My Top Tips To Start Off The Year Strong

My Top Tips To Start Off The Year Strong

“Slow and steady wins the race.”
~ Proverb

I want to share with you some of my top tips to start the year off strong and by strong I don’t mean from pushing yourself hard.

What I’d actually love is if you could find a way to ease yourself into this New Year much like you might a steaming hot bath. It’s so very easy to get swept up in the newness of a brand new year and if we’re not careful, we are in danger of burning out all of that fresh and exciting energy. So by “starting off strong” what I don’t mean is bolting out of the gate. What I actually mean is how to start the year in a way that sets you up for greater levels of both resilience and sustainability in your business.

Reflect on last year

If you are anything like me, you’re more interested in looking at what you will do next in your business than you are at looking at what happened over the last 12 months. It’s actually really important to resist the temptation to dive into planning and goal-setting before you’ve spent adequate time reflecting. I encourage you to look at your past 12 months in business with fresh eyes and a sense of curiosity. Often we think we know what happened without taking a look under the bonnet (so to speak). I often get the feedback from clients that they were surprised by what they discovered when they took the time to review their previous year in business.

I have a whole set of questions and journaling prompts inside my annual business planner which I talk more about below, but if you don’t want to buy the planner, here are some review prompts you might want to use:

  • Write out any lessons you learned. I like to keep a lessons learned log i.e. a spreadsheet, which I update throughout the year.
  • Write out what worked — your successes and wins no matter how small!
  • Write out what didn’t work plus why you think it didn’t work.
  • Do your finances! This one is SO important, even if you feel like you made so little that it’s not worth counting, I urge you to still review the numbers. As the saying goes: where our attention goes, energy flows, so get your attention on money, if you want to see more of it.

Get strategic

With your review out of the way and before you dive into action, I would recommend taking some serious time to think about what you want to achieve with and in your business over the next 12 months and how exactly you plan to do that. One of my pet peeves around this time of year is the focus on goals and resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some goals, I am a planner through and through, but plucking goals out of thin air and without a strategic context is not only a waste of time but can actually be counterproductive too.

I published a whole piece on how to make your business plan more strategic on Medium this week and you can read it here. And to use the planning system I use for my own business head here.

Schedule in downtime

When it comes to business planning, most people have a tendency to overestimate what’s possible. As Bill Gates famously said: Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. So it wouldn’t surprise me if your plan, if followed to the letter, would be in danger of causing you some serious burn out. That’s why, it’s crucial that you plan in your downtime.

Do this now: grab your paper (or digital) calendar and look over the year to see when you would like to take some holidays or simply take a break from your business, think about this on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Next, schedule those breaks in. Block those times and days off so that nobody can book calls or sessions with you during those times. Protect your downtime fiercely.

Now revisit your business plan, scale it back and ditch some goals if you know on any level that you’re overestimating what’s possible.

Prioritise 1 to 1 over 1 to many

Whilst I’d be the first to tell you about the importance of creating content for your business (and then getting as many eyes on it as possible), something that many business owners overlook is the importance of connecting with people on a 1:1 basis. I do this primarily through complimentary sessions and people often question how much time I spend doing this sessions. I always respond the same way — for me I’d much rather spend an hour talking to a member of my audience, helping them to identify next steps and supporting them as best I can to grow their business, than I would messing around with Instagram stories trying to create something that will grab the attention of my hundreds of followers (don’t get me wrong I do publish content in this way too but these days I leave it to my VA). You might think that if I am trying to grow my audience (and therefore my revenue) that it would make sense to try and communicate or market to as many people as possible, but that has not been my experience.

Not only do I enjoy my work more when I prioritise 1:1 conversations over falling into the time suck that can be social media, but I find I get more clients that way too. Now I’m not saying you can close down all of your social media accounts and give up blogging just yet but I would love to see you starting out this year in a mode of connection that sees you prioritising being in conversations with people in your audience more than scrolling mindlessly through insta.

Find collaborators and partners

The few business owners who do value the importance of 1:1 connections, tend to focus on connecting with potential clients and customers. What can get overlooked, but has the potential to grow your business immeasurably, is collaborating and partnering with other people in your industry or related industries.

