So, I’m going to ask you a few questions. Think of it like speed dating for time management.
1. When and how often do you find time for yourself?
2. How many hours a week do you devote to your household?
3. How many hours a week do you devote to your business?
4. How many elements go into bringing exposure to your business or brand in order to make it more profitable?
If the answer to any of these questions is none or I don’t know, then we will be going on a second date into the rest of this post.
Now, I’m going to give you a sneak peek at something, and I don’t want you to be alarmed ok? Ready. Set….We just started dating remember? I’m being playful…..Go!
Now, if this looks overwhelming. I get it. I’m a productivity nerd and I still would be like WTH is all this?
This is what I call a weekly template. Notice the word template. Not a schedule, but template.
Schedule means that I have certain things to do at certain times, and that’s that. But template means that I have a layout of all the things I want to get done in a day and week, but if something else pops up. I can move that something somewhere else.
It’s basically the same thing, but allows for a mindset shift.
Schedule = Constricting, while Template = Layout with Flexibility.
Having a template allows me to have a guideline for all that I need to get done to manage my household and business while allowing for surprises.
For instance, on Wednesdays I run my major planned errands like grocery shopping, going to print something at Office Depot, go to the post office, whatever “out of the house thing” I know is coming up.
But if on Thursday, I find out that my air conditioner breaks, and I need to go to Home Depot and pick up some Free-on, then I put that in my Thursday morning 9 – 12 block, and bump the Follow Up + Volunteer tasks to an Overflow block. Overflows are important! We’ll get to those later.
If this is not your workflow style I get it. I have a basic more free-flowing version of this coming up right now and for the folks that want more structure keep reading along. I got you!
CREATING YOUR WEEKLY TEMPLATE
Short on time? Download the Design My Week Kit which includes an outline of the post.
1. WRITE DOWN ALL YOUR TO DOs
First, you need to have a good overview of all the things that you want and need to do to run a successful business and household. The 5 Life Blocks™ can give you a good starting point for examples of what you may want to include.
Life Blocks™ are a part of a system I created to increase my productivity in my life and business. Any To Do that ever existed and that exists now will fit into one of these 5 Life Blocks™.
A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
You hear this for organizing things, but what about organizing your life’s To Dos? This is where the Life Blocks™ come in.
A place for everything and everything in it’s place. You hear this for organizing things, but what about organizing your life’s To Dos?
Interested in learning more about Life Blocks™ and using a system to set your family and business up for empire status? The Momprenuer’s Life Block™ Guide
HOW TO DO IT
- Write down all the things you want and need to do in your life and biz, and I mean everything. You will write down your Daily, Weekly, and Monthly To Dos.
- To keep it simple, put your To Dos into 3 sections: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening.
Use the My Schedule Now + My Ideal Schedule interactive worksheet in the Design My Week Kit and the 5 Life Blocks™ for reference.
If you took my free course then you have already done this, just get your Day 2 workbook out.
If you’re not quite sure what you are doing on any given day, then you may have to go through an entire day to record what you’re doing and what you need to be doing to feel like you have had a productive day.
You could use an app like Toggl to track all the things you’re doing in a day and for how long. You may find out that you are wasting tons of time perusing Instagram when you could be dedicating that time to something else that will elevate your life + biz.
FREE-FLOWING GOERS STOP HERE
If you have a more “as you go” type of working style then you will stop here. You have your daily schedule, and weekly and monthly To Dos.
So, all you need to do is plug in your To Dos before every week and day based on what you know you have to do and do it when you have time in your schedule.
If you are insistent on designing a weekly roadmap that tells you exactly what you should be doing, which will boost your productivity because you get to your work faster instead of lolligagging around trying to figure out what you should be doing to grow your business, and keep you running on autopilot throughout your days and weeks meaning you can focus on the important things i.e. getting your work done, so you can spend more time with yourself and your family.
If I wasn’t persuasive enough, then let me just be frank and tell you that if you are the more free-flowing type, you need to consider bringing more structure to your daily happenings.
In order to build your family and business empires, you need to know what you’re doing before you do it.
Planning and preparation are the only ways to reach true financial success.
I used to think being free-flowing was cool, but then I was tired of never having time for the things I wanted to do. And I realized other women also wanted to find freedom and flexibility by developing her passions and talents, and that takes planning and preparation. So there ya go!
I think I’ve convinced you sufficiently. Now, let’s continue.
2. SET ME + FAM + BIZ FRAMES
If you are going to run a successful household and business you have to be clear on what time you have. You should have a distinct personal/family block(s) of time as well as a business block(s) of time.
When it’s personal time, you should not be going in on work To Dos. This will shut your productivity all the way down, meaning you won’t get ANYTHING done. I’m telling you, it is nearly impossible to focus on writing your next blog post, when your 3 year old is attempting to do a backflip off the couch nor is it possible to write your business plan while you’re watching Scandal.
When that work block starts you should jolt right into your work To Dos like Simone Biles on the vault. This is extremely important if you have a traditional 9-5 or if you work from home with little ones and have just a few hours a day for your business. Most of your day is dedicated to either working for someone else’s dream and/or caring for the babies, so when you get that precious time to build your own dream, whatever it may be, you need to get on it and quickly.
WHY DO YOU CALL THEM FRAMES, SHADÉ?
Frames are what I call the dedicated family and business times. I like to think of my personal times and work times as frames of time that I can place blocks of To Dos in.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR FRAMES
Look at your ideal schedule as it is now. Look at the spaces of time in between your routines. That’s where your frames are going to go.
For instance, in my 7 – 9 AM block is my morning routine. It’s where I brush my teeth, Samir brushes his teeth, cook breakfast, eat, I get dressed and get the kids dressed, and they play with blocks or something like that before I get into my personal frame in the 9-12 block.
