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Part II: Becoming more efficient with: Theming your days
Becoming more efficient, getting more done, accomplishing tasks and projects that will actually move the needle for your business: now that feels great!
I want to help you not only experience that feeling once, but learn how to leverage simple techniques and tactics in your own business so that feeling becomes a regular one for you.
Theming your days
A few months ago I implemented a simple technique that has helped me become more efficient, get more done and make more money in my business, and I’m writing this post to share how you can implement the same technique in your business.
It’s called theming your days.
In another post I wrote on becoming more efficient, I shared a technique with you that can help you knock out entire projects in a matter of days with Scrum.
Huge fan of Scrum right here because I’m all about putting a plan in place and executing. I get seriously excited about this!
But what if you’re not so into the whole planning and execution part of things? (Most entrepreneurs aren’t, so don’t worry, you’re not alone.)
This is where theming your days comes into play, because whether you love planning and execution or hate it, theming your days can help you do both without having to hold actual planning sessions and meetings with yourself every day (like you do with Scrum).
So let’s talk about how you might implement this concept of theming your days in your business.
Establish your themes
First part is simple: what themes are required in your business in order to make it run? Or, in other words, what do you do on a regular basis that actually creates your business?
Some examples might be:
- Creating podcast episodes
- Writing blog posts
- Emailing a weekly newsletter to my list
- Hosting Webinars
- Moderating a community Forum
- Social Media
- Creating videos
…you get the idea.
Now pick 4 to 5 themes that are recurring for you and that, together, create your business.
Once you have your themes, create a schedule around them, giving each day of your “work week” a theme.
Here’s what this might look like:
You’ll notice that the greater part of each of my days has a theme:
Monday’s theme: Writing
Monday’s are my writing days, so whether it’s a blog post, an email newsletter, or a book that I’m working on, Monday is when I’m going to be focusing in on that single theme and getting everything I need for that week (or the next) completed.
Tuesday’s theme: Podcasting
Tuesday’s are my podcast days, so that means whatever I work on throughout that day, it’s going to be directly related to my podcast: recording, editing, social media promotion, and so on.
Scrum vs. Theming
You’ll notice that this is where Scrum and theming differ in some ways.
Instead of “sprinting” on a single project for an entire week – or even month – theming helps you sprint on a single “theme” during any given day.
If you’re really into planning and processes like me, then, like with Scrum, once you have your themes in place you’ll have even more specific tasks dedicated within each of your themes.
So instead of me just saying “On Monday I’m going to write”, I might say “On Monday I’m going to write 1 blog post, 1 email newsletter, and 1 chapter of my book.”
Do the work
Two major reasons why theming your days works – why you’re able to be more efficient, get more done, and make more money in your business – are:
1. You no longer wake up asking yourself, “What should I work on today?“
2. You don’t have to readjust and refocus 3 to 4 times throughout the day as you jump from one unrelated task to the next.
But theming your days is only going to help you be more efficient, get more done, and make more money in your business if you actually do the work.
Theming isn’t a way for you to be able to just say you’re going to do something.
Theming isn’t meant to be used in order to draw up a bunch of plans and then not take the first step towards implementing them.
Theming isn’t about sitting and thinking about how you don’t really feel like doing it…
Just Do The Work.
Get yourself in your theme zone, because guess what?… You don’t have to get out of that zone when you’re working within a theme for an entire day!
What about daily or unexpected tasks?
I’m really glad that Melissa Wilson, creator and Host of The Grass Gets Greener website and podcast, asked me this question in the comments section of another post I wrote about preventing burnout.
Of course there are always going to be those daily tasks or “unexpected” things that come up in any given day – tasks that need to be taken care of right away that you didn’t necessarily plan for.
Some of your daily tasks might include:
- Customer service
- Community engagement (social media)
And some unexpected tasks might include:
- Creating an invoice
- Putting up a LeadPage for an opt in giveaway you’ve just created
- Updating an email campaign with new links
The daily tasks will remain daily, but with theming you have to become very disciplined as to not crush the time you’ve promised to your daily theme. This might mean using an online timer to remind you that 1.5 hours in Facebook isn’t necessary going to ensure great community engagement :)
As for the unexpected tasks, once you’re in a solid rhythm with your themes, you’ll start to find that those come up less and less frequently.
Because when you actually stick to your schedule and do what you have planned, you won’t find yourself up against the wall to publish that next podcast episode, blog post, or email newsletter like you used to.
Here’s an example
Every single week, on Sunday, I would find myself writing our email newsletter that was supposed to go out on Monday. Sometimes I’d start it on Wednesday or Thursday, but without fail, it was always on Sunday that I found myself finishing it.
Now that I have an entire writing day, I don’t have to break it up like that anymore. Given an entire day to write, I’m able to account for anything I need to get done that week: blog posts, email newsletter, our Paradise Digest… Whereas before, I’d maybe write the blog on Tuesday, the email newsletter on Thursday and Sunday, and the Digest on Friday.
Now that I have a writing day, all of these tasks are accomplished on Monday’s – for the entire week – which prevents any type of writing “popping up” on my schedule throughout the week.
As for the unexpected tasks that will inevitably come up: set aside a break in your day, or perhaps as you’re wrapping up your day, to tend to any loose ends you’ve encountered throughout the day.
Remember: the power of theming is that you’re not skipping from one task to a totally unrelated one – don’t let unexpected tasks break your theme focus. You’ll get it done, it just might not be for another couple of hours :)
Are you in?
I’m not just writing about stuff that “might work” here.
John and I theming our days and implementing the Scrum process into our workflow here at EntrepreneurOnFire has helped us become more efficient, get more done, and make more money in our business.
So whether you love planning and processes or not, I think we can agree that you do love building and growing your business.
So, are you in?
This post was written by Kate Erickson, Content Creator and Implementer at EOFire. Follow Kate on Social: