How to Organize Your Time as an Entrepreneur

Dec 6, 2021 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset, Podcast, Social Media

Do you struggle with managing your time as an entrepreneur, feeling guilty when you take time off yet still have things to do no matter how much you work? In this episode, I share how I prioritize my time as a full-time traveling entrepreneur, as well as tips for you to stay on track when you’re just starting out. Let’s get rid of any busy work, stay focused and productive on what's actually important, and remember why we started our businesses in the first place!

Do you want to increase your productivity while still enjoying what you do? This week I share 3 tips to plan your time (06:15), how to productively prioritize (15:40) and the power of segmenting your goals to guide your weekly to-do list (20:08).

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Audio Transcript

Intro (5s):
The Wanderlover podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu, business mentor, content creator, and founder of The Wanderlover tune in every week for episodes about travel online business, social media, and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. If you’ve been enjoying the Wanderlover podcast, if you’ve been tuning in and finding inspiration and taking away value, it would mean so much to me. If you could take a second to leave us a review on apple podcasts, I continue to record these episodes for you every single week and take all of your comments and feedback to heart.

Danielle (52s):
Thank you guys so, so much. Hi everyone. Welcome back to The Wanderlover podcast. My name is Danielle, and this is the last episode I am recording in Rote. So by the time this episode airs, I will be in Bali. Our time after two and a half months on this beautiful remote island, it’s coming to an end, very bittersweet, but excited to move on to the next chapter. We’ll be in Bali for two weeks, and then I fly back to New York for the holidays. I’m so, so excited to be with my family and friends. And the day after I land in New York, we’re driving up to Vermont for a family snowboarding trip for my dad’s birthday.

Danielle (1m 36s):
And so it’s going to be a very eventful December. And of course I’m nothing but grateful to be able to design my month in this way, because I remember had, I wanted to do something with my family just a few years ago. I would have had to plan months in advance request those vacation days and structure the rest of my vacations to be able to take those few days off during the holidays. And so, you know, just a few years later to be able to book a flight and then be like, yes, I can go, yes, I can clear out my calendar. This sense of freedom is what I want to communicate to all of you listening, that it is possible, which brings me to the topic for today.

Danielle (2m 18s):
How to Organize Your Time as an Entrepreneur. And this episode was requested by one of my dear followers. She messaged me saying, I’ve been listening to your podcasts and realize I would love and learn even more from you to know how do you organize your freelance slash entrepreneurship time nowadays, or in the first months of starting? I’ve noticed that I struggle with self assigning my days off and doing something not business-related without feeling guilty, as well as fitting in all my weekly tasks within that five to six days week, et cetera. And I relate 110%, even until this day, I’ve been doing online entrepreneurship for years.

Danielle (3m 6s):
And still there are days where I feel guilty, self assigning days off taking the day off, not being in my business. There’s of course also those weeks where I feel like I have so much to do. And at the end of the week after hustling so hard, there’s still a never ending to-do list. Can you guys relate? Do you sometimes feel like that? Because it is so so normal and the people I tend to attract in this community are very similar to how I perform. So I’m a generator by human design and we work really hard. Sometimes we overwork ourselves, which is why it’s so important to find a job or a career path that aligns with what we want to do, because then we can invest all of our time and energy into something that is ours and something that we’re so passionate about.

Danielle (3m 57s):
So raise your hand if you are a high achiever, and if you beat yourself up, when you’re not being quote, unquote productive with your never ending to do lists, I can guarantee that you raised your hand. Do you struggle with feeling guilty when you’re not doing something work related? Do you feel like you could have been more productive? No matter how hard you work, there’s always something you didn’t take off in your to-do list for the week. And you just feel like you never have enough time, right? This is how I used to operate in my business. This is what I see new clients struggling with all the time.

Danielle (4m 37s):
And if this is you, it is completely okay. Realize that it is somewhat of a problem. If you continue to form these habits, that stress you out, that make you feel like you didn’t do enough. And in this episode, we’re going to reflect on what’s working, what is not working and how we can move forward. So if you are a new or aspiring entrepreneur in the first few months, it literally feels like there is so much to do. And I don’t ever think this feeling ever goes away because you’d never truly stop learning and stop executing as an entrepreneur. But over time you learn how to manage it better.

