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Sprint, Do Not Walk, to Freelancing Success

I look forward to mid-January every year. Yes, you read that right. Despite the cold New England snow, the broken New Year’s resolutions, and the failed diets, I’m excited for mid-January.

That’s when The Quad, one of the mastermind groups that help my freelance business succeed, meets for our annual business retreat, dubbed “CommaCon.” Whether we’re in person or virtual, we dedicate this week to reviewing the previous year and planning for the next. We hold themed discussions and invite a guest to chat with us. We’ll also attend nerdy events, like a little talk on language prejudice, or visit tourist sites, if we’re able to get together in person.

This year, we held CommaCon online and covered a lot of ground. One new feature to our retreat is something I hope to keep up with for the rest of the year: CEO Sprints (we’re fond of naming things, can you tell?).

Our group will sometimes do what Laura Poole calls “power hours”: an hour to do a specific task, like administration or editing, without interruption. Shut off social media, silence the phone, hide away if you must. By doing them together, we hold ourselves accountable. It helps me settle in and focus, especially since I know it’s only for an hour.

For the retreat, we took this idea a step further and scheduled power hours to work on our business goals. I often call strategy time like that my “CEO time,” so we dubbed these hours “CEO Sprints.” It motivated me to think bigger, which was especially important to me because 2022 is off to a chaotic start. There’s a lot going on in my personal life (mostly good, but still) and work time has been hard to come by. And while January is usually quiet for my business, this year began with some project leads and a couple of big projects that demanded my attention as soon as I returned from vacation.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of noise going on around me and I needed focus. Setting a schedule, being accountable to others, and breaking up all that strategy time into short, manageable chunks was just what I needed.

While I only managed one sprint in February, I completed two in March, and so far in April I’ve done one, which turned into a marathon. Not a bad start, with room to grow.

Next time you need some motivation to work on your business, why not try a CEO Sprint? Get a few colleagues or social media followers to do it with you and share the progress you made when you’re done. Your business will thank you.

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