Controlling your calendar goes along with last week's post about not overscheduling yourself, but it has a larger meaning for home-based bakers.
When you work from home the temptation to schedule things at random times during the week is pretty strong, but you need to resist! When you're working on something momentum is important to maintain, and being interrupted all the time will make a one-hour task take about three once you stop and start and have to get back into the groove each time.
If you can block out all of your outside errands to a certain time of day, and stick to working on business tasks during certain blocks that you know you have available your life will be a lot easier.
When I schedule appointments, like doctor appointments, taking the car to the shop, etc., it's always at the beginning of the week. (I'm sitting at the car shop as I write this, as a matter of fact.) I never put anything on my calendar that will take me away from business on Thursday and Friday.
Yes, this will hamper some of your activities. I hear people say that the good thing about working from home is that you can go on your kids' field trips, etc. Well, I haven't gone on a field trip in years, because they schedule them all on Fridays. I tell my kids that they have to remember that I work, and even if it's from home it doesn't mean that I can just dump work and take an entire day off. That is not good for my mood. If I worked for someone else I wouldn't be able to do it, either.
If you really want to de-stress your life, don't feel that you have to do everything. Working from home is still working, so you need to decide whether you have a part-time job or a full-time job. A full-time job takes time, and you have to devote the time to it. If you want to volunteer at your kids' school then do it on days when you're going to be able to devote the attention to the task, and not have to be thinking about how behind you're getting by being there.
Another example of this is the clients who call and say that they want to schedule a tasting appointment at noon on Thursday. My immediate answer to that is no, since that's hands-on working time for me. I schedule appointments when it's convenient for me to do them all at once, and I offer enough times during the month that clients will be able to find a time that will work.
It's tempting to move your calendar around to accommodate the random schedules of people, but if you want to de-stress your life don't do it. You can't schedule things like that, it just ends up being a bad use of your time. When you call the doctor they tell you when appointments are available, you don't tell them when you're coming in. Why should we be different? By controlling your calendar this way you'll definitely reduce your stress levels.
Finally, but probably most important, be sure to go through your calendar at the beginning of the year and block off dates when you will NOT be doing any cakes at all. The weekends after Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind right away.
If you plan on taking a vacation with your family at any point during the year, block that week off. If you don't want to work on your birthday or your kids' birthdays, block those dates off. Then stick to it and don't schedule anything on those dates.
So don't overschedule yourself, learn to say no, and be the boss of your calendar. It will make a big difference in your overall mood.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA