“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.”
~ Peter Turla
If, like me, you’re feeling a little bit overworked and under rested, then my hope is that this topic will be useful for you.
I want to share with you one of the most important tools in my business — my weekly schedule — as well as a little bit about what I do to create a schedule that feels easeful, spacious and inclusive of what matters most to me in life.
At the start of every year and at points during the year I review my schedule and work on my ideal schedule. After working too hard and coming close to burnout back in 2018, I started paying mindful attention to how I structure my working, day, week and year and I’m always looking for ways to improve my schedule to maximise productivity, while also having plenty of space in my life for what matters most to me.
My schedule won’t necessarily work for you, I made a decision a long time ago to work full-time on my business, but I want to share the process I went through to create it so that you can do a similar exercise for yourself even if you only want to work part-time.
Creating my schedule
1. The first step I take when creating my working schedule is to Identify all of the things that can’t be moved.
That means getting down on paper, those key areas of work in my business that I need to work on on a daily/weekly basis. For me these are:
- 1–2–1 Coaching clients sessions and between-session work.
- My Conscious Business Mastermind (CBM) calls and between call work.
- Content Creation.
- Product/service development.
- Answering emails + other admin.
- Back-end activities like finances, website updates, planning etc.
2. The second step is to identify key areas of life*
Because this exercise is, for me, a way to manage my time better so that I can ensure that I get adequate time to do things during the day other than work, it’s important for me to make a similar list for my non-working time during the working week. For me these are:
- Time off work
- Breaks and rest time
- Time to exercise
- Time to make art / other creative endeavours / read books
- Time with my partner and our two boys.
*It’s important to note that I write down work first because my business is fairly established and certain things like my client sessions and live group calls are already set and can’t easily be changed. If you are newer in business or less busy than I am, you may have more flexibility than I do, and if so I would suggest you start with key areas of life first and then schedule work around it.
Planning my schedule
With these lists written, I am better able to see how I need to split the time I have available to me and allocate slots on my weekly calendar. It can sometimes feel like trying to crack the ultimate puzzle but it’s worth it in the end. Once I have my schedule figured out on paper or in a spreadsheet, I transfer it over to my google calendar.
I then head to Calendly to make sure I have that set up to reflect when I want people to be able to book 1:1 calls with me.
In order that I am able to squeeze everything I need to do into less time, I have over the years had to think long and hard about which things I can let go of or how I can simplify what I do. I do this by identifying those activities that have the greatest impact on my audience and clients and those that bring in the greatest revenue and then let go of all the rest.
Below you can see the schedule I created for 2022.
How I structure my working week
Friday is what I call my CEO day and is essentially a call free day (although I do have a 30 minute call with my VA but she doesn’t mind if I am make-up free and in my PJ’s so it doesn’t really count!). And whilst it looks like I have a schedule that day, in reality, it’s a free day and I can use it however I need to, which could look like catching up on client work, dealing with my inbox, doing outreach, answering messages and comments etc.
Read on for a detailed explanation of how I structure my days Monday to Thursday.
At 7.30am when my partner and boys leave for work, school and nursery I do 15–30 minutes of core strengthening exercises, designed specifically to heal my core after two babies. Then I head out for a walk in nature. (I should note that this part of the schedule hasn’t quite got underway yet but it’s the intention for this year.)
By 9.00 I aim to be at my desk. Last year I had client sessions in the morning and afternoon and this year I’m experimenting with not having any client calls in the morning, in service to my desire to have more space in my working day. I’ll let you know how it goes.
For this first hour, I’m either creating content (Mondays), working on material for my Mastermind (CBM work) or looking over things for my 1:1 clients (office hours).
At 10.30am I take a 30 minute break. Typically this is where I’ll grab a coffee and read my book on the sofa or watch something entertaining (and not work related!)
At 11am I’ll check my emails and social media notifications for 30 minutes. I do have a terrible habit of checking my phone as soon as I wake up, but I’m working on shifting this in 2022.
At 11.30am I spend another hour working on either content / CBM or creating new digital products (more on this last one soon).
From 12.30–3.30pm is my lunch break. It’s three hours long and this allows me to prepare food, collect and drop off my boys and spend some quality time with them during the middle of the day. I have a family member who also helps out at lunchtime so that at least once a week I get quality time with each child on their own and also a Friday lunch with my love.
In the afternoon, I have my first client session at 3.30pm followed by a 30 minute break and then my second client session (or live group call) at 5pm.
I aim to keep the last 30 minutes of the day free so that I can perform my shutdown ritual, which includes things like writing up outstanding to dos, checking the calendar for the next day and shutting down my computer.
Why I love my schedule
I’m fully aware that for some people seeing this level of scheduling in their calendar might fill them with dread but to those people I say this:
If you don’t get organised, you risk wasting precious time and resources on things that don’t matter.
And what a crying shame that would be because life really is too short. By scheduling my days and weeks in this way, I’ve been able to allocate, not only adequate time for my business priorities, but I’ve also managed to find plenty of time during my working week for ME, my family and my personal fulfilment above and beyond the fulfilment I get from my work.
What I love most about my schedule is that of the 9.5 hours between the start and end of my working day, I’m really only working for 5 of those. Over the course of the week that’s 25 hours and I don’t always work on Fridays.
I love that during my workday, I’m spending around 50% of the day working and the other 50% resting and living. It’s taken a lot of tweaking and refining to get my hours down to this and when I work, I am very focused and productive, so that I can work less overall. Gone are the days when I would spend hours at the computer doing busy work or mindless internet scrolling.
So now how about you? Would you benefit from identifying your priorities and then scheduling those in? What can you let go of that will have the time you do spend on your business bring the greatest rewards?
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