My dad never went to work on the weekend, but he was always working.
His nick name given by my uncle was spaceman, meaning he was always just staring into space.
Recently, in a conversation with my dad he called this a curse. The curse was an inability to NOT think about work. He knew it was wrong but could not for the life of him change.
Being my father son, I’ve also always struggled to shut down my brain too. The weekends were work days for me, not physically but mentally. I never could shut it off, I was mimicking my Dad.
Sometimes this was good for business, lots of ideas and then getting to work on those ideas right away.
But there was a huge problem. I had a family. A wife and 3 children. The attention I was giving in my brain was taking away from me being a husband and a father.
If I look back against the things that I value most I was in violation of my own personal belief system, my core values
At the end of my life I will hold being a great husband, father and friend much higher than my ability to be a great business man.
My actions were not consistent with my values, my family deserved to have me on the weekends but I was not giving them all I could.
Then I learned about something called free days from my time with the strategic coach program. This is basically days where you do no work-related activity, none, not even thinking.
At first I was like that’s impossible, then, after having one of the most engaged days with my family I felt amazing.
They taught us that as an entrepreneur your brain is your most valuable asset. If you work your brain too hard it never gets a break. This is where you generate stress, in attentiveness and simply not being present.
Free Days were the key to having more clarity, more quality time with loved ones, less stress.
You may be reading this and thinking, I don’t have a family, my work is all I have. If this is the case, you’ll think long and hard about never giving your brain a break.
If you give the rest it needs you will think clearer, be less stressed, generate more good ideas, be more present and finally the breaks will help you be more focused when you are at work.
Even after learning the impact of these FREE days, I had trouble being consistent and never could find a way to really master them.
But then I learned a new skill: THE FREEDOM SESSION
One of the most critical hours I spend each week is my freedom session.
I learned this process from the great work by the people at Getting things done. I have adopted this session for anyone, even if you are not a loyal GTD disciple like me.
For me, this session takes place on Fridays and the sole goal of this session is empty my brain and be totally prepared for the following week by the time your weekend starts.
This gave me the freedom to be engaged with my family, knowing in the back of my mind my work life was in control.
Here is an outline of a process for a freedom session
Block 1-2 hours at the end of your week, put this session on your calendar and call it Freedom session. I schedule mine at 3 PM on Fridays.
- Positive Focus: Write down 5 great things that happened that week, this gets your mind in a positive frame to have a great session.
- Clean up: Collect Loose Papers and Materials from your backpack, desk, office etc. Process these materials by either tossing in the garbage or filling them as necessary. Business cards, receipts, meeting notes
- Get to ZERO: Get email inbox and cell phone messages to Zero.
- 15-minute Mindsweep: One a yellow legal pad or journal, write down everything on your mind in bullet point fashion. Keep your pen moving the entire time. Go for quantity not quality.
- Review last week Calendar
- Review upcoming Calendar: One of things I look for is how many consultations we have scheduled for the upcoming week. If it’s less than our goal, I’m on the phone with our sales and marketing team.
- Review all to-do/action lists from past week: Hopefully you keep to do lists of some sort, take a few minutes and look through them, move all undone tasks to next week’s list.
- Review Project list: Your project list is a list of all projects you have. What defines a project is that it takes multiple steps to complete this project. For example, planning my current mentorship weekend has been a huge project that has many steps including things like preparing the presentations, getting sponsorships, organizing the materials, booking other speakers. I could never plan this in one sitting. So in this session I check the status of this project and always write down the next things I need to do to move this project forward. Everyone one of your project needs something called a desired outcome. The desired outcome is actual result you want from the project. I normally have 5-10 projects going at once.
- Review Waiting for list: Most people don’t have a waiting for list but you need one. These are things you have done but cannot take anymore action until you get a response from someone.
- Review Someday Maybe list: These are the good ideas you get but its just not the right time to implement, write them on a list for another day but check it every week to see if the time is right to take action.
- Goal Review: Take a quick look at your goals. Whether you have monthly, quarterly annual goals is not the topis here, if you are an entrepreneur you need goals, you need them written and finally and most important you need to review them regularly. Ask yourself if you are on track or off track. If you are off-track, add what you need to do to your action list.
I am sure many of you struggle with this and I am by no means an expert on time management. In fact Paul Reddick taught me that all strengths come from a deficit. I was awful with time management and still working at it today.
P.S I will be going over the Freedom session in more detail at my upcoming Mentorship on November 11-12. Click the link to snatch the last spot! MENTORSHIP
P.P.S If you can’t make the Mentorship but want to get more insight about what we’re doing, I will be taking a few days in November and December to do full 1-1 consulting days at GFP, email me back if you want to learn more at email@example.com