I am a night owl—there I said it---who rarely (read never) sees a sunrise and I still find there are plenty of (fat and juicy) worms left for little ol' me!
When I began my business, I assumed I had to fit into this cookie cutter mold of what it meant to be successful, and that included being up before the sun and having 75% of my workload for the day complete before lunch. You guys, I WAS MISERABLE and often failed at adhering to a real schedule for longer than a few weeks before falling off the wagon and totally winging it--much to the detriment of my business and personal lives.
Perhaps, like you, I felt conflicted and convicted all at the same time---torn between work and family, and the most ironic thing was, that I had become a small business owner in order to take back control of my time, and yet I had totally lost it! So, I gave it a shot. I created a NEW schedule for myself to test run....and it has STUCK LIKE GLUE ever since! My business runs more efficiently and streamlined and my personal life is full and BALANCED! My goal of this post is to help all of you find the perfect "sweet spot" too!
How, you wonder? Well, follow these simple steps, and answer these questions for yourself and your business to create the perfect daily schedule!
1. Honestly, are you a morning lark or a night owl?
What are you? Do you NEED an alarm to wake you up each morning, are you groggy, or do you find you have an extra pep in your step. Realizing when you feel most alert and energetic is the first step to taking advantage of that time. For me, I find I am most productive between the hours of 12pm and 4pm! How about you???
Example: Our family's schedule is atypical to begin with, and perhaps yours is too---my husband works evenings, so, when I was (hopelessly) focused on waking up at 5am to be "successful", I was trying to fall asleep before he got home. This created a dynamic of lacking "us" time, so, I started staying up so late and was still waking up so early that I was utterly exhausted. Something HAD to give, and that something was my idea of what a successful person's daily itinerary looks like.
2. What is your MAIN priority at your current stage of life?
Do you have young children that require more of your time and energy (errrr, all of it lol). Are you kid-free and wildly focused on building your empire? Are you somewhere in between? Writing down your priorities both personally and professionally is a great tool. You can then evaluate the lists and put them in order of most important to least. As long as everything under priority one works to fulfill that priority, then that my friend is BALANCE!
EXAMPLE: My number one priority is my relationship with God, second is family and third is operating a growth-oriented business that maximizes my relationship with God and my family. See how that works?! To make sure my business serves my first two priorities, I am discerning about which clients I accept, which dates I am unavailable to work and which goals I aim to conquer! I am happy. Like really, really happy with the direction and growth rate of my business and my balanced home life!
Without clear cut boundaries and schedule keeping, I often found myself feeling rushed, squeezing in work tasks whenever I could, or so tired from lack of sleep that everything was not completed to the level of quality I desired. I was unable to relax and be fully present at personal events because I was catching up on emails, editing, blog writing or social media content planning. I can not even tell you how many times I felt stressed out because my kid's sports practice locations didn't have wi-fi (most soccer and football fields don't lol). Boundaries allow you to be in control of our business, and your business to not be in control of you!
3. What are your goals in your business and how much time will it take you to achieve them?
We all have goals! What are yours? Write down your short and long-term goals and how long you think it will take to achieve it. Make sure they are measurable, are accompanied by a realistic time frame for completion, rewards for when you achieve them and make sure they are revisited regularly to ensure you are allotting time to make them happen! I do this in a four-step process…ANNUALLY, MONTHLY, WEEKLY, DAILY!
ANNUALLY: At the beginning of the year, write down your goals for your business and personal life, and where you want to see yourself in 5, 10 even 15 years down the road (it is super fun to revisit these each year during your goal setting time too!).
MONTHLY: Establish which aspect of each of those goals you want to work on each month. This will give you a great place to start, and allow you to break the goal down even further into smaller, measurable chunks.
WEEKLY: On your weekly calendar, schedule time each day to work on a portion of each goal you have set. I personally LOVE my old school, paper and pen planner! It is my lifeline, and allows me to visually see what I am working on each and every week. I try my best to plan out my weeks at least a month in advance.
DAILY: DO IT!!!! Don’t procrastinate; don’t put it off until tomorrow. Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it!
EXAMPLE….at the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to write a blog once a month on business. So, in January, I wrote down which topics I wanted to cover for each month. Then weekly, I planned to research and write content on the topics. And then daily, I scheduled specific time in my workday to DO IT! Voila, here is the first post on business, delivered on time!
4. Be realistic…what has to give in order for you to “have it all”?
This may seem abstract, but it is a real question. What are you holding onto that is preventing you from living the life and running the business you dream of? Is it fear of looking foolish? Fear that it won’t all get done? Fear of not pleasing those around you? What can you outsource to help maximize your time---and outsourcing doesn't have to on a professional capacity. Outsourcing could simply mean hiring the neighbor kid to mow your lawn so that hour of time can be used toward your business or family time. Once you let go of what you think success SHOULD look like, you can start grabbing a hold of what success for you actually IS!!!!
Example: I am a people pleaser. I have a hard time saying no and often find myself overcommitted. Once I set a clear schedule that works for my day, my priorities, and my goals, I make sure I stick to it. This means, that even though I work from home, I can not jump up and meet friends for coffee at 2pm, because I am WORKING from home. Of course I still meet friends for coffee, but I do so during hours that are not allotted to work. Sometimes that means gym time is cut short, or my hair doesn’t get done (ok, my hair pretty much never gets done), and that’s ok.
When you have clear times that you are available, it allows you to be fully present and an even better friend, parent, spouse, significant other etc…as opposed to a frantic person who can’t relax and constantly checks their email during that coffee time!
So…what does my current schedule actually look like….be ready---it’s NOTHING like what you would expect from a successful girl boss entrepreneur, but it is what WORKS for me!
6:45am - Wake up and get the kids off to school.
7:30am - BACK TO BED!
9:30am - Wake up, have coffee, take my dogs on a one mile walk
10:00am - Breakfast, bible study, gym time, run errands, meet up with friends
12:00-3:30pm - WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK! Log off of social media and shut down the wi-fi if needed to limit distractions! Having a daily schedule has helped me become so much more efficient and productive than EVER before!
4:00-9:00pm - FAMILY TIME!!! Intentionally present during this time for connection and conversation. Because my boo is at work some of these days, it is even MORE reason why my family needs me to available to do homework, run sports practice schedules, dinnertime, unwinding and a lights out routine. This time is PRECIOUS and the most important block of time in my whole day.
9:00-12:00am-ish- WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK. Again, a specific carved out amount of time when my honey love is at work that I can focus on being productive too. When he comes home, we unplug, talk about our day, do a daily devotional and/or watch television. We usually fall asleep between 1am and 2am (and which is why we are NOT EARLY RISERS!).
There you have it! A day in the life of little ol’ me! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts…shoot me an email, or comment below! Have a great rest of the day, week, year, crushing goals and maintaining a centered, personal life balance! xo
Still need more reassurance that you can be successful without rising before the sun, here is a list of other notable late risers who have KICKED BUTT in the Business World...
- CEO of Buzzfeed, Jonah Peretti -- says he sleeps in till 8:30am
- Writer for the New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz -- says she doe her best work in the middle of the night
- Mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio -- quoted as saying "I am NOT a morning person"
- Daily Show host, Trevor Noah -- wakes up at 6.....PM
- Winston Churchill, former English Prime Minister -- he woke at 7:30am, but did morning business from bed until 11:30am
- Pharrell Williams -- rolls out of bed around 9am without setting an alarm clock
- Cofounder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian -- reportedly uses his cat as his alarm clock to be up around 10am