January 31, 2022
I have been working in my office, which is also my bedroom, all week. It’s funny because whenever we change up the environment where you’re working has such an impact on productivity and focus. At least it does for me! In Marketing School of Photographers, we actually talk about how to set-up your environment for creativity. I just want to remind you that when you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, unmotivated, feeling like you’re not productive, or that you’re tired of doing the same thing, try getting a new candle, moving your desk, working in a coffee shop, go outside with your laptop – just change up your environment to boost a little bit of that creativity.
That was totally unrelated to the episode – but let’s get into that now!
Let’s talk about how to organize your Sunday so that your entire week is successful! I am excited to talk about this not because I’ve already mastered it, but it is something that I am intentionally refining every week!
I’ve tried to follow the ideal week format, when you look at a calendar and you write in what you want to do during specific times. It worked for me for a while, but what I realized is week-to-week my priorities can be quite different. Example, right now it is January and I don’t really want to workout at 6 AM (like I previously wrote in my ideal week) because it’s 4 degrees! BUT in July I won’t want to workout in the heat of the day… so my ideal week needs to be changed.
I do weekly date nights with my kids but when my son’s football practice starts back up, we’ll have to switch the schedule.
You see what I mean? I’m sure your life is the same way that your weeks are not exactly the same or really even close to being the same throughout the year! Having a flexible ideal week is especially important for birth photographers. If you get called to a birth your week is going to look a lot different than you planned right?
So I love having an ideal week as a guide, but what I’ve decided the last couple of months is to create an ideal week on Sunday for the upcoming week, so that it is super customized to what is happening in that specific week.
When you schedule your week in this way, it helps eliminate so many decisions! I bet you’ve heard of decision fatigue but basically it’s when you make too many decisions in a day and it starts to wear you down. You might start making bad decisions or simply not wanting to decision at all because you’re tired. This is especially relevant for small business owners who are parents because you are making decisions all day long, usually from the moment you open your eyes to the time you close them.
In an attempt to eliminate some decisions for your week, schedule your week ahead of time, so that a lot of decisions have already been made. You’re not sitting down to work and wondering what you should be doing (which is another decision).
Here’s how I spend 1 hour on Sunday to prepare for my upcoming week: I use a FFP for this so I can keep everything in 1 notebook but of course you can do this with anything, even just a blank piece of paper!
So first, I start with my big 3 for the upcoming week. A big 3 is basically a list of the top three most important things I want to accomplish to move me closer to my Q1 goal.
I used to make my big 3 encompass multiple areas of life, but it spread my priorities too thin. Now, my big 3 are always related to work. You can play around with this to determine what works best for you!
After you write your big 3 you’re going to add in other things you want to do that week that don’t fall into the big 3. For example, mine are usually things like working out, kid date night, and husband date night.
Don’t get a crazy huge list here. I usually have only 2-3 of these for me personally, because I don’t want to get too many things to where it becomes too overwhelming and hard to focus.
Next, you’re going to block off your already scheduled activities – meetings, sessions, consultations, appointments – both personal and business. These are the things already on your schedule that you need to make time for.
Since I’m writing this in my Full Focus Planner, I will open up my iCal and literally just write in my meetings and appointments already scheduled on each day and block off the time I’ll need to prep for the appointment, drive there, and get back home or to my next appointment (I’m a little extra when it comes to time blocking so if that feels like a lot you can totally just write it in the schedule for the day).
Then, I block off the activities I wanted to do each day. For me, these are things like when I’m going to workout and date nights with my kids and my husband. These activities are more flexible and can be scheduled depending on other stuff going on that day. What I love about this system is that it allows me to put the big rocks in first.
I know you guys are aware of this analogy where a teacher handed a student a jar. Next to it are big, medium, and small-sized rocks. And the teacher said, “All of these rocks will fit in this jar. See if you can fit them all in.” The kid dumped in all the small rocks first, then the medium sized rocks, and then crammed in the big rocks, but they wouldn’t fit. So the teacher said, “If you put the big rocks in first, then the medium-sized rocks, then the smaller pebbles, everything will fit.”
Finally, the space you have remaining in each day’s schedule is the space you have to accomplish your big 3! What’s cool is, now when you start each day, you’ve already blocked off your days appointments and the things you WANT to do (like workout or have a date night) and you can fill in the rest with your big 3 activities.
Disclaimer for those with small kids: I will say, back then I scheduled my days in a similar way, but I had larger blocks of time that were unaccounted for or weren’t specific. It would be “do school and eat lunch” for 4 hours. And that is totally fine!
My husband and I make it fun and we hop up to the local coffee shop to do this together after church. Sometimes it takes a little longer than an hour, but if you still to it you can get it done in an hour!
Instead of scrambling to get things done or working late at night to get it done, I hope you see now how to set aside just 1 hour on Sunday to set up your entire week for success in all areas of your life! 🙂
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My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!