A few years ago, I sold my website and started a new venture in mobile apps.
Apps were a big failure (lesson?) for me, and after floundering around for a bit, I moved on. Before selling my site, my yearly income was high five-figures, so I knew I wanted to earn at least that (and more), but I wasn’t really sure how or what I was going to do to achieve that. I figured following the crowd was a good idea. (Side note: following the crowd, is never a good idea.) It was 2014 and podcasting was BIG, so guess who decided to start a podcast? Yep, this gal.
I named my podcast. I registered a new domain with that name. Grabbed that name on all the social media platforms. Had podcast artwork created. Bought the best podcasting mic. Learned GarageBand. Lined up some guests.
And then, luckily, I did one thing that opened my eyes and set me straight.
Are you ready?
I defined my ideal day. Simple, I know. Right?
Yet most people never take the time to do it. Most people build a business and then try to squeeze their life in around it.
But we’re not like most people. We’re going to define our ideal day and build our business around it.
Now, keep in mind that there is nothing new here, folks. The “ideal day” exercise has been around for years.
I first heard about the “ideal day” thing back in 2008 in Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto when he referenced Paul Myers’s Ideal World exercise. But I never actually took the time to do the exercise, and I just forgot about it. Then I listened to Pat Flynn’s interview with Josh Shipp. They talked about scaling your business, and how defining your ideal workday is the first step in doing that.
So I printed out the workbook from Josh and for the first time ever, defined my ideal day.
Here’s a peek at my ideal day:
- 6am: Wake up, take James (my dog) out
- 6:15am: Chat with my husband and Hope before they go to work/school
- 6:30am: Sit on the couch with James and read a daily devotional
- 6:45am: Brush teeth, put my makeup on, get dressed
- 7:15am: Help Brendan and Grace get ready for school
- 7:30am: Make breakfast for Bren and Grace
- 7:40am: Eat breakfast (green smoothie + 2 tablespoons of almond butter out of the jar ;)
- 7:55am: Take Bren and Grace to school
- 8:30am: Take James for a walk on the bike path
- 9:20am: Meditate for 15-20 minutes
- 9:45am: Shower quickly and change my clothes
- 10:00am: Grab a cup of coffee, sit at my desk, and call my mom
- 10:30am: Get to work
- 1pm: Have lunch (KIND bar, salad, or another green smoothie)
- 1:30pm: Brush teeth, hang out with James in the yard
- 1:45pm: Leave to pick up Brendan, Grace, and Hope
- 3:15pm: Help the kids with homework
- 3:45pm: Pack lunches for the kids and get coffee ready for tomorrow
- 4pm: Answer emails, socialize on FB/Twitter, chat with the kids
- 5pm: Start dinner
- 6:15pm: Eat dinner with the family
- 7:00pm: Clean up after dinner, take James out, scroll through Instagram, chat with Scott and the kids
- 7:30pm: Fill out my planner for the next day
- 8:00pm: Shower, put on my pajamas, brush my teeth
- 8:30pm: Read in bed
- 9pm-ish: Turn the light out, say my prayers, snooze :)
That’s when it dawned on me that launching a podcast was definitely not going to be part of it.
Once my ideal day was on paper, I saw that I have just three hours to work each day. Three hours to do everything to make earning a six-figure yearly income a reality. There was just no way that a podcast fit into this time slot. Podcasting has a steep learning curve and production takes hours (and hours) per week for a novice.
Seeing this didn’t scare me one bit. I didn’t feel compelled to adjust my ideal day to fit more work time in. I just realized that I would have to be focused, efficient, and intentional in every single business-related activity. And that’s when I scrapped the podcast idea and never looked back.
This isn’t Fantasy Island
Let’s get back to defining your ideal day. I’m not talking about your fantasy day. The one where you don’t work at all and you’re sipping margaritas on a beach in Bali. Save that for your vision board.
I’m talking about the kind of day you would like to have every day. The one that includes your favorite people, activities, and yes, work.
Let’s do this.
Grab a pencil and a sheet of lined paper and make two columns. The first column is for the time of day and the second column is for the activity.
Now close your eyes and envision what your ideal day is like from start to finish. Please don’t worry about what your current day looks like. Focus on your ideal day.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What time do you wake up in the morning?
- What do you do when you first wake up?
- When do you eat breakfast? What do you have? Who is with you?
- What activities or work do you do before lunch? Where do you do them, and with whom?
- What time do you eat lunch? What do you have?
- What activities or work do you do in the afternoon? Where do you do them, and with whom? What time do you have dinner? What do you have? Who is with you?
- What activities or work do you do in the evening? Where do you do them, and with whom? What time do you go to sleep?
When you’re done, take a deep breath. You did it! You know what your ideal day looks like and how many hours you have for the work that will support it.