Escape The Hustle™

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How I structure my time

by Jun 5, 2019Podcasts, That Podcast Ysmay Hosts


Hello Hello and welcome back to the show.

It’s been a spell; much longer than I was anticipating. It is currently June 4th and we still don’t have electricity at the new house. I can’t even tell you how frustrated I am by this. The electric company said today it’s going to be probably another week. So yeah I’m currently sitting in the old place where we’ve got the couch and microphone and my laptop but I still wanted to show up and do an episode for you because I am committed to showing up for my audience even though things have been a little bit crazy and things quite frankly have not been going as planned.

But here I am and even though things have been definitely a little chaotic with the house stuff for what is going to be effectively an entire month by the time we finally get this sorted out with the electric company they said it will be another week. Not sure if I already mentioned that.

So at least until June 11 I’m not going to have my office setup and hopefully a little bit of a surprise but it’s a happy surprise. Things are still running in my business and I wanted to talk today about why that is. Because life obviously happens. There are things that just come up and we can’t control them. I have helped slightly no control over the electric company showing up there when we let me pay them to come earlier the next Tuesday. So I’ve had to pivot and I’ve had to work around these things and my business is still doing quite well. And it’s entirely because the way I structure my time.

There’s a few key things that I do when it comes to structuring so I structure my quarter my week and my day. I do not look at the month as a whole because I have found over the years of doing this myself and doing this with clients. it is very easy to become overwhelmed when you look at an entire month at a time of all of the things that you have to do for the month. However, a quarter seems like you have a little bit more space, a little bit more flexibility to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.

The week view lets me see exactly why I need to be doing every single week of the quarter that will allow me to reach my goals and the day view obviously is to keep me on track every day.

I am focusing on something daily that is getting me to the point where I achieved my goal for the week and all of those weeks add up so that I achieve my goals for the quarter. Now this is just what works for me. Everybody has something that’s a little bit different. But I have found this to be the most beneficial way of structuring my time and so because I am looking at my projects on a quarterly basis and not on a monthly basis it is OK if my life gets derailed for a month like it has with this whole house fiasco.

It is not ideal of course to suddenly have to put a pause on creating for my own paid products and programs for a month but it is certainly not going to disrupt my business because I am looking at the entire quarter now weekly.

I block out time to focus on my own projects and to focus on projects for clients. I have a few personal clients that I am keeping even though the agency is starting to go in a different direction. I am keeping a few clients under my personal umbrella and I still have to do things for them throughout all of this. Luckily I have basically the best clients ever who are very understanding and the way we have structured things with their businesses, it is not critical if something doesn’t get done on the exact day that we’d originally planned on doing it.

There is a lot of a lot of freedom to be found in being structured yet flexible in the way you plan your projects and your business.

For the day to day what I prefer to do is I prefer to work in 90 minute chunks. There is a lot of research that shows the brain functions best when you work in 90 minute chunks followed by a 20 to 30 minute break and then you start another 90 minute cycle.

I call these power cycles in my own system and this allows me to get really focused and bust something out on the list take a break reset figure out the next thing and then bust that out in the next 90 minute power cycle.

I like to save things up when I’m doing client work for 90 minute chunks. So if I’m working on a project for we’ll use my client Crystal here as an example if I’m working on a project for her I save up all the other little tiny things that come in throughout the week and I lock them to Crystal’s power cycle and I know that I’m going to sit down I am going to schedule some broadcasts on her chatbot on ManyChat I am going to do a couple things in her e-mail marketing program I’m going to create a workbook I’m going to update the website whatever it is I happen to be helping her with and I do them all the same time.

This keeps me from switching back and forth from client to client and things get very very muddy when you do it that way. It became comes very difficult to focus on just solving the problem for one particular client. If you’re also fielding emails from another client and suddenly, “Oh well I’ve got this idea so I’m just gonna do this quick thing over here for somebody else” it creates a lot of downtime and those downtime moments really add up and quite frankly I don’t like those moments the time where I am switching contexts between clients is wasted time that would be better spent serving one specific client.

I complete everything that needs to be done for them and then I move on. This structure has been probably the biggest switch that I have made in the way I operate in my business within the last year.

So there have been a lot of changes in the last year but the way that I operate within my business comes down to the way that I structure my time and I live my days. And this one switch to these 90 minute cycles has been a game changer.

I used to do the Pomodoro Technique and that just completely did not work for me because I finally get really into the groove of something and then the timer goes off and I get distracted by the timer and it’s this whole thing does not work out very well but this method of working in 90 minute power cycles is very very liberating.

