We are creatures of habit. We often crave structure and a level of stability in our lives. One wonderful aspect of being an entrepreneur is the autonomy we often have to determine our work schedule. Conversely, we also struggle with the lack of direction commonly faced in self-employment. Being your own boss gets messy and confusing.

 Introducing a Master Schedule

A master schedule is a calendar of your entire week (all seven days) divided up into dedicated blocks of time for both personal and business activities. What type of calendar are you currently using? This method could work with a stationery planner however I’ve found that scheduling on an online calendar is more effective. Online calendars are convenient since they can be accessed and updated via any internet device and synced across devices. I used to be one of those who had to have a paper planner… but I’ve seen the light. Online calendars really are more effective and efficient once you get used to them and fully utilize their features. But you can use what works for you.

With a master schedule, you’ll establish a set routine to tackle ongoing tasks and responsibilities. This should lead to increased productivity and reduced stress. No more sitting at your workstation not knowing what you should be working on. You can also set up your schedule to allow time to relax and have fun, knowing that you have designated work hours to accomplish what you need to.

 

How to Create a Master Schedule

 

Step 1:

Before you create your master schedule, there are two lists you’ll need to make. You’ll use the items on these lists to fill in your master schedule.

For your first list, jot down all the personal activities you need and want time for. These would include: meals, family time, hobbies, reading, fitness, devotions, etc.

For your second list, jot down all the recurring tasks and activities you can think of related to your business. These might include: team meetings, client consultations, replying to phone calls and emails, marketing, general admin, product development, and any number of projects you have going on.

Step 2:

Look through your personal list of activities. If there are items tied to a specific time of day, put those on the calendar. For example, schedule all your meal times for the week. When will you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you have kids, what time will you get them ready and put them to sleep? What time each day will your daily devotional or Bible reading take place? How often and when will you go to the gym? Schedule all these activities into your master schedule.

Step 3:

Now let’s take a look at your business activities. What are your working hours? Will you work from 9am-5pm? Will you regularly work during the weekends? To help guard against workaholism, establish clear work boundaries for yourself. Once you have determined what your work hours will be, block them on your master schedule. Work hard to protect and keep these hours contained. Resist checking and answering personal emails outside of those work hours. Look at your schedule and be honest with yourself. Are you striking a healthy balance between your business and personal well-being? While there are seasons that call for increased time and attention to our businesses, operating that way long-term is unhealthy and unsustainable.

Step 4:

Think about your personal work style. When are you most alert and focused? Is it in the mornings? Or later on in the day? You will want to schedule your most arduous tasks to take place when you’re able to best concentrate and stay focused.

Once you have determined your master framework of categorized activities, you can superimpose this framework on your actual calendar full of specific action items.

 

You Own Your Master Schedule

Once you’ve created your master schedule, we recommend adhering to it for at least two months. This will allow enough time to evaluate whether you’ve established a good rhythm and flow for yourself. If you’re having trouble sticking with your schedule, ask yourself why. Do you not have enough accountability to follow through with the tasks you’ve blocked out for yourself? Do you need to be more productive and efficient with your time? Or is the schedule itself too ambitious and unrealistic? After getting clarity around why your new schedule isn’t working, adjust it as necessary.

Give yourself permission and the freedom to be flexible as well. Have a friend visiting from out of town and want to spend most of the day with her? Move the business goals from that day to another block of time on your calendar. Want to work on another project rather than the one you had scheduled in your calendar? Go ahead and switch them around. Be mindful though that if those activities don’t get done during their original time slot, that you have reallocated them elsewhere on your schedule. This allows us to be flexible with our time yet stay on top of our businesses. You own your master schedule. Make it work for you.

BONUS: Download a FREE Printable to help you get started!

Do you have a master schedule? How is it working out? If not, what is preventing you from creating one?

Adrienne Shen
Adrienne Shen

Adrienne is from the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves to travel with her husband, try new foods, and learn new things. She finds beauty in diversity, in taking risks, and being adventurous. She loves her dog Snowy and is addicted to coffee.

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