How to schedule your week when you work full-time and freelance

While it’s definitely tough, it’s definitely possible! Yes, you can still fit in working out, weekend vacations, seeing your friends, family, and significant others. Maybe even cook a little too ;)

There’s something about seeing other people’s way of living life that always gets me inspired. They can be the tiniest of details, but I’m always taking bits and pieces and learnings from how others live their lives and working these bits into my own way of living. After reading a few scheduling posts over the past several months, I thought it was time I share with you how I schedule my week when I work full-time and freelance. Feel free to skip this post if it gets a little much — this is a shout out to you detail-loving friends of mine!

When you’re working full-time and freelancing, there seem to never be enough hours. At first, I tried to ‘just see’ how my schedule worked out and I never gave it too much thought. I was stressed, grabbing too much fast food on the run, and generally living a chaotic lifestyle. Not good for me, not good for work, and not good for my clients. It took me a while to get on track, a new move to jolt a better schedule, and a year of living a consistent lifestyle for me to finally get control. Kind of. While every day varies, here is how I stay in control of my workflow, get enough sleep, workout, and still have time for a pretty full social life.

Here is how I created my schedule for working full-time and freelancing. I started with the necessities, and then sprinkled in the freelance and social life.

1:

Block off all the time that you are at work

2:

Block off traveling time to and from work

3:

Pick times to regularly work out, and add in travel to and from the gym. Also note how much time you need to get ready before heading to your next item when you pick a regular time. If I don’t add this in before anything else, it won’t happen. Make it a priority!

4:

Now, make room for sleep. It was easier for me to pick my sleeping schedule after I decided when I was going to work out. I always aim to get a full eight hours so that I’m fully present and well-rested for the day ahead. I feel like such a waste if I get 7, seriously! Sleep times are different for everyone, so pick your number and set a standard bedtime and wakeup time.

5:

Fill in any other commitments you have. For me, this is time with Todd on Wednesdays (the one day he has free from class + personal errands, and a day I can give up from freelance work), and german dancing

6:

Put in buffer room of meals, errands, and getting miscellaneous things done around the house that NEED to get done. For me, this is walking Eaton twice a day, checking mail, making dinners, prepping lunch, getting ready / showering, and doing the dishes.

7:

From here, you’ll have a pretty clear view of where you can fit in your freelance hours. Decide how often you want to work, and for how many days. For me, I tried to schedule as much as I could during the week so that I had a clear weekend most weekends. I love to take weekend trips, see friends, hang out with Todd, and generally have the time to do what I feel like! Maybe you like this on your weekdays and you fill your weekends with freelance. Whatever you do here, make sure to not fill up the rest of your time with work. You deserve that down time!!

a schedule for working full-time and freelancing

WORKING OUT:

2x per week + daily walks with Eaton right before and after work

TODD (BOYFRIEND) TIME:

Wednesday nights / weekends / occasionally during freelance hours when I don’t have a deadline the next day

FREELANCE HOURS:

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 6 -9 // also ‘free hours’ to schedule a dinner with friends once in a while. I don’t always have deadlines, and many of these days simply turn in to times to relax after work and catch up on Netflix, or have a long walk with Eaton. While these are my scheduled hours that I know I have generally available, I make it a habit to schedule out my lunches while at work to use that time towards business-related things. In fact, I’m writing this during a lunch break! When I’m not working out on Monday + Wednesday, I still get up at 5 to get an hour or so of work done in the morning. This is when I usually write the Pinegate Road Newsletter, and when I’m prepping files to send to clients first thing in the morning. Working nights, I need that little bit of morning refinement to make sure everything is just right before sending along.

GERMAN DANCING:

Every Friday night, and currently Sunday afternoons at various hours for about 3 hours

SOCIAL / FREE TIME:

Saturdays + Sunday morning/afternoon // when necessary, I pepper in work here but it’s usually tying up a few loose ends, sending out an email, or doing a quick refinement of a design to send back out. Unless there is a huge project that I need to spend an entire day on or I need the daylight for photography, I usually keep my weekends free to take trips, have friends visit, spend time with Todd, take nature walks, and generally do what makes me happy!

PERSONAL ERRANDS / GROCERIES:

Any day right after work / Wednesday I get my farm bag at work

While a schedule is full of good intentions, there is always room for slight changes. Once you get in to a rhythm and clients start to know when you’ll be able to respond to emails and get work done, you’ll be able to see where you can squeeze more ‘me’ time into your week. OR, when you need to forgo those weekends and hunker down to get that job done! Setting the schedule helps you prepare for those ebbs and flows and make sure that you’re putting work, life, freelance, and health on an equal playing field most of the time.

An actual day for me:
Monday, July 13th

5:00AM

Wake up, walk eaton

5:20AM

Head to the gym

5:30AM

Workout

6:20AM

Leave the gym

6:30AM – 7:05AM

Coffee, breakfast, make lunch, shower, get ready, leave for work with wet hair (it dried on the way!)

