Your Biggest Vision Ep. 36- My Daily Routine as an Entrepreneur

The day in the life of an entrepreneur brings something different every day. For me, it’s also changed dramatically depending on the current chapter in business. Specifically, in the beginning, I spent a lot more time “doing” than I do now. Now, I spend much more time planning. This has been essential to my growth.

 

Creating my own schedule and routine is a dream come true for me! Here’s a peek at what that has come to look like.

 

Tune into this episode to hear:

 

The exact steps I take to stay on-task and disciplined, and NOT distracted.

 

The four categories of my daily/weekly tasks that I make sure to balance.

 

How my time delegation has dramatically changed throughout my business growth.

 

Tune in to this weeks episode to discover my daily routine as an entrepreneur and how I manage my time without the constraint of a 9-5 job.
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Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais:

 Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I am your host Leah and today we are talking about something that was actually a request from one of my clients to do an episode about which is the day in the life of an entrepreneur. So, she wants to know how I plan out my days, how I stay on task, how do I stay disciplined, how I stay organized. I love this question. I love this topic. I remember when I was starting out and feeling like I just had no idea how people got so much done and I always felt like I wasn’t getting enough done or that I wasn’t getting the right things done. So I’m happy to talk about it and I also really want to share how things have changed between what I really focused on early on and what I focus on now.

 

As I was doing this, as I was kind of preparing and really looking at what I do, I realized that I pretty much have four categories of things that I focus on every day and every week. I mean, no day’s the same, but I do try to keep some sort of routine with my weeks. The four categories in this are I spend time either creating content, I spend time actually working with my clients or I spend time being coached. So either coaching or being coached, that’s two. Third, I spend time planning. So big picture things, planning a sales strategy, planning a launch, planning my social media planning, what’s in the future, planning, planning, planning. And then fourth, I spend time actually executing and you know, taking care of the tasks that I have planned I need to get done.

 

I will say that in the earlier days I spent a lot more time doing the executing and the tasks than I did planning and I’ve had to really make a conscious shift to be more of a planner and more of a visionary than just a doer. That’s because just doing things and doing tasks isn’t going to really move a whole business forward. You have to keep the big picture in mind and you have to keep pushing yourself. Otherwise, you’re just going to keep doing what you’ve always done. As you can imagine, that’s just going to keep you exactly where you’ve always been. I think in the beginning it’s really hard to let go of doing all the tasks are doing all the things because you don’t really know how else you can do less of them or you don’t know who else can do that or how to outsource them or anything like that. I have had struggles with all of that, but it’s really, really important to let go because then you’ll end up doing things that you could pay someone else $20 an hour for and when you’re trying to build a six figure business or hit five figure months and revenue or even much higher than that, you can’t be doing $20 per hour tasks. So, it’s a really important thing to make sure you are shifting away from being the doer all the time to being the planner. That was something very intentional. Then some of the other shifts, I didn’t really realize so much until I’ve kind of reflected now, and I’ll share that as well. But that was the one I really made sure I was shifting on.

 

So let’s go ahead and get in and talk about what a day in the life for me is like. As you can imagine, two days are the same ever. But that is the fun part. That’s why we do this. Otherwise you could work in a nine to five job where a lot of your days will be the same.

So, you know, things do change all the time and some days I’m in meetings all day or I am on calls all day and then other days I don’t talk to anyone at all and I just worked really hard on my computer and then I totally honestly have some days where I just feel like if I work, it’s not going to be good quality, I’m burnt out, whatever it is. I really give myself permission to sometimes even just take the day off, or take an afternoon off or kind of like watch the office in the background while I work so it feels a little bit more relaxed. Things change all the time. So it’s important to find your groove and to find what works for you because you will always be better at your job if you are in the best state of mind and not sort of pushing yourself.

 

So with that, let’s go ahead and dive in. Every day, my morning routine is more or less the same and so that doesn’t vary throughout the days. I usually get up at about 5:00 AM sometimes a little earlier. Lately I’ve been getting up more often at like 5:30, but usually between 4:30 and 5:30 and for usually half an hour to an hour, I will stay completely unplugged. I’ll spend that time meditating. I will drink a smoothie, I’ll drink some water. I’ll either write down or say out loud things I’m really feeling grateful for. I’ll listen to some positive affirmations. I’ll say them out loud. Sometimes I’ll journal. The actual routine varies kind of just depending on what I’m feeling like and what feels good. But having that time to be by myself, be really quiet, be really reflective, get myself into a good motivated state of mind is non negotiable and it makes all the difference for my day when I really put myself in a receptive, positive, grateful frame of mind and that’s exactly what I do during that hour.

