My 30-Day Challenge: the 6-Hour Workday

Challenge: A Productive 6-Hour Workday

Many of my clients can only work 5-6 hours/day due to health or family priorities. Two weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to the same schedule, as it's been quite a few years since ill health and a teenage son impacted my business day. To get started, I updated my Visual Workflow Planner™ to reflect a shorter workday in order to best allocate the time available to work.

I'm giving myself a "C" for the first two weeks for two reasons: 1) I failed to stop working at the time I said I would, and 2) I overtaxed my true energy supply. I am giving myself credit for updating my calendar and making notes about what worked and didn't work.

I might say (and I have) that I could not have chosen a worse time to challenge myself this way, as it coincided with the early release of Business from Bed, which prompted me to add activities that are not normal part of my workweek, as follows:

  • Attend multiple networking group meetings, during daytime hours, to show folks the book I'd been talking about.
  • Individually gift wrap and write notes to contributors, supporters and endorsers - and mail them a copy of the book. (I'm nowhere near done.)
  • Contact 5-7 people, per the publisher's suggestion, to ask if they'll review the book (for Amazon). Hand deliver or mail books to them.
  • Take the book to local organizations (library and school) to request inclusion as a speaker in the Spring.

Truthfully, the timing is perfect, especially if I want to remember what business is like for people who can't expand their work hours, even for a special circumstance like this.

If my body had gone into a Crohn's flare, there's no way I'd have been able to do all that extra stuff. Still, I suffered. Other, equally important, priorities were postponed. By Thursday my body was fatigued. I could feel it. But I didn't stop. What's worse, even though most of my efforts garnered desired results, it was really hard to STOP working and stop fussing about what I'd not been able to do.

Insights, so far:

  1. Must become extremely judicious with choice of marketing activities.
  2. Need to ask for and accept help from others. I cannot do all of this myself.
  3. Need to follow my revised Visual Workflow Plan at least 80% of the time to test its validity.
  4. It works best to identify 1 meaty task to accomplish a day (not 3).  This means that, at best, I can accomplish 5 meaty tasks a week. Choose carefully!
  5. Be kinder and more forgiving about what I wasn't able to accomplish. Review, adjust, move forward.

I and my business will do better if I am "loyal" to my 4 primary roles in my business, the roles I love most and feel most like me:

  1. I read
  2. I write
  3. I connect
  4. I coach

I can't read and I can't write if I'm running around town. If I don't read and write for multiple days I don't sleep. My body (or is it my soul?) wakes me up because it's craving the nourishment those two activities give me.

I recommit to trusting the system I've created and the priorities that nourish me.

I would love to hear from you. What challenges and successes have you had this month regarding self-management, staying true to your priorities and tending to your well-being?