by Cara Lumen
My quest for a way to make room for change was prompted by the need to schedule more time to do copy writing for my clients. The first question was how much time do I schedule when I don’t know how much time it will take to do the job? In order to make room for change, I had to rethink what I already had in place.
1. Rethink your own rules
I have used an Excel spread sheet to block off times for client appointments, creating new information products, writing client copy, writing and posting articles and working my business. I have been setting Mondays aside to work on expanding my own business. But maybe I should rethink that. Maybe Mondays are not the best day, maybe I need to choose Fridays instead. Maybe I have to spread my business development time over several days. I began to let go of what I had in place and began to rethink my own system.
2. Make use of your fritters
The first thing I noticed in creating my new self-schedule was that I like to watch The View on TV every day at 10 AM. Now frankly, 10 AM is too early for me to take a break and as I looked at my schedule I thought, "That could be a whole hour out of my work day. Unless…." I very much need to put more exercise in my life so guess what…I’m going to bend and stretch and move my body while I watch the intelligent women on The View. It’s a win-win solution.
I started tracking my "fritters" — those things I take time for that do not move me forward in my business or my work load. I began to look at why I was doing them – was I putting off something hard or did I simply need a change of tasks?
Not every time out is a fritter. I talk to my friend/ web designer partner every day. We talk about our lives, our families, our clients and our business decisions. Every conversation nourishes and balances me . It’s a meaningful pause in my productive day.
3. Get real about what’s NOT working
Just as I found a way to add another dimension to an hour of TV that would make it contribute to my life, I began to look at what’s NOT working.
It recently took me a long time to create an introductory email to a new client about an element of my services. I have now saved that in a New Client Start Up file and when another new client appeared I found that it was easy to adjust.
I have developed very strong intake forms that make starting with a new client easy and effective for both of us.. I have another intake form for gathering the information I need to write strong sales pages. And every time I have to write a lengthy explanation about something to one client, I create it as an article for my Magnetic Marketing Coaching Library so it’s ready for the next time that question is asked. I keep an eye out for information I am repeating that could be automated, even if it’s as simple as having a few often needed responses already written than only take a few minutes to adjust and send.
I need to keep myself clear from interruptions, particularly when I am writing copy. What are my choices? I could use my voice mail if a call comes in. I can look at my email at noon instead of first thing in the morning so I use my fresh, creative mind time to its best advantage. I could go to my desk earlier and get in an hour or two of uninterrupted time. I can set boundaries with my clients so we agree on a time to call rather than have them call me spontaneously.
I have options. I have choices. I can make changes.
4. Do the math – what do you need to attract
What does it take to create the income you need and want? How many clients? How many hours of copy writing? How many actual income-producing hours do you need to schedule into your week? Get that number in mind, hold that intention and make room for them in your weekly schedule.
Be clear about what is producing income. I may love writing articles and doing podcasts but I also need to be clear about how much income they are measurably generating and balance the time I spend on them accordingly.
If I want more copy writing assignments then I have to be certain my web site reflects that. That may mean additional keyword research, new copy, and setting up new intake systems so I can do the job efficiently and effectively.
Your job is to stay close to the money. Put your time into actual client/customer interaction. Farm out the administrative stuff if you need to. Stay active where you can most affect your business.
5. Re-think your system and be willing to change
Cluster your clients and pick specific session times to fill. Mine are 11, 1 and 3 PST on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That leaves me Mondays and Tuesdays plus other times to write copy for others, prepare talks, write more information products and work my own business.
A fellow copy writer who does ghost writing said he knows he has to write 1,000 words a day to finish a book in four months so he blocks off his entire morning. He doesn’t answer the phone, he doesn’t answer email, he just writes. His afternoon is more flexible. When his children come home he does his Dad thing but he often returns to work in the evening when his family activities have slowed down. I often fit in another two hours of work in the evening.
Create a schedule that works for you and your family.
6. Make a new plan and try it out – then schedule a time to check it again
Your plan is just a plan; it’s one way to do it. I always love it when the Universe hands me an unexpected opportunity. I lovingly rethink my whole system to accommodate the new invitation.
I also follow my moods. If I’m in the mood to devour a new business book I sit down and do it. If an article starts popping in I sit down and write it. If an idea shows up I stop and take time to write down enough about it so that I have captured its essence. I definitely allow for the creative muse.
Take one step at a time. Get that never-ending "to-do" list out and schedule some of those things onto your calendar every week. Allow them to organically pop to the top. If they don’t get done in a reasonable length of time, take them off the list, they’re not going to happen..
My new plan feels great. It has given me new perspectives and new priorities. I’ll try this one out for awhile and then reexamine, rethink and recreate and make room for more change.
© 2008 Cara Lumen