“If you don’t have it in writing, then it isn’t real. And if it isn’t real, then it isn’t going to get done.”
This saying doesn’t just apply to business agreements and conversations with lawyers; it should be part of every entrepreneur’s everyday life. And maybe every parent’s, too; with (maybe multiple) kids involved with (maybe multiple) activities, the importance of scheduling is critical to success – however you define it.
Scheduling helps keep you efficient. And more importantly, it keeps you effective. (Had a boss once who said, “I can go out on the line and produce crap parts as efficiently as you like; but if I’m building junk, that doesn’t make the time I spent effective.” Now, me, I considered building junk parts to be inefficient, but I understood the point he was trying to make.) Once you start scheduling, you learn right down to the minute how long any given task takes – like researching for a blog post, writing it, and then gathering the pictures for it before posting it online. Once you know how long something should take, you can schedule the time needed, and then at the end of that time, move on to something else.
Written scheduling keeps you accountable. When you work from home, there is a tendency on the part of other people to assume you don’t do anything all day; this attitude can be contagious. The written schedule keeps you on track and moving forward; you can’t laze about or dawdle when getting something done because there’s something else coming right behind it and if you leave any part of the first job undone, that increases your workload for the next day. A work-from-home small business is no place for a procrastinator!
And approaching the whole question with the attitude, “Oh, I know I can get done whatever I need to without writing it down,” is setting yourself up for failure. Why? Because without having your day on paper in black and white, it’s far too easy to take longer than you planned to complete something, then push off the next task until the first is done, and by the end of the day you’ve accomplished less than half of what you thought you could/should do. With that record handy and your own results in mind as you tried to march to those self-set requirements, you have concrete information you can use to makes adjustments in your next day’s schedule.
So why is it important today?
Because as of today I’m rejoining the regular work force for the next 730 days. For the rest of this year, I’ll be both an early bird and a night owl, because even while working second shift I refuse to give up my sunrises. Which means the importance of scheduling my days has just taken an exponential jump.
How’s it going to work?
Well, I’ve already got three important tasks each day, and a specific amount of time I need to set aside for them: My work schedule plus drive time to and from, 2:30 PM to 12:00 am; my daily sunrises, the exact time of which changes but the total time doesn’t – two and a half hours minimum; and sleeping – that’s very important, if I want to stay healthy and work effectively – which I’m designating as eight hours a day, broken into two separate chunks. So, Monday through Friday, that leaves four hours a day for other tasks; spending time with family, creating and publishing journals, writing up each day’s photoblog, research for other articles, packing a lunch, eating, showering.
I’m interested to see how well I do, and looking forward to how much more effectively I’ll be able to work here at home two years from now!