What to do when you are in charge of it all.

You’ve quit your 9-5 job, you are working from home, or that was the plan until you realized you were the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. This means you become the only one in charge of everything, the solo-proprietor of everything around you, your kids, your house, your work are mashed all up into this glorious mess.

The day of a Chief Cook & Bottle Washer:

7 am:

  • Alarm goes off.
  • Get up.Chief Cook and Bottle Washer day in the life
  • Make the bed.
  • Wash up.
  • Let the dogs out.
  • Get the kids ready for school.
  • Feed everyone (including yourself).

8 am:

  • Get everyone off to work and school.
  • Get a load of laundry started.
  • Start the dishwasher.
  • Have a cup of coffee.
  • Make the daily list.
  • Check email and messages.

9 am:

  • Oh yeah, the dogs, let them in.
  • Oh wait, the washer just stopped.
  • Load the dryer.
  • Start another load in the washer.
  • The dishwasher is done, empty it.
  • Email… answer those.
  • The dog just shredded a toy, clean it up.

10 am:

  • Work out.
  • Shower.
  • Email… yeah that’s what I was doing.
  • Ooo, I need to do taxes.

11 am:

  • I probably should get on Facebook and schedule some posts for the next week on the business page.
  • Need to build some quote boards for that.

12 pm:

  • Washer and dryer are done.
  • Fold the clothes and put them away.
  • Have some lunch.
  • Go get the mail.
  • Unpack all the UPS packages and put everything away.

1 pm:

  • Pay some of those bills that came.
  • Answer that text from mom.
  • Do the bookkeeping.
  • Balance the checking account.

2 pm:

  • Oh yeah I need to put a blog out today.

3 pm:

  • The kids?? School’s out.
  • Get them squared away with homework and snacks.

4 pm:

  • Sit down and hammer out as much work as you possibly can.


5 pm:

  • Run for groceries.
  • Run for household goods.
  • Unload and put everything away.
  • Answer the phone.

7 pm:

  • Make dinner.
  • Eat dinner.
  • Clean up.

8 pm:

  • Help the kids with homework.
  • Sit down and hammer out as much work as you possibly can.

9 pm:

  • Get the kids bathed and off to bed.
  • Sit down and hammer out as much work as you possibly can.

12 am:

  • Get to bed it’s after midnight.

Sound familiar? It really does happen just like this when you first choose to work from home. What do you do? How do you become productive at being in charge of everything? Give the kids away?! No, just kidding. Seriously, though, if you are trying to do it all, you won’t be able to do it at all. Eventually you will burn out. So what’s a home business owner to do?

If you are trying to do it all, you won’t be able to do it at all.

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer Schedule:

If you are used to working an eight-hour workday and can just adjust to ignoring your house until your eight hours are up…that is excellent. If not, begin with a schedule. It may seem like common sense, but many people start working from home and get utterly lost without the schedule of the traditional 9-5 job. The fact of the matter is, we are much more productive working at home than in an office setting as there are not as many distractions (people and noises). On the flip side there are home related distractions and we have to figure out where they are the least likely to be that distraction. Most people cannot function in chaos, if you can you still will want some sort of management of your time.

Current Reality Calendar:

Start with documenting your week on a timetable; from the moment, you wake up to the moment you go to sleep (as shown above). I suggest making one table for the reality of an entire week, where you follow yourself to see what time you fill in on the calendar. Even write down those moments when you have time and are wasting it so you can see where you can fill that time with something more productive.

Organized Schedule:

Once you have done that, create another more organized calendar. For instance, I pick one day a week for all my cleaning of the house, and one day where I do nothing involved with work. Set your schedule and stick to it. Should you take phone consultations watch your time, an hour easily can turn into two. Make sure you leave time for family, entertainment, days off and self or down time. That time is just as important as your productive time. We have a cut-off hour, no working after 8 p.m. Unfortunately, if you don’t take care of you, no one else will, and you won’t be able to take care of anyone else or your business.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer schedule

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, Delegate:

If you got ‘em, get those kids involved. Your children are capable of way more than we usually give them credit for. Check out the Montessori Method with kids at home. It teaches them responsibilities in a fun interactive way where they actually learn life skills. Get that spouse in on the schedule and split the duties. In our house, my husband takes care of the vacuuming and outdoor duties; in addition, he does some of the shopping for me at businesses that are near his work. Many of us try to do everything all the time yet we have people ready and able to help, all we have to do is ask.

Working from the list you made of your current daily life; you can make another chores table like the example below:

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer chores

Hire out:

If your home business can afford it, hire out. Have a cleaning service come clean the house. Get a nanny or a willing family member to help, even one or two days a week can make a huge difference. Have a local dog walker take your dogs out a couple days a week. Get a reliable gardener to come once every month or so. You can even hire virtual assistants for answering email and social media support.

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, Simplify and Organize:

If you have too much on your plate, things will eventually fall off. Eliminate the unnecessary; you will see what is unnecessary with your look into your weekly schedule before you organize it. When making your schedule include your family’s schedules; realistically, if your kids have too much to do, you have too much to do. This causes everyone to be more apt to stress, illness, and emotional/behavioral problems. Clean out the clutter of your day, your schedule, your closet, and your mind, you will find yourself with less stress, more time, and a calmer approach.

A messy house is a messy mind!

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, Know your worth:

As chief cook and bottle washer, you should know what your hour is worth. Figure it out, you need to know for the time and efforts you put out what you should expect in return per hour. Make sure you aren’t wasting precious time doing things that aren’t worth it. Like spending three hours on customer service chasing $5.00 off your phone bill is not worth it. Make sure you know how to say ‘yes’ where you need too, and ‘no’ when you have too without explanation. Spending thirty minutes telling your sister that one-o-clock is when you answer emails so you cannot meet her for coffee, you just wasted half your hourly rate explaining your ‘no’.

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer

Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, Stop Multi-tasking:

This might be a shocker but Multi-tasking is impossible. Remember, as much as you think you can accomplish all at once, your brain is only capable of doing one thing at a time. Texting and driving is a perfect example, it has been scientifically proven equivalent to driving while drunk. Your brain literally likes Zen, one thing at a time. Similarly, even your immune system can only focus on one thing at a time, if you are sick your body will be focused on making you well, not on work, so take time off, rest and get well. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you are obligated to work all the time.

In closing:

When you are in charge of it all, you cannot do it all, all the time. You will do better to find help where you can, delegate chores and household duties to other members of the household. Also, ask your family and friends to respect your decision to work from home, and that you are still working. Simplify your life and do only what you are capable of doing. Get organized in your life, home, and schedule. Finally, take care of you.