One of the hardest things about running your own business, or working from home in any capacity, is figuring out a schedule that works for you. While it seems like it should be easy — work whenever you want! — the reality is that putting together a home business schedule requires some thought. And maintaining it can require some effort.
Decide When You Work Best
Your first step is to determine when you are most likely to get your work done efficiently. For me, that time is in the morning. I work best at the beginning of the day. If I can get up and get going, I am much more productive. By the time the afternoon hits, I don't feel like doing anything — and that's true even if I haven't worked all day to begin with.
My husband, on the other hand, works best at night. He gets much more accomplished after 11 p.m., when the house is quiet, and he's done some relaxing. Figure out when you work best, whether it's at a certain time of the day, or whether it's after the kids have gone to school. (My schedule works, in part, because my son is at school.)
Do what you can to schedule work hours when you are at your most productive. If I want to go to the spa, or meet a friend for lunch, or take my son on an outing, I schedule all of those items for sometime after noon. Most of my work is done by then, so those types of things don't really impact my work that heavily.
Everyone needs breaks. I find that my day works better when I compartmentalize it to some extent. I get up and do certain tasks. These are tasks I can fit in between the time I get up and the time that I need to take my son to school. Then I come back and work out. It's important to take good care of yourself when you work from home, since it helps you stay focused and motivated.
Once I am done working out, eating breakfast and cleaned up (and even out of my pajamas some day), I tackle a few projects. Then it's lunch time. I like to take a 45 minute lunch that involves reading while I eat. This helps me do something I enjoy while I eat. After lunch, I might do extra work projects, or go do something else, like clean the house or prepare for a special outing when my son gets home from school.
Taking breaks is part of what makes a home business schedule so great. You can return to your work re-energized and ready to go, since you just did something you enjoy, whether it's meditating, taking a walk, or watching a favorite TV show.
Don't forget to be flexible. This is probably what most people think of when they consider working from home. While it's a good idea to have some set work hours, it also makes sense to show flexibility. Sometimes, you need a break, or to go on vacation, or to deal with an emergency. Be flexible, and willing to work at unusual times. It's difficult for me, but sometimes I have to work in the evening because of events that take place during the day. Complete the most important items on your to-do list first so that you have the flexibility to change things up if needed.
How do you create a home business schedule that works for you?