I basically live in a vat of overwhelm most months out of the year.
(I take summer — namely, all of July and August — off, because it’s required for my sanity. How I do that is a different conversation saved for a different blog post.)
Unfortunately for me, I don’t see that changing much any time soon. I’m a single mother, with a toddler, and ADHD, and 786 things I want to accomplish in business by yesterday, and a half-lofty, half-attainable goal of buying myself a beach house for my 31st birthday.
So, yeah, overwhelm will be a staple for me, at least for a while. I think that completely eradicating overwhelm is completely impossible, but managing it (or, at the very least, keeping it temporarily at bay) is absolutely something I can do.
Specifically: with the help of these 5 days I plan on adding to my schedule in 2024.
When I’m operating as my best self, this is what my schedule looks like:
Sunday — mentally prepare for the week ahead by prepping what I need to get done, making sure I know what’s on my calendar, and getting an overall feel for what’s to come.
Mondays — all things BTL. This means newsletter writing (because mine gets sent out every Tuesday morning), content planning, blog writing, brainstorming, learning, creating content for my courses, developing new educational resources, filming TikTok videos, and so on.
(It’s, for all intents and purposes, a “CEO Day,” but I don’t like that term, because it feels stupid to call myself a ~CEO~ when it’s just lil ole me. Even though I quite literally *am* the CEO of a corporation, as stated on my tax return.)
Tuesdays — throw my phone in a ditch and dive inside of my client work hole.
Wednesdays — same as Tuesday, with the occasional call, presentation, interview, meeting, etc.
Thursdays — call days. I usually kick off projects on these days, or have review calls with my website copy clients, or have support calls with my students. Thursdays are also for copy audits and strategy calls, when I have them booked.
Fridays — anything I feel like doing. Anything I didn’t finish. Fridays feel like a “free” day to me, because for the majority of my son’s preschool career, he only went Monday – Thursday, meaning Friday was for motherhood. Now that he’s in school on Fridays, I’m a free woman, and Fridays have become similar to Mondays (or Saturdays, depending on my mood).
Saturdays — whatever I want. Zero work. I’m not BTL, just Mommy.
And, of course, there are the background tasks that always exist, like responding to emails and DMs, checking in with my mentees and answering their questions or providing them feedback, writing down any ideas that come to me in a flash and threaten to disappear if I don’t document them immediately… you know, typical freelancer stuff.
& that’s a pretty good, balanced schedule!
But when I’m NOT operating at my best self — or when my Sunday is thrown off — Mondays start after my Sunday errands, around 1pm, then all I do is write my newsletter, then all the admin-y stuff I like to do on Mondays doesn’t happen, and I turn into a client-work-and-call-only machine, and that’s that.
So, in 2024, I’m on a mission to figure out how to change that.
The first thing I want to accomplish is moving tasks from my “I want to do this” list to the “done” list.
Some people would be too humble to tell you this, but I’m not:
I have really fucking good ideas. A long, long, long list of them.
The ADHD squirrel that operates inside my brain is sometimes on FIRE with all that she wants to accomplish — but there simply aren’t enough free hours in my day to actually put all of those things into ACTION.
(Notice how I said “free hours.” When it comes to free time, I am at a wild disadvantage. Single mom with 100% of the responsibility + preschool hours + needing to at least somewhat exist as a person = less time to spend on executing business goals.)
The second thing I want to accomplish is diminishing the amount of tasks on my admin to-do list. That shit is never-ending.
& I KNOW I’d be better for it. But, again, where the hell does one find the TIME?
I don’t know if it’s my neurodivergence or if everyone who runs a business on their own feels this way, but every single thing I do feels like it has the same level of importance. It’s difficult to prioritize when everything is prioritizable to me.
(Scientifically, the answer, of course, is the ADHD. But, interestingly, most business owners I know have ADHD. There’s something superpower-y happening there.)
Naturally, I’ve been successfully running this business for years, so I’ve figured out that some things have to be deprioritized to make room for the things that make me money, but that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to give my attention to other things (that, too, would make me money, just indirectly, and therefore, not always at the top of the “do this now” list).
And, finally, the third thing I want to accomplish in 2024 is feeling more balanced.
Because 2023 was a “live your life” year for me — a year I spend doing tons of self discovery, giving myself grace, figuring out who I am on my own as a person after being one half of a union for a while, traveling, taking time off, enjoying life after wild, unexpected, unsavory personal life events of 2022 — that means 2024 has to be a money year.
But I also want to savor every second of Wesley being 4 years old.
And I want to have a flexible schedule, because that’s the best part of being a freelancer.
And I want to continue to LIVE (not be chained to a desk).
…but there’s the beach house.
So, while I don’t have the perfect plan — because NO ONE has a perfect plan, and if they tell you that they do, they’re either lying, or they’re old and wise enough to have experienced every other plan known to man — I do have these 5 days I’m going to add to my schedule, to help me feel more balanced, more motivated, more inspired, and more excited about 2024.
Right now, it’s 3:25pm.
It was 3:02pm when I decided to write this blog post.
At 3:01pm, I begrudgingly closed my copy of Iron Flame, got up out of my bed, and internally whined about my lunch break being over.
I walked to my bathroom to stare at myself in my mirror and get a fucking grip.
“I want to be a trash can,” I thought to myself.
Then I remembered a video I’d seen on TikTok months ago — a woman was talking about penciling a Trash day into her schedule, so she could be a vegetable without any guilt.
& that thought was the catalyst for this entire idea: I’m going to add themed days to my 2024 calendar, and bet your ass the first one is gonna be Trash Can day.
The purpose: be a literal trash can.
Don’t do a damn thing all day. Sit around. Eat like shit. Sleep, if possible. Read fiction books. Watch influencers on YouTube. No jeans allowed. Do NOTHING. Rejuvenate.