Getting yourself in front of other people’s audiences is an essential key to growing your own audience and therefore your revenue. There are various ways to do this including, but not limited to, being on someone else’s podcast, doing a guest post for one of the big name online publications such as Elephant Journal or Tiny Buddha or doing a collaboration with a peer (such as this one I did with 

Helen McLaughlin). If you are not regularly connecting with peers in your industry and getting yourself in front of other people’s audiences you’re missing a huge trick. So as we ease into this year, I encourage you to start thinking about building these sorts of relationships too.

Something that really anchors me is having a solid business plan. If you would like to go through my business planning training, head here to get everything you need to create your strategic business plan. 

5 Goal-Setting Mistakes To Avoid

5 Goal-Setting Mistakes To Avoid

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I want to share with you 5 common mistakes we often make when it comes to setting goals for our business (or our life!). I share these in the hope that they’ll help you as you think about your own business + life goals for next year. 

1. An absence of strategy

If you operate anything like I used to, around this time of year you may well be starting to think about all the things you’d like to achieve in your life and business next year. Before I came up with my own approach, I did this too.

Over the years, I tried all the business planning tools I could get my hands on (paid and free). Planners, goal-setting workshops, you name it I tried it. What I noticed, was that all of the guidance I was finding on business planning only ever seemed to talk about goals.

As someone who ran the business planning process for a former employer back in my project management career, I’ve been well aware for some time that goals (or targets) are just the way in which we state what we hope to get done in a period of time, but how we decide what needs to get done or how those things are actually going to get done is a whole other piece of work.

This is where we need to consider our big picture. The overall objective of our business for the year. This will differ greatly depending on your particular business and where you are at on the business growth journey. For some it might include streamlining your business model, whereas for another business it might be to expand your product range. I’ve had clients whose overall objective was to double their income whereas for others it was to maintain the income level they currently have. Once we know what we are trying to achieve, we can then set our priorities strategically and only then look at setting goals in service to those priorities.

2. Setting waaay too many goals 

Nearly every conversation I ever have with a business owner about their goals for the coming year, results in me telling them they are trying to take on too much. I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell someone that they should set more goals. 

Any of my clients will tell you that I often quote Bill Gates on this one: 

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Having been working for myself now for over a decade and having been the person setting the agenda for my own workload, I speak with experience when I say that we can usually achieve far less than we set out to at the beginning of the year. Why? Well overestimating what’s possible is one reason and also because we suffer from a fear of missing out. Many business owners suffer from shiny object syndrome and look at what other business owners are doing and feel pulled to try something similar. 

For this reason, it’s hard for most people to choose just 1 or 2 key priorities to work on because there’s so much they want to do. But when we fail to focus and set ourselves too many goals, we inevitably fail in more areas than we would if, instead, we focused our efforts.

Personally, I’d much rather focus on 1 or 2 things. That way I can get those accomplished more quickly and create more space for the next thing, rather than overwhelm myself with a huge set of goals, many of which I’ll do some work on, but few, if any, I’ll be able to complete. 

3. Setting unrealistic goals 

I fell foul to this so many times in my early years in business. Undoubtedly swayed by all the noise in the online business world, I bought into the idea that I could make 6 figures in a short amount of time or go viral overnight with a winning piece of content. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always the first to say that anything is possible and there are always exceptions, but in my experience, making big numbers fast, whether that be in income, sign ups or audience growth, rarely happens in a way that is authentic, ethical or sustainable over the long-term.

Setting goals we are unlikely to achieve can also cause damage to our mindset and motivation. Many of us know, only too well, the disappointment that comes from failing to achieve our goals time and time again.

I used to wish for exponential results but these days my goals are rooted in sustainable and steady growth, “Slow and steady wins the race” is one of my favourite business mantras! 

I also base my future goals on past experience. I’ve taken the time to track my annual income over the years and can tell you exactly what my percentage increase in revenue has been year on year since 2017, what my average percentage growth has been over the last 6 years and therefore, what percentage my income and sales are likely to increase over the next year. Arming myself with this knowledge, gives me confidence in the financial business goals I set myself. 