 

I do not look at social media. I don’t usually look at my emails. Sometimes if I’m like expecting an email, I cave and do it. But I try not to and I really just tried to cherish and protect that time. It’s really the only alone time I have throughout the whole day. So it’s very important to me. Usually at about 6:00 AM I go to an exercise class that’s another non negotiable for me. I work out every single day, sometimes six days, but usually seven days a week in some capacity. I don’t do the same thing every day, but it’s very important to take care of myself and I definitely find that the healthier my body is, the healthier my mind is. So, and the better I sleep. So that’s one of the other things I love to do first thing in the morning and then by 7:00 AM I come and I start working. But that’s usually a solid two hours where I don’t spend much time if at all, on my phone or on my email or on my computer or anything else like that. I think that that’s been really helpful in keeping me, I’m not anxious and not too ahead of myself. I just saw an interview recently with a PR director here in New York who leads, who’s the boss of a very hectic PR firm. She was saying how if she really thought about or let herself think about all the things that she had done, the pipeline, a consulting events, traveling thing. She needed to do, meetings that she had, she would truly go crazy. So she’s had to really train her brain to just think of the current day and not think of things that are coming up. Even though logically she knows they’re coming up, even though they’re on her schedule and she’s committed to them. She doesn’t think about it very often. I thought that that was such a powerful point, you know, so easy for all of us to feel like we have too much coming up or that we can’t handle things, but there’s always going to be people busier than us. So it’s not that they can handle more than us, it’s that they’ve learned how to address their agendas and their commitments in a way that doesn’t allow them to indulge in the overwhelm, but really stay present with what they’re doing right now. So, I think I’ve naturally been trying to do more of that over the past several months. But seeing that interview really brought it into words for me that it’s so important to just focus on the now because otherwise we will completely drive yourself crazy.

 

So in the mornings, I really do like that device-free time. The first things I do on my computer are I check my slack group where my mastermind is and make sure that they’re doing well and answer any questions that they have. I get on Facebook in case I have any Facebook groups that have any questions or need me. I get on Instagram and answer direct messages or comments that are toward me. And then I go through my emails and I try to have nearly all of my emails complete by by eight o’clock or 8:30 or something like that. I like my inbox at zero, I’m one of those people. So that is usually an hour or an hour and a half of just straight correspondents and I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I think this is the best decision because I’m a big fan of having your sort of hardest tasks be first when your brainpower is the most fresh.

 

But it just makes sense for me to get that communication going. I like to be really responsive. I like being on the east coast where we’re in the latest time zone in the U.S. so usually can email people before they’re even awake. Then often what I’ll do, especially if I have a really busy or I need to be really focused that day kind of thing coming up is I will pause my inbox, which you can do with a free Google chrome plugin called boomerang. If you pause it, you cannot receive emails during the pause period. I also can’t get them to my phone, which is good because I’m one of those people that out of habit we’ll just check my emails on my phone when I’m just looking at my phone or whatever in between work.

 

So having it paused really helps me focus on whatever else I have on hand. I definitely unpause it throughout the day. On days where I’m being really disciplined, I’ll unpause it at night. Usually I am positive at lunch and then don’t really posit again or something like that. But I do love that pausing feature. And then the same with Instagram and Facebook. Once I am done with my correspondence in the morning, I block Facebook from my computer and I timed myself out of Instagram so I can’t get back on and I really recommend applying some sort of strategy or boundary for yourself like that as well. One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is that they feel like they have to be on Instagram and or Facebook a lot because the way they find clients is through direct messages and if they’re not responding then their clients can’t find them and they’re not going to get clients. So I hear that. But you can do it once a day. People can wait for 24 hours for you to respond to them and if you feel like you’re going back and forth direct messaging on Facebook or Instagram a lot and that’s how you get clients, I would recommend trying early on to get people off of Instagram or Facebook and onto an email so that you’re not having to rely on Instagram to communicate with these people.

 

It is such a time sucker. It is such such, such a time sucker. So that is very transparently how I handle that, is I just block it after. So, if you feel like you are spending a lot of time on either of those things, then consider blocking them once you are done with them in the morning or at night whenever you actually need to be on them and then not getting on them until the next day.

 

Once all my correspondence is done, I’m sort of in the full swing morning. I still have the feeling of feeling like, all right, it’s 9:00 AM I am working now. Even though usually you’ve been working for about two hours, but it does have a different dynamic. This is where things really start to vary. So on Mondays, every Monday I do this live stream to meet that is considered a content creation part of my work is for my podcast. I also love coming on with you guys, live and love when you guys have live questions for me. So this is a valuable thing that I love doing every Monday. Tuesday mornings are usually sometimes a catch up if I didn’t get everything done over the weekend or they are sales strategy times. Wednesday mornings are definitely sales strategy times. Thursday mornings our client calls and Friday mornings I look at my finances. I plan Pinterest for the next week and my social media for the next week and I make sure I’m on track with my goals.

