Scheduling has been a tricky thing for me over the years. Sometimes my schedule seems too full, sometimes it seems too empty, and it can fluctuate between these two extremes quickly. I used to stress out about this a lot, especially when I was a new business owner, trying to find the right balance. While there is no empirically correct way to schedule yourself, there are a few things to consider.
What are your natural preferences?
Are you a morning person or more of a night owl? Do you love to see people in person, or are doing business over the phone and internet are more your style?
I have a colleague who does 100% of her business online and via teleconference, with most of her appointments in the mid-day; she does writing and marketing activities in the early morning and late afternoon. I know another colleague who splits his time 50/50 between the online/teleconference world and in-person events; his day-to-day time is spent managing the online/teleconference things while keeping a 9-5 schedule. My split is more 100% video/telephone, alternating between morning one day, mid-day the next, and afternoon the next day, with client time 3 days a week and marketing / development work done the other days of the week, which seems to suit me pretty well.
How much do you want to work?
Maybe you are happy working 10 hours a day, maybe you’d prefer a lighter schedule. In many ways, the number of hours that you log are less important than making sure you’re doing things that play to your strengths and keep your business running and happy. Looking at my two colleagues again, the one spends 25-30 hours a week working, while the other spends around 40. Both consider themselves successful and I admire them and the work they produce. For me, I work sometimes more, sometimes less depending on what the events on my schedule call for – I ramp it up or down accordingly. To me, this is part of the fun of working for myself: having a basic weekly schedule that ebbs and flows as projects and clients need.
How do you prefer to work?
Do you prefer to work on projects or in batches, or more of a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of pacing? My colleague does most of her work in batches, with some ongoing items, while the other colleague does it the opposite; more ongoing work, with a few projects throughout the year. I prefer to work in batches, yet a lot of my work comes as more of an ongoing thing – something for me to notice, and decide if I’d like to change it up.
Now that you’ve taken some time to ask a few questions and ruminate, what do you notice is coming up for you? Are you happy with your schedule? What adjustments, if any, would you like to make? Take a few minutes and jot down the ideas that are coming up. Once you’ve captured these, see how you might weave them in over the next several weeks. Be willing to experiment with different ways of working and scheduling, and you’ll find your Goldilocks spot.