4. Not sharing your goals with anyone 

You might have done this — set goals but not told anyone what they are, so that should you fail you don’t lose face. Whilst you might never have to deal with the shame of having to admit you failed, you also miss out on the power of accountability. Knowing that people know what we are planning to do, can actually be a strong motivator when it comes to following through on our goals.

I’ve definitely used this to my advantage over the years. I remember back when I started my first blog, I set myself some huge and scary life goals, one of which was to quit, not just my job, but my entire career to travel the world and create a new more fulfilling and rewarding career as a coach. I genuinely don’t think I would have achieved half the goals I did during that period of my life, if I hadn’t been talking about them every week on my blog. 

I’m not saying you have to share your goals all over the internet but sharing them with your partner, friend, business buddy or even your business audience can really help some people to dig deep when it inevitably gets hard to take action. 

5. Not creating systems for your goals

This one has been huge for me. When I first learnt of this idea from George Kao, it blew my mind. George has this to say:

“The more you focus on the specifics of the goal, the more you become attached to how it must turn out.

If the end result doesn’t happen in the way you visualized — or in the timeline you expected — it can deal a blow to your self-identity, and erode your sense of self-empowerment.

I prefer to look at goals in a different, perhaps healthier way:

I focus on my systems — my daily processes — rather than my goals. “

So what does a focus on systems actually look like?

Well, let’s consider the goal of getting 100 new subscribers to your list. Most business plans would leave it there but creating a system for this goal might look like this:

Every other week on Friday afternoons, I will preview my Monday newsletter, by posting on my Facebook page what next week’s newsletter is all about along with a subscribe link for people who want to be sure to receive it. 

Even better, you would then schedule this activity into your calendar and focus on following through with the system rather than the 100 new subscribers goal. 

So there you have it, 5 goal-setting mistakes to avoid and what to do instead for a better chance of success with your plans next year. I’m curious, were these helpful? If so, please hit reply and let me know what your biggest insight was.



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

How I Structure My Working Day As a Mother and Solopreneur

How I Structure My Working Day As a Mother and Solopreneur

“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.⁣⁣”
~ Peter Turla

If, like me, you’re feeling a little bit overworked and under rested, then my hope is that this topic will be useful for you.

I want to share with you one of the most important tools in my business — my weekly schedule — as well as a little bit about what I do to create a schedule that feels easeful, spacious and inclusive of what matters most to me in life.

At the start of every year and at points during the year I review my schedule and work on my ideal schedule. After working too hard and coming close to burnout back in 2018, I started paying mindful attention to how I structure my working, day, week and year and I’m always looking for ways to improve my schedule to maximise productivity, while also having plenty of space in my life for what matters most to me.

My schedule won’t necessarily work for you, I made a decision a long time ago to work full-time on my business, but I want to share the process I went through to create it so that you can do a similar exercise for yourself even if you only want to work part-time.

Creating my schedule

1. The first step I take when creating my working schedule is to Identify all of the things that can’t be moved.

That means getting down on paper, those key areas of work in my business that I need to work on on a daily/weekly basis. For me these are:

  • 1–2–1 Coaching clients sessions and between-session work.
  • My Conscious Business Mastermind (CBM) calls and between call work.
  • Content Creation.
  • Product/service development.
  • Answering emails + other admin.
  • Back-end activities like finances, website updates, planning etc.

2. The second step is to identify key areas of life*

Because this exercise is, for me, a way to manage my time better so that I can ensure that I get adequate time to do things during the day other than work, it’s important for me to make a similar list for my non-working time during the working week. For me these are:

  • Time off work
  • Breaks and rest time
  • Time to exercise
  • Time to make art / other creative endeavours / read books
  • Time with my partner and our two boys.

*It’s important to note that I write down work first because my business is fairly established and certain things like my client sessions and live group calls are already set and can’t easily be changed. If you are newer in business or less busy than I am, you may have more flexibility than I do, and if so I would suggest you start with key areas of life first and then schedule work around it.

