Why You Should Set Your Business Hours (Even If You Don’t Have a Business!)

The Life Editing for Beginners tribe is a lively group of ladies, and we talk about all sorts of topics in our private Facebook group—everything from boosting confidence to the weird things their kids and dogs do.

One topic that comes up again and again is business hours. This one idea has been more transformative than anything else we’ve discussed.

If you’re like most folks (including me), you’ll make a list of what you want to get done on a particular day, week, month, or year. Side note: Here’s a spiffy new planner to help you organize it all.

But at the end of that appointed time, you’ll look back at your list and realize you didn’t get everything checked off. Or if you did, you probably did so by skipping lunch, ignoring your bladder, and staying up late into the night.

This is where business hours come into play.

What Are Business Hours?

Business hours are when you look at your daily schedule and block off time exclusively for doing your work.

“Work” is not confined to a corporate job or your own business. It can refer to your hobby, your latest project, or whatever task is taking up the biggest chunk of your precious time.

The idea is to place boundaries around your time so that your work doesn’t bleed into other areas of your life like when you’re supposed to be eating dinner with your family or going to the gym.

Maybe your business hours will be 9-to-5 like a typical work day.

Maybe your business hours will be the time your kids are in school.

Maybe your business hours will be from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon because that’s when you’re most productive.

That’s the best thing about business hours—you make them work for you!

Ready to give business hours a try?

Here are 3 compelling reasons why you should set your own business hours.

You’ll Honor Your Work

When I meet with someone who works until 3 in the morning and still can’t get everything done, it’s usually NOT because she’s got too much to do. It’s because she’s not being strategic with her time.

Sure, she may say she’s working 12-hour days, but when we examine her time log, we’ll find that she’s wasting time during her commute, getting lost down the social media rabbit hole, or procrastinating by working on administrative tasks instead of her most important priorities.

Make a promise to yourself that you will never, ever do your work outside of your business hours, and you’ll give your work the elite status it deserves.

Isn’t your work worthy of those hours when you’re most awake and engaged…instead of when you’re dead tired and eating takeout in front of the TV?

You’ll Honor Your Loved Ones

Newsflash!—your loved ones want to spend time with you! Business hours help you honor your partner, kids, pets, family, and friends.

Just think how terrible your kids feel when they’re trying to tell you the funniest knock-knock joke they’ve ever heard but you’ve got your eyes glued to your laptop.

Or how unimportant your friends feel when you’re constantly checking your phone during girls’ night out.

Business hours help you achieve that work-life balance so that your loved ones know that you care about them. Your emails can wait.

You’ll Become a Productivity Powerhouse

Here’s reason you’ve been waiting for. Blocking off specific business hours will take your productivity through the roof!

By limiting your work time, you’ll create this underlying sense of urgency so that you’ll be racing the clock to get everything done. Ambient noise will help you keep chugging along too.

What would your life be like if you could get through everything on your to-do list today? What would that do for all your 2015 goals?

Your Homework: Pull out your calendar (digital or old school) and block off your business hours. Consider setting notifications to go off when you’ve got 15 minutes left every day so you can wrap up whatever you’re working on.

This post focuses on Step 4 of the Life Editing Process, Rearrange Everything Into a Perfect Flow. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar

Dump your excuses, transform your habits, and become the most productive person you know.


  1. http://www.www2go.xyz/lonestarrandon.org on December 5, 2015 at 9:04 am

    It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone with expertise.

  2. Nancy on December 23, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    That’s my plan girl! Your blog post was spot on and very inspiring! You make it seem more like something to look forward to, rather than dread. I can be stubborn, even with myself thinking things like. . . “I’m the boss, I can do whatever I want” Time to stop “playing” at my business and really take control. I’m working on it and posts like yours are just the “motivational” cheerleading I need! Thanks, Sage! ♡

  3. Dana Thompson on December 23, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I DEFINITELY need to do this! I work a full time job from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and fail to set “business hours” for writing and working on my own business. I really need to do that for 2015 so I don’t end up the year wondering where all the time went with nothing to show for it. That’s kind of how I feel about 2014. I know I got stuff done, but it wasn’t the “stuff” that really mattered to me. Happy holidays!

    • Sage Grayson on December 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Absolutely. You own biz deserves just as much care and attention as your day job. Now’s the perfect time to set some business hours for 2015. And happy holidays to you too! 🙂

  4. Sarah@Long Island Nerd on December 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Such a great post Sage! This is actually one of my goals for the new year, except my work day will actually be exploring new hobbies. I’ve really wanted to start indulging in my passions again so I think scheduling it into my day will make a huge difference! I’m very excited about it!

    Happy holidays!

    • Sage Grayson on December 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Hobbies are the best kind of work! Have fun with it. 🙂

  5. Jennifer Kennedy on December 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Love this post, Sage!

    Up until a few months ago, my business time was haphazard — I’d work on my business things when I had the time. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to prioritize my work time and schedule it that things turned around. I became more focused and honored my time more.

    Thanks for the reminder!!

    Happy Holidays!

    • Sage Grayson on December 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I’m glad you like it, Jennifer! It took me a while to finally schedule my business hours, but it’s really helped me stay focused and keep that work-life balance. Happy holidays to you too. 🙂