The hamster wheel is turning.
You can hear that little "squeak, squeak, squeak" droning on in your ear, but nothing's really happening.
That's the equivalent of a week in the life of too many solo entrepreneurs.
Spinning your wheels, tired and constantly working, yet not making much progress. If any progress at all...
It's time to get off the wheel.
And this post is where to start.
If you're ready to re-energize your weeks, start making progress in your business, and boost organization and productivity, then you need the 3 "catapulting" steps in this post.
Start in the right frame of mind.
We're going to talk about *theming* your days.
Theming starts by grouping your conscious (and not-so-conscious) daily activities into like-categories—one of the most productive habits you can get into.
I'll use an observation during a personal woe a couple years ago now to detail the importance of theming.
Let's take my incisional hernia specialist, for example.
His office had only two staff members other than himself:
One administrative assistant and a nurse.
Three days a week they schedule patients into the office, and two days a week they do surgeries at the adjoining hospital.
To effectively run their business, they needed a system to divide up their time profitably.
- So, every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday they see patients in-office.
- Thursday is the main surgery day,
- and Friday is the post-op day—or a day off for the surgeon depending on the amount of surgeries there were the week prior.
To be even more thorough and productive, they segment each in-office day for procedural needs.
- Monday is for abdominal hernias.
- Tuesday for groin.
- Wednesday for "other" hernias.
Getting specific about what days harbor what [procedural] needs allows a specialist to prepare for the day quickly with little to no daily distractions.
It also allows his staff to smoothly schedule and attend to patients' proper needs whenever necessary.
Meaning that Tuesday's patients need to remove their bottoms before the doctor comes in—standard for those day's procedures. And Monday's patients need to wear a loose-fitting top and prepare to take their shirt up.
All staff are on the same page, each and every day.
So, as a solopreneur, here's a step-by-step guide to start your weeks with duplicatable productivity, just like my hernia surgeon's office.
Step 1. Organize Your Month, Weeks, And Days According to needs
To get your business on an effective grouping schedule, brainstorm activities that you do (or should be doing) every month, week, and day.
The goal is to get these activities grouped into categories (your themed days) and organize your week and month accordingly.
Before we get started, be sure to get your guided worksheet.
Decide what tasks you need to do every single month.
Set a timer for 25 minutes, and with a pen and paper jot down every must-do task for each month.
All tasks need to be duplicatable.
An example of some duplicatable tasks would be to:
- Add up all expenses
- Add up income
- Assess the month's strategies (content, social media, etc.)
- Assess online growth (Google Analytics traffic, referrals, etc.)
What tasks do you need to do every single week to see progress in your business?
Set a timer, again, for 25 minutes and get to listing.
Think about the things you need to be doing to continuously grow.
A few examples are:
- Socializing with other professionals
- Reviewing your progress
- Developing your content
- Developing your product(s)
- Building your brand
- Administrative tasks (emails, logging income and expenses, etc.)
Following your next 5 minute break, it's time to brainstorm your daily tasks.
Not everyone will have daily, duplicatable tasks. But, within your 25 minute timer setting, here are a few ideas you may need to do at least 5 days a week:
- Write 500 words (contribute to your blog?)
- Read one chapter of the book you're reading
- Read (and assess) 1 industry-specific blog post
- Respond to important emails (clients, partners, etc.)
- List your 3 to 6 most important tasks (MITs) for the day
- Backlink 1 to 2 older post of yours with new content links
I believe in specificity.
A few days ago I was chatting with one of my accountability partners.
He was trying to think of ways to set weekly goals for his business while he has a full-time job.
A goal he's had trouble completing is writing for his blog every single week.
Such a simple (or daunting) activity can easily be swept under the proverbial rug if you don't cut out designated time for it.
So we went over some strategies he could do to make time for writing. Plus, we discussed the importance of getting specific.
To be more precise on the subject, he changed his weekly goal to "write 500 words each day".
Be specific. Your tasks will become much easier to complete when you make a statement like, "write 500 words each day" as opposed to "write daily".
Which would you be more inclined to complete?
