Redefining The Time Management Skills I Don’t Have.

At the beginning of September, I took on a part-time contractor job (as in “contracted position”, not as in “plumber”) and officially completed my transition from working “partly outside of the home” to working at home, full-time. (It’s full-time when you count all of the things I’ve got my grubby little paws on.)


As in, I can’t even describe how much I love it.

As in, most of the time I don’t even feel like I’m working because I like what I’m doing so much.

As in, often I look up from my laptop and think, “I really need to quit fooling around and get to work!” BUT I AM ALREADY WORKING AND I JUST FORGOT.

Working from home is what I have always wanted to do, for as long as I can remember, and I am over-the-moon with excitement about this relatively new development.

That’s not to say everything is perfect and adjustments aren’t necessary.

Time management. It’s never been my strongest suit. (By a long shot.) I’m not the most disciplined person when it comes to sticking to a schedule, even if it means that I end up doing things the hard way.

I have big plans for managing my time, in theory. That is to say, I have big plans that aren’t really plans at all, just mental images of me getting all of my stuff done and giving myself a high five or a “YES! I DID IT!” here and there. (Those methods have actually worked for me in the past.)

But then I was talking to my sistuh-from-anuthuh-mutha Liz the other day (as we tend to do, you know) and she was telling me about HER big plans for time management, considering she has recently started a new at-home job too (yay!). Her plan is outlined on her blog, here.

Liz’s schedule looks like it’s going to work really well for her. I found myself very envious of her organizational skills but rather than sit and think, “I could never do that,” I decided to try and create the best schedule for me, one I could gradually put into place and truly follow. I thrive on the making of lists and schedules anyway. (Ask anyone who knows me personally: I often schedule things by the minute. It’s annoying, even to myself.)

In a perfect world, this is how my schedule would go:

~Get up by 6:00 a.m. (I’ve done this for years, and anyway, I’m usually already awake for the same reason Liz is.) (Now you really have to go read her post, don’t you? I mean, aren’t you even curious?)
~Robe on, teeth brushed, in the family room opening laptop by 6:05 a.m.
~Check email, Facebook, Twitter until 6:30 a.m. (6:45 at the latest. I said “in a perfect world”. Shut up.)
~Eat breakfast while doing some of my contractor work from 6:30-7:50 a.m.
~Put on workout clothes and leave for workout class at 8:00 a.m.
~Home at 10:00 a.m.
~Showered and dressed by 10:30 a.m.
~Contractor work until 12:30 p.m.
~Lunch until 1:00 p.m.
~The afternoon is when I would work on other projects, blog, and read blogs until time to make dinner.

So that sounds really good, right? Well, sure. Until I went out yesterday for two hours and walked around downtown Naperville.

2012 10 02 15.43.32

I was on a mission and had a definite purpose for doing that, but as I savored the glorious day and the ability to be outside enjoying it, I thought “Aye, there’s the rub.” (<---Shakespeare. Impressed?)

If I want to get the most out of what I’ve always wanted to do (work at home), I can’t firmly stick to what I’ve always done (attempt to be hyper-rigid in my scheduling). Stepping out of my self-created box is going to have to become part of my new schedule.

Will I still attempt to follow the timeline I laid out up there? Yes.
Will I make it a point to create diversions (I’m not talking about you either, Facebook!) that are different from the norm and outside of the plan just because I can? Yes.

Lest you think I have done a “total 360” (degrees, that is), I haven’t. STICK WITH ME, PEOPLE. It’s all in the outlook.

I’m not sure how it’s all going to go down, but I do know this: I’m going to do my best to enjoy myself every step of the way.


  • Colleen - @amadisonmom

    I think it’s important to have that base structure of a schedule. But, it’s also good to be flexible. I haven’t got “work”… but I’ve made myself a daily kind of schedule (Mon-laundry/treadmill/photo scans, Tues-clean the litter boxes/piggie cages/garbage, Wed-photo scans/treadmill, etc). Before making myself that somewhat ridiculous schedule I felt lost and would get NOTHING done. Now I’ve at least got focus and if Monday stuff doesn’t get done on Monday because I got asked to go to the gym or out for coffee… I try to catch up on Tuesday.

    • Melisa

      That’s a good way to do it. My problem is, once I start making a list of tasks I want to accomplish, I get carried away, make it too long, and then beat myself up for “not getting anything done” each day. I just need to find a balance…

  • Just Jen

    Make a production schedule as Andrea calls it. Allocate how much time you want to spend to each item per day (an hour to blogs, an hour to Twitter, an hour to writing, etc) and then you can just check it off of your list when you accomplish it. It will give you the flexibility to enjoy your day and be spontaneous (which is a struggle for people like us) but it will also give you a goal every day to reach and make you feel like you have been productive. Get your self a cute kitchen timer to use to keep yourself to the block of time that you have allotted.

    • Melisa

      You had me at “cute kitchen timer”, but also, check out the comment I left above for Colleen. I’m sure you know *nothing* about that. *snort*

  • tracey

    You’re such a rule-breaker. Sometimes I think about making a schedule. But I can’t seem to find the time to write it all down. 😉

    And I love Shakespeare quotes. But only ones that I know, otherwise I feel stupid.

  • Colleen

    Super awesome! So happy for you and your non-work work schedule! Some day I swear I’ll make or find the time to create that type of work environment for myself. Baby steps… 🙂

    • Melisa

      Baby steps is right…it’s how I got here! (Much easier w/ kids that are almost grown, by the way.) If you really want to do it eventually, you eventually will. xo

  • Kat

    Congratulations on your work from home job! That’s exciting. Managing your schedule when working from home is crucial but it’s fun too. Just the other day I read somewhere that working from home is more productive, As you know I wfh occasionally and the things I get done despite the distractions…awesome. I envy you and am sure that you will make the most of it :). Enjoy sis!