The Focus Course

Thriving With a Variable Schedule

Important Note: For anyone and everyone who is working from home, schooling their kids from home, and just generally feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, we are offering our flagship Time Management Course for half price.

This course has several lessons that are specifically relevant to work-from-home creative folks as well as full-time, stay-at-home parents. This is one of those lessons.

The entire course is available for anyone to sign up at a 50% discount. It will remain discounted at least through the middle of April.

Use coupon code WFH to get full access for half price.

Below is one of the lessons from the course.

Thriving With a Variable Schedule

If you have a variable schedule, God bless you. I know first-hand just how challenging that can be. It’s a challenge to find any sort of regular rhythm or routine where you can look forward to times of uninterrupted focus and getting in the zone.

For myself, and so many others I know who have a variable schedule, the reason is often because of family-related obligations and schedules.

And that is awesome. Yes it can be frustrating, but it also means you are giving yourself to your family and that’s worth it every time.

The challenge then is that we want to be as productive as we can with the time left over. And yet, so often, the time we have left over we are exhausted and tired and unmotivated to do anything.

Here are a few suggestions for how to thrive with a variable schedule:

Set the bar low

Don’t try to take on the whole world every single day. Know your capacity and be okay with that. Have one primary goal for each day that you can do.

Guard Your Sacred Time

As often as possible, try to make at least one 30- or 60-minute window where you can have uninterrupted time. Find that one consistent point in the day that’s yours (usually it’s going to be early morning or evening) and keep it sacred.

Anchor your routines and lower your activation energy

If you know that after breakfast you’ll have 30 minutes to do something, then use the breakfast time to mentally prepare for your 30 minutes of free time.

Or, if during your kids’ nap time, you know you’ll get 60 minutes, then use the pre-nap routine to also prepare yourself for what you’re going to do during that 60 minutes.

For at-home parents, the after-breakfast time and nap time is when we’re tired. But by anchoring your “work” time to a typical “interruption” time, then you begin to expect to work during that time instead.

Moreover, if you can prepare something ahead of time — such as the plan of what you’re going to do during that time — then it will help you get started.

As I spoke about in a previous lesson, remember that the first 5 minutes is always the hardest. So consider, what can you do to lower the activation energy for those precious few minutes you’re going to have available?

Plan Ahead

It will help tremendously to have monthly and weekly plans. With these plans, you can work backward to find the small steps you can take in order to move toward your bigger goals on a daily basis.

Can You Improve How You Spend Your Weekends and Free Time?

Consider using some of your down time in order to plan ahead if you can. Or use it to “catch up”, or whatever. Feel free to think outside the box.

Just because the weekend is normally the time when most people go to the mall and the movies, maybe you can take advantage of your weekends as a time to get things done that are important to you.

For example: For nearly a decade, Sundays were the day when I would do all of our family’s administrative work. I would pay the bills, balance the budget, and go through the mail on Sunday afternoons during my boys’ naps.

Now I use Sunday afternoons to plan out my upcoming week.

Remember that the season of life you’re in right now is not the forever season. Even if it’s going to be this way for a few years, it’s not forever. And so, even when things are not ideal, that’s okay. Find what works for now and just go with it.

Themed days

If you have multiple plates spinning, then perhaps it would be helpful to assign one “plate” per day. This way each day you only have one area of life to focus on during any given day.

It may seem like you’re dropping the ball if you’re not approaching every single project every single day, but in truth you’ll get more done with less mental overhead if you can give it a fair share of focused attention once per week.

Ask for help

Think outside the box and challenge your assumptions. What are the things that ONLY YOU can do? Everything else is up for grabs to be delegated to someone else.

If you can afford it, what are some ways you can buy back your time, even?

Just Try It

One of the ways you learn how to balance work and life is through trial and error.

  • Listen to the season of life your in right now and go all in with the one or two things that are most important.

  • Have a few core values and boundaries that keep your life healthy.

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek to stay inspired. Through a coach, mentor, podcast, book, album… whatever you can turn to to build motivation when times are hard.

Get Half-Price Access to the Entire Time Management Course

Here is a list of the other public lessons we have shared.

Or, use coupon code WFH to get access for 50% off.

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