Now that I am 100% self employed I am struggling with a problem that seems fairly common for those of us that work on our own schedule; structure. I find myself spending hours doing research on the internet when I had planned to go into the studio or when another person asks me to do something during the hours I should be working I think to myself "whats stopping me from going and meeting with this person? I don't have a boss". There's also the issue of household errands, it's so easy to get caught up doing housework or errands when I should be going to the studio or doing office work for my business. I was getting very frustrated trying to make sure I was getting work done and feeling like events were always conspiring against me. I needed a plan to combat the lack of structure in my work life.
I decided that creating a weekly schedule didn't really work for me because my schedule changed so much every week. Sometimes I do a farmers market on Saturday some times during the week or on Sunday. Sometimes I have a lot of office work sometimes I need to spend all day firing. Because of these variations I couldn't really say that I would do certain things on certain days of the week. So instead I created a time sheet system, this way I sign in and out of work and when I'm signed in I have to be doing something for my business. That could be writing this blog post, going to pick up supplies, working at the studio, meeting with other artists, selling at a market, filling out applications, making phone calls or any number of other things but it CAN'T be checking facebook or walking my dog or doing household chores. At the end of the day I total the number of hours I worked and make sure it adds up to at least eight hours. At the end of the week I will total the number of hours worked and if it is satisfactory I will give myself a little reward like going out to dinner. If not I will work on my days off, I scheduled two days off a week (shooting for Sunday and Monday). Part of the issue before was that I didn't schedule any days off and I felt like I had to be always working. This way I have more set days off and on. I am hoping that this new system will help me stay focused and more accountable. I would love to hear other peoples ideas for how to structure their time when self employed.
Thanks for reading!