Danielle (5m 19s):
And what I would compare it to when you’re just starting out is like, when you buy a new, let’s say furniture piece, a new dresser from Ikea, and you have all the parts in front of you. You have all the screws, all the blocks of wood, whatever. And you know that it’s supposed to end up looking like a dresser, right? But if you didn’t have the instructions, the step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the dresser, it would probably take you a lot, a lot of trial and error to get your finished product. You need to have a map and you need to know where are going. So when you decide that you want to start your own business, it may seem straightforward.

Danielle (6m 4s):
You’re like I have so many free resources. I can go on YouTube. I see other people doing it. Let me just copy what they are doing. And maybe it’ll work out. What you don’t see is everything that happens behind the scenes. So all the systems, all the structure, all the work that goes on that you need to learn and execute yourself if you want the same desired result. So my first tip for you, if you are just starting out, you need to be organizing. And this is something that you won’t see on Instagram. You’re going to see people posting consistently, but what you’re not going to see is how they are organizing and what they’re working on each day, so that they can execute and create content and be able to post so consistently week after week.

Danielle (6m 53s):
So this is for not only social media, but how you run your business in general, you need to organize and you need to find your own way, what works for you. So this reminds me of back in elementary school and middle school and high school every year, my school would give us these schedules. So these little journals where it’s broken down by each subject, and you would hand write when your tests were, what your homework was. And it was a really efficient way to keep track of every assignment and everything going on in each of your classes. It worked really well for me. I had a color code.

Danielle (7m 34s):
I had like different symbols when homeworks were due when tests were due and I had my own structure so that I could perform and hand in assignments on time and really be organized, right? Had I not had that organizer, it would have been really hard for me to remember when the due dates were, what I had to be working on. And it would all be just ideas in my mind. I also remember in college, I had an organizer, but a lot of my colleagues, they used digital resources. So they use different apps, different websites to keep track of everything. And that’s just what worked for them.

Danielle (8m 15s):
But in college, I still really preferred handwriting everything. So I had my own physical schedule and I would be using the same color codes, the same symbols, because it’s just what has worked so well for me. So knowing that I operate a lot better by writing things down and not having to, you know, log into an account or open up an app. This is why present day for my business. I have journals. You guys have heard me talk about passion planner. I’ve been using that for the past, like four or five years. And I have my own journal where I write about my thoughts, my ideas, that’s in a separate journal. And for me in my business, I just know that journals work really well.

Danielle (8m 59s):
And if you don’t already have the system, you need to get organized. So you need to find out what works for you. And maybe you don’t like writing that’s okay. But find an alternative. Maybe use a sauna. Maybe you use slack, find your way to stay organized so you can keep track of all your projects. It also really helps if you have it laid out like a plan in front of you. So not only do I use passion planner, I also use my Google calendar. That’s what works for me next. After you figure out what works best for you, how you can see everything that you have to do not be overwhelmed by it and have it in sized chunks every single day, what you need to execute the next step is to plan.

Danielle (9m 44s):
So this is where you basically create the Ikea instruction guide for the next quarter. For the next year, failing to plan is planning to fail. And this is where you have to be really honest with yourself. How many days a week do you want to be working? How many hours per day do you want to be working, set that schedule and set vacation days. So do you want to take a week or two off during the holidays, treat your business like an actual business, but then also be honest with yourself. Are you traveling? Do you want to play more this year? Are you taking a gap year? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish this year? Because if you’re honest with yourself and you say my number one priority is scaling my business to six figures.

Danielle (10m 30s):
Then everything that you do every day needs to get you closer to that goal. But if you’re partying five nights a week and you end up staying in until noon every day and you prioritize your social life over your business, it’s not aligned. And that’s where the stress comes in because you’re like, oh my God, I need to be working. I need to be doing this. But then part of you is like, oh, but I really want to go out with friends. So how we can shift that, how we can balance that quote unquote balance. Because I truly don’t believe that it’s a work-life balance anymore. When you have your own business, it’s a blend, a blend of your playtime of social life, of your business, of content creation.

Danielle (11m 14s):
It becomes this one beautiful entity, and you don’t need to beat yourself up if you don’t quote unquote work hard enough. So how I would reframe that if you really want to go out is see, how can you use this time with friends this time to be social, to fill your own cup? Because when your cup is full, it will inspire you to work on other parts of your business, right? If you started this business in the first place to have more freedom, and you’re beating yourself up over, you know, enjoying that time off and enjoying your freedom, then why like, why do you need to beat yourself up over it?

