How to Know What to do When You Start a Business
Sarah woke up at 6am ready to start her day. She strolled into the kitchen to make some coffee and sat at the table with the steaming cup in front of her, listening to the birds chirp outside. Everything seemed to be going right. The coffee was hot and put a smile on her face. The sun was shining through the window and Sarah couldn’t have been happier to have her own business. Before she knew it, almost an hour had gone by and she was still sitting down, soaking in the sun.
This was not what she had in mind for a productive day. She rushed to the other room and starting thinking about what to do. She started responding to emails and was off to a good start. After a few emails, she opened up another tab to check her facebook...which led to some quick YouTube videos...buzzfeed browsing...and...another hour gone.
I don’t need to go any further. You see how Sarah’s day could hit distraction after distraction and ruin her otherwise good intentions of being productive. It’s so easy to get lost in the small activities and before you know it, half of your day is gone. I struggled with these same issues.
In my first two months of business, I’ve realized that one of the most important things I can do on a daily basis is to schedule my activities. At first, I would try to do a million things at once to increase awareness for my business. The problem was, I didn’t have a clear goal for each week. It’s easy to think, “Oh I know what I need to do, I don’t need to schedule anything.” I did have a rough idea of what to do, but the simple act of writing things down and scheduling tasks in Google Calendar has helped me so much.
Set 12 Week Goals
The first thing I do is to set 3 month goals of what I want to accomplish. Here are my current 5 goals for the next 12 weeks:
600 Auditions 300 Cold Calls 36 YouTube Videos 36 Blog Posts Daily Posts to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Musical.ly
Once I have those goals set for the 12 weeks, I break them into weekly goals so that I know how much I need to get done each week to be on pace and achieve my 12 week goal.
Based on the 12 week goals above, I basically just divide by 12 to get my weekly goals. That makes the larger goal more manageable for me. Instead of thinking about somehow getting 600 auditions done, I set a goal that will ensure that I’ll reach that big number by focusing on a smaller number each week. Here’s what my current weekly goals look like:
50 Auditions 25 Cold Calls 3 YouTube Videos 3 Blog Posts
Daily Posts to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Musical.ly All of a sudden, my goals are much more realistic and doable.
At first, I would just use my weekly goals as a guide for my daily activities. I didn’t schedule out my day with exactly what I needed to do and when. Since I’m working from home, it’s tempting to just go with the flow and work toward whatever goal I feel like doing at the moment. That strategy didn’t work for me. What I do now, is schedule out exactly what I need to do each day and exactly when I need to do that task. Below are my daily goals for each day of the week:
Monday - 9 Auditions, 5 Cold Calls, 1 Blog post, post to social media Tuesday - 9 Auditions, 5 Cold Calls, 1 YouTube Video, post to social media Wednesday - 9 Auditions, 5 Cold Calls, 1 Blog post, post to social media Thursday - 8 Auditions, 5 Cold Calls, 1 YouTube Video, post to social media Friday - 8 Auditions, 5 Cold Calls, 1 Blog post, post to social media Saturday - 7 Auditions, 1 YouTube Video, post to social media
I base my daily goals on a 6 day a week schedule so that by the end of my workday on Saturday I’ve achieved my weekly goal. This has really helped me focus on what’s necessary each day, rather than starting to write a blog post...and then maybe planning a YouTube video...only to be distracted by some auditions. Now I know what needs to be done at every moment and I ignore the rest.
I think this strategy can be applied to any business. There are of course more things that get done each day, but the really important things are written out and planned for.
Planning on Sunday
Every Sunday afternoon I sit down and look at my 12 week goal. After that, I figure out what I need to do in the upcoming week. I spend 30 minutes writing exactly what needs to be done in my Google Calendar. This helps take the guesswork out of each day. Now, everyday, when I wake up, I just open up my calendar and start working on the necessary tasks.
This has been working for me. It would work for Sarah and I’m sure you could find a way to incorporate it into your daily, weekly and monthly planning. For some people, planning out every hour of your day might seem a little too extreme, but it can be really helpful and efficient. Another great part about this type of planning is that if you follow your schedule, you can take an hour or two to hang out and watch some TV without feeling that terrible sense of guilt.
How do you plan your day? Would this sort of planning work for you in your job or business? Let me know in the comments below.