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.
Block off all the time that you are at work
Block off traveling time to and from work
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!
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.
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
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.
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!!
2x per week + daily walks with Eaton right before and after work
Wednesday nights / weekends / occasionally during freelance hours when I don’t have a deadline the next day
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.
Every Friday night, and currently Sunday afternoons at various hours for about 3 hours
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!
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
Wake up, walk eaton
Head to the gym
Leave the gym
Coffee, breakfast, make lunch, shower, get ready, leave for work with wet hair (it dried on the way!)
Work work work
Ate lunch, wrote emails, and worked on my budget spreadsheet entering in all of July so far — yikes! hah
Work work work
Grabbed the mail, took Eaton outside, made dinner
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
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.
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.
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!