Danielle (11m 56s):
Remember why you started in the first place and view this time to play as something that will be even better for your business in the long run. There’s no corporate structure anymore. So you can set your own schedule to what works best for you and focus on one main task a week, instead of all the busy stuff. And we’ll get to that later, focusing on working on your business instead of in your business. But when you’re just starting, it can be really confusing. You’re like how many hours do I need to work? Every week I was working 40 hour weeks at my corporate job. So I need to work at least that in my own business, which may be the case.

Danielle (12m 36s):
If you feel like that’s what it takes to get you to where you want to be in a year’s time. So whatever your main goal for the next year is that is how you should be shaping your day to day. Be honest with yourself, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t set unrealistic goals. We want to make entrepreneurship as fun as it can be for the lifestyle. You’ve only dreamed of designing next. After you’ve organized. After you’ve planned, you need to find accountability to execute on everything that you’ve set for yourself. So this is also why I created Wanderlover business academy 2.0 so that you are not overwhelmed.

Danielle (13m 19s):
This is the Ikea instructions to get you to where you want to be in the least amount of time. You don’t need to trial and error. See what works. It’s actionable modules every single week. So you have these bite sized pieces that are the most important to focus on in that order to get you motivated, to get you clear and profitable after eight weeks. So, however you want accountability, you need to find it, whether that’s through a coach, whether that’s through a course, whether that’s through support or a combination of anything that works for you, you need to find out how you operate best, how you can execute.

Danielle (14m 3s):
So a lot of my new clients, they realize accountability and direction are the two main things they need help with. Because if you aren’t clear, you know, if you don’t have that Ikea instructions guide, you’re just going to be trying to fit things together. And it’s not going to get you any closer to building that dresser, right? And if you’re not trying different things, then it’s also not going to get you closer to where you want to be. So finding that accountability and finding that direction, there are no excuses, no excuses in this world. You cannot say, I don’t have enough time. I don’t have an office. You can make the time as CEO of your own company.

Danielle (14m 48s):
You need to make these really important decisions, sometimes their sacrifices, but you need to stop making excuses for yourself. I’ve been traveling for the past four years. And of course there are days when I’m like, I wish I had an office. I wish I didn’t have to record these podcasts episodes outside where there’s a lot of background noise. I wish I could have like blazing fast wifi without needing to worry about, you know, tropical site, clones shutting off all the power. Like there are so many ways you can frame your current situation, but the most important thing is you need to find out what works for you at this specific moment in time.

Danielle (15m 32s):
So you can take action to get you closer to your goals. Also over time, you’re going to realize which deadlines are non-negotiable in your business versus which ones stress you out. And they’re just unnecessary. And maybe you can change those deadlines. So a lot of times I see new entrepreneurs, they feel like they need to stick to this posting five times on Instagram posting schedule, because that’s what a lot of other creators are doing. This is your business. Let’s focus on the data. So if you are using all of that time to post five times on Instagram, are you making sales out of it? Are you generating income?

Danielle (16m 12s):
Because if it’s a no, if you’re seeing $0 come into your business and you spend 10 hours a week, creating planning, shooting posting, is that worth your time? And you need to analyze, you need to think like, is it worth my time? Can I change it? What if I change from five posts to three posts and make those three posts extra good, right? These are smarter decisions that you can make for your business. That stresses you out less because you don’t have to be posting every day and you’re cutting out. What does it really matter in the big picture? On the other hand, you need to make sure the deadlines that are actually non-negotiable you hold your word too.

Danielle (16m 58s):
So if you say you’re going to launch a podcast by this date, say, you’re going to launch your YouTube channel by this date. This is where you test your faith and trust in yourself. Because if you set a commitment for yourself and you don’t honor it future you is going to, you know, learn from that experience and be like, oh, but you didn’t do this last time. Maybe you can just let it slide again. You need to hold yourself accountable to the level that you would perform for an employer. If you can hold a corporate job, like let’s say the media company you’re working for. They’re like, we’re going to do a podcast launch in two months time. It’s not going to be up to you to be like, oh, well, let’s just push it back a few days because I’m busy.

