If you are anything like most entrepreneurs that I know running your business means doing a thousand separate tasks, many times all in one week. So how do you stay focused and consistently get sh*t done?
These action steps should leave you with a flexible, yet focused schedule for the week that includes both your work and your life. A successful schedule isn’t about getting a ridiculous amount of work accomplished and staying busy 24-7. It is about enjoying your week, family, friends & self as well as moving forwards and growing in your business. Some call this work-life balance. I call it focus and flow.
I love this method, and have changed it up slightly to work for me. I created my schedule to be flexible enough that I can move blocks around, working from home (especially with kids) requires this.
How to Block a Week
Take a look at your week and write everything you need to accomplish this is a great Sunday evening task. Go through emails and write anything you’ve avoided, or anything that has popped up. At the end of this step you should have a good-sized list of business tasks. Be sure to listen for voice mails, check all emails and watch out for any little tasks that you want to get accomplished. Any appointments that you have schedule should have their date and time beside them. It is also a great idea to have the following weeks list handy too, so that you can write down tasks that come to mind but do not need to be tended to right away.
Now create a 2nd list – write down all the non-business things you need to get done. Need to make a hair appointment, bake something for the school bake sale or paint the living room? On the list. Now this part may be tricky for some of you (I know it used to be for me.) Write down at least 1 thing a day that you will do for yourself; meditation, yoga, gym, bath, wine with friends, date night. Only things that make you smile when you think about them should go on this section of the list.
Now you have a huge messy list that encompass your life for the week. Now grab your calendar, and I HIGHLY suggest some type of electronic calendar where you can move blocks around. Google Calendar is my pick – free and oh so great.
- First add in any tasks that have a time attached to them (appointments, picking kids up from school, dinner with friends etc.)
- Second add in any time that you will not be working. For example from 7am-8am I am on strict get kids ready for school time, I set this as a repeating task. I also block off 5pm-7pm for family time. Block out what is realistic and works for you. When you plan ahead (and just set the tasks to repeat) you won’t feel so rushed and overwhelmed by trying to juggle more than one thing at a time. I actually block in my sleep time. Insane you say? Perhaps, but when my phone reminds me that it is 30 minutes until bed I have a good chance of shutting down Parks and Recreation for the night and getting some zzz’s.
- Third add in any urgent tasks. Do not add them in for any more than 2 hour blocks, and get your most urgent tasks off your plate as soon as possible. Say you have a project that will take you 8 hours to complete. Schedule 4 blocks of 2 hours as early in the week as possible. Always include a little buffer time when completing projects, if possible or lie to yourself and say that a project is due 2 days before it actually is.
- Fourth add in your minimum-once-a-day self-care activity. This was your meditation or happy time. Be sure that there is one set every single day. These tasks are non-negotiable and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, just be sure that you allow enough time to get your mind into a positive space.
- Fifth group together your tasks that are similar. So you may have a 30 minute social media block to check all your notifications and engage your audience. Remember to block in email, create an email block 1-3 times daily. The two above tasks can take over your day if not blocked out. As far as you are concerned when you are not on email block it is an illegal activity to be checking your email 5,000 times daily. Add in all your tasks and try to allow 30 mins – 2 hours of ’empty’ time each day. This freedom will allow you to move blocks of time around throughout the week to work with your changing schedule.
I love this system personally. My life requires flexibility and I choose to make it a reality. If your list is so ridiculous that you can’t get in all you need to do, it may be time to look into hiring a virtual assistant or online business manager. Or sleeping less or watching less TV. There is always a way. Obviously check out my website if you want a little marketing help, or just Google virtual assistant + ‘the task you need help with’ to see what’s out there.