This is a picture of a Google Calendar day. Keep yourself accountable to a schedule as a business owner.

How do I stay organized when WORK doesn’t TELL me to?!

I’ve been meaning to write this post since before quarantine even started…so either I need to take some of my own advice OR I simply waited until an even more appropriate time to post this.

….Let’s just say it was the latter, lol

Thanks for obliging.

This is an issue Davis and I hear a lot about from hobbyists, side-hustlers, and even full time woodworking business owners! Our day jobs are often quite good at providing us with a very structured daily schedule that comes with real life consequences if we don’t stick to it. Examples:

  • You show up late to work 2-3 times per week and your boss gets upset with you and has to call you to their office.
  • You miss a deadline on a project and let your team down. Now you’re stuck working with people who are upset with you.
  • You fail to reply to a big client and your company loses a MASSIVE sale. Your job is now at risk.

These are REAL consequences to YOUR failure to plan, cooperate, and execute! However, when you’re a one-person show trying to build a business or run a side-hustle, you really don’t have these same high stakes…or at least you don’t FEEL like you do. Examples:

  • You put off posting your newest product on your social media…nobody but you really notices…
  • You had somebody e-mail you interested in purchasing something, but you forgot to respond because you were busy cooking dinner for the family. That person doesn’t really care and forgets about you.
  • You stayed up until 3a.m. watching Netflix and didn’t wake up at 7 to finish a project for somebody. They probably won’t mind if it’s a day late, right?

I’ll be honest, I used to see nothing wrong with the examples above when we first started our business, but now, they make my SKIN CRAWL!!

Just because you are your own boss and nobody is forcing you to follow a schedule doesn’t mean consequences don’t exist.

In all three circumstances above, you either have the potential to lose money or the OPPORTUNITY to gain solid new clients!

So how do we as new side-hustlers and business owners derive a schedule for ourselves to stick to? And how do we motivate ourselves to stick to it?

  1. Write down your priorities.
  2. Break down the tasks you do to accomplish those priorities.
  3. For each task, write down 2 benefits and 2 consequences that come with accomplishing/not accomplishing it.
  4. Physically place those tasks on some sort of calendar that you can SEE! We recommend and have always used Google Calendar!
  5. Plan your week by placing those tasks on the calendar.
  6. Go forth and conquer!!!!
  7. ….Each day, go back and update the calendar with what you ACTUALLY did….
  8. At the end of each day, write out EVERYTHING you did to accomplish your priorities. You’ll either be happily surprised or a bit underwhelmed.

Number 8 is very important. If you can list out everything you did that day and you knocked out what was on your calendar…you will feel on top of the world!! It’s an amazing feeling…it makes you want to do it all over again the next day!! What better motivation is there than being proud of yourself and excited for the future of your business?! It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s not fake or fluffy or scripted and coming from your boss’ mouth. On the other hand, if you didn’t knock everything out and you’re at a loss of what to write down…you now have an empty page and a calendar that you have to go back to and update…

Once you have to go back and take things off that calendar that you didn’t do…you’ll start to notice how empty it looks. You’ll see a calendar full of white space.

Sometimes we have a hard time sticking to a schedule we set for ourselves because we don’t actually have a schedule created…we just like to think we do. Our challenge to you is to actually MAKE your schedule so that you have SOMETHING to stick to and follow. It comes with real consequences and real feelings of either: pride or disappointment.

We all started our businesses and side-hustles because we had a passion for something. We decided to take a leap. To risk it.

So don’t let something as small as being accountable to your own schedule stop you!