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The Entrepreneurial Time System

Implementing Free, Focus, and Buffer Days to 10X performance

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Most entrepreneurs overcomplicate time management.

The more simple your time system is, the less effort it’ll take to stick to it.

I see many entrepreneurs spending more time and energy trying to manage their time and energy than it’s producing them.

The purpose of systems is to create leverage that maximizes the output.

Simplicity is where the magic lies.

The Entrepreneurial Time System I learned from Dan Sullivan is a game-changer for me.

“Most people don’t have boundaries in their time system. The majority of entrepreneurs have the attitude that any one of the 365 days in a year can be a workday if there’s an opportunity. Their mindsets practically guarantee that work is always going to be favored over anything in their lives—and everyone in their lives. But when you structure your time according to The Entrepreneurial Time System of Free, Focus, and Buffer Days, you have the freedom to make and carry out all your commitments, personal and professional.” — Dan Sullivan

The Entrepreneurial Time System is about structuring your week and time-blocking:

  • Free Days

  • Focus Days

  • Buffer Days

Each with a specific purpose that contributes to flow and peak performance.

Free Days

Your Free Days are when you unplug from doing work for recovery.

Recovery can look like many things:

  • Rest and rejuvenation

  • Quality connection time

  • Play and joy

  • Optimize physical, mental, emotional, spiritual wellbeing

  • Thinking and innovating

The key here is to fully unplug from “doing” work and to focus on you.

Recovery is essential for flow and increased performance.

If you’re never fully unplugged from work, you’re also never fully in the zone.

Your ability to turn “on” and get into a flow state is proportionate to your ability to turn “off” and fully release and recover.

Focus and recovery are a contraction and expansion.

Burnout and subpar performance are a result of a poorly designed system that doesn’t allow for full contraction and expansion.

Recovery needs to be your first priority.

Schedule these Free Days first. I schedule mine for the full year ahead.

The mistake I see a lot of people make is prioritizing recovery only after you drop below your baseline.

  • Waiting till you burnout before you start the recovery process

  • Waiting till your nervous system is really dysregulated before you regulate

  • Waiting till things get really painful before taking action

Recovery is not a solution, it’s a process.

It needs to be integrated into your process. Recovery never ends.

Especially as your business grows and the stakes get higher.

With more success and growth, recovery becomes increasingly important because the decisions you make at higher levels have a higher impact and consequences.

More space for recovery is needed.

In his book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity”, David Keith Lynch explains that ideas and opportunities are like fish.

If you stay at the surface level, you will only be aware of the small fish.

It is only by going deep into the water that you catch the big fish.

To find the big ideas and opportunities, you need to create more space for high-quality free time.

To create space for thinking, innovating, and strategic decisions.

Your Team on Free Days

Your Free Days aren’t just about you.

Effectively implementing Free Days also improves your team and systems.

You know you have a rockstar team if you can completely unplug on your Free Days and your team can keep the business operating.

For this to happen, you need to have trained your team to manage themselves and have systems in place for your business to operate without you always needing to be involved.

You’ll never know how good your team and systems are until you step away.

And they’ll never know how good they can be if you’re constantly managing them.

You also want to be empowering your team to unplug on their Free Days to recover, so that they can show up fully when they’re “on”.

Prioritize recovery as a team.

Lead by example.

Focus Days

Your Focus Days are all about creating impactful results.

Structure your week for flow and create big blocks of open space for deep work.

Your Focus Days are for prioritizing high-impact and high-value activities. Work that you enjoy and grow your business.

You should have no more than three priorities on each of these Focus Days.

When you’re done, unplug and recover.

Your Team on Focus Days

Schedule Focus Days as a team.

No meetings or calls.

Everyone is just focused on their highest priorities for that week that will move the business forward or will complete their quarterly objectives.

Communicate to your team when your Focus Days are and create systems and processes around what to do if they need you during those days.

For example:

  • Anything they need from you should go to your EA or Operator on those Focus Days

  • Your EA and Operator should be trained to discern what is absolutely necessary to go to you for

  • Anything they can handle on your behalf is done and reported back during your Buffer Days

Simple systems and processes can set you free.

Buffer Days

Your Buffer Days are for everything else in between Focus and Recovery.

These can be:

  • Team meetings

  • Client calls

  • Operations and organization

  • Low-priority tasks

Stack similar activities and meetings next to each other on the same day.

It is possible to have hybrid Focus & Buffer Days.

I’ve tested full Focus Days and full Buffer Days for some seasons.

And hybrid Focus Mornings and Buffer Afternoons for other seasons.

Personally, I find the full Focus & Buffer Days to be more effective since I don’t have to context switch between the two each day.

Find what works for you in this season and be open to testing and adapting each season.

Your Team on Buffer Days

These may be buffer days but you should still treat them with clear structure and systems.

Stacking all team meetings on one or two days leaves more open days for productive work.

Scattering meetings throughout the week can kill productivity. It takes time and energy to switch from meetings to productive work.

Having a clear system for what meetings are needed is important. I wrote about Meetings Strategy here.

Treat your Buffer Days with intention.

Buffer Days create space and flow for your Focus Days when done effectively.

Expansion Beyond Days

When you understand the cycle and flow of Free, Focus, and Buffer…

You start to see seasons of this cycle beyond just days and weeks.

You will have seasons of recovery and focus. Seasons of push and pull.

So you can start to build systems and processes around this and optimize for your energy cycles.

You can have weeks or months of recovery and then sprints of focused action.

Putting It In Action

Ok, so there it is…

The Entrepreneurial Time System:

  • Free Days

  • Focus Days

  • Buffer Days

Let’s put it into action now:

  • Start by designing your Perfect Week

  • Time block your Free Days, schedule them for the year

  • Time block your Focus Days

  • Stack up meetings and similar activities in your Buffer Days

  • Organize your work around these days

  • Communicate this shift to your team so they can support

  • Empower and train your team to do the same

  • Review your energy cycles and performance each season

Take back ownership of how you manage your time and energy.

I have a quick ASK & GIVE…


I want to know how I can make this newsletter even better for you.

Can I get 2 mins of your time and attention to fill out this survey form?


I’m writing the 20 Hour Founders Playbook right now.

It’s currently 50+ pages of high-value content, templates, and actionables to help you get back 20+ hours a week from operations and team management.

Simple systems and processes, proven results.

I’m giving everyone who fills out the survey first & free access to this playbook when it’s done.

If you want it first, you know what to do!

Your Pal,


P.S. Whenever you’re ready…

  1. I created some tools and resources here to help you take your business to the next level

  2. Want to dive deeper on how to become a time freedom Founder? I’m launching the 20 Hour Founders Course soon, get on the waitlist.

  3. Follow me on LinkedIn and Instagram for more tips on business and mindset growth

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