When you start working from home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The technical stuff can be terrifying. And there is always seems so much to learn about content marketing, social media, and creating passive income. Of course, this is all in addition to the actual work that must be done for clients.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that one of the biggest barriers to success is productivity.
So, when you are working, how do you know that what you are doing is exactly what you should be doing? I’m going to answer that question by helping you set up your stress-free home business schedule.
Create Your Work From Home Schedule
You’re a busy mom, wife, and entrepreneur. If your kiddos are in school, then maybe you have about 30 hours a week to work on your business. But, if your kiddos aren’t in school, then you have even less.
And while it’s great to have the freedom and flexibility to work around your family’s schedule, you need to ensure the smooth operation and stability of your business.
How To Schedule Your Day When You Own A Small Business
While a lot of your tasks will depend on your own individual business model, there are 7 basic categories to consider when creating a schedule that works:
- Lead Generation & Marketing
- Client Work
Planning Specific Tasks
It doesn’t matter how many hours per week that you are working. The single most important task is planning out what you will do each day.
I’m most productive when I spend time planning on Friday afternoons. I write out my tasks and goals for the following week. Other people do their weekly planning on Sunday evenings before they go to bed or early on Monday mornings.
When you have a weekly plan, the best thing to do is review it each morning and again during your lunch break. That’s the best way to ensure you won’t fumble your focus.
Time for Communicating
Every day, you will need to set aside time for replying to emails, phone calls, and social media messages. Set aside a block of time and then carefully track the time you spend. It’s easy to let something like email or social media help you procrastinate from getting to your “real” work.
Time For Lead Generation & Marketing
As a business owner, you are now responsible for finding your own clients. Spend some time each week looking for new leads and other activities that bring people into your client funnel. These activities might include creating content for your Facebook business page or making writing articles for you blog or LinkedIn profile. You also have to allow plenty of time for discovery calls.
Time For Learning
One of my all-time favorite business books is 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. As a small business owner, you have to take the time to “sharpen the saw”. That means scheduling time every week to learn, read and write.
These activities could include watching a module from an online course, listening to a podcast, reading a business book, or writing in a journal. When you tend to your ongoing professional development (sharpen the saw), you keep your mind active and generate new ideas for expanding your business.
Time for Bookkeeping
Your financials is another essential part of your business you need to stay connected with every week. Keep a close eye on income and expenses to make sure your earning and spending are in line with your budget and goals.
Time for Organization
Shortly after becoming a homeowner, I realized that I had no choice but to accept drudgery in housework. I don’t think I’m ever going to enjoy cleaning the bathroom or mopping the kitchen floor.
It’s the same with business. Organizational tasks like organizing files saved in Dropbox, tagging emails for follow-up, or backing up your computer to an external drive are tedious, but important.
Thankfully, these tasks are not the most complicated so they can be done during a time of low energy. And they will do wonders for your helping you maintain a positive productive mind-set.
Time For Client Work
Quite simply, this is whatever work you may need to do for your clients. This could be time spent on predefined tasks. Or it could be doing work as it shows up. It really depends on your business model.
Here are some tips for making the most of your client work time:
- Set a starting time. Punctuality counts even when you report to yourself. Determine a realistic time when you can be ready to start your client’s work.
- Give yourself a quitting time. Remember, the whole idea of having a home business is to have more work-life balance.
- Keep track of your time with a time tracking tool, because how else will you measure how your time really gets spent.
- Notify your family that you have set hours for client work. Ask your spouse and kids to minimize interruptions. Post a reminder on your office door during discovery and client calls.
- Limit visitors You may also need to notify your neighbors that working at home still means you are working. It’s nice to be a good neighbor but let them know they can’t ring the bell or knock on the door and expect an answer during certain times of the day.
- Call in help. If you need more help setting aside time to complete client work, you can hire a babysitter to play with the kids 3 or 4 hours per week. If you have close family, you can ask grandma or another relative to take the kids to the park one afternoon per week. It’s great for family bonding and will give you some peace and quiet.
Create Your Weekly Schedule
Now that you know what should be in your schedule, it’s time to create one.
A schedule is nothing more than a routine you follow. Your weekly schedule should include everything from what time you wake up to what time blocks you set aside for your business.
My opinion is that multitasking is a myth. To really get things done, you need to batch your similar tasks together. Now the next question is when.
In order to create your weekly schedule you need to understand what you can realistically achieve with the time you have. You also need to leave some flexibility in your schedule for unexpected things. Sometimes a project or tasks may take longer than anticipated. At other times, things may be delayed due to issues beyond your control.
In order to break down your weekly categories into daily time slots, you can ask yourself 5 questions:
- Are there any times in the day you cannot work?
- What time of day are you at your most productive?
- What time of day are you at your most creative?
- What time of day is your concentration at its highest?
- What time of day do you have the least energy?
Now fill in your daily schedule by following these guidelines:
- Mark off any time slots that you cannot work during the day
- Start each working day by doing some planning
- Match creative tasks such as marketing in the time slots where you are at your most creative.
- Enter your most detail-oriented client work in the time slots where your concentration is at its highest.
- Save the easiest tasks such as organization for the time slots where your energy is lower.
One more thing for a stress-free business. Do not attempt to make progress on a large project in four or five-hour marathon sessions. Time blocks, task bursts, or micro-tasks and then take a break when you reach a natural stopping point or every hour. The idea is to get more done in less time without losing your mind!
Small Business Planner Printables
Now that you established your weekly schedule and broken it down into daily time blocks, it’s time to get them set up in a calendar.
First, add to your calendar the work that you dread the most. With those out of the way, you’ll feel more accomplished, and moving through the rest of your day will be easier. As you prioritize the dreaded tasks, work on what is due first.
Second, consider what time of day is best for the most challenging tasks. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t rise and shine, I caffeinate and hope for the best. So my rule of thumb is to never schedule anything important for before 10:15 am.
Third, after you have your time blocked for each weekly task, confirm that you have left in plenty of time for family and friends. The whole point of having a home business is to have a work-life balance.
The Bottom Line On A Work From Home Schedule
The most successful small business owners work from their priorities list, not the to-dos list. Your daily priority each week should be based on your weekly work from home schedule. Make time for 7 basic categories listed in this post and you’ll find yourself earning more and working less.
Hello there! I’m Jill, thanks for visiting my blog. I help women create work-life flexibility and financial stability by building a profitable online business they love. Feel free to send me a message and let me know how I can help YOU!