THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Having the time of your life

My conversations with Simon Hocken continued yesterday and there was a particular focus on the way in which I organise my time. Ever since I discovered Dan Sullivan’s “Entreprenuerial Time System”, I have planned my year’s a year in advance, taking time every August to create a wall-planner, a spreadsheet and then an Outlook calendar that allocated the “Free, Focus and Buffer Days” that Sullivan advocates. That has given me 12-weeks vacation every year since 1997 and the ability to leverage my one-man coaching practice to over $1m of annual sales. But there is a problem – and the problem is that my sales and my business have stayed the same for 4 years now – I have reached my own ceiling of complexity and I haven’t been able to break through. I’m 53 years old next month and I’m beginning to question my ability to continue performing at current levels. I’d also like to be financially independent when I’m 60 – and although I operate a fabulous income-generator, I’m not creating any business capital – if I get hit by a truck, the insurance payout would be good but the business would have no value. I’m keen that my biggest pay-day isn’t my funeral. So I’m doing some very deep thinking about what has to happen – big changes in the pipeline that I will share with you here and in the ezine. Yesterday, I chatted to Simon about my 2007 calendar – and there was a significant paradigm shift. To start thinking in terms of Free Weeks, Focus Weeks and Buffer Weeks (a la Sullivan but weeks rather than days – I’m finding that I need to focus on either work, rest or play for a week at a time – a day is too short). The other shift was to innovate some new weeks into my calendar, taking me beyond the Sullivan philosophy. So I have created a new type of week in my life – and I’m going to call it a “Studio Week” – why? Because I want to have blocks of time where I can focus on multi-media content development – books, e-books, audio, video, workshops, intensives, retreats, special events. Time to think and create in an environment (yet to be identified) that will nourish me. So the 2007 breakdown is looking like this:

  1. 8 weeks vacation

  2. 6 studio weeks

  3. 9 buffer weeks

  4. 29 focus weeks = 116 Focus Days

So I am dropping my vacation quota from 12 to 8 weeks – because I have realised that a week of content creation will be as refreshing and stimulating as a holiday for me. I am taking complete weeks to work “on” my business rather than “in” my business – leading Team CB forward. And I have 116 days to generate the revenues – and a target of £1m in sales for the year – a 66% increase in sales! How on earth will I achieve a 66% increase in sales? Watch this space.

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