100 Days of Working Out Loud.
My self-imposed challenge to publish for 100 days straight.
Ran from 17 January 2022 to 10 May 2022

Calgary skyline. October 2019

of 100

Finding time to do deep work

I feel like I’m just not getting the stuff done that I need to.

My business consists of two primary revenue streams. First, there’s consulting work that I do for clients, including my role as fractional COO for one. Then, there’s my real passion - helping solopreneurs build a profitable business.

In the longer term, my goal is to reduce my consulting work so that I can focus just on the solopreneur side of things. A lot of the work I do in this side of the business is about creating online courses and info products, and many of these products are effectively passive income.

But somehow circumstances conspire to keep me away from developing these products.

As much as I try to limit the consulting work to specific days of the week, stuff happens that I need to pay attention to. That’s just the nature of the beast, and I can’t really complain about this. I have wonderful clients and the cash flow is good.

When I do get the time and focus to develop my courses and info products, it actually goes quite fast. But those times - when I can focus just on that work - seem to be few and far between.

So I’m giving myself another challenge.

Cal Newport coined the term “deep work” - the ability to spend extended periods of time on cognitively demanding tasks.

To get my courses and info products out the door, I need to do deep work. The work is demanding, and there’s a lot of it. And the only way I can get it out the door is to, well, spend the time to get it done. Uninterrupted by other work or distractions.

So in the very near future I’m going to book a week off as if I’m going on vacation.

During that week I will be working just on my passive income products. I’m almost done with the Email Marketing 101 course, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. So the idea is that if I can spend a week just on that, I should have the course, including all the attendant sales pages, lead nurturing sequences and so on, done.

So when does this happen?

When I look at all the other work I need to do, and the client demands that will inevitably pop up, it can be difficult to schedule that time.

But I’m going to approach it the same way we (my wife and I) approach our vacations: book it long enough in advance, and stick to it.

So here’s my commitment to myself: I’m going to spend the week of 21 February just on my course work.

I’ve blocked the time out on my calendar and set the time as “busy” so my automated systems won’t allow bookings during that time. Closer to the time I will see if I will do the one or two standing meetings I have during the week.

So it’s done, the commitment is made and I’m excited.

Will this work?

I know that to ramp up this side of my business, I have to make these commitments. I will use this first block of time as a bit of an experiment to see just how well things work, and if it works, I will repeat it. Or make adjustments as I learn what works and what doesn’t.

Will this work for you?

Just about every business requires some deep work, especially in the solopreneur space where many of us provide services. We have to develop those services, the material that goes with it, plan and prepare our marketing, and so on.

I already know from experience that early mornings are my most productive times. There are no interruptions and my mind is clear.

The same principle applies to deep work - and by extension to booking a week “off” to focus just on that. So I recommend it because I already know it works - we really just need the discipline to say “no” to other things so we can focus on the stuff that matters.

I would love to hear if you try it - and how it worked for you.