One of the best parts of being a solopreneur is being able to create our own schedules. Simultaneously a blessing and a curse, this allows us to fit our schedules around others (children, significant others, etc.), and/or be more accommodating to when we work best. As a non-morning person, this is a huge perk for me.
Since the beginning of this year (when I officially made the jump to solopreneurship), I’ve been trying to craft my work schedule around what works best for my creativity. I wake up at a reasonable hour, I tend to work into the evening (when my focus is best), I’ve added batch days for additional productivity and limited meetings/client calls to a two days a week. This assures that I have time to balance client work and personal/business development.
But, after reading Kayla Hollatz’s post about her creative routine, I realized there are still quite a few aspects of my daily routine that keep me from actually getting ish done. In fact, even though I’m crossing items off my to-do list, I still feel scattered and unproductive.
So if you’re working hard, but still feel like you’re hardly working, you’re not alone. And using the system that Kayla outlined in her post, we can figure out what we need to change to be more productive in business and in life.
The Current Schedule
Start by looking at your daily routine and figuring out what your distractions are, as well as your “red flags” – things that may be helping (or even creating) your distractions.
I have a few big distractions that really impede my ability to get ish done:
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are my biggest time-sucks)
- Constant email checking
- No dedicated work/creative space
And then there are some pretty substantial red flags:
- My alarm is on my phone, so I start my day with an email check and a longer-than-necessary social media check
- I have my texts forwarded to my computer (iMessage is a curse and a blessing), so I’m perpetually accessible via text…and I have no impulse control when it comes to dealing with that red “unread” number
- I leave my inbox open, so I check my email every time I hear the new message sound (again, no impulse control)
- I check/respond to emails after the end of my work day, even though I am trying to create (and stand by) better work/life boundaries
All of these distractions and unhelpful red flags keep me from true focus and productivity, making me feel more scattered and less satisfied with the results of my day. And with that in mind, it’s time to create a new schedule that will help me maintain focus and productivity (while still allowing me to be accessible to clients).
The Shiny New Schedule
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Wake up in the morning using my alarm clock instead of my phone. Read one of my books for half an hour. Do brain training (Elevate, Duolingo) for half an hour. Make breakfast and watch a Casey Neistat video for daily inspiration (approximately 15 minutes). Do my daily journaling practice (approximately 30 minutes). Use the last fifteen minutes of “waking up time” to get dressed/ready for the day.
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Designated batching time. Mondays are for scheduling social media and blog content. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for prospective/current client calls. Thursdays are for administrative tasks. Fridays are for creative development time–reading blogs, scrolling through Pinterest, generally gathering inspiration. No social media checks, no emails, and certainly no texting.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Check inbox and reply to all messages at once. Check social media and reply to all comments. Answer any unread client texts. Take care of all those pesky red numbers, self!
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Make lunch and watch a 20-minute TV show (Friends, New Girl, You’re the Worst), or listen to a creative/business podcast. Nothing that will pull me into a binge-watch (I’m looking at you, Stranger Things).
1:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Client work time! This is designated time for crafting websites, social media scheduling, and any graphic design work (because goodness knows time flies when you’ve got Adobe software open). Wrap up all work by 6:30 PM.
6:30 PM - 10:30 PM
“Get out of the apartment and socialize” time. Visit a new place, meet up with friends, attend an event, go to an exercise class, get out and do something–anything. This is a time for mini-adventures and further creative inspiration. This will also be minimal phone time (as I’m working on being more “in the moment” instead of plugged in). Ultimately, this is time to unwind, relax, and get inspired.
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM
We’ve officially entered no-device time. Shower and get ready for bed. Read a book with extra time. Go to sleep at 11:30.
Rinse and repeat Monday through Friday.
Include morning routine from the “work week”. Coffee shop work time during the day with the roommate–write blog posts and email newsletters. Friend time in the evenings. Try to get up to LA more to visit friends that have moved up that way.
Include morning routine from the “work week”. Call the parentals (both of whom live in a different state). Get in some quality reading time. Run errands. This is also the ~designated TV day~, where it is completely okay to get sucked into a binge-watch (cough, Stranger Things, cough).
Making a Work Schedule Work for You
The more specific you are in saying when you are going to do something, the more likely you are to actually do that something when you say you’re going to do it. The same can be said for your work schedule. By designating time for certain activities, you are significantly more likely to complete those activities (and complete them on time).
That said, it is important to craft your work schedule in a way that works best for you. I built mine around the times that I’m most productive (late morning/early afternoon), current fixtures in my schedule (standing call appointments, etc.), and the natural ebbs and flows of my creativity.
Right now, this schedule is still a work in progress. I may change it as time goes along, and as things in the business shift and change. But, it’s a great (and defined) start!
What can you change in your routine to be more productive? Let me know in the comments!