We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
When I worked for someone else, I really didn’t have a need to create a perfect schedule. The reason for this was because there was a specific time to show up for work during the week, and for all intents and purposes, the schedule was created for me.
I just sort of had to fall in line, Monday through Friday.
This is not the case when you work for yourself. Nowadays, I have deadlines that are relatively inflexible, and I just do whatever I need to do to meet them, even if that means working through the weekend, late into the night, or pulling 12 hour days on occasion.
That inflexibility as far as my deadlines are concerned does not mean that I have a very stressful life. I don’t.
Instead, What I have is a life that demands I know how to manage my time, and I’ve learned the hard way that time management can be one of the biggest pitfalls for people who are self-employed.
Today’s article is going to show you how to create the perfect schedule for yourself so that you can really have a life you enjoy if you happen to work for yourself like I do.
The First Thing You Have To Do Is Admit Who You Are To Yourself
When you work for yourself, there is no one to tell you what to do or when to do it. This can be a good thing or bad thing.
On the one hand, I love the freedom that comes with working for myself. At the same time, I really have to watch my energy levels and make sure that I am working inside of a daily routine that makes sense for me.
Most of us know that every human being is unique; however, when you work for yourself, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to do things the way that other people do things in order to be successful.
For example, I used to think that I had to get up at 7 AM in order to have the best workday. I thought that my writing would be horrible if I started later in the day.
The thing is, I am totally a night owl, And when I start writing anytime before 11 AM, it always sucks. GUARANTEED. I promise. If you want my worst writing, ask me to write something at 9 o’clock in the morning.
I can certify right now that nothing I write in the morning will be helpful, useful, or even remotely interesting. So what I started to do was get up around 11am and start writing between noon and 2pm – sometimes later.
I am rarely finished writing and editing before midnight. And if I start even later in the day, I’ve been known to watch the sunrise. Now, this kind of behavior and running this kind of scheduleCan cause people to look at you sideways when you first begin…but don’t worry about that.
They are not paying your bills or running your business. You are. And this leads me to my second piece of advice concerning creating a workable schedule.
Though You Want To Be Considerate To Your Family, You Also Want To Do Your Best Work
I am single, and my daughter is 20 years old and lives (FAR!) away from home right now, so it’s easy for me to have any kind of schedule I want. I love this aspect of my life, but I do understand that not everyone is single.
Rosemarie Groner of the Busy Budgeter sat her family down when she was first starting to grow her blog. She let them know that she had a very specific income goal in mind, and she asked them for lots of grace as she built her blog.
They gave it to her…and she worked an insane amount of hours until she hit her income goals and could begin to outsource some of the work. From what I understand, she has a ~20 hour work week, now, and she works around her family as much as she can, though she does have set office hours and a small team to manage.
Personally, I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission. I just put my head down and got to work. The first year was a hustle, and I did have to tell my family that I hadn’t lost my mind.
I was just working – all the time. But that only lasted for the first, full year. Life is pretty comfortable, now, and the initial work was well worth the effort.
My current schedule is based on when I do my best work. That happens to be afternoons and nights. It’s nothing for me to show up at my co-working space at 3pm and not leave until 1 or 2am. Those are hours when my brain is just happy to be creating.
Prior to 11am, I’m pretty useless.
When Creating A Perfect Schedule, Keep In Mind That You’ll Do Your Best Work In 2-4 Hour Bursts
When I sit down to work, it takes me about 15 minutes to get focused. Once I am focused, I can write for an hour to two hours straight. And unless someone comes in to distract me or I am stuck with a piece of research, that flow of work always feels really good.
Somehow, my body always naturally knows when to take a break. I don’t have to set a timer or anything, and I find that most people are the same way.
When it’s time for you to take a break, totally step away from your work. During your break time, you can eat a snack or a full meal. You can take an invigorating 30 minute walk – this is often what I do because sitting for lengthy periods of time simply isn’t healthy…and it’s TERRIBLE for your back.
Another thing you can do it take a moment to call a friend and have a great conversation. Get some household chores done that can be accomplished over the phone…like paying bills or confirming an appointment with a friend or client, or making sure the schedule hasn’t changed for your favorite workout class.
Be sure to set a time for your break. It’s easy to lose track of time and break for far too long.
When your break is over, it’s important for you to get right back to work.
I run a schedule exactly like this until it’s time for me to stop working for the day. This keeps me incredibly productive, and it helps me to stay on top of all my deadlines with ease.
I work Monday through Friday…and if there is a heavier than usual workload – kind of like there is right now (because my client is launching a new brand) – I might work a few hours on Saturday night.
I always take Sundays off. Always. You might choose a different day, or you might not choose to work weekend at all. When my daughter was still in the home full-time, I didn’t work weekends at all.
Now that she’s gone, I do. It’s totally your choice!
The Most Important Thing Is To Be Consistent With Your Schedule
Though I am not as consistent writing on my blog as I would like to be, I have to admit that nothing gets in the way of my client work. I know that hours I’m going to be writing for him every single week, and I don’t let anything get in the way of that.
There is a comforting predictability to my schedule, and when it’s running smoothly, life feels absolutely perfect.
That written, it’s normal for life to get in the way on occasion. There have been times when I’ve gotten sick, or I have to travel to get my daughter from college or bring her home for the holidays.
The transitions back to work are always a little stressful…but those times don’t last. Because I know what my routine should look like, it’s easy to get back to it in a matter of days.
This is the beauty of consistency. Once you create your schedule and to stick to it, it’ll become like second nature to you, and it will make working for yourself blissful.
So…to sum it up, all you have to do to create a perfect schedule if you work for yourself is to do the following:
- Take inventory of your actual personality. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night person? When are you most productive? Schedule your work times around your most productive hours. Avoid working during times when you’re naturally tired and unmotivated.
- Work in bursts with real, 30-minute breaks every 2-4 hours.
- Stay consistent. Your schedule will quickly become like second nature, and you won’t struggle so much getting work done!
I hope this article has been useful to you!
Have you created a schedule? How is it working out for you?