So here I am, a few weeks into my three-day workweek mission, and I’ve got to say it’s going great.
Back in 2019 when I first put this three-day workweek goal out to friends, family, clients, a lot of people shrugged it off as something that I could aim for because of the nature of the Life Insurance advice business, but it wasn’t for their more ‘hands-on’ companies.
I think entrepreneurs have much more control over how much time they put into their businesses than they realize. It’s a mix of efficiency, delegation, and smart processes.
Let me tell you a little bit about what my Focus Days – the most important days of my work week look like. My week is split into three kinds of days: Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days.
My Focus Days are purely dedicated to money-making activities. On these days, I won’t spend any time planning, strategizing, meeting the team, or meeting business partners. These days are purely for client and introducer meetings – basically, money-making activities.
Then I have Buffer Days. These are dedicated to cleaning up messes and organizing. These are days I’ll work on solving problems with the team, look at processes, get any necessary administrative work done or delegated. Any learning, training, meeting providers, etc also takes place on these days.
And the last kind is Free Days. Free Days are no-work days – they’re blocked out for family time, personal development goals, long workouts, and vacation time. My team and I call these days “You-don’t-call-me-I-don’t-call-you-days”. The only emergency tolerated on these days is if the worst happens. In my industry that would mean a client of mine passed away. All rules are off then.
The goal over 2019 and 2020 is to increase the number of Free Days I have on hand, while still hitting all my financial and business goals.
My favorites are Focus Days, followed by Free Days. Buffer Days come in at the bottom of the list, and I’ve tried to minimize these to make room for more Free Days on my calendar. In 2020, I only have 18-20 Buffer Days on my calendar. What does that mean for the team?
We have to tighten up our processes, approach, communication, and strategy for all of us to be able to do our jobs effectively with just those 18-20 days of interfacing. The push for productivity is immense!
Today, I want to focus on Focus Days.
Monday, 6th of January, was my first Focus Day this year, and here’s how it and all my Focus Days go.
4:00 am: Wake up and measure heart rate on an app called HRV. I send this to my triathlon coach every morning because he then uses this data to fine-tune my training and recovery plan.
4:02 am: Out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth.
4:05 am: Fix my morning espresso
4:10 am: 10-minute meditation. I’d like to work up to more meditation time, but I’ve just started meditating, so 10 minutes is a good starting point for me.
4:20 am: Goals. I head over to my whiteboard, erase out, and rewrite all my goals. My goals are broken down into 2020 Goals and my January Goals.
This exercise helps me to get my head exactly where it needs to be for the day. Everything I’m going to do that day is furthering me towards my monthly goals and, in turn, my annual goals.
4:30 am: Commit To 3. I open up my Commit To 3 app and write down the three most significant things that I have to get done that day. On a Focus Day, these three things are typically client and introducer meetings.
4:35 am: Mission Email. I spend the next 10 to 30 minutes, clearing up my inbox and replying to relevant, important emails ONLY. If there’s a pressing client email in there, that gets dealt with first.
Remember my article on High-Value Targets? Both the Commit To 3 exercise and getting that pressing client email out first thing in the morning is a part of that High-Value Targets strategy.
At around 5 am then, I’m usually ready to tackle my morning run/bike, and the rest of my day is dedicated to those client meetings. My focus day calendar is typically full until about 3:30 pm, after which I’d either head to the pool to get in a training session or head home for some family time.
One big thing that I’ve realized has helped keep my Focus Days laser-sharp is that I get myself as ready as possible to make the most of the day. The night before a Focus Day, if I’ve got a bike ride planned for my workout, the bike is loaded into the car. If I’ve got important papers that need to go with me, they’re in the car, ready to go. If I’ve got a mid-day workout to squeeze in, then a change of clothes is in the car. I typically carry all my meals, my supplements, gels, all of it with me, to ensure my nutrition stays on track, and I don’t have to throw in that added decision-stress of where to eat on a busy day.
Structuring my work week and my Focus Days so carefully has been revolutionary for me. I don’t think that a three-day workweek is out of reach for anyone. I run every aspect of my business from growing my team to financial planning to revenue, clients, and everything else that it takes. I’m just as efficient as possible about it so that I have more room in my life to do the things that matter beyond work, too.
I’ve been practicing structured Focus days for the last 12 years now ever since my first introduction to Dan Sullivan and the Strategic Coach Program
What do your Focus Days look like?
If you don’t have a structured Focus Day yet, think about this: What would a perfect workday look like for you, and what can you do to make it your reality?