Planning my schedule

With these lists written, I am better able to see how I need to split the time I have available to me and allocate slots on my weekly calendar. It can sometimes feel like trying to crack the ultimate puzzle but it’s worth it in the end. Once I have my schedule figured out on paper or in a spreadsheet, I transfer it over to my google calendar.

I then head to Calendly to make sure I have that set up to reflect when I want people to be able to book 1:1 calls with me.

In order that I am able to squeeze everything I need to do into less time, I have over the years had to think long and hard about which things I can let go of or how I can simplify what I do. I do this by identifying those activities that have the greatest impact on my audience and clients and those that bring in the greatest revenue and then let go of all the rest.

Below you can see the schedule I created for 2022.

How I structure my working week

Friday is what I call my CEO day and is essentially a call free day (although I do have a 30 minute call with my VA but she doesn’t mind if I am make-up free and in my PJ’s so it doesn’t really count!). And whilst it looks like I have a schedule that day, in reality, it’s a free day and I can use it however I need to, which could look like catching up on client work, dealing with my inbox, doing outreach, answering messages and comments etc.

Read on for a detailed explanation of how I structure my days Monday to Thursday.

At 7.30am when my partner and boys leave for work, school and nursery I do 15–30 minutes of core strengthening exercises, designed specifically to heal my core after two babies. Then I head out for a walk in nature. (I should note that this part of the schedule hasn’t quite got underway yet but it’s the intention for this year.)

By 9.00 I aim to be at my desk. Last year I had client sessions in the morning and afternoon and this year I’m experimenting with not having any client calls in the morning, in service to my desire to have more space in my working day. I’ll let you know how it goes.

For this first hour, I’m either creating content (Mondays), working on material for my Mastermind (CBM work) or looking over things for my 1:1 clients (office hours).

At 10.30am I take a 30 minute break. Typically this is where I’ll grab a coffee and read my book on the sofa or watch something entertaining (and not work related!)

At 11am I’ll check my emails and social media notifications for 30 minutes. I do have a terrible habit of checking my phone as soon as I wake up, but I’m working on shifting this in 2022.

At 11.30am I spend another hour working on either content / CBM or creating new digital products (more on this last one soon).

From 12.30–3.30pm is my lunch break. It’s three hours long and this allows me to prepare food, collect and drop off my boys and spend some quality time with them during the middle of the day. I have a family member who also helps out at lunchtime so that at least once a week I get quality time with each child on their own and also a Friday lunch with my love.

In the afternoon, I have my first client session at 3.30pm followed by a 30 minute break and then my second client session (or live group call) at 5pm.

I aim to keep the last 30 minutes of the day free so that I can perform my shutdown ritual, which includes things like writing up outstanding to dos, checking the calendar for the next day and shutting down my computer.

Why I love my schedule

I’m fully aware that for some people seeing this level of scheduling in their calendar might fill them with dread but to those people I say this:

If you don’t get organised, you risk wasting precious time and resources on things that don’t matter.

And what a crying shame that would be because life really is too short. By scheduling my days and weeks in this way, I’ve been able to allocate, not only adequate time for my business priorities, but I’ve also managed to find plenty of time during my working week for ME, my family and my personal fulfilment above and beyond the fulfilment I get from my work.

What I love most about my schedule is that of the 9.5 hours between the start and end of my working day, I’m really only working for 5 of those. Over the course of the week that’s 25 hours and I don’t always work on Fridays.

I love that during my workday, I’m spending around 50% of the day working and the other 50% resting and living. It’s taken a lot of tweaking and refining to get my hours down to this and when I work, I am very focused and productive, so that I can work less overall. Gone are the days when I would spend hours at the computer doing busy work or mindless internet scrolling.

So now how about you? Would you benefit from identifying your priorities and then scheduling those in? What can you let go of that will have the time you do spend on your business bring the greatest rewards?



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

Five Things I Ask All New Clients To Do

Five Things I Ask All New Clients To Do

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

After opening up a number of new coaching spots on my calendar, resulting in having several first sessions with new clients. It dawned on me that it might be useful to share with you the five things I always focus on with new clients to make the best use of our time together. These are, in my opinion, five of the most important things we need to work on to ensure the best chance of success. I should warn you this is a long one but definitely worth working through.

