Whether you use your phone, your Blackberry, other electronic device or good old paper and pen, as a business owner, your calendar is crucial. But not all who run small businesses have the luxury of having administrative assistance. If this describes you, then you are in the right place. Read on to find out how to use your calendar to organize and simplify your life, giving you time to focus on your business.

First, get a detailed planner, one that is broken down into thirty minute segments. You are going to fill in the blanks, probably all of them. Why? Besides the obvious reason of having written reminders, just knowing you have jotted down everything you have to do will give you peace of mind that you won’t forget anything – which leaves more of your mind available for getting real work done!

Now, fill in time for yourself. That’s right. Put yourself first. Exercise, naps, vacations, all count. But be reasonable. It might help for you to consider how many hours you need each week to accomplish other necessary tasks. Here’s a hint. If you have so many “other tasks” that there’s no time left for you, then there is something wrong. You might be overscheduling, or it might be time to enlist some help.

Next, fill in appointments. These can be business or personal appointments, but since they are both necessary, they both deserve space in the calendar. You can count important events such as weddings and holiday parties as “appointments” if it makes it easier for you.

Now it’s time to fill in some hours for business development and marketing. Some people forget that these elements of their business are crucial, and they forget to sketch out time for them. Don’t make this mistake.

It’s time to insert birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other important dates. Sound a little irrelevant? It’s not. You will save yourself a lot angst if you have these things written down. You’ll know, for example, that a birthday is coming up, and that you will need time to shop, whether in a store or online. You will know it’s getting around the time you should offer a holiday special or coupon. You get the picture.

Okay, your calendar is full. Hopefully you still have space to jot down notes for each day’s to-do list. Having a physical list where you can check off items when they are done can be refreshing. No matter what your method, the most important thing is to have all your commitments and to-do’s in one place.

When you have completed filling in your calendar, we recommend going back and flipping through it. Why? There is great joy and relief to be had by realizing how much control you have over your life, which means more control over your business.

Go ahead. Bask in your organization. Then get back to work.