Have you ever wondered what an ordinary day is like for an entrepreneur? Are you considering quitting your 9-to-5 job and striking out on your own to live the entrepreneur life? Do you have the discipline to stay focused and on track?
I made the leap to a full-time entrepreneur in 2016, and now I work from home and create my schedule. While that sounds glamorous, I can tell you that being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work. If you have visions of sleeping in every day, having long mimosa brunches, and working four hours a week, I have bad news for you. That won’t happen, at least not if you want to make any money.
The key to a successful day as an entrepreneur is being organized and scheduled.
3 Most Important Tasks
Organized – I start my day with a list of the most important things I need to get done. My computer is ready to go with the important documents I need already open and waiting. I use a Google sheet to keep track of my current projects, word count, expenses, income, ideas, and people for networking.
Scheduled – For entrepreneurs, time is the most valuable currency. It helps to think of your day in chunks. My creative time might be one hour of writing, followed by two hours of editing. I always start my day with writing, and I track how many words I wrote or edited.
I block my time in chunks on my calendar. I find this helpful to stay on schedule. Otherwise, I’ll get sidetracked. I have chunks for my writing projects and chunks for my book launch clients. Sometimes, things go off track due to unexpected client priorities. I may get a request to deliver something urgently, or a call might get scheduled at the last minute. These things happen, and I move things around or defer something to the next day.
So, how does a typical day look? For me, here goes.
7:00 – 7:30 Wake up. Scan my emails quickly to make sure there are no urgent issues from clients.
7:30 – 8:30 Sit down at my home office desk with coffee in hand, set a timer, and start writing. My goal is to write for one hour and produce about 1200 words. This may seem fast because it’s first draft writing meaning I don’t edit my work as I go. The words tend to flow well enough at this pace. I have a writing goal for the week that is already outlined in Scrivener. Check out this free tool for tracking your word count.
8:30 – 9:00 Morning routine and breakfast.
9:00 – 11:00 Client projects. I have two clients currently, so I’ll chunk each into one hour.
Notice there’s been no social media or email checking yet!
11:00 – 12:00 Personal time for working out, lunch, checking personal emails, and administrative tasks (e.g., paying bills, scheduling a trip, reaching out to a friend to do lunch). I keep a list of tasks in a calendar notice and whatever doesn’t get done that day gets moved into the next day’s time slot.
12:00 – 1:00 One hour of editing. I track words edited. Editing isn’t my favorite. Left ignored, I’ll procrastinate which is not good for a writer who needs to get books out the door!
1:00 – 5:00 More client work.
5:00 – 7:00 This is time with my husband. We enjoy walks on nice days and will often grab food on the way home, or we’ll whip up a quick dinner.
7:00 – 8:30 I like to squeeze in another hour or so at night for editing. Or if I’m in launch mode, this time is for marketing, emails, or social media.
8:30 – 10:00 I like having evenings to myself for things like reading, watching TV, and relaxing. Yeah, I could probably squeeze in more time for projects, but I need a few hours of do nothing time.
As you can see, my day is highly scheduled, and this works for me to stay productive. I adjust as priorities change. When I’m launching a book for a client, my day is spent on launch tasks, and other writing projects fall to the back burner.
Want other tips to stay focused and on track?
Get your beauty sleep. I try to stay regular with bed and wake-up time. I’m someone who needs about eight hours of sleep, or I get irritable.
Timers are your friend. I use the one on my phone frequently during my day.
Music stimulates your creativity. There’s an Amazon Echo in my office that I use for music. “Alexa, play David Bowie.” Or, “Alexa, play rainy day classical music.” It’s genius. I absolutely love having an Echo.
Automate the tasks you hate. Recently, I bought a robot vacuum cleaner and am blown away by how much I use it. My house is tall with many stairs and ledges. I put off buying a robovac for a long time because I didn’t realize they are designed to stop before going over a ledge. It’s designed for daily use, and so I have it clean one room a day. It’s brilliant! There is so much less dust in my house now, and I’m not doing the vacuuming! It’s not as expensive as you might think. This is the model that I have. When you consider the cost of a cleaning service can run upwards of $100 per visit, this is a no-brainer investment.
Be productive on weekends. I follow a similar schedule using blocked time on weekends. I enjoy focused time for my books, website, newsletters, etc. Weekends are also time for social fun. I’m writing this on a Saturday morning, before heading to a friend’s party. I’m relaxed and lazy on weekend nights. Mostly, I need a break from computer screens, and I’ll read a book or watch a movie if I’m not out with friends.
Build in do nothing time. There should be time on weekends, or during your week, for “do nothing” time. This might be taking a walk or going to the beach. Sometimes I like going to a museum with no agenda—to see what catches my eye and look for new story ideas. For you, maybe it’s catching up on sleep or digging into a good book.
That’s my daily life. I realize I have it easier than others because I don’t have kids. Instead, I have one equally entrepreneurial husband, and we take care of each other:-) We both work from home, and it’s going well.
Of course, there are some superb advantages of controlling your schedule. Being an entrepreneurial couple means we can take off with no notice. Maybe we catch a day baseball game or head to the lakefront for a long walk. Usually, you can find us pretending to be Abe Frohman, the Sausage King of Chicago. Bueller? Bueller?
I’m Courtney Kenney, author and book launch consultant. Like you, I’m on the author’s journey. My focus is to improve my craft, learn new marketing techniques, and sell more books as I grow my authorpreneur business. I want to share what I’ve learned to help you become a more productive and prosperous author.
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Hi Courtney ! !
Thank you so much for this post! I personally find it very helpful right now in my life since few months ago decided to transition from being a License Massage Therapist working for somebody else in Chicago for many years to becoming my own entrepreneur and shifting gears . This is a new path for me and having my own hours and working from home and I love it 🙂 But yes navigating through the do’s and don’t is a daunting task , specially when it comes to discipline and a structure schedule , or not knowing ” how to ” sometimes.
Valuable information , inspirational !
Looking forward to read more posts on the subject from you in the near future.
Thank you again ,
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the post. Great to hear from you! I hope all is well. I’m excited for your new adventure ahead! Keep me posted. Look for a post from me this weekend about time management:-)