Working at home with a toddler running around can be quite the challenge, and I am adapting more every day. As a small business owner, I wear many hats and there is always a long list of things to do. I have recently made some changes to how I schedule my work week so that I can get the most out of my time and be sure to check all of those important boxes each week.
There are always some things on the list that can wait until later, but there are a few areas of my business that need attention and maintenance each week. After some thought about what needed to be prioritized, I narrowed down the most important tasks to 5 different categories: marketing, brand bundling, blogging, product development, and admin tasks. I then assigned each category to the best day of the week that I felt like I could dedicate to that particular task list. With this method, I know that no area of business gets left behind while I focus on another.
To keep up with what needs to be done each day, I have a running list in Evernote that I use to keep track of anything that needs to be done for each of the 5 areas. When that day comes, I don't have to spend time thinking about what I need to do, I can simply pull out that list and get to work. It is also helpful because if I don't get to something one week I know I will have dedicated time next week to work on it and I don't have to worry about the next chance I will get to do something.
A typical work week
If I am being honest, there really is no "typical" work week with a toddler. Like this week for instance, I have spent less time working and more time cuddling. But when duty calls (or screams "mama") you must go. That is part of the reason I implemented this type of schedule in the first place. But if every week were to go exactly as planned, this is what it would look like:
Daily: Every day I will answer emails, fill orders, work on client projects, and manage social media. I have systems in place for each of these to minimize the time I spend on each task (more in that later) and give me more time to work on my task for the day. My time is limited as a work at home mom, so I try to get these things done first thing in the morning before the little one is awake. That leaves naptime for my daily task and anything I need to finish up.
Monday: Mondays are usually my business work day so I get started early. I typically do my weekly prep on Sunday so I know what I need to focus on each day of that week and I am ready to go first thing Monday morning. My Monday task is marketing. I focus on all marketing related to-dos like email marketing, sales campaigns, collaborations, and features.
Tuesday: Tuesdays are one of my favorite days because I get to work on my own brand building. This is when I will focus on any content or website updates that need to be made.
Wednesday: This is my blog day and I spend most of my time writing, editing, and scheduling my blog posts. By doing it all in one day, I have found that I write better and I can get several weeks worth of blog posts done in one day, which makes it less stressful knowing I have posts scheduled weeks out.
Thursday: At this point in the week, most of the heavy work is done, so I take this day to be more creative an work on product development. Sometimes that means new designs, but other times that means working on adding new arrivals to the shop or working on improving current offers.
Friday: Let's be honest, by the time Friday rolls around, we are all ready for the weekend. Because I am not as motivated to work on this day, I take this time to work on all my admin duties like bookkeeping, email follow ups, and analytics. This works out great because it helps me close out all loose ends at the end of each week and allows me to keep up with how the sales were for that week.
This is what I have found works best for me right now. If there is one thing I have learned since having a baby, its to be flexible. My schedule is always changing, and it is based on what is best for him and when we needs me most. Since switching to this method a couple of months ago, I have noticed a tremendous increase in my overall productivity and even in my business. Even though I have limited time to work, I am making sure to touch each of the most important areas of my business each week which leaves me feeling less stressed that something is being left behind.
And although I talked mostly about my business scheduling, this method works for my household duties too. I focus on one main job each day and work it into the day's schedule. For instance, Tuesdays are for cleaning, Wednesdays are for laundry, and Thursdays are for groceries. The key is to have one goal for the day and an action list of things to help you accomplish that goal instead of the dreaded, never-ending, unorganized to-do list that only seems to add stress to our lives. In just the few months I have been working this way, I can say that things are much more organized and less stressful (at times!), and I welcome that with open arms.
Are you a work at home mom running your own business? How do you schedule your work week when working from home?
PS: If you liked this post, you might also like Finding Balance?