Working from home has many benefits, but if you don’t have a schedule you may not be as productive as you’d like. We asked these experts to give us a peek into their daily routines and schedules. You don’t have to copy their routines, but their stories will give you an idea about what makes them productive.
Andrea D. Smith, Senior Brand Strategist for The ADS Agency
So the days I work from home – so far – are mostly PJ / workout clothes days! I roll out of the bed doing work. My alarm rings at 5:30 am. I actually start doing work in bed (I’m sure that’s strongly discouraged by many). I’ll check clients’ social media accounts in the bed – just seeing what happened over night in the social space. It takes a minute to do a thorough check of all the platforms I utilize – easily an hour and more if you let it.
James McArthur is the CEO of FormTap and Fleks3D.
I work from home most days and travel between coworking spaces. When working from home I have to keep myself incredibly regimented to stay on task. Here is the general layout for ~80% of days.
- 5-6 am wakeup +coffee
- 6-7 am Cardio and HIIT
- 7-8 am Morning news check, breakfast
- 8-9 am Overnight email check and to-do list prioritization
- 9-12 pm Tackle and arbitrage top 5 to-dos
- 12-1 pm Lunch, 1 mile walk and emails
- 1-3 pm Reserved for sales and marketing calls
- 3-4 pm Check e-commerce and social ads and adjust
- 4-6 pm Website maintenance
- 6-8 pm HARO, dinner and emails
- 8-10 pm Relax
- 10 pm rinse sleep and repeat
William Swift owner of OhMattress.com
His typical day looks like this:
7 am-8 am: Wake-up, go jogging for half an hour, have a good breakfast.
8 am-10 am: Check e-mail and handle customer complaints, returning and replacing requests.
10 am-12 pm: Process new orders, pack products preparing for shipping, and do marketing stuff.
12 pm-1 pm: Have a lunch and take a nap.
1 pm-5:30 pm: Reply to blog visitor comments, research on new blog post ideas, write and post new article.
5:30 pm-6:30 pm: Hand packages to shipping service and update order status.
6:30 pm-8 pm: Spend time with loved ones.
8 pm-11 pm:Browse small business or marketing forums to learn new marketing skills for an hour. Market my small business sites and blogs.
Dawn Roberts, “The Process Maven” from Dawn Roberts Consulting.
My morning routine consists of the typical- I wake up, get coffee and breakfast (both very important), and get started. I drink a lot of coffee. I love it. Mornings are also my quiet time. I like to take about 10-15 minutes of time to collect myself before I get started. I always always start with a priority list for the day (something I highly recommend to my clients). I keep long term and short term priority lists that are ranked based on value, time required, and deadline. I pick 3 of my highest priorities for the day, and focus on those. This can include recording new videos, writing new blogs, creating new guides or templates, responding to inquiries or comments, meeting with customers, reviewing my marketing strategy or results, or more detailed customer project work. Every day is honestly different. I also adhere to a strict work-life balance. I work so that I can LIVE, not the other way around. I don’t do work in the evenings, but spent that time with friends or family or in enriching activities. I exercise regularly- I really like Les Mills GRIT, running with friends, and occasionally yoga. Music also inspires me, either listening to it or playing piano. I paint or draw sometimes to release my creative side. I read. I relax. Basically, I like to keep a broad range of hobbies. It keeps me from getting bored since I have a lot of energy to release.
Samantha Daniels, Professional Matchmaker and Founder of The Dating Lounge App.
Morning – I start my day by scrolling through Facebook to catch up on social news, reading a variety of news sites like the NYT, and by skimming over my emails to see if any important messages came in overnight. As a multi-faceted entrepreneur, each day is different. Some days I need to dedicate more time to my clients or to my exclusive app, The Dating Lounge, while others I have to write articles for sites like the Huffington Post or Thought Catalog.
Afternoon – Although I have greater flexibility as a WAH entrepreneur, I find that my days are always packed. The afternoon hours are particularly busy for me, since that is when my east coast and west coast branches are both active. Midday is an ideal time to reach out to my west coast contacts who are just starting the workday.
Early Evening – During this time I focus on sending emails and working through more time-intensive projects. This could be anything from planning high-end events with exciting brands or reaching out to contacts to develop media partnerships. Recently, for instance, I held an invitation-only event with the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center that was a massive success.
Late Evening – Because I work at home for much of the day, I need to go out during the evenings to meet with potential clients or business connections. Social get-togethers are key for WAH entrepreneurs, since there is less pressure during the meetings and creative energies can flow better. Evenings are also when I host many of my events, since the busy professionals with whom I work are done with business for the day and can prioritize their love lives instead.
Many WAH gurus suggest not working in pjs and many productivity experts suggest not checking email first thing. You’ll notice some of our experts do both (as I do). Ultimately, you have to create a daily schedule that works for you. But like most people on this list, I find getting the most mentally challenging tasks out of the way first thing is best. For me, my energy wanes as the day goes on. And after lunch, I’m fairly worthless. My schedule varies some, depending on when I get up. My ideal schedule is:
7 -8 am Get up, get coffee, read something informative or inspiring (from a book or Kindle). During warm weather, I do this on my deck.
8 – 9 am During Spring-Fall, when it’s warmer out, I exercise (I usually run and need to get out before it’s too hot). During cooler months, I write.
9 – 10 am If I’ve exercised earlier, this is the time I write. If I wrote, this is the time I start working. Like our experts, I often check what happened overnight. I see what email came in, although I don’t necessarily respond at that point. My goal is to take care of anything pressing. After that, I get to my daily activities, such as a blog post, writing an article, and whatever else is on my schedule.
10 am – 12 am If I wrote during the last hour, at this time I get to work.
12 – 1 If I didn’t exercise earlier, this is usually the time I try to get it done. If I don’t exercise before lunch, it won’t happen. If I exercised earlier, I usually take a break, have lunch.
1 – 2 If I exercised at noon, at this time I clean up and have lunch. If I didn’t exercise, I take care of less mentally draining work, such as answering email, scheduling social media, and other marketing tasks.
2 – 3 Usually I’m still working, often on a project, such as a book or new product.
3 – 5 During this time, I usually do personal activities such as household chores or run errands. Sometimes I nap.
5:30 I’m usually planning and getting started with dinner. I don’t work much in the evenings if I can help it. So my evenings are spent doing hobbies, watching TV and other fun activities.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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