When you start your self employed journey it might be because you can’t work ‘normal’ hours, because you need to be flexible or because your business needs you to be. Either way it’s time to embrace the lack of 9-5 and enjoy the flexibility. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a routine. Many of us think a routine has to be a set time each day, it doesn’t it just has to be set tasks, actions, habits and processes. When these fall in place then it becomes easy to be productive while running your own flexible lifestyle around kids, clients, business demands and whatever else you need to squeeze into your week. This is why I prefer to call it a rhythm, that gives you an air of flexibility and freedom that feels more achievable than simply doing set things each day.
I have set work days and none work days so that my clients have stability, however if you work in coaching, run a spiritual business, a creative company or sell a product, you might have more flexibility based on clients expectations. So it comes down to the other areas of your life that dictate when you can work- and that might be different each day, each week or even seasonally.
You start to worry that a rhythm might not fit you at all, that you will always feel as though you’re chasing your tail and never able to catch up or gain that feeling of control you want so much. Don’t worry, I have a few things that can help you.
1- What do your tasks look like?
Spend some time thinking about regular tasks in your business and list them on a piece of paper or on your phone. Then next to them, write how long each task takes you,
Example (make a graphic so this looks like phone notes)
Reel- 10 mins
Clear down emails and add task to Trello- 10 mins
Write next week’s newsletter- 30 mins
Print address labels- 15 mins
Admit members into Facebook group- 5 mins
You get the idea? Once you have this list you could sort it into 5m/10m/15m etc tasks. So, when you find you have a spare half hour, check this list and decide which tasks you will do in that time. Set your timer and go for it.
Spending some time on automating areas of your business will help you when it comes to using your time wisely. One of my clients recently had 3 full days to work on her business but then knew she wouldn’t have a full ‘work day’ for 2.5 weeks. To get the most out of these 3 days she was going to cram as many small tasks in as she could. Instead I encouraged her to spend half a day with me automating areas of her business that would help to ease the stress and confusion in these 2.5 weeks but also remove some of the smaller tasks that are being done over and over.
Here’s what we did
– Auto responders across emails and socials with clear signposting based on 90% of the questions she usually gets asked.
– Create templates for her social graphics and some hashtag banks on a google doc and in her phone meaning posting became quicker
– Scheduled socials for 3 weeks
– Set up calendly and synced to Stripe so she could get appointments booked in (and paid) even when she was away from her business
– Template for newsletter so she has to simply fill sections in
– Added an enquiry form to the website and auto responders so there’ll be a one place for her to pick up the details when she is back rather than go through ALL the different messages
– Auto filters on some emails so that any receipts get filed, out of offices deleted etc etc
She also signed on for some extra VA hours for the following 3 weeks. Some people think this is the backwards thing to do- spend more when you’re not working, but having us in the background making sure any emails are cleared and flagged, anything urgent is spotted and no leads are missed means when she comes back or gets an hour to work, she can hit the ground with value adding tasks, no crap to clear .
3- Have daily must do’s
On my non-work days I still look out for anything from clients, so I know I need 10 mins a day. I can fit 10 mins into any day if I am disciplined. This means there are no surprises when I am back working and I can focus from the start, not trail through emails and find issues I haven’t prepared for.
If you can combine these 3 things, whenever you start to work, whatever time of day, you should be able to move forwards without having to take an hour of your precious time just figuring out where you’re up to. When you have your rhythm you feel happier, in control, productive and your work time (whenever that is) is filled with your value adding tasks that will make you money rather than fire fighting that will drain your energy.
My team and I are waiting to help you feel more in control, effective and profitable, book a connection call today, let’s see if we can work together.