Step 2. Get Your Lists Sorted And Set
Now it's time to start grouping.
Looking at your list, what weekly activities can be grouped together?
(If you didn't end up with an extensive list of weekly activities, you can skip that last step.)
Once you're done grouping or skipping, you can focus on assigning the activities to a day that works for you.
EXAMPLE: Let's say you already have a set schedule of personal activities.
- On Mondays and Fridays you take your kids on a morning outing.
- On Tuesday mornings your daughter has gymnastics.
- On Friday afternoons you have an accountability conference with your mastermind partners.
These are all activities that occur every week.
Work your business groupings—your themes—around your previously set activities.
So, let's say Tuesday was already your blog post launch day.
Both activities are priorities—your daughter's gymnastics class and your blog post launch.
There's no point in changing your one activity's day when you already have a working system in place.
Use Tuesday as a social day. Automate your launch and while at gymnastics, check to make sure it published.
Later, respond to blog comments, emails, and social media.
Take the day to promote your blog post and socialize with other professionals.
See how that can work?
You'll find that with organizing your days according to themed activities, that you have more time to balance more of your life.
Step 3. Get Into Your Positive Habits
It's much easier to set up your themes, be all energized about it, then never adhere than it is to follow through, I know.
So, I could tell you some bullshit "hack" that'll revolutionize your life. But, then again, it'd be bullshit.
Because, frankly, there's no such thing as a hack when you're just never going to do it or stick to it.
All hacks take time and effort to systematize.
To make it work, you need to devote yourself to making it work.
If you don't, it'll just be another New Year's Resolution you kicked ass with in the first week or so, then "life happened" and that 10 extra pounds you wanted to lose this year, somehow doubled by the next one...
What I can tell you with 100% certainty is that you're either your own best friend or your own worst enemy.
You know you better than anyone else does.
decide on what you need to do to stick to your plans.
In my case, it's making lists. Lists that I prioritize and organize at the end of each day.
Also, working outside of my house...
I found working in a busy atmosphere (like in a Starbucks or the center sitting area at the mall) helps me stay focused and makes me *feel* accountable—I'm not going to start online shopping or clicking around on bullshit because I know there's at least one person who can see what I'm doing.
(That's my version of a daily accountability partner.)
Do what you need to do to keep yourself accountable and completing tasks and activities that need to be done.
Whatever that means to you.
Set yourself up for success.
- Start today by listing out all your recurring activities.
- Then, decide on how often you need to do them. Once a week? Twice a week? Daily?
- What day(s) do you need to do these tasks on?
- [Is there a specific timeframe you need to get your tasks done one?]
- Assign a theme to each day so you know what you need to be focusing on.
EXAMPLE: I utilize batching in my workflow. You can think about it like "batching tasks" each day, even.
So, my themed days look something like this:
- Monday is social strategy day. I finish up my Buffer Queue for the following week, respond to all social messages, emails, and so on.
- Tuesday is launch and promotion day. I'll focus on manually promoting anything new on the blog, a product—whatever. If there's nothing new, I update an older blog post and promote that instead.
- Wednesday is writing day. I've gotten enough of my social media and email work tackled in the first two days of the week, so now I can go into writing a post, emails for my lists, or working on website or project copy without the weight of "darnit, I forgot to email that customer back" or whatever social task might be plaguing me.
- Thursday is GSD day. Yep. Get shit done day. Anything that I haven't finished during the week, or any project work gets done today.
- Friday is another GSD / wrap up the week day. I put my finishing touches on whatever it is I'm working on, and move on.
Simple. I know what I need to be doing each day.
Everything gets done—and that's huge for me.
But, maybe working week-by-week is more your thing.
You could do one launch day each week. But the rest of the week you need to be focusing on content writing or graphics creation.
And the next week you need to focus on creating all your social media content for the month—it's up to you and how you work best.
For me, I'm a day-by-day type of person.
If I did weekly "sprints" of work or project tasks, I'd wind up way behind on administrative or social tasks.
So, tell me, how do you work best?
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
Could your Twitter followers benefit from this post?
Please share this pre-filled Tweet!