How to manage your time as a solo entrepreneur [get my CEO habit tracker]

[FREE Entrepreneur Time Blocked Calendar] Whether you like time blocking or day blocking, it’s important to have boundaries in your business so you can have focused time, creative time and down time. Balancing those three things in your CEO schedule will put you ahead of the game every time!


“I know you’re really busy…”

People, especially family, say that to me all the time and I always like to correct them. It’s not that I’m busy, it’s that I prioritize and optimize my time so that when I don’t have to do work or have deadlines – I’m not doing work. 

After running my own company for the past five years and being a professional blogger for the last decade (most of the time while I had a very demanding full time job), I have learned how to work with and bend time to meet the needs of my business. 

Time is a relationship with which most of my clients struggle – and I get it. It’s a beast. Without taming time, we can find ourselves chasing shiny pennies and working for pennies on the dollar. 

We wake up one day in a business we don’t recognize and with outcomes that don’t meet our expectations. Oh and we’re tired. 

So how do we start to conquer time? How do we leverage the tools at our disposal, both mental and technological, to get the most out of our businesses so we can get the most out of our lives? 

How to manage your time and calendar as a digital CEO - FREE Time Tracker Calendar Download

Mental hacks to creating your CEO calendar

To overcome or to be at ease with how you manage your time, it’s key to evaluate the objectives in your business. And the truth of the matter is it’s your business’s job to make money. 

You are the vessel and the conduit through which your business expresses itself to the world (especially if you are a solo entrepreneur), but if your business isn’t making money, then you have some reevaluation to do. 

Given this, one of the first mental tasks is to evaluate: 

  • What tasks are directly tied to revenue generation
  • What tasks are directly tied to expenses
  • What tasks are neither 

The tasks that generate money should then be evaluated to see if you need to be doing them yourself. 

For example, in my company, when we sign a Story Studio Network Podcast Production client, I will meet with the client and have the executive production meeting, but I delegate things like scheduling and graphic creation to my team. 

All of those things could be considered client services and therefore revenue generating tasks – but me as the CEO of the company do not need to be doing them. 

If outsourcing is not an option for you yet, then evaluate if there’s a tool or a system you can implement to streamline how long you are spending on tasks that don’t truly move the revenue needle. 

For tasks tied to expenses you’ll want to keep close tabs on those. I don’t spend money in my business unless it will do one or two of the following things: 

  • Save me time
  • Save me more money

That’s actually it. 

I remember when I was in a group program with a bunch of other women entrepreneurs a while back and so many of them were focusing on creating things like swag and hats and logo’d client gifts. And while those things are nice to have, if you aren’t making consistent money, then those things are not saving you time OR money. 

They are a distraction and take up MORE of your time and money. 

What about the tasks that aren’t tied to revenue and expenses

When you’re able to find tasks that neither make you money or are part of an expense (like a mastermind program or learning program), then lump those in another list – because they are not without value, but they shouldn’t be eating up your time. 

Usually this is where your CREATIVE time and tasks fall. 

Because it’s very hard to see how creating a social media calendar or writing blog posts or going live on LinkedIn ties directly to revenue – but doing those things is important to the growth of your business. 

Because if people can’t see you, they can’t pay you. 

But you want to prioritize here too. Look at these tasks and evaluate them based on 

  • How MUCH time you are spending on them (if it takes you an entire day to write a blog post, you need some reevaluation)
  • How much JOY it brings you to do these things (if you loathe Instagram, then why is it taking up so much of your time?)
  • How future thinking it is – will this turn INTO a revenue generating task and if so, how soon? (for example, if you’re creating images for a program you’re going to sell or for a sales page you’re going to promote)

Mapping your CEO entrepreneur calendar

Now, you want to get down to business and map your time. And there’s no one way to do this, but you need to think of it as setting a meeting with yourself. 

If you put something in your calendar, like a focus block of time or the intention to work on a given project – honour that. 

Consider if someone else had requested that meeting with you – would you break it just to do whatever the heck else you want? No. You wouldn’t. You’d show up for the meeting. 

So do the same for yourself in your business. 

Create a habit tracker first

Yes. Get out your spreadsheet. And if you’d like a copy of my own personal CEO Habit Tracker that I use with my 1:1 clients, you can download it here. 

 

Grab your Habit Tracker!

Enter your email and I’ll send you a link to the habit tracker I reference in this post.

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.


(Note: by downloading it, you will be added to my Erin Trafford Inc. newsletter list that I write 1-2 weekly and it’s not a funnel – I actually write my newsletter like a human to a human).

Use colour blocking before you time block

On your habit tracker, literally track everything you’re doing in a workday and use the colour code. You’ll be tracking the hours you spend on: 

  • Client work (or revenue generating tasks)
  • Personal stuff (like eating, exercise, bathing, resting)
  • Professional Development (or expense related tasks that take time)
  • Business tasks (like running payroll, creating content for social and programs)
  • Other (whatever doesn’t fit in the above) 

After one week, look at your tracker and check for balance. If your tracker is overwhelmed with one colour over another, then reevaluate. 

If you have NO Personal time in your day (a scourge of many of my clients before they work with me), then prioritize that. 

If your tracker bounces from one colour to the next and back again, then ask yourself if you need longer blocks of time to achieve your goals. 

Now create your ideal calendar and stick to it

Now you can duplicate your habit tracker and create a calendar that makes sense for you. Once this is done, immediately duplicate it in your Google or Outlook calendar and stick to it. See how your life and business changes. 

What happened when I ran this in MY business

I was shocked when I ran this exercise in my business. I thought I was doing well – but I absolutely was spending WAY too much time on the ‘my business’ category – at least for the last six months. I hadn’t been doing much creative work that lit me up and helped to make my business truly visible.

So I re-blocked my calendar and now mine looks like this (give or take): 

I like to start my days early so I can end early. I also have two small children, so my mornings are excellent focus times for me. But work with your energy. If you are not a morning person, don’t put your creative blocks in the morning!

As soon as I blocked my calendar this way and stuck with it, I was able to

  • Create more space to be creative and build content for my business (which I love to do)
  • Start a new YouTube channel (because I FOUND time)
  • Have lunch every single day
  • Use my Flex time to work on growth projects or to go shopping or to the beach or meet with friends

Noticing your time and honouring it are key to growing your business. 

If you use the habit tracker, please let me know how it works out for you!


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