The Value of a Schedule

I work for myself. I set my own schedule. Still, I set a schedule.

Many years ago, when my son was not yet in kindergarten, I left my job to stay home. That’s when I discovered something really amazing. It was easier for me to get things done when I had a 9 to 5 job than it was when I had all day to do those same things. You see, when you’ve got a 1- or 2-hour window in which to do something you think, “Gee, I’d better get that done now, while I can.” When you’ve got all day to do that same thing, you think, “Oh, I’ve got all day. I’ll do that later.” Next thing you know the day is gone, and it’s not done.

I have to confess that I sort of forgot that lesson in the many years between then and when I started my direct sales business. It took a couple of years of oops-I-meant-to-do-that moments for me to remember my need for a schedule. Since re-instituting it a couple of years ago, though, I feel much better about the way I’m spending my time.

Here’s what I do. On Sunday evening or Monday morning I sit down with my calendar and look over the week. I make sure that my personal and business calendars are synchronized. I plan out a daily schedule and write it down. Writing it down makes me feel committed to my schedule.

Again, I’m self-employed. I don’t punch a time clock. However, I get up at approximately the same time every day. It helps my body to function more smoothly, and it helps me to stick to my schedule.

Once I’ve exercised (which wakes up my mind as well as my body), I sit down with my schedule. Going over my schedule is actually part of my devotional time. I pray for guidance for my day and put my schedule in God’s hands.

As I go through my day I always keep a pad of paper and a pen handy. This way if I’m working on, say, host kits and remember that I need to write a thank-you note, I can write that down. Once my time with the host kits is done, I can either write the thank-you note or put it on my schedule for later in the day. I’ve not really interrupted the flow of what I’m working on, which helps me to stay on track.

If I have something that’s time sensitive, I set an alarm. I do that if I have an appointment to get ready for. This allows me to keep my mind on what I’m doing instead of glancing at the clock every few minutes to make sure I won’t be late. I also do that with my regular customer care calls. This keeps me from getting so involved in a project that I miss my call window.

Knowing what I plan to do and when also helps me to fit in interruptions. That schedule lets me see where I can rearrange things if a friend calls with a crisis or The Furry Guy suddenly needs my help.

Having a schedule also helps me to evaluate how I’m spending my time. Too many of us spend too much time in activities that aren’t productive for our businesses, our families, or ourselves. I make sure to schedule in breaks and rest times along with Furry Guy time. And, yes, I schedule in my Facebook, Chef Success, and other online time.

My way of doing a schedule might not work for you. Everyone’s different. If you’ve never worked with a schedule, though, I encourage you to give it a try. You might be surprised how much more you get done when you know what you’ll be doing.


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