This week’s episode is a little different. I decided to record this episode by myself, without my team, just to test out the energy and see if there were any benefits. Which leads me to what I’m going to discuss with you today.
This week, I’m going to discuss how I have changed my energy, more specifically how I have rebooted my creation process, and the steps I follow to structure my weeks around the changes I’m making.
In this episode, I will discuss how to throw yourself all in, and how to run a business, manage teams and operations, and still have a creative process in between. So, let’s go!
Designing your ideal week.
One thing I really love doing is designing my ideal week. It’s an exercise I love teaching to my coaches, and I do it every couple of months.
So, how do I do it?
Firstly, I will take a look at my weeks coming up. That doesn’t mean I look at what they’re literally going to involve. It means looking at what I want them to look like.
I first started doing this with my fitness coaching business, and it made me realize I was working too much. So, I redesigned my week to be ideal.
So, where does my creative process fit into my ideal week?
I like to take Monday mornings slow. I plan stuff out. I look at my vision, I take out some whiteboards and some markers. I usually don't really dress up that much. I workout in the afternoon and then spend the entire afternoon creating content and vision items.
Last week, I was mapping out my yearly plan. I was thinking about brand strategy, vision strategy, content. But even after getting all of that done, at the end of the day I’m available to my team.
Sticking to the ideal week you’ve created.
My biggest pitfall on a day like Monday, when I’ve decided to designate time to creative planning and being ‘offline’, is still having my phone near to me.
I check messages, get distracted, and so on. The problem with distraction that a lot of people don’t know is that distraction itself isn’t necessarily the problem.
The real problem is that after you get distracted, it takes about 15 to 25 minutes for you to get back to the thing you’re actually doing and really focus. I’m really trying to limit my distractions.
That’s why I include office hours in my weekly mapping. People know that if they really need me, they need to call me.
The rest of the week, beyond my creative process.
For me, Tuesdays are usually an office day. I go to the office and we have a team meeting. The full team is present, we go over the vision and strategies I’ve prepared on Monday.
We go over our biggest projects. That could be a launch or an event. Then, we go over the project timeline of the different projects everyone is an owner of and some ideas and things we want to talk about.
Recently, I ran into an issue which was affecting my energy and, at it’s worst, almost driving me to tears with frustration. I realized me and my team were spending so much time on operational items in our meetings that we were never driving the business forward. We were constantly spending time on to-do lists instead of strategy.
So, what did I do when I realized my energy was being impacted? I changed my strategy.
Now, on Tuesdays, we carry out strategy meetings between two and five. Anything else that my team needs to talk to me about, they can call in business hours. If they really need a meeting, I created a short questionnaire so which they can forward to me and give me an idea what the meeting is about, making it more efficient for both of us.
Operations can easily take over, but don’t forget to move your strategy forward.
Wednesdays: working on my second business.
For me, Wednesdays are kind of crazy. On Wednesdays I work on my second business, Alpha Women.
This was a passion project with my best friend and co-founder, Jessica. We started Alpha Women five years ago and now it’s turned into the biggest speaking Dutch community for entrepreneurial, ambitious women in Belgium.
It’s turned into a business which means book-keeping, operational stuff, bills to pay. That’s what my Wednesdays are for.
How do you create strategy for a business that you can only spend one day a week on? Well, we split everything over the month. So, we focus on operational stuff every Wednesday. But beyond that, we will do different types of strategy work every Wednesday for the whole month. Sometimes it’s brand strategy, recording content, or a half-day of planning.
Thursdays: coaching and content.
I usually do my coaching calls around midday. So, what do I do all morning?
I create content! I might host a live or create reels or do some podcast recordings.
Sometimes I get the question ‘do you plan out everything in your business? Is your calendar super fixed?’ It really isn't. I like to stick to certain themes because I really enjoy structure and I love working on theme days.
It’s really important when planning your week to recognize what works for you. My golden time is the mornings. If I mess up my mornings, I know I'm basically screwed for the rest of the day. So, planning around that is a huge part of planning my week.
On Fridays, in the mornings I do some tasks and, in the afternoon, we have a wrap-up meeting with the team that sometimes I participate in, sometimes I won't. Then in the afternoon, it's empty time for content, talking to my team, potentially teaching stuff.
Then, there's some more flexible stuff. It's not the same every single week. This works well for me and will probably work well for you. Maybe you like things to be the same all the time, or maybe you like switching up half days or switching up stuff for work.
For me, what doesn't work well for me is switching all the time because I like to be focused on one thing. That’s why, for me, theme days work really well.
Understanding boundaries and what fuels your energy.
If you're a social butterfly, that's great. Fill out the week with meetings if that gives you energy. But, it may make it difficult to be proactive about your business.
I am social, but I'm also introverted. I really charge up my creativity by being by myself, which is why I really enjoy spending Mondays by myself. Or when we work on the second business, we do half days and I spend half a day by myself working on it and half a day in meetings, or in discussions, or brainstorms.
Maybe you already have an ideal week for yourself set up, but do you have the boundaries in place to stick to it?
That’s what I realized was my problem. My week was planned to be ideal, but I was getting distracted by my phone, Slack, and email constantly. I was not always feeling energized after recording podcasts with a team.
So, I created office hours, and today I am recording this episode alone.
I know that my time is an energy and is not best spent being at the office the entire time. That doesn't mean I don't go there or that I'm not a good boss. I am a good boss. I care about my people a lot, but I care about my purpose even more.
That's what you need to ask yourself when creating boundaries and planning your time. Are you staying aligned with why you started your business? Do you have time to push the business forward creatively or are you constantly ticking off to-dos?
Remember: when planning your week, you need to look at your own energy and give that a spot in your days first.
My advice to you is to really look at your success habits. I actually wrote a guide about that and you can download it from me. My Success Habits guide is something I use every year or every quarter. These are the things that guide us and grow us through our life.
If you want to look at your own success habits, you'll get it from me for free at fastforwardamy.com/successhabits. You can choose English or Dutch, you can print it out, and use it as you like!