How to Maintain a Schedule When You Work from Home

time management

One of the hardest parts of being an independent contractor as a service-based provider  for others is maintaining a realistic schedule for balancing work and personal life.

Most people start their business believing they’ll work at least 40 hours a week.  Soon they learn that nothing could be further from the truth.  Fear not, you can organize and craft a schedule that allows you to work more efficiently and make the best of your time.

Your ideal client

Like with most things to do with your business, it’s imperative that you know who you want to work with. What types of client will you get along with best and what services can you realistically perform? Start with the client and then solve a problem for them with your services.

Know Yourself

Are you an early riser or do you like to stay up late at night? Most of the time people are one or the other. If you are a person who doesn’t like to keep to a particular schedule, you’ll need to develop tasks that are deadline focused instead of time centric. For instance, if you don’t want to have to do a task at 8 a.m. each morning, don’t offer that service.

Considerations When You Have A Family

What kind of schedule does your family have and how much can you rely on other members of the family to take your work seriously? Even if they don’t take your work seriously right now, you can still create a business around your family’s schedule. Communicate in the beginning what’s expectations they have from and what you can expect from them.

Create A Schedule

appointment calendarTake in account, the importance to develop a set schedule of when you will be performing your client’s work. Even if the time you come up with is from midnight to 6 a.m. It’s still possible to have a service-based business as a contractor. Figure out what time(s) works for you.

Create Your Business Schedule for Yourself

Don’t forget that you’ll need to set aside time for working on your own business. You will still have email lists to maintain, content to create, sales pages to craft and so forth for your own business. Not to mention billing, invoicing and bookkeeping.

How Much Time It Takes

As you work on creating the services you’ll offer, keep track of how long each tasks will take and then match them to the other things that you’ve got going on with your family, and the type of schedule you can maintain. Knowing what goes into providing a specific deliverable will go far in ensuring you create a business that works for you. You can use a free app called Toggl to keep track of each tasks.

Schedule Everything in a Calendar

Don’t assume you’ll remember something, much less everything. When you have multiple clients, you need to have a calendar. Not only will you need to calendar the work you are doing for yourself and clients, you also need to include in your calendar anything you really want to make time for – including date night.

Use a Project Management System

Don’t skimp on purchasing and investing in tools and software that will help your business run more smoothly. Tools like Basecamp.com, FreshBooks.com, and Trello as well as others can help you do more in less time.

Maintaining a realistic schedule requires you to be mindful about the time you have available and the type of work you really like to do. It might sound great to be working from 8am to 5pm, but it’s quite different in practice when working from home as a contractor.  You really need to be disciplined and prioritize your work load.

 

 

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How To Improve Your Productivity by Having a Good Workflow

flowchart

Without a system in place that includes a workflow, it can be difficult to keep up the with momentum and taking on more clients or projects. Establishing a good workflow can help with efficiently completing projects, working smarter and better time management.

Your Deliverables 

Establish the scope of the project and write your deliverables first.  List all the things that you need to complete. Then start with first things first, using your checklist to make sure you didn’t forget anything including timelines.

Craft Your Workflow

Seeing your workflow visually can help you identify areas that you left out or forgot. You can actually use the checklist for a generic project to create a workflow. You can use a mind map, or draw on a whiteboard the work flow.

For example the workflow for publishing an eBook might look like this:

Researching the niche, create a topic, craft a title, outline the book, write the intro, write the table of contents, design a book cover, etc. When you draw it instead of write it, you can easily see the the tasks can be done in order.

A nice tool to use for free in creating a visual mind map is Mindmup. Using Mindmup has helped me create website re-designs that include, themes, colors, images, links to products, carts, payment gateways, marketing to different platforms, etc.  Without having a workflow to help you see visually when moving from one task to another, can be daunting.

calculator, paper, pen in black and white vector imageCreate a Packaged-Price Rate

One of the best things you can do for your business is to try to develop a pricing package rates for your work. This will have you avoid having to track your time. Time tracking for multiple clients is time consuming and an interruption so try to avoid it, if possible.

Create Checklists for Each Project 

When you do the same types of project over and over again, creating a checklist to that guides you and others who work with you through each project. This helps keep you on task for every project. Just like pilots have checklists in place to ensure all systems are working properly.  That’s a good checklist to use before take off! So, before executing that the project is complete, use your checklist.

Using a Project Management System

Use a project management system like WrikeTrelloBasecampAsana, or Teamwork which helps getting yourself, team members and your clients organized from day one. These systems already has some ways to organize the work so that you don’t need to actually create everything from scratch. Many of them provide free tips from their websites in getting more organized and having workflows. Asana offers one of the best free version. With the free version of Asana you you’re able to create more than one project. You can add teams, upload files, images and message within the app. (Free at the time of this writing).

Google other workflows

Use a Google search for workflows that are already written. You can search in a similar area of topic and use them as ideas for your own use privately.

Your workflow will change and not set in stone.  You can always change your workflow as the project comes along or if you found a smoother transition from one tasks to another that saves you time.

As technology improves, your workflows will evolve. Over time, your workflows can only get better and more efficient.  Workflow design is essential to your success as a business owner or contractor who takes on projects from multiple clients. Testify that you develop your workflows based on the services that you offer so that your project management practically runs itself over time and more efficiently.

 

10 Project Management Tips to Streamline Your Work Tasks

set goals

10 Project Management Tips to Streamline Your Work Tasks Most people think that you should only use project management for big projects. However, I found this to be untrue. Project management for everyday tasks is an essential component for organizing your business but also for organizing your life as well.  It really helps with tracking your …

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