Today, I’m going to share exactly how I run my business in just 25 hours a week.

As much as we all LOVE our businesses… there is one major downside of being an entrepreneur we rarely talk about? It feels like you can never escape your business.

Even when you’re not sitting at your desk… you’re reading about business. You’re talking about business. You’re coming up with a million new ideas for your business.

Which is why it’s so ironic that the #1 reason most women become entrepreneurs is to create FREEDOM in our lives!

We dreamed of lifestyle businesses that allowed us to make time for what matters – doing work we loved while spending more quality time with those we love.

So how do you ensure that what needs to get done, gets done and you still have space for a LIFE?Click To Tweet

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. If you want to have a life, you’ve got to consciously make time for what matters most.

Too often, we get caught up in ALL THE THINGS that need to get done in our business. The un-ending to-do-list tortures us when we try to take a break. And we simply run out of hours in the day to do what we really want.

If you’ve ever found yourself complaining that you just don’t have time for a yoga practice, make a home cooked meal, or finally have a date night with your significant other, you know how easy it is to look up each Friday {or Sunday if we’re really being honest} and realize that your week got away from you!

In the last episode of Uncomplicate Your Business, we talked about how making time in your week for the Big Rocks – your top priorities – is the key to making progress towards your goals each and every week.

This is based on the concept from Stephan Covey’s First Things First from 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

Covey shares a story of a teacher who pulls out a large 1 gallon jar. The jar represents your where you’re spending your time in your life.

The way most people approach their time is they spend their time with things that aren’t really important and adds no real value in their life, such as surfing the internet or Facebook stalking their high school friends. This is represented with water.

Then we do the tasks that have to be done, but still these don’t help us move closer to our goals. This would be tasks such as checking your emails which can easily turn into all-day busywork. This is represented with sand.

Next we have the tasks that do help us reach our goals, but honestly these are things we could streamline, systematize, and get support with. These are not our zone of genius.

Yes they keep your business or life running {like writing your weekly newsletters or managing your clients}, but they are not growth oriented activities. This is represented with pebbles.

And finally, we have the tasks that we’d LOVE to make more time for. These are the to-dos that move us closer to realizing our goals.

These types of tasks can include projects that you know will grow your business {like writing that darn book already} as well as personal goals such as spending quality time with your loved ones, taking care of your health, and personal or spiritual development.

Here’s the catch…

If you start filling the jar first with the water, then the sand, and then pebbles… you simply run out of room for those important Big Rocks.

But with some prioritization and putting the Big Rocks in first, you’ll find that you can still get the pebbles and sand and water into the jar.

So we’ve gotta put the ‘Big Rocks’ in first. Your family time. Your self-care time. Your health and wellness practices.

Sounds easy enough… but how to we translate this theory into a practical strategy you can actually implement? If you’re ready to make space for what matters, you’ll love this approach.

I call this approach the Model Calendar.

When it comes to how you approach your week, you have a choice::

  1.  You can live by design – on purpose and by your rules.
  2. You can live by default – reacting to the needs and demands of others.

This strategy is all about consciously designing the way you approach your work week. You can be constantly reacting {which always leads to overwhelm and burnout} or you can be proactive and organize your schedule to ensure that you’re both moving your business forward and making time for your LIFE.

A model calendar is not where you’re mapping out every single minute of your day for an entire week. Personally I need a balance between structure and flexibility. I also need a lot of white space – unscheduled time for me to just rest, recharge, or handle things as they come up.

Designing Your Model Calendar

Step 1:: Grab a weekly calendar that is broken down by hours.

I keep a Google Calendar for this because it’s easy to share with my team so they know when it’s a good time to schedule client calls, team calls, etc. But you can use anything you can easily keep in front of you

Step 2:: Block out your personal and family time.

This sounds so counterintuitive but I have found that if you don’t block out this time first you will struggle to get this time in at all!

I start by thinking through my ideal day for myself and my family. I love starting the morning by myself. If you have kids – you probably know that quiet time in the morning can make all the difference!

So I usually give myself an hour before the kids wake up to drink my coffee, listen to a guided meditation for 10-15 minutes, and do some journaling.

My kids are all up by around 6AM, so I block out an hour for family breakfast and getting them ready for school so the twins can get on the bus by 7:05. I know I know – it’s an EARLY morning around here!

Once I drop my kids off at the bus stop, I start my walk. I’ve found that if I don’t get a good walk in first thing in the morning, I struggle to get any exercise in at all. I’ll make an excuse! So now it’s a habit – I drop the kids off, start a podcast episode, and walk a couple of miles before I get ready for the day.