1. Activate your network

Nine times out of ten, one of the pieces of homework to fall out of the first session with a new client is to do my outreach challenge in order to activate their network.

We all have a network, whether we think we do or not. Our network includes all sorts of people:

  • Colleagues — people we are working with or have worked with (either in a former job or with our current business),
  • People in our audience — our followers, subscribers and consumers of our content,
  • Our clients — former, current and potential,
  • People we admire — the people in our industry who we follow, our mentors, the people who inspire us.
  • Personal — friends, family and general supporters of our work.

When we are busy working on our business, we tend to let some of these relationships go quiet, we forget to keep in touch and as a result our network becomes dormant. Activating our network means keeping these connections alive. Reminding people that we are here. Being of service to our network and becoming front of mind for people. This way they are more likely to think of you when someone they know is struggling with the very struggle you help people to overcome. It not only makes good business sense but it also feels good to be connected.

The challenge in a nutshell is to reach out to 50 people in 7 days simply just to check in, free from agenda and with the sole purpose of connecting or re-connecting. For the full instructions (which I highly recommend you follow if you want to take on the challenge) click here. Be sure to watch this video before getting started.

2. Set up your ideal schedule

When people first start working with me it’s quite common that their schedule or calendar isn’t as organised or as optimised as it could be. I usually start by inviting my clients to consider what their ideal schedule would be and answer questions like:

  • What timetable do you want to have? What days will you work? What days will you have OFF? What will be your working hours? When will you take breaks?
  • On which days do you want to do client calls? Is your calendar wide open to your clients or do you only want to do live calls on certain days or at certain times of the day?
  • What key activities will you schedule in each week? When will you do outreach? When will you create content? When will you check email?

I usually walk them through my schedule using the ideal schedule I’ve created in my Google Calendar, which you can see below.

Initially some people find my schedule overwhelming because every space is blocked off but it needn’t feel overwhelming. As I always say to my clients, if you set up your schedule to include everything that needs to get done including the breaks you need to take then you’re creating the conditions for success.

If Monday afternoon at 2pm rolls around and your schedule says check email and you really want to work on some content you can always move things around, but having things scheduled in, shows you at a glance what needs to get done over the course of the week.

One area I’d encourage you not to move is your breaks. If you’re in the flow it can be very tempting to stay at your desk and work through your breaks but I do believe you pay the price later on with a lessened ability to focus and inevitably less energy. Breaks are essential to maintain our focus and energy throughout the day.

3. Create a content schedule

Consistent content creation is one of the first things I like to get my clients started on if they are not doing it already. One of the most important steps you can take on your journey to consistent content creation is to create a content schedule. Whilst many people think that scheduling their content is a sure fire way to stifle their creativity, I assure you that if you give this a try you may be very surprised by the results. To create your content schedule you’ll need to follow these 3 steps:

1. Choose your channels. Rather than have 5 or 6 channels you show up inconsistently on choose 1–3 channels to show up on. If you are just starting out with content, I would recommend getting started with one channel and not adding in another until you are consistent with that one.

2. Choose your rhythm. Once you’ve chosen where you’ll share your content, you’ll need to consider when you want to publish content. Take into account that with one new piece of content a week, you can publish far more frequently than that simply by repurposing.

3. Create your plan. Your plan should bring together the where and when, (as determined above) with the what of your content. Your overall plan might then look something like this, which you can then populate with actual topic ideas later on.


4. Plan out your year

I invite all my clients and Mastermind participants to create an annual business plan at the start of the year, but no matter when someone starts working with me, if they haven’t already, I invite them to set an overall objective for the rest of the year, up to 3 strategic priorities to help them achieve that objective plus a set of simple goals under each priority.

To give you an example of what that looks like in practice, here are mine for this year.

My overall business aim for 2021: To put in place the systems, services and products to scale the success I’ve achieved in 2020 to double my annual income without working more than 7 hours a day.

