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Developing a Work Schedule When Working from Home

Updated on May 20, 2013
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.


Working from home can be great. There are so many pros, but the cons can be huge if you don’t develop a work schedule to get your work done. Without it, you’ll find yourself behind and highly stressed. That will not do.

You need to develop a work schedule.

Do You Have a Work Schedule for Working From Home?

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Importance of a Schedule

I’m not one that has to have everything down pat, but I quickly found out working from home that a schedule was important if for nothing else than to keep me on the right path and to let others know when they could interrupt. Without it, I found myself easily distracted and going about doing things that were low on my priority list. The result? I got so far behind in my work that I was in big trouble.

You need a schedule to help remind you of what needs to be done and when you have to do it all. You don’t have follow it to the letter, but use it as a guideline to keep you on the path of working from home success. Without it, you are guaranteed to meet failure head on.

Be Realistic

Just because you write out a schedule, doesn’t mean you’ll follow it to the letter. Trust me, it will never happen. Why? Murphy’s Law. If you make plans, the world will turn against you to destroy them. Okay, it is not quite that bad. But it can feel that way.

Also, don’t expect to get everything done you need. At one time, I would put about thirty things on my list and get discouraged when I didn’t get them all done. It wasn’t possible to get them all done. No human could have. I wasn’t being realistic.

You’re not Wonder Woman though we don’t have to tell everyone that. Put down the things you need to get done today and work from that.


In making your schedule, start with what has to be done or else you’ll die. Okay, slight exaggeration there, but you get my point. If there is something that has to be done, list it first. That includes deadlines. If a bill has to be paid today, then that goes on top. If the deadline for a submissions to an account is due today, then it does on top. Start with what is due today. Not tomorrow. Today. Work from there.

Why start today only? Because that is the most important. What has to get done today will get lost in the shuffle of everything else you have to do. Believe me, I’ve been there. I have about a million things that need to get done at any given time. Yes, that is an exaggeration but not by much. My list grows by two each time I cross one thing off. If I get bogged down in everything that has to get done, I’ll never get done what really needs to get done. Yes, I’d like to get the assignment due on Friday done today but then I’d forget about the one that needs to be done today. See what I mean?

Start with what is most important.

Sample Schedule

Okay, I’ve said a lot. The point is that you need a schedule if you are going to work from home. It will help keep you on track and get your work done. Here is a sample schedule for a writer working from home.

5-5:30 Walk Dog

5:30-6 Yoga

6-7 Breakfast and get kids out door to school

7-9 Marketing/Networking

9-11 Editing

11-1 Run errands

1-3 Write

3-5 Family time

5-6 Dinner

6-7 Housework

7-10 Write

Notice how family and life needs are worked in. Why? Because when you work from home, it can be easy to be so absorbed by work that you forget the other responsibilities. It takes work to balance the two, and a schedule can help you do just that. This could be a schedule you use every day and adjust as you need to.

Have a doctor’s appointment at one o’clock? Make your writing time for that day two to three. You can move it around, but have a schedule that keeps you on track.


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    • OanaWriter profile image

      Georgiana Dacosta 4 years ago from London

      Great tips, I also work from home and I agree with everything you said. Without a schedule every ends up in a massive pile of backlog tasks.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      I am retired but do work sometimes outside the home. It is so difficult for me to keep to a schedule at home without being obsessed by it. A schedule is very important in order to accomplish what I need to, however. Thanks for prompting me to do what I can about a schedule.

    • profile image

      Michelle Cornwell-Jordan 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed this post. I find myself attempting to balance my writing/publishing with that of life and it can be difficult...So I enjoyed the details shared, and the actual example of a daily schedule was very helpful, it enabled me to visualize what type of schedule I should set up. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • profile image

      Teddy Rose 4 years ago

      Great suggestions! I also have a lunch break on my schedule, but sometime I still forget to take it. However, my trusty dog D.J. always reminds me because that's when he gets another walk. LOL!

    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Very useful hub. I work at home now and it is very hard to create and keep a schedule. When I was going to work at the office, my schedule was better. I think there are distractions at home that people do not have at work that make developing a schedule a good idea.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      RGraf, thanks for emphasizing the importance of a Work-at-Home Schedule. I believe in it though I don't always stick to it. Takes practice and encouragement from articles like this one.

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great article. One suggestion for keeping the to-do list from getting out of hand: think carefully before adding to it. Sometimes, with a little thought, you know you won't really do some particular thing you thought of. So don't write it. Sometimes you know that some particular thing, as good as it seems at first thought, is lower priority than other things. So mark it as "maybe." Limit the to-do list to what you know you will actually do. That way, if only the "maybes" are left undone, you can feel a sense of accomplishment for the critical stuff, and maybe feel some elation if you got to anything else at all.

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

      Great article! I work from home and feel like I Half do things all day long! I tried a schedule BUT my kids don't seem to agree! Maybe one day I will get a better balance! thanks for the tips

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article! I thought you did a very good job at outlining your day's schedule. I think this type of guideline would be very useful for anyone working from home in order to achieve the type of discipline required. Thanks for sharing! (Voted Up)

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      This is good. I like how you have built in time for marketing and editing. I haven't done that. When I spend time marketing, I feel guilty for not writing during that time. I guess I need to build that time into my schedule. Thanks for that idea. I see you are actually working 9 hours a day with this schedule. I am sure breaking it up like this makes each segment more enjoyable. Voted up, useful and sharing.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great advice. If we don't treat it like a business then I am sure it would affect the success. It is a great thing though when we get it right. ^