Starting a business can be really exciting. You have an idea, you’ve proven there is a market for it and then you hit the ground running.
However, that can easily be something where you go from spending 40 hours (or more!) per week working for someone else to spending 60+ working on your own business. While that may work fine for some, it’s not a one-size fits all or sustainable for everyone.
Finding an ideal schedule that works for YOU is a key part of building a business, something I’ve had some experience with as I built a business that operates across multiple continents — the U.S., Europe and Australia — and even more time zones.
Here are three key tactics I found to create my ideal schedule that you can apply to your business.
These are the things that matter the most to you in business. You didn't start work to give up your life to build a business, did you? Didn't think so. So outline what is most important to you.
These can (and should!) be activities that foster mental and physical health as well as emotional balance. For me, that list looks like this:
Take it a step further by putting these on your calendar and treat them as tasks to complete just like any other business-related item on your to-do list or meeting.
I know this isn’t a novel idea and you’ve probably heard it a thousand times, BUT…. as someone who has experienced burnout and come out the other side, I can tell you - it WORKS!
No, I'm not talking about deodorant, though I do highly encourage it. What I mean is that by preparing for your week ahead of Monday, you avoid sweating (metaphorically and literally) the tasks ahead of you.
Every Sunday I look at my schedule for the week so I can prepare for what needs to get done and when. Then review each call's agenda and the event’s master doc (a term my clients are very familiar with) to ensure all of my deliverables have been actioned.
Then I take it a step further and block off time on my calendar the day before each meeting or call to do whatever prep is necessary.
BONUS: This helps ensure the meetings run smoothly and are truly a productive use of time vs. “a meeting that could have been an email.”
You know that feeling when you get an email notification showing a prospect booked a consultation call on your calendar? Pretty great, right? What’s NOT great though is if that prospect booked a time when you had planned to work on something for another client or your own business.
This is where I rely on limited calendar bookings utilizing Calendly. Yes, I want to have new leads book time with me. 100%! But I also want to be sure I can provide the level of service, The Mel-Factor, my existing clients have come to expect from MPE. That means blocking off time to actually do the work.
Venue sourcing, program design, operations and logistics doesn't happen on a call. It happens in those in-between hours of research, strategizing, brainstorming and free-form creating. So like my non-negotiables, I block time on my calendar for these tasks as well.
These times can, of course, be flexible if one of my existing full service clients needs that particular hour, but having a general limitation on calls for new leads is helpful.
While this can all be customized to fit your life, I highly encourage you to start setting these boundaries now. The sooner you have these in place, the easier it will be to manage as you scale your business. Otherwise you could find yourself either unable to keep up with the business, which leads to a terrible client experience, or fully burned out. #beentheredonethat
Setting boundaries and enforcing them will position you for growth by truly bringing your best self to every client or prospect interaction. (More on how I avoid burnout on ThriveGlobal)
Have you found a particular tactic to work well for balancing your schedule between working with clients, achieving your own goals and having a life outside of work? DM me on Instagram and tell me about it!