If you’re a professional services solopreneur, there’s great satisfaction in having a full plate of billable projects. After all,
that’s what you’ve been aiming for, right? To fill your calendar with billable, revenue-generating work. But don’t forget that you have only a limited number of hours in every day!
As you build your client base – and the list of projects that need your time an attention – make sure that you build some “wiggle room” into your schedule, too.
Wiggle room involves setting aside time every day for the unexpected.
It’s a simple idea. Yet I suspect a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs don’t embrace it. I hadn’t until recently…but the busier I get, the more I recognize how important it is. If I don’t set time aside for those little things that seem to pop up out of nowhere, I risk falling behind on my commitments.
Get organized first!
Of course, scheduling wiggle room assumes that you already schedule your work. If you haven’t made it a habit, I urge you to start blocking out time on your calendar for the different projects you’re working on and your administrative tasks. Paying attention to deadlines is great, but how do you know you’re capable of handling your workload unless you can see that you have the available hours to get things done? And planning your project work in that way will help you give realistic deadlines to clients.
How to fit it in
Now back to wiggle room! As you plan your projects, ALSO ADD WIGGLE ROOM into your day! You don’t have to add hours at a time, but schedule short bursts of a half hour to an hour every few hours between your planned meetings and projects.
What’s it good for?
So, what types of activities might you use your wiggle time for? Here’s the short list of the activities that typically tap into my wiggle room…
- Responding to a quote request
- Returning a phone call to a client
- Tweaking work that requires minor changes
- Meeting with a client or lead on short notice
- Providing advice and guidance to business colleagues who have asked for direction
- Refreshing my brain with a quick wog (walk/jog) on our treadmill
Other less common uses of wiggle room…
- Cashing it in if I’m feeling run down
- Driving my daughter’s forgotten packed lunch to her school
- Medical appointments
- Grocery store run
Really, you can use your wiggle room for anything that you haven’t otherwise planned for. Again, the essential element to making wiggle room work is to be well-organized in the first place. That may take some practice and discipline at first, but your efforts to plan your work – and your wiggle room – each and every day will make you a more effective, more efficient business professional.
What would you use your wiggle room for? Already doing this? How do you use your wiggle room?
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