There have been a few times in the past few years I’ve been in business that experts, gurus, friends, and fellow solopreneurs have recommended creating a weekly schedule for myself. Set aside different tasks for different days of the week so you don’t get bored or burnt out.
But I never did. Working with any number of clients at the same time in different parts of the design process with different deadlines and different package inclusions made it seem impossible. How can I set aside Mondays for blogging when I have an installation scheduled for Tuesday that I need to get ready for? So I never created that weekly schedule and my days were a series of long to-do lists and scatter-brained “Oh I’ll just do this now while I’m thinking about it.”
But now I do less design and do more managing of The Collaboreat. My days consist of pretty regular tasks that I repeat over and over again. Editing posts. Emailing writers. Researching. Planning new content. Writing newsletters. And yes, there’s still design but just not as much.
And suddenly a weekly schedule made sense! Enough with the long to do lists that always spill over to the next day or randomly deciding to work on other tasks when I think of them. So I sat down and made myself a schedule with these things in mind.
1. No more than four tasks a day.
Granted each task takes time. My tasks consist of things like “inbox zero” and “schedule a week’s worth of content” so four tasks can really take a full day. Tasks can take between an hour and four hours, but I’ve made sure that I don’t schedule too much so if other things come up or if I need a little break, there’s time for that!
2. At least one task each day should be fun.
There’s a lot of things I love about my work (duh, since I’ve created my own job), but there are definitely things I don’t love. I dread seeing “inbox zero” on my to-do list and sending followups to my writers isn’t my favorite. However I LOVE planning new content and doing research (a.k.a. reading food and travel blogs and magazines). So I’ve made sure that every day has something fun in store for me so even Mondays can be enjoyable.
3. One day of the week is much more relaxing.
The thing I love about creating my own schedule is that when I want to spend my afternoon with a friend that came in from out of town or getting a much needed massage, I can! Or if, heaven forbid, there’s a design emergency I have a day that I can set aside for that. So I’ve made sure my Fridays are more chill, including things like “research” and “schedule instagrams”- tasks that don’t take TOO much time and can really be done from anywhere. Now Fridays are my favorite day of the week, the day I can look forward to after a long week and when I can schedule lunch with a friend.
4. Each task is in order of importance.
This way, if one task takes up most of the day, I know that it was important and the less important tasks can be put off without a problem. I can easily work through the tasks for each day and know that at the end of the day I’ve done what’s important.
My new weekly schedule has made my life so much easier. Each day I know exactly what I’m doing and don’t get distracted by other things that will need to get done at some point because I know it will get done later in the week. Everything that will need to get done has it’s place in the week, perfectly laid out for me to get done at the appropriate time.
But like I said earlier, this schedule wouldn’t have worked five months ago when I was working with seven clients at a time, all with different appointments and deadlines and processes. And it definitely wouldn’t have worked when I was just starting out and trying to do a million things for my business after I got home from my full-time job. It would’ve been impossible.
But if you find yourself doing the same things all the time, take a good look at your schedule and your tasks and see what you can do! It just might make your life ten times easier.