Vegetative state only.
The goal: rest. For once in my god damn life.
I’ve determined that scheduled rest is the only rest I won’t feel debilitatingly guilty for taking (during the workweek). My brain is always on, which pretty much means workweek rest is off the table.
I have my friend Abbey to thank for this one.
We were on the phone earlier this week, commiserating about how much there is to be done, and how little time there is to complete it, on any given day.
She mentioned having a “back burner” list — and my ears immediately perked up like Wesley when the Bluey theme song comes on.
Such a good idea to have a list dedicated to all the things you can’t give attention to right now, but know you want to at some point in the future. Having that shit on a regular to-do list just makes you feel like crap.
(I technically *do* have a “back burner” list already. It’s called my December to-do list. Aka the classic freelancer’s month off to catch up & prep for the new year, but, of course, that list has an UNGODLY amount of things on it, and we both know I’ll choose Christmas shopping over 98% of those tasks.)
The purpose: accomplish as many Back Burner tasks as possible.
I’m planning to use these days to do random things that I don’t normally give myself the time to do, because they don’t really feel “important” enough to choose over other tasks.
Things like going through my email inbox folders, “saved” posts on all the social platforms, “content ideas” notes, etc, and make sense of it all.
Or redesigning that freebie I’ve had since 2020.
Or reading through my email workflows to make sure everything’s still relevant and engaging.
Or updating old blog posts to make sure all the links work, the info is still correct and appropriate, and that I still like everything I wrote way back when.
You get the vibe.
The goal: shave some things off of that daunting list, to hopefully make myself feel like I’m moving the needle forward & giving my own business the attention it deserves.
Remember how I said Mondays were for all things BTL? For a longgg time now, I’ve had “learning” on the list of things that a “BTL Day” entails, but I’ve never actually made time to do it.
I have some courses that I haven’t finished, some videos I’ve been meaning to watch, some blogs I’ve been intending to read, some resources I’ve wanted to try out, and I just… haven’t.
Instead, I’ve been spending those days focused on growing my own brand, writing newsletters, creating content for my courses, building up new resources for my community, etc.
But I LOVE learning. It’s one of the things that made me so excited about copywriting when I first started.
It always makes me burst with ideas — and I think that’s why I haven’t prioritized it. Because, lately, I’ve had no damn time for IDEAS. There’s no time left in my day or week or month to execute, which is frustrating.
The purpose: grow my biz brain, and take advantage of all of the awesome resources I have at my disposal, whether that be courses I’ve purchased, books I own, YouTube channels I’m subscribed to, newsletters I’ve been saving in my “read later” folder for a year, or… well, anything I want.
The goal: get smarter.
(They didn’t put “Wicked Smaht” on my graduation cap for nothing!)
(“They” is me, obviously.)
I almost called this “execution day” … which … like … obviously, we can’t call it that.
Of course, this is the day where I plan to EXECUTE the ideas — this is a day for taking action.
I’ve already told you tons of times in this blog post alone how many things I want to do, but don’t have time for, so in 2024, I’m carving out one day each quarter to block out the rest of the world and DO. IT.
The purpose: take action on one specific idea that I’ve been wanting to do / make / have / be / accomplish for a while.
Maybe this is turning a masterclass into an online course. 👀
Maybe this is launching a new freebie. 👀
Maybe this is collaborating with other industry professionals to bring my audience a series of educational workshops. 👀
Maybe this is creating a new version of my group mentorship program for copywriters. 👀
Maybe this is building a membership community for the BTL educational library. 👀
Maybe this is me launching done-with-you email marketing services, with a focus on newsletter strategy and storytelling. 👀
(Yes, obviously, that was me hinting at what’s to come).
The goal: make shit happen.
Kind of like that whole “the trip made it out of the group chat” phenomenon — but, instead, it’s my to-do list.
My best friend, Jayme — who you have to thank for all of my wild Arizona dating stories (like this one and this one) — and I both, unfortunately, share the same procrastinatory tendencies when it comes to doing, well… real life things.
Call it ADHD, call it avoidance, whatever – we both have lots of ~life admin~ in any given day / week / month / year.
(I forgot to register my car for 4 months. I think Jayme forgot to register hers for 2 years. You get it.)
So, when on one of our daily phone calls — during the designated “commiseration” portion — earlier this year, Jayme referred to her growing life admin to-do list as FROGS TO SWALLOW I was like:
“Oh, YUP. I’m using that. That’s perfect.”
Because these are things that aren’t just little tasks you’re putting off – they’re things that feel scary or annoying or long but (much to our dismay) are wicked necessary.
Things like finding a new PCP.
Or paying a bill.
Or sending a difficult email.
Or addressing the rattle in your car.
Or getting your Invisalign put on.
You know, the stuff “normal” (aka not neurodivergent) people would have absolutely no fucking problem doing at all.
The purpose: swallow the frogs.
The goal: SWALLOW THE FROGS.
The real goal: don’t put off Frog Swallow Day.
Quarterly. It feels like a good way to split things up, and Lord knows I’ll need at least 4 excuses to be a trash can.
I, obviously, reserve the right to have these days happen as frequently as I want them to — I should probably have a Back Burner day more than just 4 times in 2024 — but scheduling them in NOW as inexcusable, non-ditchable ~events~ makes them feel capital S “Serious.”
And Serious is what I need, so I’ll actually make them happen.
(Anyone else feel like if it’s not on your Google Calendar, it’s not real, you’re not attending, and the event actually never existed at all? Because same.)
(That is how I accidentally missed my friend’s bridal shower last May. But that’s neither here nor there.)
(Sorry, Marissa. Love u.)
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