Besides figuring out how to make a livable wage doing what I love to do, my biggest complaint about working for myself is learning how to manage my time. Understanding how to balance my work life with my home life while also making time for myself was a much bigger challenge than I thought. Stress comes quickly when items on my “To Do” list don’t get crossed out or when I feel like I am neglecting one area of my life to satisfy another. However, I am passionate about working for myself and maintaining a happy home life, so I accessed the problem areas and came up with an easy plan that seems to be working so far…
10 Time Management Tips for the Self-Employed:
- Write a weekly goal list: Every Sunday I write my goals for the upcoming week – I write the projects I would like to work on, the areas of the house I would like to clean the activities I would like to do with my family and everything else in between. Writing a goals list will encourage organization and help you get everything done in a stress-free manner.
- Make your schedule: Once you have your goals list written, it is time to delegate your “To Do’s” to the appropriate days and times that make the most sense. Once you have a routine down, your goals and schedule will work fluidly. Here is an example my typical Mondays; I wake up at 6.30am and get my daughter ready for school. Between those hours, I make my veggie drink and prep for the day. Between the hours of 8am to 12pm I work on my writing projects – I take a break at 9.15am to drink a protein shake (I liquid fast on Mondays) and then I take another break at 10.45am to workout for 20 minutes. I tidy the kitchen if need be and drink a probiotic drink for lunch around noon. Between the hours of 12.30 and 2.00pm the TV is on, and I am multitasking between watching my soaps operas, chatting with the hubby and either clearing my inbox, crafting or researching for future projects. My daughter gets home from school around 2.45pm, the first few hours after she gets home is spent chatting about her day, homework, goofing off and cleaning the bedrooms and the bunny’s cage. Around 5.30 I fix dinner for the kiddo and then leave her to entertain herself while I work on orders or crafty projects. Around 7.30pm its time to shower up and relax – I am usually watching Adventure Time, Teen Titans or some other cartoon with Jordan while working on the computer; writing descriptions, designing labels or doing something similar. Jordan’s bedtime is at 8.30pm and I like to finished with my day around 9pm. Before I lay down, I like to do exercise for about 10 minutes (stretching and ab-work), then I relax myself with breathing exercises, reflections, and prayer.
- Block out distractions: Distance yourself from distractions if they are interfering with your daily projects. Turn the TV and radio off and work when the kids aren’t around.
- Stay focused: The one thing that throws time management off balance is the inability to stay focused. For those of you who are now starting on their journey to self-employment, it may be hard to stay focused on the tasks at hand because there is no one there to make you do it. You have to be your own boss and make yourself maintain focus on your projects, or nothing will get done and your time will be wasted.
- Get slightly ahead of yourself: I write content for myself and a few other clients so getting slightly ahead works for me. At the end of the year, I take a day to research the topics that I would like to work on for the next two months, then I write out rough titles along with the dates that I would like to publish them. Then, I take a week to focus on writing and scheduling that content – then every week after that, I add a few articles to the schedule so that I will always be ahead. Getting ahead of yourself in this way, frees up time for you to work on other projects.
- Prepare for projects: If I have a time-consuming project the next day, I prepare for it before going to bed. If I have to cook, I will gather all of the ingredients and have them easily accessible. If I will be working on a few paintings the next way, then I get the materials ready so they will be waiting for me.
- Take a break: Time management isn’t just about getting the most out of your time, it is also about making time to do nothing. If you are always doing, doing, doing, it will start to feel like work and you will eventually lose the joy and passion of work for yourself. Taking mini breaks will deter stress and instill calm. So schedule time to take sporadic breaks during the week – on your break-time, go for walks, visit with friends, go to the movies or just chill with the family.
- De-clutter: Although I know that clutter gets in the way of productivity as well as work/family balance, my house seems to always be cluttered and upside down. However, since I have scheduled times for me to clean a little bit every day, the mounds of clutter are slowly subsiding, and I can already see and feel the positive effects.
- Don’t take on too much: Know your limits – don’t take on more than you can handle or your time will be wasted trying to complete those tasks.
- Be patient: Learning to manage your time may take a few bouts of trying-and-failing before getting it right. You may even fall off the wagon a few times in the process ( I know I have). It is important to give yourself the time you need to access your limits and allow balance to come.
Once you have determined your weekly goals, you will be able to effortlessly allocated the perfect schedule for you to manage your time.
This post was shared on Motivation Monday