I’m always my most productive when following a plan. If I don’t have a plan, I tend to wander off course. I do things that feel easy rather than the tasks that will make a difference in both my business and my life.
My plan for the week has a to-do list based on what I need to do to that week to move forward on my bigger projects and goals. But just as importantly I schedule when I am going to do those tasks, during the week.
For a while now I’ve been thinking about what my ideal week would look like. How would I want to structure my week so that both myself and my business thrive? I want to be more intentional about my life and business. How I want my week to look on a regular basis has a significant impact on what my business looks like. How I make money and how I serve clients.
I’m not expecting to always have ideal weeks. But I want to set up the underlying foundations of business to maximise the chances of having my ideal week more often than not. I also want to acknowledge that it is an ideal week within set parameters eg. I need to make money. I might like to spend all my time reading and playing with my pups but I have yet to come up with a business idea that will pay me to do that.
Below are some of the things I‘ve been thinking about for my ideal week from my business perspective. They may be useful prompts for you to think about your week:
01. How much time do you want to do work that doesn’t need you to interact with other people?
As an introvert, you need to set time for yourself. For reflecting, creating, learning and recharging. Time when you’re not interacting actively with other people. Whether that is through calls, emails or social media.
How much time you want to set aside for this kind of activity impacts on the business model you want to pursue. If you want to limit the number of calls you have with people each day then you could look at charging a premium price (and offering a premium service). Or you could look at small online courses that don’t have a group element, but will require a larger audience to sell to.
Flipping this on its head and ask how much do you want to be talking to people.
I’m not a complete hermit. I love talking to other people about their businesses. This is about getting the balance right between too much and not enough interaction.
You might also want to look at a day rate model where you work closely with one person for a day on a specific project. In some ways this sounds less exhausting than calls with lots of different people. Not trying to switch gears between each call. But I feel for me it may not allow enough time over the day to mull over a problem. If you have a clear set process you follow that doesn’t throw up major curve balls – at least not too often, this could be the model for you.
02. When do you want to interact with people?
This ties in to point 1 but is more about what the structure of your week looks like. Do you want to do all your calls on one day or spread them out over the week. I find too many calls on one day exhausting. I know others who love doing everything on a couple of days of the week, then having the rest of the week free to do other work.
For me personally I want at least one day a week where I don’t have any calls or meetings booked. It is my day for creating, planning and working on my business.
03. What activities give you energy?
Not all time by myself has the same recharging benefits. I get much more energy from activities such as reading and journaling. So I want to make sure I bake these activities in to my week.
When I don’t include these in my weekly plan, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or unclear on my plan, I fall back on things like mindless scrolling as a pseudo-business activity. It makes me feel like I’m being busy when I do it but in reality it just drains me.
Then there are other activities that I do in my business that don’t need me to talk to people – like doing my accounts. But they don’t exactly fill me with joy! I often find these kinds of tasks are good for filling out a day when I have been interacting a lot. As a recovering accountant, doing my accounts is an easy task. It is something I can do when my brain is feeling a bit too frazzled from interacting to be doing creative work.
04. How many hours do you want to work?
We’re starting to see push back on the hustle culture that exists in the business world. I made the mistake when I worked in the not for profit sector of burning myself out. I don’t want to go through that again. It would not be good for my business in anyway. You want to decide on a number of hours that is sustainable for you long term.
And it doesn’t need to be related to how many hours you did in Corporate. I know I felt the pressure to be working the long hours that I did in Corporate. Even though the number of hours I was working was one of the reasons I started my own business.
One of the best pieces of business advice I have ever received it is that business is a long game.
Don’t hustle yourself to burnout before you see results.
At the moment, I am aiming for doing about 35 hours of work a week. In the future I would like to bring this down to 30 hours week. This should be possible to meet my income goals, once I have some more systems and different offers in place.
05. When do you want to work?
When you first leave corporate to work on your business, it is easy to get stuck in the idea that you have to work Monday to Friday. I know I did.
I now work Sunday to Thursday. I love having Friday to do errands and shopping when it is less busy. It is a much easier task for me as an introvert when I am not overwhelmed by people when doing these things. If I am going to be overwhelmed by a crowd I want it to be for something much more exciting than grocery shopping.
I use Sunday for my creative work when I am less likely to have urgent work come up. I also have a clause in my contracts that says I am not available on weekends without prior agreement.
Working towards your ideal week
Once you have a better idea of what your ideal week looks like, it can be disheartening when you realise that you often can’t implement it straightaway. There will be certain parts of the schedule you can implement now. But changing things like your business model takes time.
The simple thing, to do like all things business, is to take one step, no matter how small towards this ideal week. If you need to start putting up your prices so you don’t have to do endless calls, put your rates up by 5% today. Set aside a couple of hours a week for you to create and work on your business and make that time non-negotiable in your calendar and contracts. If you only want to take calls on certain days, set up your calendar so people can only book on those days.
No matter how small take a step.