The other thing that has been a big change in my business is the way I operate within my business I should clarify there is the way that I start my day so I start with something that I learned from working in kitchens for basically ever ago where a chef who starts their day they go through a process called mise en place which is where you are setting things up. You’re putting everything in its place.

When I start my day I put everything in its place and if I’m getting to bed even later than usual I make sure that I get everything in it’s place for the next day so that everything is ready to go.

Now when you’re working with clients the way that this shows up is the way that you are sitting down getting ready to work and you know by because you mapped out your power cycles that you have to do some lead magnet generation. You have to work inside of clock funnels or let’s say let’s use stripe as an example and so if you’re doing lead magnets and then you’re going to be putting them into click funnels and then you’re going to be operating in the stripe.

I go in and I make sure that I have a separate browser window open for that client for that power cycle and I go ahead and I open up all the tabs that I’m going to need in order to execute the tasks for that power cycle if I need to be doing Photoshop if I need to be gathering stock image assets whatever that happens to be I make sure I get all of those setup as well that way when I sit down when I start my power cycle I am ready to go.

I’m not spending all of this extra time getting set up. I like to structure my cycles so that I have 90 minutes followed by a 20 minute break followed by 10 minutes of mise en plus where I set up everything for the next cycle. I start my day with this I I do coffee even this way so before bed at night I prep coffee for the morning and I get my clothes out.

Everything is always in its place and when it is it’s much easier to operate and it’s much easier to get things done effectively and efficiently. And that has been a serious game changer for how much I get done. So I currently spend about three hours. So two power cycles plus the space for mise.

And all of the other stuff that people are wasting time on like context switching or tracking down all the stuff that they need to create the projects those. Those bits of. Efficiency loss for lack of a better term have been completely eliminated by following this simple structure.

Related: 4 Essential Systems to Destress Your Systems

Also very important to make note here that I’m not spending time in those power cycles doing any wombats. So wombats are tasks that I deem to be a waste of money brains and time. So this includes most email most social media most client meetings. Anything that can be automated outsourced or eliminated is a wombat. Anything that is sucking your cognitive energy it is taking way more time than it should and it’s disrupting your day is a wombat it’s a waste of money brains and time because you could be using all of that other energy you could be using your time and you could be using your financial resources to a much higher purpose to further the needle in your business.

And conversely if you’re a service provider and you’re eating up your day with these bursts of email and these bursts of Slack messages and these bursts of Oh my God this client really wants to talk on the phone for a couple minutes. If you have your day eaten up by wombats like that it’s very hard to then focus on growing the business on serving people and making cells.

Now one of the questions I get asked a lot is when you are trying to eliminate wombats, “how do you communicate with clients?”

If you have a client who wants to talk on the phone and won’t deal with email or if you have a client who only wants to do slack and they insist on you keep being your Slack open. I just I don’t do that. I used to do that but I don’t do that anymore. And so my response when I get that sort of question is: make it very very clear that you don’t operate that way.

You are a business owner you are not an employee therefore they cannot dictate the way that you function. They cannot dictate the way you handle your business and the way you structure your time. It is incumbent upon you to structure your time your days your weeks your quarters in the way that is best for you in the way that is going to light you up. That’s going to move the business forward and it’s going to help you become the best person that you could possibly be in the best business provider that you possibly could be.

And if you do not safeguard your business if you don’t safeguard your time if you don’t safeguard your energy and your cognitive resources they’re going to get consumed by everybody else. Everybody who wants something from you.

There’s this saying that my mom used to say when when she was working for a nonprofit where she’d come home and oh oh how is your day mom. And she’d be like I was all things to all people all of the time. And that is what I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be all things to all people all of the time and you shouldn’t either.

I know that as a service provider you’re in business to serve and you want to be useful and you want to make people happy and you want to do good work and you get a lot of meaning and satisfaction from that. But there is a difference to being all things to all people all of the time and being an effective service provider.

So the first is going to quite literally suck your energy. And the second a good service provider can be accomplished by simply safeguarding your time. The way that you operate and your business practices.

This and many other topics like this are things that we’re going to be covering inside of my brand new program called balanced and bankable. So the doors to this program are opening up in June 20 first.

The first day of summer we’re going to be getting down to work. We’re going to be figuring out the right thing for you to do the right order in which to do it and how to structure your time so you get the right stuff done that moves the needle in your business and do it all while helping you escape all this and all of my programs can be found on my Web site as my dot com. But if you want to go over and check out balance and bankable and what I’ve got in store for you you can go on over to balanced and bankable dot com directly.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me. I would love to give you a promise of what I’m going to have another episode for you. But with the house stuff I’m not entirely sure. I will aim for one within the next week. Thank you so much for being here again and I hope you have a beautiful beautiful. And I hope you are working to escape the hustle.


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