Real talk – having an effective work schedule lets you be efficient, organized, and not lose sight of things. It’s an important thing to do.
But I know a lot of the time, as business owners, it seems easier to fly by the seat of our pants. We deal with everything as it comes up rather than creating schedules and boundaries that need to be honored.
After all, we never want to tell someone no or miss an opportunity because of a schedule.
But I have to tell you that taking the time to make a schedule will make your life SO much more manageable, which is why I wrote this post.
Before we dive in, remember – developing a schedule is also a process and a constant work in process. It evolves with you as you grow as a business owner.
So let’s get into it!
So Why a Work Schedule?
I want to tell you how I realized the importance of creating a schedule that you can stick to.
When I realized I didn’t want to work a zillion hours a week and craved some time off, I gave my clients a 6-week heads up that I would be out of the office and unavailable. It was SO freeing!!
Yes, I am in accounting, so there are certain times of the year I need to work more. But I realized that if I can organize, be intentional about what I can and can’t do, and make sure my work is good to go, I can take that glorious vacation time and, for the most part, have a schedule that doesn’t have me working 25 hours a day, eight days a week.
It came down to being in tune with the time I needed to get my work done – because some clients only need me for a few hours a month, while others need me for 10 hours a week.
I learned that I had to be mindful of how much time each client needed and schedule accordingly to avoid taking on too many clients and getting myself stuck working way more than I wanted to.
So How Do You Make a CEO-Level Work Schedule?
Step 1: Track Your Time
We track time at Number Nerd. I have a master spreadsheet where I know how much time it takes to do things for each client. At the end of each month, I review the hours spent versus budgeted. Then, I can see if I’m over or under and assess and adjust accordingly.
It doesn’t need to be a complicated system, just an organized, methodical one that keeps you accountable and on track.
Step 2: Batch Your Tasks
I’m talking about figuring out how much client time you need while also laying out other time for all your tasks. It’s critical to figure out how to make those pieces come together, so you create the schedule that lets you work as much as you want to.
The key here is dedicated time to dedicated tasks.
For example, at Number Nerd, I have dedicated time for client calls—every other week. I don’t do client calls on the off weeks, which gives me the time to actually complete my work for those clients!
But even further than that, I schedule time for things like checking my emails, so I’m not living in my inbox all day. I am done drowning in messages!
Step 3: Review Your Schedule Weekly
Every week, usually on Sunday (though I am REALLY trying to get away from working on the weekend), I look at my schedule to see everything I have to do and schedule out work from there.
A quick weekly review saves you from any nasty eleventh-hour surprises and means you won’t overpromise what you can deliver for clients.
Step 4: Tweak as Needed
I will adjust my schedule every quarter or every six months and see if there are any patterns that I can identify to create efficiencies. Your schedule is going to evolve and change along with your business. Make time regularly to look it over and make adjustments.
So What’s My Work Schedule Like?
Well, Number Nerd’s work schedule is Monday through Thursday, typically 7:00 am to 2:30 pm. I have a lot of East Coast clients, so I tend to work earlier. I usually try to not work on Fridays. If I do work on Fridays, it’s 100% specifically CEO time or project work.
So why this schedule?
I put this in place a few months ago because I wanted to…
- Focus on marketing and admin tasks when I needed to
- Give all my attention to client work when the time is right
- Create new products and courses
- Have some time for myself, so I didn’t feel like life was passing me by, and I spent all my family time thinking about work. NO, THANK YOU.
Now, I live by this mantra. IF IT’S NOT ON MY CALENDAR, IT DOESN’T EXIST.
If you feel stuck in the schedule struggle, I implore you to start carving out your time into blocks of dedicated time. You don’t have to do it all in a day, but damn, does it make a difference.
I’m a firm believer that if people have their schedules in check and are in tune with the actual time and space for their personal life and business life, we won’t over-promise things.
We won’t be working like crazy. We can still be efficient and maximize our productivity to get the work done. Running a business does not need to mean you live in a constant state of overwhelm and stress. Remember that it’s okay to say no, set boundaries, and take time for yourself.
As business owners, we have our own business to do what we want to do when we want to do it. A schedule is your ticket to that.
If you need help scheduling or creating systems to make your schedule work more effectively for you, I want to introduce you to the Number Nerd Template Lab. It’s got all the templates and systems to help you look at your schedule to see where you can create efficiencies.
Ultimately, it will help you streamline your work, get things done faster, and free up that time in your calendar so you can schedule more effectively.