In early January I wrote about what I’m doing to kick-start 2017. The most important point being implementing focus weeks. For a long time I’ve struggled with making those big projects happen. You know, redesigning your website, creating a product, learning a new craft etc. I keep pushing those ideas to the future, waiting for some magical day to come around, when I all of a sudden “have more time”. But of course that day never comes. Instead my days fill up with 20 random and seemingly trivial tasks. I work work work, yet I come home feeling like I have achieved nothing. It is quite frustrating, and it makes me feel like I’m stuck and not moving forward.
In an attempt to change this inefficient method and feelings of frustration once and for all, I have since January worked with one big project or task per week. Sometimes the project requires more than one week. In that case I divide it into smaller sub-projects (one per week) and set a final deadline for myself 2-4 weeks ahead.
My focus for January and half of February was 1) finishing 2016’s book keeping, 2) re-designing the blog and moving it to a self hosted WordPress site, and 3) free creative explorations (in this case the trip to Italy!).
So, how did it go?
Great actually! Already by early February I had finished both the book keeping and the new blog design – 2 huge projects that I have been dreading for 6 months, if not longer. Success! As a bonus I got to be immensely creative at the food blogger retreat in Italy. So right now I feel like I’m finally moving forward again, on my way towards something big!
Seeing the result of my first 4 focus weeks has provided me with confidence, knowing that I can make things happen in my business, solely by my own forces.
It has empowered me to let go of insecurities and instead approach new ideas with curiosity and ruthless planning. Breaking it down into sub-deadlines makes huge projects feel more comprehensive and less overwhelming.
I’m beginning to understand that I am the only one who can make things happen in my business. I can’t wait around for other people to present an opportunity to me (although if they do and I like it, I will happily jump onto it!), and I can’t wait for myself to “get inspired” either.
Ultimately it comes down to planning your time realistically, remove distractions and do the work.
I’ve come across some interesting reads/listens lately that ties into this topic nicely:
The Femtrepreneur Show talks about “creative sprints”
OhSoSensitive writes about quitting social media and how it has made her more creative and productive than ever
On Thursday morning when I came into the office (I’m renting an office space at the Influencers of Sweden Headquarters), I sat down with my computer and a cup of coffee to plan out my focus weeks for the rest of this month and for March. To do this I use Evernote, which is a free program for all kinds of notes and lists. It looks a lot like the default Notes app for iphone, except you can create categories and tags and probably lots of other fancy features that I haven’t tried yet.
I write down my to do’s in a long document with the week number and designated project at the top (for example: “week 8 – tax declaration & first draft of service idea”). Below I write my to do list with everything relating to the designated project + any other super important thing that I just have to get done that week. This to do list will be my main priority. Everything else will have to be fitted in between.
Here’s what I’ve planned for the next 6 weeks: (I’ve “mystified” some of the topics because I can’t tell you about it just yet ;-)
My Focus Weeks February through March
week 8 (this week) – Tax Declaration & Draft of Service Idea
For this week I had actually planned rest and self care, but that naturally happened last week instead, as I was quite exhausted and a little under the weather after the trip to Florence. So, instead I’m diving into new projects! The last date for me to pay my taxes and VAT is approaching fast, so this will be the first thing to sort out this week. Then, I will continue to work on a project I started last week. It’s an idea that was actually suggested to me by a fellow blog colleague, and ever since she mentioned it I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. So I’m excited to get into the nitty gritty of it this week! I will tell you all about it as soon as I can <3
week 9 – Finalizing Service Idea + Pre-Launch for Subscribers
This week I will finalize the idea I mentioned, so that it’s ready for early bird launch. If you wanna be the first to hear about it (and get a generous discount), make sure to sign up for Cashew Kitchen Letters ;-) This weekend I’m also organizing a second workation for my blogging boss crew Annie, Elin & Louise. Looking forward to this so much! They are one bunch of smart and badass women, and they inspire my so much <3 I wanna say also that Sandra is part of our little gang, but unfortunately she couldn’t come this time.
week 10 – Intermission
For all of this week I am covering for a colleague (that also happens to be my brother) at my old job, so I won’t have much time for blog work. Nowadays I almost never work there, but when people wanna go skiing and whatnot, I’m not the one to be in the way…
week 11 – Official Launch + Promotion
It’s time for the official launch of my service! I will spend my days writing social media posts about it, answering questions and finalizing any last details.
week 12 – Accounting + Content Creation for the Blog
I promised my self to keep up with the book keeping during 2017, so for this week I will do my accounting for January & February. I’m also gonna give the blog & Instagram some love by creating recipes and schedule posts for the next two weeks, as I will be quite busy with other stuff…
week 13 – It’s happening! Preparations & Doing the Work
If everything goes according to plan, my service will begin this week, and I will be busy managing it. So nervous about this, aah! I wish I could tell you more about it now, but I’m kinda scared to jinx it and the details of it are still in the works. Again, sign up for Cashew Kitchen Letters if you wanna hear the news first <3
Does any one of you work with single task days or focus weeks? How does it work for you?
And as always, here is my day-by-day planning for this week:
To Do, week 8
- Monday is office day! Since 2-3 weeks back I’m renting an office space at Influencers of Sweden’s headquarters. I LOVE having physically present colleagues that I can have afternoon coffee breaks with and gossip about stuff that’s going on in the business :-) My plan for today is to do my tax declaration so that’s done.
- On Tuesday I’m recipe testing and photographing and scheduling a recipe post for later this week. I have *no idea* what it will be yet. Gonna follow my cravings I guess!
- On Wednesday I’m planning to work on my new and very secret service ;-) Aaall day! At the office. Also!! In the evening there’s a Harry Potter quiz here in town!!!!! I really really wanna go. I hope I can persuade a friend to come.
- On Thursday I’m writing and scheduling this week’s Cashew Kitchen Letter, and if I have time also the next Freelance Monday post.
- Friday is dedicated to working on my service idea.
- And in the weekend I have some friends coming over to visit! I’m gonna cook something super nice and comfy, and then I imagine we will drink wine, play board games, sleep late and have an awesome brunch <3 We haven’t had people over in a while so I’m looking forward to this a lot. Our house is such a good place for hang outs, as the kitchen and living room is connected, we have an open fire and two big sofas, and the view is 👌👌👌
I hope your week is filled with curiosity and play!
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