A coach colleague of mine mentioned that she'd had her "ideal week." Her comment struck me because of how much time I spend working with clients on figuring out their "ideal week" without ever calling it that. (And yet we spend a lot of time talking about "ideal clients!") The process of identifying and then manifesting your ideal week is powerful. Your ideal week is a week where you're working enough to feel productive, doing work that matters to you, making a comfortable income, working on projects that inspire you, and balancing work life with not-work life. Here are some initial pointers on developing an ideal week:
Your Ideal Week is Unique to You
There's a lot of advice out there for folks working from home that says you should wake up early, get dressed, and stick to a set structure. As a night owl who loves PJ's and a variable schedule, I constantly contradict all that advice! Your ideal week will probably have some elements of structure; there will be time set aside for work tasks or clients. There might be time set aside for fun stuff, or you might have open blocks of time that allow for spontaneous non-work. How you organize this is up to you.
How Much Work? How Much Play?
I think there's a little Puritan inside of most of us that believes we should work hard and work so hard that work is the dead opposite of fun. News alert inner Puritan! We're in the 21st Century, we live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and we have the freedom to choose work that we enjoy. Many entrepreneurs start their own business because they want greater job satisfaction. So don't let your inner Puritan get the best of you! Find a work/life balance that works for you, and come up with your ideal week, not your Puritan's ideal week.
How and Where Work Gets Done
One of the great freedoms of being self employed is that you get to decide how and where work gets done. You can be at a desk, curled up on the sofa, at a coffee shop, at a bar, or at the library. You can be wearing literally whatever you want. Sometimes "getting work done" involves meeting former co-workers for happy hour. (Dear Puritan: It's networking, it counts!) If you're stir crazy you need not sit at your desk; go for a walk! Given the time to treat your day how you choose, the night owls among us might discover a productive chunk of night time working hours. As long as you're enjoying the work, do it where ever and when ever!
Your Ideal Week is All About You
This is *your* ideal week, not your client's ideal week. I've noticed a tendency among self employed folks to try and accommodate clients beyond what's reasonable. It may be related to actual feed back from clients, or it might be your inner Puritan chiming in. Regardless of the source, here's what it boils down to: Your clients will fill the time you give them. Therefore, you pick the times you work with clients and the right clients will fill those times. You will not be able to accommodate every client, and trying to will drive you mad.
The boundaries around when you work with clients and when you don't work with clients is probably one of the most important when it comes to job satisfaction as a self employed person. And here's the rub: this boundary is all on you. You're the person who says "I have this time available to see you / work on your project." When we aren't clear on this boundary we start resenting our clients which is unhelpful in every way imaginable. And keeping your boundary doesn't always mean loosing that client. Clients are often willing to revisit their own schedule once they know the boundaries of your schedule.
Manifesting Your Ideal Week
Identifying the requirements for your ideal week takes time and it takes doing. You won't know what works until you try it. You might even think you've found your ideal week, only to discover that in practice that's not the case. It's also a process since your ideal week requires a certain kind of client and you might not have discovered them yet, or have an abundance of them in your business. Developing your ideal week is definitely something that hangs out on a back burner, but it's a great thing to know about so you can celebrate when you've found it!
If this blog post has given you all of the anxiety, that's ok! I'm happy to chat you through that. Contact me for a free initial session.