How to Plan a Productive Work Week
Shortly after having my son, I knew I wanted to be home with him. Yes, I work from home, but I knew I didn’t want to rely on a lot of childcare. I wanted to spend my days with him, but also run my business. The plan was to have my mom watch him a couple hours during the week, and the rest of my work schedule was dependent on naps.
It’s never been easy and some weeks are harder than others.
But, I was confident in my decision. I didn’t want to spend my days away from him. Because I made this decision to only work during naps, when my mom helped, and sometimes in the evenings, I knew I need to hunker down and figure out a way to be productive and profitable during my limited work hours.
The first quarter of 2018 had been my most profitable quarter in the entire existence of my business. Some of this is attributed to growth in my audience, but I also believe it has to do with the fact that I have started to think and plan like a CEO (sort of...I’m not that official or smart...yet). I’ve worked on my business systems, outsourcing, and invested in coaching.
All with very limited work hours. 15 or less hours a week.
How do I do it? Productivity.
Allow me to outline some tips and tricks that have helped me be more productive AND more profitable.
How to plan a productive work week:
Outline what brings in the most revenue: as the business owner, it’s your job to spend your time where it is most valuable. Meaning, if you make the most revenue off of your photography, you should be spending your time seeking clients. Determine where your biggest revenue comes from, and move forward from there. Spend your time where it matters. Your time is valuable! Make it worth it.
Track your time and see where you spend it: spend a day tracking where you spend your time. Is your time spent primarily doing administrative tasks? Or on photo editing?
Do they match up? Is where your time spent the same place where you get the most revenue? For example, if most of your revenue is from your coaching program, is most of your work time spent with them or working on finding more clients? It should be :)
Outsource: whatever tasks are necessary for running the business, but don’t bring in a lot of revenue or are things that don’t fall into your strengths, it’s time to outsource it. I remember hearing this earlier in my business and feeling like I couldn’t afford it. And that is probably true for some people. But ever since I hired a virtual assistant, I’ve made the most profit in my business. She has freed me up from small administrative tasks so I can focus on creating content, dreaming, and nurturing my clients. It’s been a game changer! Try to outsource some business tasks, even if it’s just 2 hours a month! It’ll make a difference!
Market Research: learn about your audience and find out what they want from you. I’ve been able to be productive with specific projects because I have full confidence that I am creating the perfect content, service, or product for my audience. The reason I have full confidence in what I am creating is because I have taken the time to survey and understand my audience. I ask about what they need and want, and then decide what to create and offer. Because of this, I know EXACTLY what I need to work on each week.
Clear plans and intention for the week: on Sunday night, I take time planning the week. I outlined how I do this, in a blog post. This practice has been a game changer for my productivity! I am able to sit at my desk on Monday and get started with work immediately because my plan is already created. I use my week at a glance planner to do this!
Block schedule: After I’ve planned out the week, I am able to plan out the individual days. I look at the most important tasks for the week, the smaller (but still important tasks), and then block schedule. I give each day of the week a few tasks, and then when that day arrives, I work on each task for a specific amount of time. I used to try and do multiple things at once (with no success). But since I know writing my newsletter will happen on Tuesday afternoon, I have no need to stress about it on Monday morning. I focus on the tasks for that day. This has helped me be less stressed, but also more focused and productive.
Focus: the increase in my productivity has also been a result of focus. I turn off other distractions (I don’t even listen to music), and only work on one task at a time. I know that I only have a few hours a day to work, so the time I work is precious and valuable. This “deadline” forces me to be more focused during my work hours.
Plan ahead: when I know I want to launch something new (like a new product line), I make sure I plan way ahead. I like to give myself several weeks to work on something, in order to ensure success and total focus. You can see all my tips, tips, strategy, and workflow of how I launch a product or service here.