When I went into small-business ownership the main appeal for me was setting my own schedule. I’m sure that was enticing to you as well. Owning a small-business is no easy feat and actually ends up requiring more hours than expected in the first few years. I, like so many of you, realized during Covid how much we could really do at home (as long as the kids and family members cooperated).
I resigned from teaching in May of 2021 and started this small business a few months later. My main goal was to work during the naptimes of my then 2-year old. I also had a baby on the way and I knew balancing illness/daycares/etc. was a challenge that I wanted to avoid. I knew I had to make this naptime “power hour” work.
My schedule probably looks much different than yours but the main thing I have learned to help me is the block plan my day. I am very strategic about fitting all the work I have to do for that week into 4 2-hour chunks of time throughout the week. My 2-hour chunks happen to fall mostly from 12-2 in the afternoon, sometimes I can squeeze a little work time in from 6-6:30 am as well.
When I plan my day for work by blocking out certain tasks to be spread out over the week I first look at all the things I want to do during the week and the items that must get done. Then I take my calendar and designate certain days for those tasks. I make sure my bookkeeping clients get at least 3 days of the week with me checking in on their books and adding transactions or running reports.
The other items I add are business upkeep (blog posts, finances, products I hope to launch, social media posts/promotions, and checking in on my children’s book).
Here is what a block plan throughout the week could look like:
These tasks would take place from roughly 12:30-2:30 in the afternoon
|Check in with bookkeeping clients Quickbooks||Zoom call with potential client||Check in with bookkeeping clients Quickbooks||Work on blog post (I usually try to stay scheduled out nine weeks at a time)||Update finances, categorize my own Quickbooks transactions, update business budget etc.|
|Work on copy for clients if needed||Check in with children’s book orders, fix website etc.||Check in with bookkeeping clients Quickbooks||Work on copy for clients if needed|
It is important to note that working this way has essentially squeezed me into having every minute of the day planned out for me. I have to be very deliberate to schedule self-care time on the weekends and evenings so that I don’t get burned out. The daytime hours are spent with my kids doing their activities, fixing their meals, playing with them and much more. Some days I have to go to my room and rest for half an hour before my brain can switch over to work mode.
I also keep a running to-do list on my phone in case I have a quick 10-minute chunk of time that I can quickly pop on the computer and check something off.
The end of the month tends to be a busy time for me because I am making sure that bookkeeping reports are ready to be sent out at the beginning of the next month. I will sometimes take a Saturday (when childcare allows) to go to a coffee shop and work, uninterrupted, for a few hours. Summertime is also a time when I have more childcare so my workload can increase.
The workload ebbs and flows throughout the year. I tend to roll with it and know that someday when both my kids are in school I can take on more clients and have more normal working hours. For now, using these two-hour chunks of time throughout the week allows me to be home with my kids, bring home a small income, and use my brain in different ways in areas that I am passionate about.