Building a business of any kind is definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and I often encourage clients to think about how they can sustain themselves for the long-haul. But it’s hard to get our heads around long periods of time; our minds just can’t seem to hold onto everything at once. And this is where sprinting can work in our favour.
A sprint is the basic unit of development in Scrum (an agile project management framework particularly used in software development). The sprint is a timeboxed effort - it has a specific duration. The duration is fixed in advance for each sprint and is normally between one week and one month.
Each sprint starts with a planning event to identify goals and ends with a review and retrospective to identify lessons and improvements for the next sprint.
This idea of a sprint draws on our bodies’ natural rhythms and essential pulsing. When we’re healthy, we naturally move between periods of exertion, activity and using energy and periods of stillness, rest and restoring energy.
I like to use the month as a sprint. I developed this way of working for myself as I started paying more attention to the energy of my menstrual cycle but it can work for you whether you have a natural cycle or not. You can use this same map over the calendar month, the lunar cycle, or your own menstrual cycle. You might have noticed this rhythm in these emails from me - I focus on a different stage each week.
Here’s the essence of the sprint cycle:
Purpose and Planning (Spring) – An emergent time of exploration that is great for getting creative and starting new projects. Brainstorm, set goals and let your imagination fly.
Connect and Create (Summer) – Full bloom, this is the time for being your most socially outgoing. A time for sharing your work with the world and spreading your message.
Power Up (Autumn) – A powerful transition phase where we seek completion and get sh*t done. With the momentum of spring and summer in full force we power through.
Reflect and Restore (Winter) – A time for rest perfect for reflection, learning and consolidating all we have achieved. Without this vital phase we can take on too much, push too hard missing opportunities for our next phase of growth.
In this conversation I was joined by Katherine Lucarz, founder of The Marketing Knot, to talk all things productivity and visibility. Katherine has been working with the sprint for a month and we reflect on what she learnt and how that has helped her show up in her business. Plus, there’s lots of great tips from her on being more visible as a business owner.
How to Use a Sprint Cycle to Manage Your Energy
Our energy goes through natural cycles throughout the day, month and year. Especially for women with a menstrual cycle, this method can help you work with those cycles, rather than battling against them. The 30 Day Sprint divides your month into four phases, empowering you to focus your work to suit your energy levels and preferences. The method provides structure to your months and year, giving rhythm to your work and ensuring you don’t get stuck in procrastination or burn out.
You can implement this using a normal calendar month starting with the Purpose and Planning (inner Spring) phase or, if you’re following your menstrual cycle, start the cycle on the first day of your bleed (inner Winter) in the Reflect and Resore phase.
Top Productivty Tips
Start to pay attention to what works for you within your daily cycle. Are you better suited to being up early or working late? Are you more creative in the afternoon or craving connection? Use what you learn to restructure your days.
Get curious to get through procrastination.
Collaborate with others if that feels more enjoyable and natural for you.
Have people around that support you and will encourage you as you take the first steps into something new.
Top Visibility Tips
The 30 Day Sprint can help you with visibility by nudging you into more social and sharing phases whilst creating distinctive periods for content creation, rest and reflection.
Keep a diary or notes of topics to talk about. Note down what people ask you and discuss during the week then continue the conversation online.
Don’t panic or get overly concerned with people showing up live to your videos or interacting with comments as the majority of people won’t but it doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.
Don’t be scared to have an opinion, your business and message won’t be for everyone but that is a great thing!
Video can be difficult for us to get comfortable with but practicing to a supportive group first or simply with yourself to build confidence with the technology can make it much easier.
Remember online you are in control of who steps into your virtual office. Delete and block anything offensive or nasty immediately.
Working for yourself brings both amazing freedom and a distinct lack of structure. What should you do today, tomorrow, next week? Who is going to give you a kick when you’re being lazy, scared or making excuses? The reality is we have to create a structure and working life that works for us. The 30 Day Sprint can really help with that as can structuring your day around your natural energy cycle. Notice and pay attention to what suits you at what time of the day or month and build your own way of working. This is your business to build as you want to.
Embrace the opportunity and forget the old structures that no longer serve you (goodbye 9-5!)
About The Speakers
Katherine Lucarz is a marketing consultant and founder of The Marketing Knot - a step by step framework designed to take new and small business owners from marketing shame to marketing fame. You can find out more at https://themarketingknot.com.
I’m Vix Anderton, the founder of The Practical Balance and a performance coach for founders, freelancers and sidehustlers. Based in London, I work virtually with business owners from around the world and locally runs the Reconnection Cafe. I have designed multiple systems to help you work in flow and create better balance. The 30 day sprint is part of my Find Your Flow programme - applications are open now.