How to design your dream work week with a batch system for creative entrepreneurs
The amazing, shiny, sparkly thing that everyone loves about being a creative entrepreneur is that you get to create your own schedule. But when it comes to actually creating that schedule and managing all the hats, you wear and all the tasks, things can get a bit tricky. Finding the time to create content, products, and services to scale your business, all while managing the business you have, comes down to being super intentional about how you are spending your work time.
If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant industry, you’ve probably heard the terms “front of the house” and “back of the house.” The front of the house is what the customer sees, the dining room, bar, and servers, and the back of the house is what they don’t see, the inner workings and behind the scenes like the kitchen, dishwashers, storage, and office. One cannot function without the other, and when they aren’t working together, the customer experience suffers.
Your business works the same. The front of house and back of the house are equally important, the better they work together, and the more intentional you can be, the better the client experience. What do your behind-the-scenes look like? What about your day-to-day?
Creating a batch system takes the guesswork out of this intention and helps combat time lost from task switching and multitasking. Multitasking occurs when someone tries to perform two tasks simultaneously or switch from one task to another, or perform two or more tasks in rapid succession. Batch days are not an entirely new concept or my own idea, but I’ve found that they are a great way to simplify the day-to-day owning your own business and creating an intentional brand.
The front of the house:
The easiest way to think of your “front of house” is what other people see when it comes to your business. Most of this is accomplished through marketing. If you are struggling with staying consistent with posting one on the (somewhat dreaded) Instagram, or you’ve been meaning to start that email list for way too long and haven’t quite gotten around to it yet, be sure to keep reading.
In the world of Cedar June (which is really just me and my pets sitting in my home office), Mondays are for Marketing. Marketing = content creation and how you are sharing it with your people. My Marketing workflow starts with focused work time in the morning to write that week’s blog and then pulling out and reusing content from the blog on other platforms. That may look different depending on your season of business and your business itself.
At this time, my marketing output each week includes 1-2 emails, a blog post, 4-5 Instagram posts, and repurposing that content for Pinterest. After working on the blog, I will switch gears and check on anything I need to do for my Instagram posts (since I outsource some of that), noting any reels I need to film that day or later that week. Ideally, that would be my entire workday, getting all the socials and blogs scheduled out, polished up, and ready to go out the door later that week; in a perfect world, it would unfold that way, but – in reality, things come up. Sometimes I have to address pressing tasks for clients or my own business and life. Still, most of my time is first spent getting my own marketing and content set up for the week.
The back of the house:
Here’s a dirty little secret that I’ve only been somewhat candid about publicly (and why I adopted the batch day system in the first place). It took me a little over a year to launch and build my own website. For months and months, I would end each week frustrated that I hadn’t gotten further with it because I was too busy doing stuff for my clients.
Which really looked like unmanageable to-do lists, lack of productivity, struggling with boundaries, and losing time to task switching – hopping from one client task to another. In a 2001 study, psychologists found that participants lost more time as tasks got more complex. As a result, people took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks.
Wednesdays are my CJ project day – aka work on my business’s behind-the-scenes and inner workings. Want to fix up your website, create a course, or a passive offer? This is your day to work on that (and if you are wondering why I skipped Tuesday, I will get back to that). I also tend to give my brain a break from the heavy lifting of working on projects in the afternoons on this day by scheduling any meetings related to my own business.
Finance and face-time Fridays
Alliteration aside, Fridays start with finance – the thing that no one really talks about enough. Making time to dig into the financials of my business each week is far from my favorite thing to do. Tracking business expenses, paying invoices, and billing clients is something I 100% plan to outsource in the future – but first, I have to make sure I know what’s what (if you are totally lost here, A. don’t beat yourself up because I was too, and B. go read Profit first).
I leave this for Friday morning because A. its when my partner with a “normal” job gets paid so I can take care of any household expenses and bills too, and b. my brainpower at this week is pretty low creatively, so its a good Friday morning task with some coffee.
For the face time, I’m not literally facetiming people (because I use zoom, haha), but I am getting face-to-face time to check in with my clients. I stack about 5 out of my 9 weekly meetings on Fridays (ill cover where the other ones fit in in the next section). This makes the day fly by, and it helps me hold myself accountable to my client work throughout the week because I know I will be touching base with them on Friday.
Serving your clients and customers – Intention vs. Rules
For clients, the bulk of my work happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays (see above). This is when I do work for one on one client’s clients and take the remainder of my meetings. If you are a service provider, these would be the days you meet with or create for clients and do any other supporting client work. If you have a product that you create – it looks the same. I know what you are probably thinking – 2 and a half days for my clients/ meetings /classes? No worries, I had the same reaction when I hopped on the batch day bandwagon. Two important things to remember before you close out this blog and roll your eyes and think, “she’s crazy.”
1. Work goes a lot more smoothly when you have an idea of what you are doing and when you are doing it.
2. This isn’t a perfect system. In fact, there is no perfect system.
Take what works for you and leave the rest. Maybe you like to spread your meetings out. Maybe you want to do front of the house on Fridays and meetings on Mondays. The idea is that you are being intentional with your time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes have to work on a client project Mondays or put some final touches on an Instagram post on Thursday. The batch system creates flexibility within a broader framework.
I challenge you to opt for a batch day system next week and share the results on Instagram with me.
Interested in how you can tap into your brain’s most productive times to structure your workday? Subscribe and stay tuned for next week’s blog post about how to hack your chronotype for increased productivity to work less and create more.