All my frames are placed wherever there are no routines. It’s “free” space where I can place To Dos. This is why it’s important to get clear on what your schedule looks like every day, so that you are not over scheduling yourself. Also, you can’t schedule something like client work during your morning routine…well…unless you’re ok with not brushing your teeth for the day.
Basically any open space that doesn’t include a routine (something you do every day in a particular order) is a spot where you can place a frame.
If you don’t have any spot where you can place a frame OR you feel you need more time for a frame then you need to do 2 things:
- Streamline your routines, so they are shorter and more efficient, This will leave more time to add to a frame.
- Create a spot. If you don’t have enough time in your schedule now, then you need to either wake up earlier or stay up later. That’s really what it comes down to.
I am a huuuuuuuge proponent of waking up early to get stuff done. You can see my first business block is from 5:20 – 7 AM. Yup, that means most mornings I am up at 5, no later than 5:30 to start my day. I feel so much more productive with this special “me only” block of time carved out of my day. And I can thank Mattie for finally convincing me about 3 months ago.
My Me + Family frames are Coral and my Business frames are Mango. With a quick glance at the chart, color coding helps guide me with no confusion as if I’m supposed to be doing a Me + Fam or Biz To Do. I suggest you color code your frames. And if you have another frame to add, then give it a color too.
3. ORGANIZE TO DOs IN CATEGORIES
Once you see all your personal, family, and business To Dos by the day, week, and month, take a look and see which ones are similar and could be grouped together into categories.
Me + Fam
If you have to clean the bathroom sinks and mirrors, sweep the kitchen floor, file or trash miscellaneous papers around the house these could all be grouped into a Cleaning + Organization category.
Or if you need time every week to write 5 tweets per day, one Instagram message per day, and 3 Facebook messages a day and decide on what images you’re going to use for each message then all these tasks can be grouped into a category called Social Planning.
BY LIFE BLOCKS™
The 5 Life Blocks™ are categorized by what the To Do is.
By looking at my template, you can see I use a mix of the “by type” categories and the 5 Life Blocks™ categories.
I like to get really specific so that I don’t have to think about what type of To Dos I’m doing in a specific time block.
For instance, I differentiated “planning” by Social Planning on Friday and Weekly + Biz Strategy Planning on Sundays.
4. THEME YOUR DAYS
Each day of the week is going to have a theme, which means most of the To Dos that you do that day will be a part of that theme. There are two ways you can choose a theme. Use either way or a combination of both.
Look at the categories you just created. Are there any categories that have many more items than the others? Those are your large categories, which will then be your themes.
BY TIME TO COMPLETE
Another way to choose a daily theme is to look at the time it takes to complete a task. The longest tasks need a theme.
For instance, I have two whole days set aside for Content Development. It takes me the longest time to write content like blog posts and newsletters, so I have 2 themed days that I dedicate to content development.
PRO PRODUCTIVITY TIP: Most likely, if you have a large category or you have To Dos that take a greater time to complete, these will also be the most important. Just make sure you consider the important piece when deciding on your themes. These are To Dos that if they don’t get done, you will not even have a business let alone maintain productivity.
5. PLACE YOUR CATEGORIES + KEY INDIVIDUAL TO DOs
Once you have your frames and themes, you can layout your categories within the frames.
There will be key To Dos that are really important or easy to forget that you may need to place by themselves on the calendar.
Laundry is a task that gets put off all the time. If I don’t see the word Laundry by itself on my template and To Do list, I will continue to put it off. So, I pull Laundry out of the Cleaning and Organization category and place it all by it’s lonesome, so it stands out. I’m more likely to get to it like this.
Pro Productivity Tip: Put items in order of priority for the day and for each block. The most important are first, and in business frames that will most likely get complete.
6. SCHEDULE IN YOUR CALENDAR APP
Use Gmail Calendar or another calendar app to schedule each of your time blocks to remind you what you’re doing at every transition. This is how you will stay on track on especially busy days!
Let me show you how my schedule looks in Google Calendar:
7. TRACK YOUR TO DOs
You created your weekly template, but what is the point of that if you don’t have a system to actually do all the things you have laid out?
So, this bonus step is to track your To Dos by the category type you chose from step 3.
Make a separate list for each category name or just the ones with longer To Do Lists.
List 1: Business Admin + Organization
List 2: Follow Up
List 3: Errands
….and so on.
Here’s one of my lists in Trello, the site I use to organize my business with everything from To Do lists, to my goals, editorial calendar, and content plan:
You will add To Dos to your lists whenever you think of one throughout the day.
And you did it!
- Wrote down all of your To Dos for the day, week, and month.
- Set up frames by deciding what times are for Me + Fam and what times are for your business.
- Corralled all your To Dos and grouped them into categories.
- Made daily themes to highlight the priority To Dos and categories.
- Placed those categories on your weekly layout.
- Put your To Do categories in your calendar app.
And to stay organized with a system, you made a categorized To Do List to keep a running list of your To Dos.
PIN IT, PIN IT REAL GOOD
It may take you a little over an hour to design your week, which may seem like a lot, but the amount of time you will save every day is worth it!
You will also save some sanity by having a layout for your day instead scrambling around whenever you have a “free” moment.
Make your template work for you and work with you.
Yours may not look anything like mine. Your frames may not go all the way across throughout the week. You may have days where you can fit in a business/work frame and other days that don’t work.
Also, be ready to update it over the next couple of weeks to make adjustments as needed.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with, but if you get stuck or have a question, tweet me at @approachzenith or send a note on my Facebook Page. I’d also LOVE to see pics of your templates or the work in the kit too. Tag me on the Gram @approachzenith
Here’s to the top,