Raise your hand if you’re a solo entrepreneur wearing all the hats and wondering how you’ll keep up with it all. Raises hand. Welcome, lady! You’re in the right place. I’ve been teaching entrepreneurs how to manage their time since 2012. So, I know I can teach you how to plan your week for efficiency too!
Let’s cut through the fluff and dive right into actionable steps so you can get on with your busy day. Sound good?
You know how when you reorganize your purse or junk drawer (okay maybe I’m the only one who has one of these) you dump everything out before organizing? We’re doing the same thing with your brain here.
Write down every task you have to complete in a given week and month for your business. Everything from admin tasks to client activities to content creation. Every single task needs to be listed on a piece of paper.
Writing down everything floating around in your noggin will help you think more clearly before we move to the next step, so make sure you do this first.
Estimate Times for Each Task
Next to each task on your sheet, write an average amount of time it takes you (per week or month). If you don’t know for sure, just give it your best guess for now and over the next month, keep track so you can adjust accordingly! Your sheet should start to look something like this:
- Instagram Captions: 1 hour per week.
- Blog Writing: 2 hours per week.
- Client Meetings: 3 hours per week.
- Editing: 8 hours per week.
- Photoshoots: 4 hours per week.
- Backing Up Hard Drive: 2 hours per month.
Color code, re-write, or find another way to sort your tasks by category. We want to batch similar tasks in the same days or chunks of time to limit how much our brain has to switch into a different mode. For example, have you ever gotten into a photo editing flow and looked up to realize you haven’t even blinked in five hours?
When we can keep our brain on the same track for a period of time, it’ll work more efficiently than if we keep switching. I wrote an entire blog post about this, so if you want to learn more, you can read that. But, for the sake of your time, here are a few ways you could batch your tasks…
- Content writing (blogs, social posts, email newsletters, etc.).
- Meetings (consults, photoshoots, design meetings, etc.).
- Creation (editing, refining designs, etc.).
- Admin (emails, invoicing, onboarding, etc.).
Start Planning Your Week(s)
First, plan the tasks that can’t move. For example, if you share a studio with other photographers and you know you only get access on Mondays, you’ll need to plan all your shoots and in-person meetings that day!
As entrepreneurs, we don’t have many tasks that TRULY can’t move. Even if you’re meeting with clients on three different days as of right now, try to transition all of your clients to the same day / chunk of time for efficiency. Just explain it will help you serve them better and give them enough of a heads up that they can plan accordingly.
Now, you can plug in themed days and try to do so in batches so you’re not repeating tasks really often. For example, my schedule looks like this:
- Monday: Learning / Personal Development
- Tuesday: Admin / Content Planning
- Wednesday: Client Meetings / Consults
- Thursday: Spillover Meetings / Uncommon Tasks
- Friday: NO WORK!
Look at your colors and see what tasks you can batch together and pay attention to how much time they take. If you know you have an 8 hour workday and you have 14 hours worth of content tasks, you could rock a two week rotation.
- Week 1: Write email newsletters for next two weeks (2 hours), write IG posts for next two weeks (2 hours), and write blogs for next two weeks (4 hours).
- Week 2: Draft pins for Pinterest & schedule via Tailwind for next two weeks (2 hours), create graphics for next month of IG posts & stories (2 hours), and update site (2 hours), etc.
You get the point. You’d rotate those tasks every two weeks so you could accommodate what needs to get done with the hours it would take. Keep shuffling the puzzle until you get the pieces to fit together in a way that feels VERY doable for you.
When I first started teaching this method for how to plan your week, I taught it to college entrepreneurs who were balancing 16-18 credits with six-figure businesses. Along the way, I learned a few key tips you’ll need to know to make this work.
You’re Not Too Busy
There are 168 hours in a week. Assuming you get 8 hours of sleep per night, eat / cook for two hours per day, work 50 hours per week, and spend 10 hours a week on maintaining your household, you’d still have 38 hours left.
Your “time management” issue is likely a discipline issue. When you create this schedule, the hardest part will be sticking to it and setting boundaries with your clients. Challenge yourself to do it anyways.
What you’re currently doing makes it feel like you’re drowning. It’s not working. Something’s gotta give. If committing scares you, tell yourself you just have to try it for ONE month.
Allow for a Buffer
Tasks always take longer than we think they will. Maybe you get caught in traffic or have tech issues. Whatever it is, give yourself a 60-90 minute buffer each day. If you want 8 hours each day, only plan 6.5 hours worth of tasks.
From a psych perspective, the worst thing that happens is that you still get everything done that day. The best thing that happens is that you get ahead. And I’ll ask you this…. what’s more motivating? Feeling ahead of schedule? Or playing a game of perpetual catch-up?
Give. Yourself. More. Time. Than. You. Think. You’ll. Need!
Entrepreneurs are often high-achievers, which means you’ll constantly move your goal posts. You’ll hit a goal and immediately set a new one. This leads to a life of go, go, go. Schedule downtime to intentionally enjoy the lifestyle afforded by your creative business. After all, didn’t you leave your 9-5 for more time freedom?
Let an Expert Help
If this all seems overwhelming and you’re in the zone of analysis paralysis, trying to convince yourself it’ll be fine if you just keep pushing on the way you are now… let me help!
In a 90 minute strategy session, we can EASILY lay out your schedule and create a plan that feels like a breath of fresh air. And if you truly are doing too much, I can offer creative solutions to save you time.
Girl, consider this… You can always make more money, but once time has passed, it’s gone for good. Are you proud of the way you’re spending yours?
Reach out about a strategy session for time management and we’ll get you on track to a lifestyle you love. And because I truly want to help you spend more time doing what you love with who you love, mention you read this blog post and I’ll hook you up with a 10% discount!