Starting and growing a business can be exciting and rewarding. But it can also be challenging and stressful. I started my own business as a side hustle, so I have many hats to wear and not a lot of time to wear them. Every article I read and video I watched had a list of things I had to do to be successful, and I watched in horror as my to-do list grew longer by the day. This is difficult enough when working full-time, but it is practically impossible to do it along with working another job and raising a family. Working 70 hours or more a week wasn’t an option; I had made a decision long ago that burnout was too high a price to pay for success.
I needed another way, and the solution was to decide in advance what I wanted to achieve each week. If you want to grow your business without working day and night, this will work for you as well.
The Weekly Outcome Approach
The weekly outcome approach focuses on what you would like to achieve in the week instead of everything on your to-do list. You begin by identifying the three most important results, or outcomes, for the week ahead. This flips your thinking from “what” you are doing to “why” you are doing it. By limiting the list to three, you are motivated to filter through everything that you could do to focus on what’s most important for growing the business. Each desired outcome should be linked to your overall goals and positively impact your business in the medium-long term.
If you are finding it difficult to pick only three results, it can be helpful to map out several weeks in advance. You can review this each week to make sure it’s still the best option for you, and it helps avoid over-packing your limited time. It may also be beneficial to identify the work that is critical to your business. This is work that you must always do, regardless of any other goals you are working towards. Examples of this could be replying to customers, fulfilling orders or updating your expenses. These “above all else” tasks sit outside the weekly outcomes and rarely change.
After identifying three outcomes, it’s time to list the main things you need to do for each of them. Keep the list short, with no more than three actions for each outcome. These are the things which you must do to be successful. If you have a long list of activities for each result, it can be tempting to do the easier ones first. The activities that make a real difference are often more challenging.
These two steps complete weekly outcomes planning and set the foundation for the week. It allows you to focus on more strategic activity even if you don’t have a lot of time to grow your business. Because there is limited space in the plan, everything needs to be worthwhile. Try weekly outcome planning and watch your side hustle build week after week.
Niamh Brady works with people who want to be more successful at work without burning out. If you would like to discuss how you can create a better workday, contact us to learn more.