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Hello and hi! Today on my blog, i’m going to be sharing how to schedule your day as a small business owner!
I’ve been testing different ways to schedule a day as a small business owner, and today I’m going to share how I do things.
If you want to get an email showing a week’s worth of my daily schedules – subscribe to my email list HERE!
How to Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner
In addition to being a fashion and lifestyle blogger (a whole business by itself), I’m also a business coach and consultant. I have multiple streams of income, and it can be hard to schedule my days.
In this blog post, I’m going to share a bunch of tips (honestly, I’m writing this post by the seat of my pants and just writing what comes to mind).
If you’re a small business owner (or you want to be), and you need help developing a schedule, then I recommend booking a 1:1 “Pick My Brain” session with me, here. We can develop your schedule and key tasks every day!
To be fully transparent and up-front, I write posts like these as a way to show clients that I know my stuff! This post doesn’t have everything you need to know, and that’s intentional. <3
Where I’m coming from…
In sharing these tips, I want to be sure to share who I am and what my life and priorities look like. These tips aren’t going to work for everyone, because you may not be in a similar spot in your life!
So, a few things to note:
- No kids: I do not plan on having kids (childless by choice)
- No cuties at home: I do not live with a romantic partner(s)
- Timeline: I went full-time as a self-employed person in 2016, and I had built up a roster of clients sine 2010 (ish)
- ADHD: I have massive ADHD, and I share posts and tips on ADHD here!
- Team: I have a personal assistant (10 hours a week ish), cleaning service and 2-3 contractors on my team.
- Boundaries: I have gone to years of therapy, and I have really great communication skills developed through paying coaches, reading personal development books, etc.
[Special thanks to Rah Foard for the photos of me in this post!]
Quick Note – Productivity
When it comes to owning a small business, it can be easy to worship “The Grind.”
It can be easy to worship 60+ hour workweeks.
Here’s the things. Some weeks, I am busy busy busy and work 60-80 hours.
But that is not sustainable.
Every small business owner has had weeks like this.
But, it’s critical to remember that there is no prize for sitting at your computer longer.
There is no prize for sitting at your computer longer than other people.
Oftentimes, a new client will brag about their work ethic or 60 hour weeks, and then I’ll ask, “Could you have gotten that work done in 30 hours?”
you see, thanks to the existence of a “9-5 job,” many small business owners think that they have to be working non-stop. BUT, what actually happens is that the work expands to fill the time.
Tasks that would take 10 minutes take 30 minutes. Writing a document takes 2 hours instead of 1.
If you find yourself thinking you have to be working 60 hour weeks, make sure that you’re actually getting stuff done in those 60+ hours. And, keep in mind that while we all have “sprints” where we work a lot, this is not sustainable in the longterm. Plan for the crash that’s coming!
Tip #1 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Start with Sunday
When it comes to scheduling your day as a small business owner, the planning actually begins before the week starts.
Every Sunday evening, I take an hour to braindump all the things I have to do in the upcoming week. I usually do this while watching a TV show I’ve seen a million times (hello, Dr. Spencer Reid!). It has to be kind of fun, or it won’t happen.
After I brain dump the list, I group like tasks together.
This means grouping:
- Emails I need to send to clients
- Emails I need to send to brands
- Contracts to send
- House/cleaning stuff that needs to happen
- Medical to-do list items (ex: setting a doctor appointment, calling about labs)
- Planning time (when I need uninterrupted time to plan a new course for my coaching clients or a photoshoot for my Instagram)
Then I schedule the tasks out during the week, creating a long Google Doc with my schedule. This acts as a support document to my Google Calendar and planner. I update those two (gcal and planner) as needed.
(Note: If you want to see an example of this document, be sure to subscribe to my email list, HERE.)
Doing this makes sure I actually have the TIME to do the stuff I want to do. Often, I’ll realize I don’t have time. So those items go on the list for the next week, or…
Tip #2 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Delegate!!
If you want to schedule your day as a small business owner, then you need to DELEGATE.
If you have contractors or employees working for you, I can almost guarantee that you have MORE you can delegate.
I know I’m delegating the right amount when I feel a little uncomfortable.
Here are some examples of tasks I delegate to my team:
- Formatting and scheduling email campaigns (I usually write the actual email, because I want it to come from me)
- Research – for blog posts, brands to pitch, etc
- Pinterest – a lot of my pins are scheduled by my team
- Formatting contracts & uploading them to be signed
- Adding links to blog posts and formatting images for SEO
Now, you might not have a team that you can delegate to right now, and that’s okay!
In this case, you’re going to look at how you can use modern technology to delegate:
- Grocery Shopping: I use an app to get my groceries delivered. I pay the person who delivers around a $20 tip, to make sure I’m being ethical in paid wages.
- TaskRabbit: If I have a bunch of errands, I’ll either have my personal assistant run them or I will hire someone on TaskRabbit. I do this to buy back time. It is better for me to be focusing on my business over running around doing a bazillion errands.