 

So every morning varies, but each morning of the week has a pretty defined purpose in the bigger picture of my business. Either it is a dedicated time for content creation, it’s a dedicated planning time. It’s a dedicated time for looking big picture at my goals or it’s a dedicated time to work with my clients. I really like it this way because there’s a lot of variety, so I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing every day. But I also can feel really grounded in knowing that if there’s something I feel like I need to do or anything like that, if there’s something that I feel like has to get done in terms of I need to work on a sales strategy or I know I need to send sales emails or I need to look at my big picture goals or whatever, instead of stopping what I’m doing in the middle of it during the week, I know, don’t worry about that right now Leah, you already have another time this week designated to doing this and this gives me so much peace of mind.

 

I really do think it’s that separation and jumping around from task to task that kills productivity. We know this to be true. There’s several studies done about how if you focus on one thing for one hour, then you have 100% focus. This is just an example. But if you then decide that you’re going to focus on one thing and you’re trying to do it for an hour, but then you switch and realize you need to do something else, it’s not that you do one thing for half an hour and the other thing for the other half an hour, it takes your brain time to really readjust into the new tasks and get out of the old one. So the way that plays out is that you’re really only working on something for about 20 minutes and then the other thing for about 20 minutes and you’ve kind of wasted 10 to 20 minutes within that hour.

 

So it’s really important to not go between task and task. My fiance is one of those people that has a million tabs up on his computer all the time and I don’t know how he does it because the way I stay in my zone is only having one thing open on my computer, not doing anything else. Having social media literally blocked, even having my email inbox paused so that I don’t focus on anything else. So maybe what you could take away from this is thinking about some of the things you often feel like you should be doing and designating a few hours per week when you do those things. So when you’re in the middle of writing an email and you remember that you might need to write a blog post or something like that, you can think, okay, well I’m not going to do that right now because I already know I have a scheduled time per week when I think about blog posts or whatever your thing is, and you can sort of just like lock it away and put it to that day. You can even have a spreadsheet or a calendar where you’re always adding to what you’re doing during those designated time blocks. And this’ll take a little bit of getting used to a little bit of learning, but it’s totally worth it so that you are not switching between tasks, that never works out.

 

When it comes to lunch, my fiance and I usually do try to eat lunch together. We’re both self employed, so we have the flexibility of eating where we want and we’ll try to take about a half an hour off. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes we do work right through lunch and that’s okay if we can though, we stop and put away your devices and talk to each other and have our lunch and just talk about how work is going and things like that. So of course I think breaks are important. He’s much better than I am in terms of like leaving for the day, he’ll go on walks and things like that to break it up. Usually once I’ve worked out, I am so in work mode that I struggle to stop doing it at all. But he loves his walks. And of course, you know, walks have worked well for a lot of people, so it depends on what you want. But we do try to have that half hour of a break. For me, if I really need a break and I don’t have lunch with him or something or sometimes I need an even longer break, I have no shame in taking a little time to watch an episode of Will and Grace or a rerun of the office or something like that. And just sort of decompressing, maybe texting my family.

 

Another thing I’ll mention is, in the mornings when I’m doing those kind of defined tasks, I typically have my phone either on airplane mode or in another room. So I don’t even really text during the day. So it’s not always a good thing because I’ve been told by my friends that I forget to text for days on end sometimes. So I’m trying to get better at during lunchtime, making sure that I’m actually responding to the texts that I’ve not really looked at all morning long. Afternoons are similar as the mornings in terms of having defined times zones of different categories. So not everything is the same. I do have some plans. Usually the way it goes is Monday afternoons are catch up time. It’s time for me to make sure I really have everything ready to go for the week. All my social media is planned. All my emails are written, all my team members are on the same page as I am. Everything is scheduled out to be automated. I’m working actively toward a goal. I have my goals and anything I sort of didn’t do over the weekend because of course we need a break. Sometimes I get done. Then I try not to have any calls or meetings on Mondays because I really value that ketchup time. To sort of just be by myself and make sure that I’m feeling really gentle with myself on Mondays. Otherwise we suck the fun out of this you guys, we cannot be too hard on ourselves. Tuesdays, I always have client calls. I have my mastermind call on Tuesday afternoons. And so I often will do podcast interviews or sometimes discovery calls on that day because I’m already sort of in the zone of being on calls and communicating with other people and don’t feel the need to really be on my own because I’ve already had built that in the day before.

