School is about to start back and I have been rearranging my schedule so that I can accommodate everyone: my family, myself, my Virtual Assistant business. When I started my VA (Virtual Assistant) business a little over a year ago, I spent hours researching, writing proposals, creating my website, setting up my books, and waiting for the next Client. I could not wait until I had the opportunity to speak with that next potential Client. I still cannot wait for the opportunity to speak to that next potential Client, but thankfully, I am now busy enough with Client related work that I am not so anxious about it.
I have said this before and I am saying it again. Starting my own Virtual Assistant business has been the best decision I have made in years. Now that I am busier, I have to be organized to get it all done. I keep my calendar set in 15-minute increments to make scheduling easier. I put everything on my calendar. It makes for a busy calendar, but makes a nice agenda with a timeline for each project. I also use a cooking timer to set for each project to remind me it is time to move on to the next project. Knowing that the timer is set helps me to stay focused on the task so that I am more likely to complete the task in the given timeframe.
My agenda looks something like this:
5:00am – 5:15am Coffee
5:15am – 6:15am Shower
6:15am – 7:00am Email
7:00am – 7:30am Kids Up – Breakfast
7:30am – 8:00am Exercise – Spend time with kids before starting the school day
8:00am – 8:30am Dishes – Laundry
8:30am – 9:00am Take kiddo to school
9:00am – 9:30am Email management – Client Name
9:30am – 10:30am WordPress Site – Client Name
10:30am – 11:00am FREE Time
11:00am – 11:30am Eat Lunch
11:30am – 11:45am Elance – search for potential projects/write proposal’s
11:50am – 12:00pm Email Management – Client Name
12:00pm – 12:20pm HootSuite: Schedule posts – Client Name
12:20pm – 12:30pm Email
12:30pm – 1:00pm Daily Devotions – Prayer
1:00pm – 2:00pm Class Seminar: Working with a VA (sit in, take notes) – Client
2:00pm – 2:20pm About.me profile (review & make suggestions) – Client Name
Do I stick to this agenda like glue? Not always, and in fact over the summer I slacked a bit because the kids were home all day every day. One thing I noticed is that on the days I slacked on sticking to the agenda I was not as efficient, I did not spend as much time with my children or I would spend too much time with my children and then would be up late at night working on projects that should have been completed during working hours.…and it goes on like this until 10:30pm.
Notice that I schedule in personal time as well. If I have to pick up my child, take a shower, spend some me time, do my daily devotions, eat lunch, etc. I schedule it all in. It just helps me to remember to take care of me and stop working even if it is only for 10 minutes. Like at 2:20pm I have ‘take quick break to check in with the kids’. I will go and see what each is up to, give those hugs and kisses, talk to them briefly. When you are a work at home parent it is far too easy to get busy and not stop and take time out for your family and yourself. This way my dishes do not pile up to much during the day, because if I do not stop to do at least some of them the kids will dirty every dish in the house and then when it’s bedtime I will have a sink full of dirty dishes. This can be stressful.
I used to use a To Do list, which is very similar, but I like adding the times in as it helps to keep me on track. Sometimes projects will go over if I underestimated the time, but it still gives me a nice framework to work from and makes it much easier to manage my day. In the event that a project takes longer than anticipated I schedule some free time as well where I put nothing in there and I can use that time to finish up that project, and if I do not need to work on that project then I am free to fill that time anyway I choose. I might work on my newsletter, do some research, go for bike ride with my kids, or take the dogs for a walk. So be sure to leave free time in each day that accommodate unexpected projects that maybe a Client is in a bind and needs it done right away or if you underestimated your time on another project. There are many things that can come along during the day that are unexpected, and it is always nice to have that free to time so you can rework your schedule with ease.
How do you manage your time? I would love to hear from you. Please be sure to send me your comments. I look forward to hearing from you!