How an Unconventional Work Schedule Can Work for You

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How an Unconventional Work Schedule Can Work for You

Let’s be real: the traditional 9-5 work schedule can be a serious bore. Sure, most of the world is doing it, but how satisfied is it most of the world? 


This reality is what draws so many people to entrepreneurship. Not only do you answer to nobody but yourself as an entrepreneur, but you have the ultimate autonomy to choose your working hours. Sounds pretty sweet, right? It is. But many rookie small business owners (SBOs) fall into the trap of working hours that end up draining them.

Over time, they begin to wonder why they even embarked on this journey in the first place. However, that’s the last place a budding entrepreneur wants to be. Fortunately, the world is your oyster when it comes to designing your work schedule as an SBO. Take stock of your wants, needs, habits, and personality traits. These could clue you in on the kind of hours you should be working.

And that’s what we’re here to discuss today: the unique benefits of different work schedules. Never again will you have to relegate yourself to a schedule that doesn’t mesh with who you are. You’ve got way more important things to pour your energy into.

On that note, let’s get started.

Split schedules

You work hard to earn what you have. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. But let’s not pretend that working eight hours in a row doesn’t suck the life out of you some days. Sure, you might allow for a measly lunch hour, but in the end, it’s just not cutting it for you. That’s why split schedules are so beautiful for the chronically-fatigued workhorse: you can break up your workday into neat chunks that allow you ample downtime in between.

For SBOs with children, this type of schedule is especially appealing. You can take time between shifts to run errands, clean the house, and drop off or pick up the kids. You don’t have to choose between work and family with split schedules; you only have to decide what time you do it all.


Compressed schedules

Perhaps, though, you thoroughly enjoy burning the candle at both ends. Hey, if that’s what energizes you, then more power to you. Consider switching to a compressed work schedule if you’re more of a marathoner than a sprinter while working. Think nursing shifts: you work 12 to 16-hour shifts at a time, but only for a couple of days a week. Unlike split schedules, compressed schedules are geared more towards single or child-free SBOs.

If you have that go-go-go mentality, Lord knows you can accomplish quite a lot on a compressed schedule. However, you might encounter some drawbacks if your business typically works with foreign clients. Time zone changes might throw a big fat wrench into this type of work schedule, as you might have to wait for other people’s input before moving forward with any significant business decisions.


Freelancer schedule

This work schedule is the one to watch out for. Unfettered freedom is tempting, of course, but not if you don’t use it wisely. You can make a freelancer schedule work for you if you’re a self-starter with strong self-discipline. This doesn’t mean that SBOs who don’t meet these criteria can’t function on this type of work schedule, but it’s going to be a whole lot harder if you don’t have your act together.

You can work as little or as much as you want on a freelancer schedule, so this schedule is ideal for SBOs whose daily business routine switches up pretty often. It’s also great for SBOs who have a thriving personal life outside of work; maybe you’ve got events to go to and places to be at and whatnot. In that case, you’ll have no choice but to work when you can. Just remember: don’t get soft on yourself when it comes to finishing your work. With great freedom comes a hell of a lot of responsibility; don’t squander it.


Fixed schedule

Wait a minute, didn’t we decide this type of work schedule was too confining for SBOs? That might be the case for some, but it’s hard to deny the structure and sense of consistency that comes from working on a fixed schedule. But just because you prefer a fixed schedule doesn’t mean you have to work 9 to 5 every day. Maybe you work 9 to 5 one day and then 12 to 8 the next. Despite their name, fixed schedules can be pretty flexible for SBOs.

As long as you’re working a fixed amount of hours in a given day, it doesn’t matter when you clock them in. If you like a sense of routine and knowing what to expect from your workday, think about switching to a fixed work schedule. It’s a great balance between having the freedom to choose and setting aside a consistent amount of hours to get into your daily workflow. Suddenly, a 9 to 5 doesn’t sound so grueling.


Figuring out which kind of work schedule works best for you might take some time. You might end up trying one out only to switch to another down the road. Whatever happens, it’s okay–keep forging ahead. Of course, you’ll eventually want to settle into a consistent work schedule. Why? Once you don’t have to worry about when you’re working, you can devote more of your time and energy to your company mission and bottom line.

If you’re new to the SBO game or want to improve your organizational skills, consider using software to make a work schedule for yourself. If you’re more old school than that, then a pen and paper will work just fine. Whatever you decide to use to log your hours, make sure you do it consistently. Keeping track of your hours alongside your invoices can save you a huge hassle when filing your quarterly taxes. A more organized work schedule will make for a happier you indeed.


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About Author

Jamie Sorenson

Jamie Sorenson is a freelance writer with a Masters in Communications from Quinnipiac. An inspiring screenplay writer, Jamie freelances for many media outlets.