As a small business owner you’re supposed to be the master of your domain. Every story you see about working from home talks about working from the sandy shores of a foreign land, enjoying a lot of family time and down time with friends. But, the truth is, most small business owners don’t live that way. In fact, many are so overworked that they suffer from burn out.
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If you don’t want to risk burn out it’s important to schedule in down time. When it comes to getting things done your calendar is your friend. Everything I do, whether it’s taking a walk with my husband, or shopping it is scheduled using Google Calendar. We all have access to each other’s calendars so that it’s easy to see what we’re doing at any given time. That might sound boring, but the truth is, if it’s not in my calendar the chances of it getting done are near zero. This can work for you too and when you try it, you’ll understand the power of the schedule.
Schedule Family Time First
When you start your calendar, open it up and first schedule family time. After all, the main reason you want to work from home or have a small business of your own is to spend more quality time with your family. Even if you schedule thirty minutes to spend with your kids or spouse each day, that is something that should be sacrosanct, avoiding any reschedules for non-emergencies.
Add in Appointments & Regular Infrequent Chores Next
Once you have family time in your calendar add in regular appointments that you have such as yearly doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, and chores you do on a schedule such as changing your air conditioning filter. While this may seem like too much scheduling, the truth is, if you do things such as deep cleaning a closet on a schedule it’s more likely to get done, and since it’s getting done regularly it will take less time.
Block off Your Yearly Vacation Time Now
If you don’t take a yearly vacation on any particular schedule, you’re a lot less likely to do it. Look at your family’s normal schedule such as school and the ability of your spouse to take a vacation and schedule a regular time for your once a year vacation. Block it out, and make it sacred. Even if you cannot afford to leave for your vacation for some reason, make this the time you and your family take time off to be together even if it’s a “staycation”.
Mark the Times and Days that You’ll Devote to Work
Now that you’ve put in all the important things, mark off days that you will be working, including the actual hours you’ll work on your business, billable hours, and even lunch breaks so that you know at a glance of your calendar what you’ll be doing on any given day. It may seem obsessive but you’re going to get a lot more done if you know that from 8am until 11 am you’ll be working on client A’s work, and from 11:05 am. Until 12:05 pm you’ll be at lunch. Be sure to mark off the real time it takes. Don’t underestimate the time things take.
Putting everything, even the mundane in a calendar is going to help you not only have more downtime to enjoy with yourself and your family, it will help you get more work done in a shorter period of time because you’ll be organized and know exactly what you are doing at any given time on any given day.