When you are pursuing an entrepreneurial path as a founder, life can feel like a rollercoaster. The testing lows and incredible highs, combined with the urgency of bringing your vision to life, make managing time one of the main challenges for passionate change-makers. It might seem like there is never enough time to accomplish all of those important tasks you have on your plate. Here is where lifestyle design comes into play. Intentionally curating and meticulously designing your day-to-day schedule is an excellent way of optimizing your integrated lifestyle. In this article, we bring you an atypical approach to the issue of time — the framing that can help you maximize your most precious asset according to your purpose.
An Old Way of Relating to Time
It is not uncommon for founders to approach the issue of time from a perspective where:
Any given hour is equal to any other hour. Therefore, each day looks like a uniform block of time, where you just need to find an open slot to fit in that task that came up.
- There is no clear separation between activities that might hold different types and amounts of value, which often leads to schedules overcrowded with meetings and that leave little time for other types of relevant activities.
But leading an integrated lifestyle as a founder implies a high level of complexity. Thus, it calls for a more sophisticated way of understanding and managing time in order to make the most out of it. The first key here is to debunk the myth that every hour in the day has the same amount and type of value.
Larks and Owls
As we mentioned in our last article, our energy types and levels are not the same throughout the day. Nobel-winning scientists have revealed that circadian rhythms —also called our internal body clock— establish the way our energy flows during the day. And this is not the same for everyone: while some people might thrive in the early hours of the morning, others produce brilliant work late in the night. The key here is to observe and understand what your own internal body clock looks like in order to work with it rather than against it. This way, you will be able to find out exactly what times of the day are better for you to focus and do deep work, which ones make your creativity spike, when you are more comfortable socializing or working with others, and which hours call for you to replenish your energy, among others. Once you have nailed that, it will be easier to design a schedule that you can adopt with ease and complete the tasks that will bring you closer to achieving the goals you are striving for.
Now that we have established how our productivity types and levels can vary throughout the day let’s unravel the challenge of time management as a founder. The next step in this process is to break downtime according to the different types of nurturing and impactful activities that we want to take care of. We have identified six different types of time that would be beneficial for high-achieving leaders to take into account in their schedules.
Six Keys to a Thriving Schedule
This is the time to take care of those high-impact, high-value activities which are focused on long-term goals or are generally more strategic. Its length can be anything from 30 to 90 minutes, but its main characteristic is that it is time to dedicate to things that are relevant to making your ambitious aspirations become achievements. This is why One time is time you would schedule right away, before anything else.
It is the time of the day when you feel most productive, according to your own internal body clock. Ideally, this is the time you would use for your urgent, most challenging and significant tasks — not admin work or clearing your inbox. In addition to that, if you have the ability to work from anywhere and make the world your playground, pairing your Flow Time with the perfect environment that inspires you and sparks your genius will enhance your creative, analytical, or executive power during flow time.
As the name says it, this is the time you spend transitioning between appointments: it can be anything from waiting in a queue to walking or commuting from one location to another — especially relevant as in-person engagements start to reappear in your schedule. The key to Transition Time is to drift away from thinking of it as dead time and start approaching it as time you can actually use for something meaningful. This could mean anything from taking care of small tasks that don’t require your deepest focus to taking calls; you could even create the opportunity to learn something new by listening to an audiobook, a podcast, or taking an online course. If you are in a different mood, you might prefer to turn on some relaxing background music and shift to a more meditative state or engage in deep thinking. There are plenty of options when it comes to turning passive time into active time. At first, it might not seem like it makes a big difference. But making the most out of every bit of Transition Time you have every day will return as significant value in the long run — just imagine the impact you could build over the course of a year if you only dedicated 30 minutes daily to one of these activities.
This is the time you spend doing acts of kindness, paying it forward, and giving back to your community of fellow founders and change-makers and the people you care about. We know that you are probably dedicating a lot of time to giving. What we want to highlight here is the importance of planning and scheduling this type of time. Allocating Giving Time in your calendar under that specific label can give you a tangible idea of the time you are investing and help you approach it with more purpose and intention.
Living the hectic life of a founder can make your Me Time look like anything between 20 and 60 minutes per day. This is why the key is focusing on quality rather than quantity. Your Me Time is time you would spend in ways that are the most beneficial to yourself: some ideas are engaging with activities like meditation, journaling or self-care practices, working out, or you could even consider your morning and night routines as your Me Time. The essence here is that you derive substantial value from it.
In a vibrant schedule that is crowded with exciting, high-value activities, it might be difficult to find time where you just allow things to unfold and bring you extraordinary opportunities. This is what Serendipity Time is and why it is beneficial to schedule it intentionally. Gifting yourself this kind of time is a luxury, and it is best to plan for it when it makes sense, rather than on a fixed basis. For example: when you are attending a conference, event, or dinner, it can be impactful to schedule Serendipity Time to ensure that you make room for unexpected and valuable conversations and interactions to happen. Serendipity Time might not be a daily or weekly appointment, but if you approach it with full intention and awareness, being open to whatever the world brings can be unbelievably rewarding.
What’s Next For Your Schedule?
Identifying and codifying the different types of time that are a part of your day-to-day life as a founder can be a powerful step in the journey to mastering your performance. When you become aware of the nuanced value that each kind of activity holds and the roles they play in the grand scheme of things, you heighten and deepen your ability to design an intentional lifestyle — a must for any ambitious, purpose-driven leader. In combination with lifestyle design, this approach could make a remarkable impact on your life. However, if you have already started exploring ways to peak your performance, and you are looking to take your schedule to the next level, we are here to help.
Founder/Executive Coaching At a Glance
Have you ever wished to have Yoda by your side, helping you choose between the million paths ahead?
Have you ever wanted a co-founder to magically appear to help you make the hard decisions that keep you up all night? Have you ever wanted someone to do for you what you do for everyone else? Someone who sees your potential and has your back?
These are just some of the ways Therése has been described by her founder and C-level clients on the journey they have taken together, as she made sure they received the support they needed.
Therése has been empowering High Achieving individuals for over 19 years through her transformative change programs where everything is done with a purpose.
Each journey starts with a first step based on your dreams and goals.
So the question is, whom do you wish was on your side, as you make your way through your own hero’s journey?