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This post was written by the incredible Gina Horkey, from Horkey Handbook. Gina makes some serious money as a V.A. (have you seen her five-figure a MONTH income reports?!) and has some awesome insight in the life of a Virtual Assistant. Take it away, Gina!
One of the reasons that many of us want to leave work behind and work for ourselves is control.
Control over our time. Control over our schedules. And control over where we choose to work.
Obtaining this level of control or flexibility is awesome. But’s it’s also comical how many of us settle into a similar routine to what we desperately wanted to escape!
I’m no outlier…
My husband left work behind three years ago to become a stay-at-home dad to our two toddlers (which at the time were a newborn and 1 ½ year old).
So when I left work behind, there was no longer a reason to set an alarm clock. And we haven’t more than a handful of times since December, 2014.
Our kiddos are now our alarm clocks and we wouldn’t have it any other way! I.e. Morning snuggles are way better than a horrendous beep, beep, beep in your ear!
This usually happens between 6:30-7am. Next is coffee, breakfast and a little morning devotional. I try to start my workday about 8am.
From 8-10am I’m typically working on email - sorting, archiving and replying on behalf of my three VA clients and myself.
I check email once in the morning and once before I end my workday. I’m guilty of leaving my own email inbox window open for most of the day though. #SomeHabitsAreHardToBreak!
I then work on writing projects from 10am-12pm. This can be guest posts, blog posts for my own site, newsletter copy, client work, etc. It varies, but I keep a running list of posts by due date, so I know what to start on at any given time.
Time for Lunch
From 12-1pm I break for lunch.
We actually eat lunch together as a family, which is a pretty amazing perk. I then get the kids ready to lay down for a nap and read them a story before tucking them in.
After saying goodnight, I’ll either hang out with Wade for a bit, get back to work (if I have a pressing project) or sometimes take a nap myself! It’s nice to have that freedom to choose!
During the 12-4pm timeframe each day, you’ll find me working on my writing projects, taking calls or hosting meetings.
The writing projects are the same that I mentioned above. The calls/meetings are with VA, writing or coaching clients primarily. Sometimes I’ll hop on the phone or a video call with a peer to to catch up and compare freelancing notes or talk about a project we want to partner on.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to keep meetings to Tuesdays/Thursdays and primarily in the afternoon (when possible). This means that I have two full days (Mondays/Wednesdays) to crank out writing and focus on specific projects. Friday's end up being a free for all!
It’s not a perfect science, but it works and it also gives me the flexibility to schedule a doctor’s appointment or have a family date day during the week.
Hit the Gym!
I try to hit the gym from 4:30-5:30pm most days during the week.
That means I reserve the 3-4pm hour to again do email work. And since it takes me 10-15min to get to the gym, I’ll try to break at 4pm to pack my gym bag and get ready.
I’ve been working out with a personal trainer (and my mom!) for most of this year - I’ve found that if I don’t schedule in time, it’s easy to get missed. And my health is kinda important, so for me this is what works.
I’m also going to start training for a half marathon, so I’ll be changing up my schedule some to make that work. It’s nice to be able to run in the morning or after I put the kiddos down for a nap and not worry about “clocking in” at a certain time or when is the best time to leave to “beat traffic!”
Sometimes I’m not able to get all of my work done before I head out to the gym, so I’ll have to work in the evening a bit.
Usually I get home from the gym at quarter to six, take a quick shower, eat dinner with the fam and then settle back into work for another hour or so. It’s not ideal, but you do what you have to do and it worked really well when I was taking our daughter to tumbling at 4pm for the past six Wednesdays.
How Many Hours Per Week Do You Work?
I get this question A LOT! I don’t keep track per say, but my “normal” schedule looks like the above.
If I had to guess, I think it would be 40-50 hours per week on average. I do work some on the weekends, but much less than I used to. Now, it’s more checking email during nap time, rather than cranking out an entire article or blog post.
But again, I also take advantage of my job’s flexibility. Like this Thursday, our local movie theater shows movies for free during the summer, so our family is going to a 10am showing. That means I’ll probably work for a couple hours before we go, the normal afternoon time and then maybe another hour or two after I get back from the gym.
Give and take!
If you’re self-employed, what does YOUR schedule look like? Do you find that it mostly mimics your old 9-5?
Thank you for guest posting, Gina! If you guys are interested in getting started as a jack-of-all-trades Virtual Assistant, Gina offers an incredible V.A. course called 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success: A Course for Wannabe V.A's.
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time via her website, Horkey HandBook.