My Strategic Priorities:
1. Systems
2. Business Model
3. Products

The goals under each:
Systems: 1. Make Notion my business hub. 2. Get SOPs in place. 3. Streamline software and apps. 4. Improve and streamline client improvement.
Business Model: 1. Deliver workshop plan. 2. Retain 30% of current Mastermind participants and get glowing testimonials. 3. Maintain full roster of 1:1 clients with increased rate.
Products: 1. Research, design and deliver a new product or products that can bring in passive income.

5. Simplify their business model.

Last but not least, I usually invite my new clients to simplify their existing business model. Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that the more they offer the better their chances are of getting the sale. I’ve actually found the opposite to be true and that the more simple my business model is, the more money I make because it’s easy for people to access and choose how they want to work with me.

What we usually do is close down any service that isn’t bringing in regular income to allow us to focus on the service or services that are or that we want to be.

So there you have it, 5 things I work on with new clients so that we can then continue the journey together with the essentials addressed. Each of these could be a whole article in itself but I hope you have enough information here to have a look at each of these in turn and take some action to better set yourself up for success.



Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

My 2021 Strategic Business Plan

My 2021 Strategic Business Plan


“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What is it that I really need my business to do in 2021?

To put in place the systems, services and products to scale the success I’ve achieved in 2020 to double my annual income without working any more hours.

My Overall Plan for 2021

Strategic Priority 1 — Systems + Processes

Goal 1: To streamline tech systems/software to reduce expenses and minimise overlap.

Goal 2: Write out all the SOPs for my business. (if you don’t know what an SOP is, this definition from Tara Mcmullin is helpful: “A Standard Operating Procedure is the process you use to complete a given task in the same way, every time. Every business has unique processes that are core to its administration, marketing, value delivery, team management, etc.”

Goal 3: Create email templates for all of my most commonly used emails:

Goal 1: Create and deliver a schedule of low-cost workshops over the course of the year.

Goal 2: Create and execute a launch/marketing plan for the workshops.

Goal 3: Launch one new 5 week group program


Once a week, in the form of an e-letter, I share the best of what I know about building a business with integrity for conscious business owners.

The intention behind these letters is to be a voice for integrity within your (undoubtedly) cluttered inbox. To be the one email you can count on to contain strategic and soulful advice for building a business without selling your soul.

If you want to receive the Soulful Strategies Weekly, simply share with me your name and email address below and you’ll start recieving emails right away.

Learn From My Mistake

Learn From My Mistake

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions are searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

                                       ~ Maya Angelou

As I write this blog post, I’m feeling grateful for my new morning routine that means I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes sat in my office enjoying a cup of coffee, meditation music playing, incense burning, having just read another chapter of the non-business book I’m reading (A Course in Miracles Made Easy). My office is clean, tidy and organised and my schedule and tasks for the day and week ahead are set. My only task for this morning is to write this article. Once finished, I’ll be heading out for a long walk.

This is not how mornings have started lately, which brings me on to the topic of this post. 

Back when I first started out in business I was fortunate to have the guidance and support of a coach who taught me, amongst many things, the importance of building a business that supports our preferred lifestyle from the get go versus trying to fit our desired lifestyle around our business retrospectively.

Two things he had me build into my schedule, back when my schedule was wide open, were time to work on my business as well as in it (more on that below) and time off from my business to include breaks from work on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. 

Seeing the absolute wisdom of this, I put several things in place in service of that idea:

  • I scheduled Wednesday and Fridays as call free days so that I had time on a Wednesday for working on my business and Fridays were kept free of calls for creativity which meant I could use them to do creative work for my business (such as web and graphic design and designing new products or services) or to spend the day painting (just for the fun of it) if my heart desired it.
  • I only scheduled coaching sessions for 3 weeks out of every month so that I could hibernate during those days in my menstrual cycle when I was feeling low in energy and mood or to do business activities that suited my more internal mood.
  • I purposely made my coaching programs shorter because I wanted the flexibility to take long trips between clients should I want to.
  • I planned in two whole months off work a year, to use that time to travel.

