Tips On Creating A More Intentional Work Week
Written by Flint House’s founder, Jessie Kershisnik.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on all aspects of your business, take inventory of areas you’d like to improve, and implement changes that will better your business and help you achieve your goals. So, for our first journal post of 2019, I wanted to provide a few tips on something that I feel could be helpful to many business owners as they take on the new year — creating a more intentional work week.
Before we dive in, I want to mention that the following tips that I share in this post all span from times where I’ve been anything but intentional in my business. There have been plenty of times this past year where I let my business run me, instead of the other way around (for those of you who feel this way or have experienced this to any degree, then you know just how draining and demotivating it can be). But, that is the beauty of this entrepreneurial journey that we’re on — making mistakes, learning from them, and growing throughout the process.
I’ve personally implemented the following tips into my work week here at Flint House, and I’ve found that they’ve 1) helped me feel in control of my business and the work I do, 2) allowed me to fully show up and be present for my clients, 3) ignited more creativity in my work, and 4) helped me give my clients my full presence and the quality attention their projects deserve, among many other wonderful things. If you’re looking to be less reactive and more intentional in your business, here are my top tips to create a more intentional work week:
Last year I experienced a major burnout in my business, and going through that entire process motivated me to really focus on the why behind what I am doing. As I was recovering from my burnout, I decided that I wanted to find a way to be more fully present in my business and focus on what matters most. So, I decided to try something new by setting a business-focused intention to ponder for each new week.
An intention, simply put, is a guiding principle that helps someone focus on being mindful in their day-to-day interactions. So in a business context, I set weekly intentions to help positively guide me throughout the work I’m doing each week. Below are a few examples of intentions I’ve set:
This week I will…
… Focus less of my energy on what other design businesses are doing, and channel that into improving myself and my work.
… Remember that it’s ok to say “No.” Not every inquiry or request will be the best fit or have the best timing, and that’s ok.
… Choose to act, rather than react, when making important decisions.
… Make self care a priority, and take breaks from my work when needed.
One of the great things about intention-setting is that it is highly individual and can be tailored to what a person needs in any given moment. Each Monday morning, I find a quiet moment to reflect and channel in what it is I’d like to keep in mind for the week. I then write my intention down on a notepad and place it on my desk so that I can easily see it and be reminded of it throughout the week. Intention-setting helps serve as a great reminder to be more mindful in my business and helps me stay focused on what matters most.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to be more intentional throughout my work week is to be organized. And one of the organizational tools that completely changed the game for me is “time blocking.” Time blocking is essentially just as it sounds — setting aside specific time blocks throughout your schedule to work on specific tasks, instead of multitasking and taking care of work as it comes up (or when a request arrives in your inbox — I’m definitely guilty of this one).
To help me have a more intentional, focused work week, I time block my days into two sections: mornings & afternoons. I keep my afternoons consistent by dedicating them purely to client work, but I’ve given each weekday morning a specific theme to focus on. Below is a breakdown of my time-blocked mornings:
Monday: Social Media — planning and prepping content to post to our social channels throughout the week.
Tuesday: Bookkeeping and Operations — accounting, scheduling, and process refining.
Wednesday: Personal Projects — writing journal posts and newsletters, as well as working on personal design projects.
Thursday: Business development — spending time on networking, design/business education, and finding ways to better my services.
Friday: Discretionary Time — taking the time to work on whatever is left over / needs to still be taken care of.
Instead of tackling the tasks listed above as they come to mind throughout the week, I now have a specific time each week in place for me to dedicate my attention solely to one task at a time. Time blocking has helped me boost my productivity immensely and therefore be more intentional in the work I do (knowing I have time allotted each week to the above categories makes a world of a difference)!
As a business owner, I’ve found it hard to be intentional in the work that I’m doing if neither myself nor my business relationships are being taken care of. Over time, I’ve found that the best way to really take care of those important things is through setting boundaries. Boundaries are a certain set of guidelines and limits that you create as standards for your work. Without solid boundaries in place (especially if you’re running a service-based business), it is easy to find yourself feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and a loss of control in your business; that kind of environment makes mindfulness and intentional working very difficult to achieve.
That’s why I’ve found that establishing boundaries in the work that I do here at Flint House plays a key role in creating a more intentional work week. With boundaries in place, I’ve been able to spend more time mindfully running my business, and less time mindlessly overworking myself. Below are various boundaries — both personal and client-related — that I’ve found helpful in my business:
Work hours — What days and times of the week that I work.
Client communication — When and how I communicate with clients.
Project schedule — How many projects I will take on at a time.
Project types — Which projects are the best fit for Flint House, and which projects I should kindly refer to someone else.
Equally as important to establishing boundaries is making sure that the people you work with (employees, clients, coworkers, etc.) know about them, too. Honoring your boundaries will not only help you find more room for consistency and self care in your business, it will help those with whom you interact with to respect them as well. And in an space where boundaries are honored and respected, mindfulness and intentional working can thrive.
Everything I’ve learned about being intentional in the work that I do here at Flint House all boils down to self awareness. As a business owner, it is crucial to be mindful of how you are feeling when you are working. Take breaks when you need them. Make sure to eat lunch. It sounds silly as I’m typing this out, but it’s so easy to feel like I can’t take a break in what I’m doing or else my business will fall behind. That’s why I’ve found it so helpful to make Fridays be discretionary days, as I know I have extra room in my schedule and don’t feel like I have to force myself to push through any work when my body need a break.
An important reminder: if you implement something in your business that isn’t working for you, then it’s ok to take it out. The last thing we want is for you to experience burnout while you’re trying to implement something to help you be more intentional. It’s counteractive to what we’re wanting to achieve! What works for one person won’t always work for another (even if it seems like everyone is doing it), so remember to have patience and take the time to figure out what best works for you and your business.
I hope the above tips can be helpful to you as you work at creating a more intentional work week. I’ve found that the above tips not only help me feel more in control of my business, it allows me to fully show up and be present for my clients, myself, and the work I do. So here’s to more intentional working, finding fulfillment in what you do & enjoying the journey along the way.