Part of how I am able to be efficient and productive in running my business as a (mostly) one-woman operation, is compartmentalizing every aspect of it. It’s the key to staying productive by focusing on the task at hand, rather than having my head in all parts of my business at all times. Because every minute spent organizing, is an hour earned later on.
This Forbes article, 5 Steps of Compartmentalization, puts it perfectly: “As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to compartmentalize your entire life … Your ability to compartmentalize, prioritize, and focus enough time on each area in order to make incremental progress towards a conclusion will be your most important skill set to achieve significant success.”
I’m already someone who compartmentalizes all aspects of my life and keeps a timetable throughout the day. From what time I start work to when I’m hanging out with friends and family - there is rarely time that is unaccounted for.
I do this even with things like my morning routine, daily movement (like going to the gym or an outdoor exercize), and my monthly facial appointments. It’s a way to make sure that I prioritize my CEO self-care, so that not only take care of myself, but also increase productivity in other areas of life. I honor the appointments I make with myself just as much as the ones with clients and contractors, because as cliche as it sounds, I have to make sure my own cup is full before I can show up for others.
Psychology defines compartmentalization as a coping strategy, which doesn’t imply a very good connotation, but essentially it’s just how our minds deal with conflicting internal messages simultaneously.
There are so many theories on how people work, but one thing I do know for sure is that our brains can't jump to different topics all day long: it needs time and space to focus. Blocking out time on your calendar to deal with specific tasks, and even for personal time, helps you focus on the thing directly in front of you, with the knowledge that the time will come to focus on other things on your to-do list.
As a solopreneur, you wear every hat within your business: you’re the CEO, coach, content creator, community facilitator… among many other things. Unlike in corporate America, where there is a Senior Management team responsible for each position, you are the executive team who makes calls the shots, until you’re ready to hire and delegate to the different roles.
When we’re too busy in the day to day of running our business and crossing off to-do lists, we can forget to take a moment to work on the business itself. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I educate on the importance of incorporating a CEO day as an entrepreneur. Imagine this as an opportunity to take a bird’s eye view of your business and work on things like numbers, marketing, open projects, hiring and any contractor meetings you may have.
My CEO days at the start of the week helps me focus my mind so that I can jump into coach and educator-mode later in the week, safe in the knowledge that I have already taken time to strategize and work on the bigger picture things in my business.
Numbers (finance and sales): A weekly review of my numbers, sales, current spend, budgets, deliverables to my accountant, etc.
Content (aka Marketing): A look at what content is going out this week - and on what platforms - the strategy behind it, and review and make changes as needed.
Open projects: An overview of what open projects I have in the business, updates on each with deadlines and deliverables.
Contractor meetings: In December last year, I outsourced new branding, copy, an agency for my Dubsado setup, and some Kajabi tech support. I use this time to check in with all contractors and review project updates, deliverables, and deadlines.
Operations and administration: Review of my current standard operating procedures (SOPs), tasks to complete in Dubsado, and any other miscellaneous admin tasks that need to be completed.
Hiring (aka HR): I’m getting ready to hire in the near future, so I like to dedicate time to creating the job role, interviewing, etc. Once I have a team in place, will also meet with my team on Mondays.
Legal: Not something I have to look at often, but a good reminder for when I do.
Launch calendar review: As an online coach, I like to check in with my launch calendar to see what’s coming up the pipeline and mentally prepare for upcoming launches.
If you’re feeling a bit lost on how to start doing this, here are three simple ways to start:
Being organized, no matter how efficient the strategy, is only as good if you live it and implement it. The key is you have to find what works best for you.
There are many ways to create efficiencies within your business. Compartmentalizing and having these structures allow me to have more freedom within my business. And I’ve spent more time with my family now than I ever did when working in Corporate. I really like this way of living, as I can focus on all the things I can control. And I know that if I was still working in corporate, I wouldn’t have this level of freedom to live my life the way I exactly want to.
The point isn’t to have a calendar exactly like mine - we all have things that work for us, which is exactly what I teach in Pivoting Digital. There’s no singular road to success.