Budgeting Around Personal Time

by Bill T
(Cleveland, OH USA)

Running a business in which you do not have assigned hours to work can be both challenging and rewarding. There are two key things to doing this well, dedicated workspace and good time management.

Although I live alone, I still move to my desk in a separate room when I am doing work. This puts me into the mindset of focusing.

I use a laptop, and often I will take it into the living room with the television on when I am doing personal tasks. But when I am working, I am at my desk.

This is even more important if you have people living with you. They need to know what you are doing when you are in a certain space.

The other factor is time management. But in reverse. Plan when you are going to do non-work things. I like to read the morning paper, have coffee, catch some morning news, go to the gym, etc. I plan these things and other chores, then build my work time around them.

In my mind personal things still come first, but in reality, because of the good planning, I am putting in way more hours on my business than I used to.

I fill my time when I don't have personal commitments with business. I find this approach better than building a set work schedule.

Lisa's Note

Bill, I completely agree with you about the need to have a dedicated work space when you work from home. Although my office / craft room is tiny, being there signals to me, and my family, that I am working. I also have all of my tools and supplies easily on-hand in my office, which means I don't have to waste time looking for things.

I have tried on a couple of occasions to accomplish work without having a home office, and it was a dismal failure. You don't need a huge, fancy space, but you really do need to give yourself a dedicated work space if you're going to be productive working from home.

I have never thought about doing time management in reverse as you mentioned. I always book my work hours and do everything else when I'm not working. It means I often don't get "everything else" done. I'm going to have to try your suggestion of booking in the personal tasks and see how that goes. If my kitchen floor starts to get mopped on a consistent basis, I'll have you to thank! :)

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