 

Wednesday’s I keep completely open to really focus on sales. That’s kind of my sales day, to make sure that there are sales emails going out, people are happy with what they bought. I can be following up with people to see if there’s any other way you can support them. It’s really about making sure my business is functioning the way it’s supposed to. Then Thursday afternoons I also usually designate for client calls or discovery calls or a podcast interview. But then I try to unwind a little bit early on Thursdays and relax. I don’t know why I just like Thursdays. Then Fridays, similar to Wednesdays, I have usually no calls. But I do really use Friday as my biggest planning day. So that’s usually when I’m looking at my finances. I’m looking at my social media, I’m looking at my goals, I’m really making sure that I did everything that week on track and that I can set myself up for the next week for success to continue to be on track.

 

I try not to do really any work work on Fridays, but really just try to keep it big picture and plan things. So all this is to say I usually put designated themes between my mornings and my afternoons each week. Whether that’s creating content coaching or being coached, planning or executing. Each of them have a sort of designated theme. Like I mentioned, this is really helpful because it helps me stay on track with each one I’m doing. I don’t feel the need to switch tasks because I can just designate it to when I have that time blocked off and that’s really helped days.

 

So I hope you guys enjoyed this and that you thought it was helpful. I’ll just finish by saying that I usually wrap up at around 7:00 or 7:30. I won’t ever be on calls or anything past 4:00. I am not a night person. I’m barely an afternoon person. I’m such a morning person and so I will never take a call past 4:00. If I’m working from 4:00- 7:00. It’s usually extra emails or just getting things ready for the next day or sometimes I’ll prepare, you know, my podcast. It’s very introverted I guess. And it’s also usually creative stuff and sort of just more gentle work. So I usually enjoy it. It’s a nice way to wind down the day. I’m such a worker though that I wouldn’t feel good just not working. So it’s a nice way for me to feel productive and get things done without it being too strenuous. The flip side of that is I try to not make any big decisions after 3:00 PM in the afternoon because I don’t trust my brain power as much. I’d always rather make them in the morning. If I have a big decision to make, then I will try to sleep on it, pray about it the night before, journal on it the morning of, and then just cut myself off and make a dang decision and keep going. Much better to do that than to try to make one in a sleep deprived state or in a tired state after a day of work or anything else like that. So make decisions in the mornings at night if I am going to work, have it be fun, work, creative work, nothing too demanding or strenuous. And I often try to wrap up the day with a bath. If I can’t take a bath and I’ll still meditate and really focus on everything I did that day, I find that if I don’t do that, I otherwise feel like I’m constantly coming up short of my day and that doesn’t feel good for anyone. So that is the routine that I’ve gotten into.

 

I hope this is helpful for you guys and if you’re feeling more of an itch for a solid routine or you feel like you should be getting more done, my advice would be to look at how you’re spending your days and maybe even for a week, write down what you do with your time. My hunch is that you will probably be spending more time on social media than you want to be or they need to be. I would also guess that you’re spending more time doing than you are planning. I would also guess that you might want to look at how quickly you’re making decisions because if your decisions are taking you a long time to make that is more of an energy suck than you realize and that will prevent you from being able to make other decisions. It’ll prevent you from being able to work. Decisions often inform or, impact more than just one area of your life. So when you have a decision that you’re on hold with, like for instance, if you’re considering moving forward, working with a new mentor or you want to buy an ecourse and you’re not yet decided if that’s what you actually want to do, oftentimes that delays more than just your relationship or your education. With this mentor or this program, it’s also going to delay other parts of your business and your life. You’re going to have a tougher time making other money decisions. While you’re in that place of indecision, you’re going to have a tougher time making business decisions. You’re going to have a tougher time mapping out your goals. You’re going to have a harder time with clarity. You’re going to have a harder time selling others on whether or not you’re the right fit for them because you’re not even sure what’s totally right for you.

 

So those things, while they may feel like it’s just one decision you need to make, they often impact so many areas of your life that staying in a place of indecision is very, very debilitating. Many of you, if you have listened to this podcast or follow me at all, you probably know that I just love the word decision. It was my word of the year last year. It’s also a name in my LLC. And that’s because that alone is one of the most powerful things you can do to move forward with your business and your life. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself of making a wrong decision. You can always undo your decision. There is not decision that can’t be undone, but the energy and time that you suck out of your life, while you say an indecision is time and energy, you can never get back. So it is more important to keep going and make decisions. And if you can integrate that into your day by figuring out when you are the most mentally sharp, when you are the most mentally calm and making your decisions, which you make them every day, big and small around that time, the better off you’re going to be.

 

So I hope this was helpful. If any of you have any thoughts about your daily routine or you have any questions You can always email us at help@urban20something.com. We’d love to chat with you and connect with you. I’m so passionate about supporting entrepreneurs in living their most productive and successful lives and businesses and how you have your habits and your routines and your productivity are completely crucial to making sure that happens. So know that we are here for you. You have got this, and just by listening to this, you are a step closer to being the most productive, successful version of yourself. So I hope you guys have a wonderful week and here is to your biggest vision.




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