Back in April I shared with you a post on How I Intentionally Schedule My Week As A Creative Business Owner. In it I shared with you how I block out my days and intentionally spend my energy and time in my business. Today I want to check back in with that original post and share with you an update with how things are looking now. If I’ve learned anything as a business owner so far, things will always be evolving and changing along the way.
The general gist of my routine is the same; I still do client work Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, and every other Saturday, and the other days are still focused on content, bigger projects, self-development and rest and play, but in many ways my approach and my mindset when it comes to my routine have really shifted and evolved since then.
My core needs when it comes to my routine and lifestyle are the same:
My business needs structure and boundaries.
My creativity needs freedom and space.
My wellbeing needs margin and flexibility.
But here’s what has changed and what I’ve learned since April:
1. I work outside of my home a whole lot more
One of my favourite things about running my own business is that I can work from home and by my own rules throughout the week, but a big lesson I’ve learned since April is that just because I can stay inside all week doesn’t mean I should be. In general I’ve felt really content and at peace with my routine and daily life this year, but something that was bringing some dissatisfaction and frustration into my day was how isolated and disconnected I was starting to feel by spending so much time inside by myself each week.
It’s taken until now, almost two years into running my business, to really take advantage of the fact that I can run my business from wherever the hell I want to. Becoming a fully fledged digital nomad isn’t the path for me, but realising that I can just work from a coffee shop whenever I want to - and that it’s actually way more fun to do that most days too - was a big moment for me. It’s very rare now for me not to leave my apartment at least once a day, even just for a quick walk to my favourite coffee shop or even just a stroll around the block, whereas back in April I’d say I was probably only getting outside 1-2 times a week. I tend to spend 2-3 days a week working from a coffee shop, and on busy client days when I do need to be at home for meetings I make the most out of my breaks and get outside instead of spending my entire day stuck behind a computer screen.
I feel way less disconnected from the world around me now, and so much more content with how my daily grind flows too. I also find I’m able to get an entire days work done in around 3-5 hours in a coffee shop as I am much less distracted than when I am at home.
2. I’ve made client days more fun
I’ve had this huge mindset block in my coaching practice for a long time now; that client days are always going to be about my clients, and for me to do my best work and truly show up for the awesome clients I work with, I have to take my own needs for the day off the table. I just couldn’t see how I could make space for my own wellbeing and joy throughout the day when I need to stay focused and present in coaching sessions for 6-7 hours a day.
As much as I adore the work I do, this mindset was starting to take its toll. As much as these are the most fulfilling days of my work week - being able to support, guide, and encourage my clients is the whole reason why I do what I do - it’s not sustainable for me to embrace a martyr mindset when it comes to showing up as a coach. So I decided to try and find a way to make client days more fun - to build moments in the day just for me, to remind myself that I still have a whole lot of freedom on these days to make things happen in my business in a way that works for me.
So I’ve started to use my breaks on client days to go to a coffee shop or meet up with a friend for lunch, instead of just filling the time with watching Netflix or hanging out in my inbox. Making sure I get outside most client days and do something fun has been a great way to add more “flow” into these days - I feel more focused, more energised, and way more joyful when it comes to my work now.
3. Personal development is a daily task
Back in April my weekly plan was to dedicate Friday’s to personal development - to use that time to focus on honing my craft as a coach and really diving deeper into the work I do. What I found, though, is that come Friday’s I usually can feel a little tired and worn from the week. Especially if it’s a week where I have client sessions on a Saturday, I usually like to keep Friday’s pretty open and flexible so I can take most of the day off instead of spending all day attached to my laptop.
I realised that I make much better space for personal development in my routine when it’s a daily task - when I carve out an hour or so each day for reflection and reading and learning. So these days I usually put aside 1-2 hours a day to spend some time with my coaching craft - usually that looks like reading a book and taking notes, or reflecting on the client work I’ve done that week so far. Making self-development a daily habit has really helped me to stay present and focused in my own development and growth process as a coach, and it’s been a great way to stay inspired and motivated throughout the week too.
4. The hours I work can change from week to week
Some weeks I work 25 hours. Others I work 15. Sometimes I work 35. It really depends on how much I choose to put on my plate that week, on my energy levels, and what it is my business actually needs me to get done. My brain sometimes likes things neat and tidy - it’s more comfortable for me to be able to say to myself “I only work ‘insert number' amount of hours each week” but in reality it just doesn’t work like that.
Being comfortable with my workload shifting at times, in having some weeks where I have a lighter workload and others with a much heavier one, and learning to spread out my work in a way that works alongside my own natural ebb and flow has been a really interesting process. Never telling myself that I’m lazy if I have a lighter week, and never telling myself I have a cap on how many hours I work if I’m just in the flow and want to push a little harder that week has played a huge part in enabling myself to make things happen in the best way for me.
5. I mix work, rest, and play daily
Some of my favourite days look like a little bit of work in the morning, spending the afternoon out and about having fun, and then maybe another hour of work in the early evening before wrapping up the day and relaxing. I’m learning to be really comfortable with letting my day flow much more easily - I find a whole lot of joy in days that embrace work, rest, and play, and I’m learning to be okay with the balance between the three shifting each day depending on my workload and energy levels.
6. I adapt my routine whenever my intuition is guiding me to do so
Ultimately, what I’ve learned since April is that I have to let my intuition guide me each week. I have to be comfortable with some weeks looking very similar to each other, and others feeling wildly different at times. I have to honour my need to rest on days where it needs to be a priority, and I have to honour my desire to thrive and truly show up for my business and career along the way too. Nothing is ever set in stone for me - apart from client calls, which are always non-negotiables and the cornerstone of my business and that work I do, everything else I always like to try and keep quite flexible. If I need to push back a launch deadline that I’ve set for myself or work a day that I had planned to take off or take a day off that I had planned to spend writing because my intuition is guiding me to do so, I’m learning to be really comfortable with making those decisions.
We navigate our life in seasons, and I’m learning that sometimes that can even shift from week to week - some weeks are about hunkering down and getting the work done, others are about things happening in our personal life that we need to show up, and others are more about having fun and adventures. Most, I’ve found, are a blend of all three. More than anything, I’ve learned to be really comfortable in my pursuit of a joyful daily grind - to feel no shame for wanting my dream job to still feel a little dreamy along the way.
I said it last time but I’ll say it again, it really is the little things we do each day that shape up the reality of our lives. If you’re feeling a little unsatisfied in your routine in your business right now, I hope this post can be a jumping off point for you to start making space for a routine that truly feels fulfilling, and inspiring, and productive to you.
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