Danielle (17m 42s):
Or like, I don’t feel like working on it, right? You wouldn’t do it for that company. So don’t slack off when it comes to your own, realize that these deadlines really prove to yourself that you honor your commitments. And of course, if you have a coach or a support group, they can really spot when you’re not holding yourself accountable. Versus when you are spending unnecessary time on things that ultimately aren’t the most important, because there is a really fine line. You’re going to learn as you get more experience, but it also helps getting feedback from other people on the same path. Okay. So next, I’m going to share how I structure my weeks. And this is of course, around traveling and needing to relocate and move into different places very frequently, as well as if you’re a new or aspiring entrepreneur advice.

Danielle (18m 33s):
I share to my new clients and new members of the academy, what you should be working on every week so that you see results in your business. I will preface this by saying that if you don’t currently have foundations in your online business. So if you are not seeing sales, if you haven’t gotten your first client or customer yet, I would advise for you to get direction. And Wanderlover business academy 2.0 is a perfect place to start. So you know exactly what to work on every week to get your first sale or customer. Because as online business owners, we care about making money because money is how you’re going to be able to reinvest it into your own business, make a bigger impact with your business and ultimately not burn out after months and months of hard work, maybe in the wrong direction and not seeing the fruits of your labor.

Danielle (19m 29s):
So after we have built all of your foundations after we’ve created the perfect funnel to get clients and customers, what I now focus on in my business is dividing my time between working in my business and working on my business. A lot of times I see new entrepreneurs, hustle, and hustle and hustle, working in their business for a period of time. This is completely necessary as you’re building up the foundations, but it should not be forever because if you’re constantly trying to do everything yourself, you’re going to burn out.

Danielle (20m 9s):
And so what I do is every single week, I focus on one main thing that I need to accomplish big picture, to get my business to the next level. And of course this comes after planning out from my yearly goal to my quarterly goal and to my weekly goal. So you always want to know where do you want to be in a year’s time, then break it down into quarterly milestones and weekly action items. This includes marketing, this includes outsourcing, but very rarely does it include, you know, posting on my podcast page every single day or posting on Instagram, X amount of times a week.

Danielle (20m 51s):
These are all things that take time and ultimately can be outsourced. You need to ask yourself, is this the best use of my time? Is this getting me sales? Do I need to do this? If I’m not launching, right? Ask yourself these questions so that you can maximize the productivity of the limited and valuable time that you have also ask yourself CLE habits. What can you do day to day to get you most productive in the least amount of time? So for me, number one always is clients, my private clients, my mastermind clients. I make sure that they are always supported. Then I prioritize working on my business.

Danielle (21m 34s):
So this is the one goal that I have set every single week that makes my business go to the next level. Anything after that can be outsourced. And after I follow those subs, I prioritize surfing because surfing and hanging 10 is on my vision board. It’s a non-negotiable and it helps me operate at a higher level. And my clients can feel the energy, right? They can feel the playfulness between work and play and integrating your business into your life. Because, you know, I remember why I created this in the first place. What good would it be? If I was just working 24 7 working in these tropical places without actually having time to explore to surf and to have fun, right?

Danielle (22m 21s):
It all comes together and you don’t need to beat yourself up if you’re not working all the time, because your clients will want to see you having fun. They’ll want to see this lifestyle that you’ve created for yourself. And you’re able to rewrite those beliefs you can play, and you can find a way to make more money. They’re not mutually exclusive. So this is what works for me. If you are just starting out, ask yourself, how can you make it easier? Can you get some help? Can you get direction? Is it because you don’t know where you want to go? And that’s why you’re stressing yourself out, trying to perform everything, trying to execute on everything and do everything yourself.

Danielle (23m 1s):
Make sure you have the support that you need and make sure you are working on the things that actually matter in your business. If you need more structure, if you need systems, check out Wanderlover Business Academy, 2.0, if you are a new or aspiring coach or creative than this is for you, it has my content calendar. It has my goal mapping strategy. It has all of the modules that I teach my clients in the Start Your Hustle intensive. So it’s made to guide you from just having an idea to having the support and the clarity you need to see profits in your online business. As I finished recording this in our beautiful resort on rotates island, Indonesia, after four years of traveling guys, I know it is possible for you.

Danielle (23m 49s):
Rewrite those beliefs, find out what works for you and execute from a place of intention and integrity. You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Be kind to yourself on this journey, seek out inspirations and continue working for your dreams. Let me know if this episode was helpful, DM me or tag me in your stories. I repost every single story from you guys, and I will see you next week when I am back in Bali. Hope you all have a fantastic joyful week. Bye guys love you all.

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