Making, and keeping, a schedule

When you work from home, you have great freedom to set your own schedule. Unfortunately, that means that you have great freedom to completely ignore your schedule, put things off, get distracted, lose motivation, and everything else you can think of to keep from actually working! I decided a few months ago to try to get a handle on my daily schedule, so I can get more things done! I’ve mentioned my schedule briefly before on my Facebook page, but thought I’d expound on it a bit more due to questions I’ve received.

My husband helped me set up my schedule in Microsoft Outlook, as appointments that recur daily. It works for me because I get little reminders that pop up on the computer throughout the day to let me know what I’m supposed to be doing next. I know there are other appointment managing or scheduling apps, but this is working for me. I do not set any “appointments” or tasks for the weekend; I’ll explain a bit later.

My day begins early, at 6:30 a.m. I usually am up before then. I am not a morning person! It’s really hard for me to get started in the morning, so I give myself a little time between actually getting up (usually 5:45 – 6) and when my tasks begin. My first task of the day is email. I also look at Facebook to see if there are any messages that need to be answered. I do check email throughout the day, but that’s the first thing I do.

Second task is breakfast. Yes, I schedule my meals! Believe it or not, it’s really easy to get involved doing something and forget to eat breakfast, until I look up and it’s lunch time. So I have “breakfast” on my schedule. It’s also when I feed the dogs. They are usually pretty insistent about getting their meals on a regular schedule.

Next is “walk the dogs”. You all know that if you don’t include regular exercise in your schedule, it won’t get done, right? So my regular exercise for now is to walk the “hooligans”. We have two Shelties, and are fostering our daughter’s Sheltie temporarily, so it’s quite the circus around the neighborhood with three yappy dogs braiding their leashes together. We usually get in two miles, sometimes more, then back to the house.

I shower, get dressed, put on make-up (yes, even to stay home) next. I feel more business-like and productive if I’m in actual clothes instead of lounging in my robe all day. I make the bed, put dishes in the dishwasher.

Now I’m ready to work, and it’s about 9:30 usually. What I’ve put on my schedule as far as business is “design and/or write instructions”. To have a regular time every day to take care of these kinds of creative things is very important. It’s really easy to lose focus, and not get the designing done, or to write the instructions, then get in a panic when deadlines approach. This is more systematic and has allowed me to get more done.

I work for 2 hours, then break for lunch. During my lunch hour I allow myself to play Candy Crush or read Facebook, goof off a little. I also have as a goal to work on my relationships with my friends, and lunch is a perfect time to do that. I can go out to lunch with a friend if I want – after all, lunch is on my schedule!

12:30 and time to get back to work. First up in the afternoon is “social media”. Nowadays this is very important, and something I haven’t been very consistent with. Social media is my email list, keeping up with my blog, Facebook posts. And yes, I have to work at it.

1:30 p.m. rolls around and my schedule says “stitch models”. Because I haven’t been very consistent with my time, stitching models has been often ignored. And that’s disastrous! So now I have it on my schedule, to take time to sit and stitch.

At 3:30 I have scheduled “organize”. This seems to be a never-ending task! Until about a month ago I had DebBee’s Designs all over the house. We are in the process of moving EVERYTHING into one room, to keep things confined and make it easier to keep up with things. We have a few more things to move into that one room, and then my husband can take a room to make into his “man cave” – a place for his ham radio equipment, to build his RC airplanes, set up his trainer for his bicycle, or whatever. When I finally get everything organized, hopefully in the next month or two, “organize” will turn into “paint”, because I’m wanting to start offering painted canvas.

I quit my work day at 4:30ish, to start preparing supper and get ready for Rod to come home. One of the primary factors in organizing my day was to reserve time for my most important relationship! I can still stitch in the evening if I want to, and do, but if Rod wants to do something I’m available. Ditto for keeping the weekends free, to have time for my husband. After 40 years we are best friends, but we still have to PLAN time for each other. I’m arranging my schedule so I can do just that.

This has been a very long post, and thanks if you read it all the way to the end! I’ll share a bit about my thread and DebBee’s Designs room organization in future posts.


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