So you can see – already my mornings are shaping up to be aligned with what matters most to me. I have my personal time, some quiet time, and self-care time as well as a full hour where I’m 100% present with my kids. It’s all very intentional.

Now for my current life stage, my schedule is impacted by my kids schedules. The twins are off the bus by 2:30 – so that is my stopping time. I generally begin to wrap up my work day by 2 so I can pick them up at the bus stop.

Our evenings are incredibly predictable – BoyScouts on Mondays, Girl Scouts on Tuesdays, Family Game Nights on Wednesdays, Date Night on Thursdays, and Family Movie Nights on Fridays.

Again – make time for what matters most! If it’s a standing date night, schedule it and find a regular sitter! If it’s a evening yoga class, schedule it! If it’s a girls night out, schedule it!

The point here is make time for the things that matter most to you.

Step 3:: Create Your Office Hours.

I know a lot of people tend to work whenever they find an opening to work. The challenge with this is it becomes really hard to create boundaries between your work and your personal life when you have no structure… and with no boundaries you often find yourself working at all hours of the day!

If you’ve already blocked out your family + personal time, you should have a big white space for office hours.

Ask yourself – “when do I do my best work? How many hours a day + week do I need to work?”

We often think that we’ve got to work 40 hours a week in order to be ‘full-time’ in our business… but in my experience, that’s just not true if you’re creating a lifestyle business! In fact, I rarely work more than 25 hours a week {the exception being when I’m creating or launching a program}.

Step 4:: Map Your Work Week.

Once you’ve decided your office hours, you’ll want to decide how you’re going to approach your work week.

Start with Your CEO Date. What is a CEO Date? It’s a dedicated time on your calendar for you to plan and prioritize your week by design. It’s an opportunity to track your progress against your bigger plan for the year, determine if you’re on or off track, and make the adjustments needed to reach your goals.

I’m going to dive deeper into your CEO Date next week on Uncomplicate Your Business, but I generally have these first thing Monday mornings.

Use Time Blocking for Your 5 Core Tasks.

My Fired Up & Focused Challengers know that CEOs make time each week for your 5 Core Tasks. Each of these task areas are REQUIRED for a healthy lifestyle business.

Neglecting any of these core task areas will quickly result in a feast or famine cycle {aka you don’t have a steady stream of paying clients in your biz!}. I recommend scheduling BLOCKS for each core task area because what you are doing inside those blocks may change.

One week, your marketing activities may consist of writing blog posts or newsletters for the month while the next week, it’s pitching yourself for guest posts and interviews. The key here is to give yourself as much of a block as you need to make some forward motion, to make some progress each and every single week.

Choose the Theme for Each Work Day.

One of my favorite productivity tips is to group LIKE with LIKE. Why? Because if you’re working on similar types of tasks, you’ll get into a flow state where you do your best work simply because you’re not switching gears to often.

So looking at my model calendar, the 5 CEO Tasks, and daily themes, here’s what that looks like for my business::

Mondays are my CEO Days. I start with my personal CEO Date in the morning, followed by a team meeting. At this stage in my business, I have a team that manages the customer service, administration, and operations. We handle any outstanding things during that meeting.

If you don’t have a team yet – no worries this can still work for you! You may need to block out 30 minutes each day to handle emails, invoicing, scheduling etc. I’d recommend blocking that in your calendar about mid-day and end of the day so you can stay FOCUSED.

Tuesdays are my Client Days. I’ve found that one of the best ways to optimize my calendar is to group all my private clients together instead of spread out all over the week. Because I have just a few private clients at a time, I’ll actually alternate my Tuesdays – one week is Clients, the next is Content.

Wednesdays are my Content Days. This is when I’m working on new content outlines for my weekly show, Uncomplicate Your Business, writing newsletters, or working on new trainings.

Thursdays are a different type of Content Day because that’s when I host my weekly Facebook Live show! I also host a weekly live Q&A with my Sweet Spot Strategy online mastermind.

And finally, Fridays are a half-day for me so I can be done by noon. By Fridays, I’ve used up most of my creative brainpower so these tend to be great days to dive into new training to improve a skill set and wrap up loose ends for the week.

I hope this inspired you to start getting more intentional about your work week. It does take a little practice and refining to get to this point, but I promise it makes a huge difference for you and your business.

And if you loved this conversation, you’ll love the Fired Up & Focused Challenge! This 100% free 10-day challenge will help you plan, prioritize, and boost your productivity. You can join me at FiredUpandFocused.com!

Thanks again for being here. I can’t wait to connect with you again the next of the Uncomplicate Your Business Show. Talk soon!