the vision mind map, the MOAS and the calendar and the result is CONFIDENCE.

If you need a coach to facilitate you through this process – email me at

On The Entrepreneurial Time System:

Click HERE to read about it.

And HERE you can order Sullivan’s guide.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.