In short, I set my business up so that I could enjoy plenty of free time, flexibility and space to enjoy my life as I wanted to enjoy it.

Fast forward a few years and those boundaries had started to slip. When you’re not fully booked up, it’s easy to think that you’ll always have all the space you’ll need for rest, relaxation and creative time. The truth is much like the fable of the frog, who if placed in boiling water will jump straight out, but if put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. 

When you’re in the midst of growing a business, you don’t always see the time slowly getting taken up until one day you realise that you’ve become so busy working in your business that you barely have time to look up from the computer. In danger, not so much of being cooked but rather, of being worked to death! 

Towards the end of 2020, I started to realise that I was getting so booked up with coaching calls that I was in danger of losing the ability to have even one call free day a week. I quickly blocked Fridays off for the whole of 2021 and now have every Friday dedicated to what I call my CEO Day (more on that below).

Also, for the first time (perhaps ever!) I’ve gone through my calendar and booked off a whole host of special days, family birthdays, school holidays, anniversaries (me and my love celebrate 7 years together in June! :)), national holidays, regional holidays (I’ve always just worked these in the past) and time for us to have our annual family holiday and other trips (Covid permitting!). These dates are booked into mine and the family calendar and I’m excited to have this time off. 

On a day to day basis I’ve also started to schedule in daily walks. Not short walks — a long, one hour plus, walk right in the middle of my working day because a) it’s the only time I can do it because when I’m not working I have my two boys with me and b) taking that hour out to walk, even when it feels impossible, given how much work I have on, helps me to be more effective when I am at my desk.

I’ve also been doing the important work of setting firmer boundaries around what I can and can’t do for my clients and even started changing some of my offerings on my website so that they are more manageable to deliver, now that I am serving people in greater numbers. I’ll share more on these changes/boundaries in a future article. 

Having done this work, I can now honestly say that my annual business plan is complete, not just with the things I will do over the course of the next 12 months but also the times when I won’t be doing anything business related at all. 

Working on the business versus working in the business

I also now have space within my working week (which is Monday to Friday in case you were wondering). to work on my business so that I don’t get lost in the weeds of running it. Making the distinction between working in and on your business is important. See below for some ideas of what this could look like.

Working in your business

  • Delivering your service (i.e. having coaching sessions).
  • Day to day admin like answering emails, scheduling calls and filing.
  • Marketing activities like content creating and social media
  • Networking and outreach.

Working on your business

  • Strategy.
  • Planning and visioning.
  • Big picture thinking.
  • Course correcting and problem shooting.
  • New creations.
  • Professional development.

What my CEO Day involves

Since the start of the year, every Friday in my schedule has been blocked off for my CEO Day and having now had 3 of these since the new year began, I can share a little bit of what they entail. 

I basically have a checklist of activities that I run through and aim to do throughout the course of the day. This checklist lives on my CEO dashboard inside of Notion (a new tool I am using for my business hub). You can see that checklist below and you’ll notice it mainly contains tasks that will allow me to start my following week with everything organised and planned so that I can simply show up and do what needs to be done rather than waste time trying to organise and prioritise on the fly. Of course it could be argued that some of these tasks might not be considered CEO tasks but it’s more that doing these tasks and the space that they create allows me to show up as a CEO for my business. 

My CEO day is fast becoming my favourite day of the week! What I love about these days is that I can lie in a little if I need to (and with my one year old who rarely sleeps for more than one hour in a row — you can bet I need those lie ins). I don’t have to shower first thing or do my hair and make-up because I’m not doing any video calls. Instead, I can simply potter around my office in my PJs and take things at my own pace. Doing the tasks in whichever order I feel called to do them. Given that the rest of my working week is scheduled up to the hilt, this is oh so necessary for my health and happiness.

Now this all might sound super organised and jolly responsible of me but I let my schedule get far too gruelling before I put these measures in place. In reality I took my eye of the work/life balance ball and let things get out of hand before I pulled things back. I share this because I want you to avoid making the same mistake. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to carve out some time to plan in these same two things:

1. Time to work on your business (instead of in it) 
2. Time off from your business. 

Your future self will thank you for it, I promise.


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