- Mobile Pickup: If I need to grab a bunch of items at a store, I’ll order ahead and pick up in the parking lot
- Ship Stuff: When it comes to shopping, it’s a lot more convenient to have things shipped to me. I do my darnedest to have stuff shipped to me (or if I’m traveling, to a friend).
In addition, if I have to run errands, I make it a point to do them all the same day. I use “time blocking” to do this.
If you’re trying to grow your small business, I recommend hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service ASAP. (I wrote a guide on how I did this here.)
Prioritize getting a cleaning service. This is game changing!
There is only so much energy that you have to do things. Hiring a cleaning service and PA has “bought back” 10-15 hours a week of my own time.
Want more insights on what my personal assistant does? Subscribe to my email list, where I share insights on this.
Tip #3 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Do or DIE!
Next up on my guide on how to schedule your day as a small business owner, I’m gonna get a little dramatic.
Now that you’ve made your lists and delegated the crap out of your to-do list – let’s talk about actually scheduling the day.
Every day, I get a piece of printer paper (I have a stack on my desk), and I write the top 3 things I need to get done that day.
I call this three my “Do or DIE” list, and I make an effort to do them very first.
These 3 tasks are the MOST important things.
Aaaand they’re usually the things I don’t want to do, lololol.
The 3 items are non-negotiable. It’s DO OR DIE, folks!!
This pulls from the business saying, “Eat the frog first thing in the morning.” It’s the idea that if you do the stuff you LEAST want to do FIRST THING, then the rest of the day is super easy.
Eat the frog first thing in the morning
This way, if your day gets away from you – you have your top 3!
As someone who is prioritizing building passive income, I usually have on my top 3 to write a blog post (just like this one!). I know that I have to do the daily work to build my blog up (my September 2021 blog income report HERE), which means always getting a blog post out!
[[ For more insights on how I schedule my day, be sure to subscribe to my email list, where I share super specific info like this! ]]
Tip #4 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Reward yourself
We want to work SMART, not hard! When I look at my schedule for the day, I try to gamify it.
If I get all the tasks on my to-do list done, then I go have fun.
I stop working.
I stop working.
(Usually this. means reading self-published books on my Kindle Unlimited.)
“Wait, what?” I can see you asking. “There’s so much more to do! Shouldn’t you pack more work into the day?!?!”
If the reward for being super productive is.. more work, then you’re not going to be super motivated to get stuff done.
If I think a task is going to take an hour, then I put on a timer for 30 minutes, then set another 15 minute timer after that. Those two timers help me get a task done more quickly, so I can move onto the next one.
And then go do other stuff!
(Note: For parents or caregivers, this may mean going to take care of other people. Remember, I shared my background at the beginning of this post, and I don’t have kids! <3)
Tip #5 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Know your energy dip
Each of us has our own body clock, and we have periods of the day where we have a TON of energy, and times of the day we are tuckered out.
For myself, I know that 1PM – 3PM is super low energy for me. I do my best to schedule tasks that require no brain (lunch, scheduling social media, etc).
Also, real talk –
I take a nap almost every day. Somedays, it’s 20 minutes where my eyes are closed. Some days it’s 80 minutes.
I take a nap almost every day.
Doing this makes me more effective. With a nap, I can zoom through the next 3-4 hours. Without it, tasks take longer – and I work more hours.
And, reminder, just because we’re working more hours doesn’t make us more productive!
[[ For more insights like the “energy dip,” be sure to subscribe to my email list, where I share super specific tips like this! ]]
Tip #6 Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner: Use the 80/20 Rule
I first learned about the 80/20 rule in the book, “The Four Hour Workweek.”
This is one of my favorite books, and I highly recommend it!
The premise of this stellar book is that 20% of a business’ activities bring in around 80% of the income.
Read that again!
20% of a business’ activities bring in around 80% of the income.
20% of a business’ activities bring in around 80% of the income.
This means you are likely doing a whole bunch of crap that you don’t need to be doing!!!!
I don’t want to summarize the book here, as that wouldn’t be super ethical. IF this resonates with you, then I highly recommend listening to the audiobook while driving, cleaning or exercising!
What’s Next? || Schedule Your Day as a Small Business Owner
Reminder! This post is MARKETING!!!
These are 5+ tips that popped into my head for this blog post! If you’re looking for help scheduling your day or week, delegating or hiring contractors – you should definitely book a solo session here!
Reminder (shared this above!), that I do not write these posts as a replacement for coaching. I write blog posts like this to show I know what I’m talking about, so folks feel secure booking a 1:1 session with me.
Put another way, this is MARKETING, babyyyy! If you’re trying to make big moves, let’s work together here.
More helpful posts —>
Real talk, the best results come from working with me 1:1 or in a group class! But, if you need to read a bit more before emailing me, here are a few posts:
- 7 **BEST** Tips: How to work remotely while traveling
- 13 Business Mistakes to Avoid | LGBT Small Business Owner
- “How do I ask my friends and family to support my small business?”
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