Last week, we talked about how to manage your business with young kids around. The first step I talked about what auditing your schedule. Another term you may have heard is doing a time inventory.
I know that can sound so vague and open-ended, so I wanted to go a little more in depth to help you fully grasp what auditing your schedule really means and how it can help you scale your business.
Let’s dive right in!
What is a Schedule Audit?
A schedule audit is where you sit down and evaluate every task and item that is currently filling your schedule every day. What are you doing every 24 hours?
Start by writing out what your typical schedule is every week. I know no two weeks are identical, especially during the summer but give me as close to typical as you can. Here are some questions to get your started:
- What are your work hours?
- When are your business work hours?
- What activities do your kids have going on?
- When do you usually run your errands?
- What weekly appointments do you have with friends, doctors, clients, etc?
I strongly advise that you hand-write this schedule. It will help you really solidify how much you have going on right now.
Do the following steps without too much thought. What’s your first inclination?
Now that you have it all written out, highlight all of the items that can’t be missed for any reason. Usually these things are work hours, doctors appointments, etc. Only highlight the items that you would never seriously consider canceling.
Next, cross out all of the items that you know you can remove. What extra things are you doing every week that you already miss sometimes or you cancel and don’t think twice about? Maybe it’s something you really don’t want to go to but feel like you have to.
Circle what’s left. These are the tasks that didn’t jump out to you as necessary or easily canceled. This is where the hard work of auditing your schedule comes in. You need to decide whether these items must stay or if they can go. I highly recommend that you bring in outside help to assist you with this part. I’d be happy to help you out if you’re not sure who to turn to. You need someone to give you a bird’s eye view of your schedule so you can cut without the emotional attachment.
What will I learn?
I find that doing a schedule audit is very eye-opening for most people. When we don’t dive into something very often, it’s easy to forget why we are even doing it. Why am I going to that class? Is this networking event even productive? Do my kids really need to be in another activity right now?
By auditing your schedule, you will see exactly where your time is going…and why you are always so tired by the end of the week. You are intentionally taking a look at every item you have on your schedule and evaluating whether it’s helpful. Maybe it was just what you needed when you started doing it, but it might not be right for you in this season.
I think you’ll find that you need to toughen up on your boundaries and what you say no to. It’s a lesson we all need from time to time.
How often should I do one?
Schedule audits should be done at least once a quarter, or every 90 days. So much can change in that amount of time. Our kids can go from crawling to running, from summer to school, or football to baseball. Our business can go from a one-woman show to a team, making $8,000/month to $20,000/month, or from a small podcast to a top-ranked one!
All of those things are great, but they all require something different from us! If you are someone who struggles with saying no, then you may way to make an audit a monthly thing until you build your no muscle.
It's done. Now what?
Now you redo your schedule and only put in the necessary tasks. Add in those 1-2 things that were missing or that you need more of. Want more time with your kids? Put it in the calendar! Desire more you time? Put it in the calendar! Need more time spent in and on you business? Do it!
Your newly opened space will fill itself if you don’t assign it something. Make productive use of your time and don’t feel guilty about any of it!
As you move forward with this new schedule, I think you’ll realize that you feel much more relaxed and productive. A new season deserves a new schedule and you deserve a schedule that fits you. Don’t forget to schedule in your next audit so you keep this feeling going!
Ultimately, if you want to add in more business hours self-care, or time with your kids you need to remove something currently taking up space in your calendar. Something has to go and it shouldn’t be your sanity!