One of the trickiest things I’ve had to figure out as a solopreneur for the past seven years is how to manage my schedule every week. When you’re your own boss, there isn’t anyone to keep you accountable or tell you what you should get done by what deadline. Instead, you have to find ways on your own to manage your day-to-day to-do list, plan for future projects, jump on phone calls, and respond to incoming inquiries, all while trying to work reasonable hours.
After a few years of working for myself, I realized that jumping between tasks wasn’t the most efficient way to get things done. Multitasking often led to more mistakes since my brain wasn’t able to focus fully on just one thing. Because of this, I adopted a plan that gives every workday its own purpose and goal.
One day is a phone-call-only day when I take all of my calls for the week (although depending on the week I sometimes schedule two days for phone calls), another day is focused on marketing and client growth, another is for creating content and answering emails, another is for working on projects set to launch later in the year, and Fridays are a toss-up day where I catch up on any leftover tasks.
Separating my schedule into these themed days has helped me become much more efficient with my work. Here’s how it can work for other self-employed freelancers or entrepreneurs.
1. It allows you to give your entire attention to specific tasks
One of the best parts of having themed days is the structure it gives my schedule. When I wake up on a Tuesday, I know that the five to eight hours I work that day will all be focused on a related set of tasks.
For example, if it’s my content and email day, I’ll spend the first three hours writing blog posts, email newsletters, and social posts. The second half of the day, I’ll answer my backlog of emails.
If it’s a future project day, I’ll spend my time chipping away at what needs to be done to launch the product, book, course, or new service I’m working on.
Doing this allows me to focus fully on a certain subject and often inspires more creativity and new ideas.
2. It gives you something to look forward to
Staying motivated can be hard at times since I rely solely on my own energy and determination to keep my businesses alive and profitable. Having themed days helps me look forward to the day ahead knowing that I’ll be able to completely switch gears and work on something different than the day before.
When I used to embed phone calls into every day of the week, I felt exhausted by the energy I had to give during each call, which threw me off from being able to sit down and refocus after the call ended.
Now, I still sometimes dread my phone-call day since it’s usually five hours of back-to-back conversations with different groups of people. But it’s a huge relief to consolidate them because once that day is over, it feels great to check all those calls off my list for the week and move on to the next day of tasks.
3. It helps you stay organized
Every Sunday evening, I sit down and write out everything that I need to get done for the week ahead. Then, I drop each task into its corresponding themed day. That way, each day of the week has its own to-do list that’s curated with estimated hours to spend on each task and built-in breaks throughout the day.
When I didn’t schedule my week like this, I often found myself unable to get to at least 25% of my work for the week since I felt pulled in so many directions.
4. It prevents you from working long hours
For the most part, I like to keep my workdays as short as possible. The average amount of work I do in a day is only five hours and when my schedule is super busy, I’ll extend it to eight hours.
Having themed days allows me to plan how I’ll spend each work hour that day so I’m not lingering at the computer until late in the night. If I don’t finish something, and it’s not urgent, I’ll push that task to next week. If it’s more pressing, I’ll add it to my Friday toss-up day.
5. It helps you focus on the future
One of the biggest mistakes I found myself making was spending so much time just trying to get through day-to-day tasks that I wasn’t doing any future planning. Months would go by and I wouldn’t have any time to think about scaling my business, growing my audience, or planning future projects.
Now, I reserve a full day every week to work on what’s down the line for my business and spend quality time on the kind of tasks that will help my business be profitable for another year.
When you’re an entrepreneur, it can feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. But with good organization, structure, and a solid theme given to each workday, I’ve found that I can get more done in less time.