Can you answer yes to any of the following ...
1. You have a to-do list at least 3 pages long, yet never really seem to make any headway.
2. You often wish there were at least 1or more hours in the day.
3. You often find yourself sucked in by the cyberspace vortex.
4. You often find it hard to balance home, work, and life in general, because, well, there
JUST ISN'T ENOUGH TIME!
Well, did you? Answer yes? If so, I'm right there with you!
I by no means am in a unique situation. I've got a family and a couple of kids (age 7 and 10) My two girls have their various activities and friends they want to play with. We've got pets, chickens, and a large garden. I am also an artist and a business owner. I do my own bookkeeping. Market my own product. Create and design my own pieces. There is always something that needs to be done and always something that falls by the wayside. It's frustrating at times, but I've learned to accept it.
But one day, actually just a couple of days ago, I decided I had had enough. Something had to change. I wasn't feeling productive. I had a list a mile long that just wasn't getting any shorter. I didn't feel like I had time for my family, or time for the creative process. I decided I needed a plan.
Now, I've got a business plan and I've written schedules in the past, but this time I was serious. I needed something to help me achieve that plan on a daily basis. Little chunks are much more manageable than huge mountains.
I found a great article on how scheduling can bring success in a home business. It reiterated what I already knew to be true, that a home business should be your life, but not all of your life. You'd think it would be simple to apply this to my life, but it really is a daily challenge.
I decided I needed a daily and a weekly schedule. Something I would try my hardest to stick to (and something that was realistic and manageable), and then see what happens.
Want to see my schedule? Read more to find out!
Check E-Mail, messages, twitter, facebook, etc.
Walk the dog and mail out packages.
Promote: facebook, make contacts, find selling venues, make etsy treasuries (for my custom hat and mitten branch - Seasons Of Wool on Etsy), set up tweets for 1-7 pm.
Time to create!
Continue with projects or work on overarching business projects (government filing, paperwork for art fairs, website development).
This gives me a chance to finish my cup of coffee after the kids get on the bus.
Let's face it. I need this just as much as she does. I get some of my best ideas when I'm walking. And, I can get down to work, refreshed and ready to go. I found I needed to give myself permission to take the time to do this. Now that it's in the schedule, I feel like I actually have the time to. And the post office is on our route and dog friendly. The even give her biscuits.
Varies from day to day throughout the week.
I would much rather be creating than promoting, but without promoting, nothing will sell. So, I need a balance. Setting aside time to actually do this will mean that I actually do it, and don't put it off. From my research, I found that the best time for tweeting was between 1 and 7 pm, so instead of waiting until then, I set up all my tweets (1 every hour or two) for that day ahead of time. It saves me time, and I don't get sucked into the cyberspace vortex.
Everybody needs to eat! So, I sit on the porch with my lunch and a book (if the weather is nice).
2 hours may not seem like much time, but if I know that I only have 2 hours, I avoid the computer. I avoid phone calls. I just spend time in my workshop. I am definitely more productive. And I usually spend an hour or two in the evenings on hand knitting projects.
Right now I'm working on getting things organized and ready for some gifting events and art fairs, so I focused on that for a good hour. Some of it is creating, and some is paperwork. Because that was all I was doing, I got a tremendous amount done.
I like having things cleaned up, or at least in a state ready to get started the next day.
Tuesday & Wednesday
Take pictures and update website with new products.
Work on blogs for posting on Monday and Thursday. There's a lot of data out there, but for my purposes, it sounded as if Monday and Thursday mornings were the best days for blog posting. On Mondays, I'll have my regular posts, and on Thursdays, a "What's New in the Workshop."
Bookkeeping and inventory
Set up tweets for the weekend. Evaluate to do list for the following week.
Will I have days where I'm not as productive? Days when I have to run errands, or something big takes priority? Or the kids are home sick? Sure. But at least now I have a reasonable way to keep things fairly on track.
Giving myself a set time to do those things that I don't really enjoy doing (blogging, tweeting, promoting) definitely helped. It freed me up to fully focus on those things I love (creating, designing, knitting, sewing). And when the kids got off the bus, I was done with my work day. I played outside with my kids and we went to the park. I watched the chickens.
And I didn't feel guilty about it.
We'll see how it goes over summer vacation...