7:30AM

Work work work

11:30AM

Ate lunch, wrote emails, and worked on my budget spreadsheet entering in all of July so far — yikes! hah

12:30PM

Work work work

4:30PM

Went home

4:55PM

Grabbed the mail, took Eaton outside, made dinner

6:00PM

Answered emails, wrote yesterday’s blog post, sent out a contract for a new project, defined some small projects for a couple current clients, organized emails from applicants for the part-time position

7:45PM

Finished up with freelance, and decided to do something about the tart cherries I got in my farm bag the Wednesday before. One of my most favorite things to do for fun is to cook. I took the recommendation from a friend and made a tiny cherry cobbler. Yum! While it was cooking I caught up on some Netflix and then took Eaton on a 20-30 minute walk. I’m also pretty bad about still doing emails while I’m relaxing — I wrote a few emails from my couch while watching Netflix. Eeek.

9:00PM

Got ready for bed, made some tea, started listening to the Mystery Show and just HAD to finish the second one where Starlee tracks down Britney Spears.

10:00PM

Asleep

I hope this gives you some understanding and reflection on how you can make your schedule work for you, your business, and your full-time work life. While it takes some getting used to, with a little determination it’s so possible. Remember, every minute counts!

 

Leave a Reply

  1. Angel Y.

    July 22nd, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Such a great post and beautifully put together! I’m learning to “schedule” my time which totally goes against everything in my body but is necessary so these posts are so helpful!

  2. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    Hah, I believe in you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. Ashlee Chu (@AshleeChu)

    July 28th, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    This way of scheduling the week makes so much for sense. I think when it comes to travel, social, and quality time with our people are lost in the mix (i.e. that time gets mentally set aside, isn’t accounted for etc.). The travel time for to AND from along with time for errands are things I really had not included in my schedule before.

  4. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    @ Ashlee — same here! It was a game changer when I accounted for that. That in-between time was always my excuse for never making it to the gym ;)

  5. britta nagy

    August 19th, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Thank you for sharing your schedule and advice! I am curious – are you someone who has always been adept at switching gears, or was that something you had to train yourself to do?

  6. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    @ Britta — you’re welcome! Do you mean jumping from one activity to another, or switching up schedules in general? I guess when I have a goal in mind, it’s always been my inclination to do whatever I need to do to meet that goal. So for now, switching between things is a necessity!

  7. Carla Louise

    August 23rd, 2015 at 3:03 AM

    Loved this! I’m definitely in the ‘see how I go’ schedule mindset at the moment, mainly due to massively disruptive building work. But you’ve inspired me to try and get a better schedule going once the works are finished! X

  8. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    @ Carla — ah, best of luck!! It literally took me two years to get to this schedule after moving here to Cleveland ;) You can do it!

  9. Joyce | bronzer bunny

    August 23rd, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Wow, I’m really amazed! I’m not a morning person at all, and while I have quite the organized to do list, I’ve never found that scheduling things out works for me. Something always runs late, or inevitably there is some other chore/errand to do. i have been considering trying again though, and perhaps your post will give me a bit of motivation :)

  10. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    @ Joyce — Those things definitely still get in the way of me keeping a schedule every day! I think it’s important to have an ‘ideal plan’ and then that helps you stay on track as much as possible. Of course, things pop up, and that’s when you can switch over time dedicated to one activity for something else. Also, the good thing is you can make your schedule as a night owl too ;) Best of luck!

  11. Courtney Shelton

    September 3rd, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Nice! I feel like I am insane all the time…and I even have a pretty routine schedule so that I know I can get everything done. I wish I could go to work or on the way with wet hair…that would be amazing, I’m so jealous! I totally agree too with the hours of sleep…I am for about eight as well….anything less and I am not up to par for the next day!

  12. Kelsey

    September 7th, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    @ Courtney — hah! I’m sure you could find a way! You have the most lovely hair ;) Glad to hear you’re making it happen with a set rhythm and schedule!

  13. abbyabbyabbyy

    September 25th, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    I love your schedule! It seems very balanced and forgiving, which is so nice.

    Do you use an app or activity tracker to make sure you are on schedule or do you have it memorized?

    I use Wunderlist like crazy to keep all of my oars in the water :) Another technique that helped me SO MUCH was the GTD technique that was put together by David Allen. I took a Skillshare class on it months ago and it changed so much of how I live.

    Whatever you’re doing to make it all work, keep it up!

  14. Kelsey

    October 29th, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Hi Abby — I have it mostly memorized by now. What gets tricky is when the freelance space starts filling up with projects and meetings. I have to make sure to schedule that out and stay on top of all that’s going on. For that I use my day designer! I am going to look in to the GTD technique! Thanks for sending that along :)

  15. Noukka Signe (@noukkasigne)

    April 5th, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Loved this way of scheduling! I just made one for myself based on this one and it really helps me to see where my time can (and should) go.
    Thank you for sharing!

  16. Kelsey

    April 10th, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    So glad it helped! xo

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