How To Get An Extra 2 Months A Year! Scale Lessons in Structure & Routine
I’m sitting here with a glass of wine, a few nibbles, and my feet up. No this is NOT a Friday; I’m penning this on a Sunday.
The reason is I have just spent a very enjoyable day readying our garden for autumn.
For me, this is Groundhog Day, as I do this at the same time every year – the last Sunday before the start of the new school year.
Having young kids means our Summers are packed as they tend to have over two months off.
Pre-Summer, we retrieve all the ‘stuff’ from storage just in case we get a few days of sun so of course, we have to put it all away again.
The biggest item is our large, above ground swimming pool which needs to be emptied, cleaned, dismantled, dried, packed away and transported back to storage.
Every year I get better and quicker carrying out these tasks as I learn new ways, use new tools and get more skills. This year I treated myself to a pump to empty the pool in record time.
So why am I telling you this?
The reason is the ROUTINE reminds me of my senior school days. This is where I first got into a routine of doing the same things at similar times of the year. Rinse, repeat.
Now I am not a BIG routine person per se as, like a lot of entrepreneurs, I love a bit of chaos and hate the routine and planning. But I have also run a very large business and that trained me, by force, to be very structured. When you have six hundred and fifty people across an organisation you can’t suddenly decide to change direction as it takes a lot of planning. This means you always have to be thinking six to twelve months ahead.
As the school system seemed to work for most students and my structured plc experience worked for my business, I decided to structure my business and advise my clients the same way.
By using the same principles that we followed in school, we structure the whole of our next year in advance based on what we want to achieve, and then technically all we have to do is turn up.
Let me demonstrate by breaking down exactly how we did this.
The first thing we did was to understand what capacity we have for 2020; me being the main deliverer means we focused on my time. The reason this is SO important is a lot of companies have great goals but when you boil it down, they do not have the right capacity or resource to deliver it. This means they will never achieve their plans and they don’t even know it.
For us, this worked out as follows:
My days available per year are two hundred and eight. This is four days per week as you may have heard I don’t work Fridays J
I then take off the national holidays which there are eight, along with any commitments I’ve already undertaken like Mastermind with Nigel Botterill or contractual client commitments. This is another hundred and twenty-six days.
This leaves me with seventy-four days remaining. Of which there are twenty-six (excluding Fridays) earmarked for family time – leaving a total of forty-eight days.
I am sure some of you have a calculator out and are checking my numbers, shame on you!
To visualise this, we plot it out on our year planner.
What we discovered was we only have five different types of day. So, we labelled them.
We have client-facing days which we labelled a Green Dot Day (as it’s on my planner as a green dot). Our Commitments to other people’s events we labelled Red Dot Days. Client reporting (Alerts) was Blue Dots, Holidays in Pink, and Black were our business-focused days.
Planner mapped. As said, all I needed to do now was turn up to achieve the results.
It also makes life very simple as I can only see a client on a Green Dot Day. So, the whole year is planned by September. Great!
BUT like my close down of Summer, I knew I could make it better for next year.
As said, we will end up with forty-eight free days; so, I could write a sequel titled ‘I also now don’t work Thursdays’ or use some of the time to work on further developing the business.
We also plan to purchase a holiday home in 2021 and want to spend more of the school holidays there. All in all, this means we need to find additional days BUT not compromise the delivery to our clients or reduce the income.
We need more time; the challenge was where to find it.
I decided to re-revisit my school days and go one step further. Instead of focusing on the routine of term time I switched to the daily schedule and in particular the structure of the day. Every day was structured the same: two periods in the morning, then break, two periods, then lunch, then two periods home time. A bit of homework and rinse and repeat.
What if we could organise every day to look the same, we could then slot in projects, activities, client meetings, business development into the allocated periods. Would this give us our extra days?
My working day is ten and a half hours. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I tend to rise early as I love the saying ‘I’ll sleep when I am dead’. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my sleep and do not believe in the myth of having to hustle every day and work 24/7. But I do go to bed at ten most nights and wake up at five, which gives me seven hours sleep. Plenty.
By reworking everything the potential result is incredible. Structuring every day to have the same periods fitting around all our Dot Days means we have found an extra thirty-three days in the year or three hundred and fifty hours.
In our new 2020 schedule my working day starts at 07:00 (this is after exercise etc) and is as follows Monday to Thursday bar a few unusual days.
07:00 – 90 minutes (Our Time)
08:30 – Weekly client catch-ups (20 mins slots) AM (pre-booked)
10:00 – 30 minutes (Out Time)
10:30 – client time (100 days) OR 4 hours our time
14:30 – 90 minutes (Our Time)
16:00 – Weekly client catch-ups (20 mins slots) PM (pre-booked)
17:00 – Closedown
We then created a list of things to slot into the 210 minutes Our Time every day such as a new podcast, prep for an online scale course, my football coaching badges, new book, FB live etc. There will also be times where we will not have client calls, so will also have lots of 20-minute things ready to go as well.
By bundling the hours during a client day will mean realising another day for a ‘free period’ or in my school vernacular ‘dos time’ in the sun
It is worth noting for every 1 hour a day you save is the equivalent of two working months saved.
We now have a way to get our time for 2021 and not compromise our lifestyle or business.
What would you do with two extra months per year?
Hasta Luego, let’s start thinking about 2021…
The Scalability Coach | Britain’s Top 10 Adviser 2018 | Author of #1 bestseller I don’t work Fridays | Ex-CEO of a PLC