A doctor’s appointment. Your kid’s school field trip. A trip to your favorite bookstore. A hike with a friend.
What do these all have in common?
If you work for yourself, you know they’re probably the HARDEST things to schedule. Whenever an item like this pops up on your to-do list (or want-to-do list!), there just isn’t space in your calendar.
Sure, you could stay up until 2 a.m. the night before, cramming in the tasks you would have done instead of doing it during your usual work time.
But what if you had time available for these truly important things, without having to shove and squeeze it into your schedule? You became a solopreneur for the freedom, flexibility, and the ability to balance your work and your life, right? So it’s time to take charge and make it work for you. It IS possible, and I’m going to show you how.
Think back when you were an employee, before you made the leap to work for yourself. If you needed a day off, you took it.
The process was probably reasonably simple. Maybe the work was still there for you when you came back, but there was a system in place for other people to pick up the slack when you were away.
But when you’re a solopreneur, that’s not the case. Taking a day off feels epic, even impossible. So, if you’re going to be able to do it (which you have to do, because, well, life happens!), you need a new system.
What kind of system? I call it a “Bonus Day.” Mine is Friday. It’s amazing.
What is a Bonus Day? A Bonus Day means intentionally creating a day in the week that can serve as whatever you need it to be… sort of like a bonus! It gives you a margin. White space.
What do you do on a Bonus Day? Whatever you need for that week.
Maybe one week you might need it for your body, so you take a hike, get a massage, or go to a yoga class. Another week, you might need it for your soul, so you take a nap, read a great book or bake bread.
Perhaps the next week, you need time for your relationships, so you have a day-date with your spouse, have lunch with an old friend who makes you laugh so hard soda comes out your nose, or show up to volunteer to read at your kid’s school.
Bonus days are great for maintenance tasks too – getting a haircut, going to the dentist or getting your regular physical.
And when you have a Bonus Day, you can use it for the things you don’t expect, like a special creative business project or helping out a friend.
A Bonus Day means literally making room for your life.
So, how the heck do you work it in? To give you an example, I’m going to give you a peek at my general weekly schedule:
Monday: Admin work, backend, marketing, creating content, bookkeeping, meeting with my contractors, connecting with my network.
Tuesday: No Meetings – time for deep work, CEO time, creating, learning, innovating, and improving my craft.
Wednesday and Thursday: Client meetings, providing services, delivering work
Friday: BONUS DAY
Now, you might be thinking, “But only four days isn’t enough time to get everything done!!!”
But here’s the surprising truth: work fills the amount of time we give it.
Most experts who study human concentration report we only have four to five hours of deep, concentrated work in us each day anyway. If you’ve got four days, it’s actually easier to stay focused during the short time.
Plus, when you know that you have a Bonus Day on the calendar – that there will actually be time for you to fill your cup with whatever you need, it drastically increases your focus and ability to get things done on your workdays. And each week you spend filling your cup and taking care of yourself, your productivity and quality of work is going to skyrocket!
So, what does a Bonus Day look like? Are there any rules for Bonus Day?
Well, it’s your day after all, but yes, I do have some general guidelines!
- Keep it clear. That means no recurring meetings and no plans more than a couple of weeks out. If you woke up and decided you wanted (needed) a rest day to stay in bed and binge Netflix, that should be an option on Bonus Day.
- It doesn’t need to look the same every week. You want this to be a genuinely “free day” you can use to smooth out the hectic, unpredictable stuff that comes up, care for yourself or loved ones when you need it, and give you some time for slow, creative work when you feel inspired.
- It can shift if you need it to. You might schedule your Bonus Day for Friday, but what if something comes up on Wednesday, like your kid gets sick, or the weather is just SO beautiful and you are dying to take a hike. GREAT! Use today how it needs to be used and shift your meetings or work to your Bonus Day.
- You can’t PLAN to work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work! Say a project comes up at the last minute. Your client agrees to pay quadruple for a fast turnaround fee, and you could use the extra money. Instead of losing sleep, use your Bonus Day! BUT, the second you start filling it up and counting on it to get regular, week-to-week work stuff done, the concept is out the window. It’s not a Bonus Day anymore.
Do you get paid by the hour? If so, you’re probably thinking that this “Bonus Day” thing won’t work for you, and you’re probably right. However, the solution isn’t to abandon the idea of Bonus Day! In the coming weeks, I’m going to talk to you about shifting from an hourly model to a retainer, package or day-rate model, and why this will serve you and your business better. Keep your eyes peeled for that article!
I want your business to feel light. To feel like a joy. To be filled with ease. You need time to care for your mental and physical health. You deserve to have the freedom and flexibility you imagined when you were still working a 9-to-5 and dreaming of calling your own shots.
It IS possible.
You get to create this world.
Does it feel too daunting to even imagine? Let me help. Book a call and let’s figure out the first step together.
You are bold in a sea of beige.