How to Plan your Home Bakery’s Weekly Work Schedule
A few of my students have asked me for tips on how to plan your home bakery’s work schedule to prevent burn-out, but still make a substantial income AND spend time with my family.
As humans, we can’t speak about our work schedule without including our family responsibilities in the conversation!
There’s one struggle that EVERY home baker faces more often that we would like to… This struggle is none other than overworking ourselves.
The struggle gets especially hard to micromanage when you are baking part time on top of a normal day job, right?
To be more thorough and provide more perspective, I realized that I need to hear how other home bakers schedule THEIR work week because I can only speak as a full time baker & wife, but not a part time baker and mother!
So I’ve asked some of my amazing Instagram friends (7 of them), who also bake from home, how they plan their home bakery’s work schedule.
Some are single, some only bake part time, some have up to 4 kids ranging from infants to college students!
I’ll first share what they had to say and then lastly include my own schedule, plus a summary of key points that I’ve picked up across the board.
Lindsay from Vanilla Bean Home Bakery:
Check out Vanilla Bean Home Bakery on Instagram!
“I use my baby girl’s nap times for any admin during the day (and to shower 😂) but that gives me about an hour to reply to emails etc. And then my ‘work’ day starts at 18:30 once she is in bed for the night.
As most of my orders are due for the weekend, lately I’ve been trying to have Mondays – Thursdays as my actual baking days. Fridays are decorating and detailing days.
Unfortunately I often end up working the day away on Saturday and Sunday while my husband is home and able to take care of my daughter. But we are trying to get it done during the week so those can be family days.
I love focusing on macarons and cookies because they have a longer shelf life.
Macarons I can prep up to 3 months in advance so they are perfect to work on when I have extra time or really allow getting ahead and managing my time as I please.
Decorative cookies are definitely the most time consuming but they are my Home Bakery’s biggest attraction.”
Nicole from Bake Toujours:
Check out Bake Toujours on Instagram!
“I have two days a week where my kiddos go to school. I usually try to fit all production into those days. I have a production sheet and inventory sheet and just see what’s low and plan for the week accordingly.
I try to do my bakery shopping when I grocery shop for the house, but sometimes I need to run errands and do production that same day. Then I’m usually pressed for time and map out a plan to do a few things each night once the kids go down.”
Candice from Eat More Cake:
Check out Eat More Cake by Candice on Instagram!
“I’m married, but don’t have any kids yet. I do an inventory check and shop on Sundays. Mondays – Wednesdays I prep ingredients and make frosting. Thursdays – Fridays I bake.
Saturdays I decorate and do deliveries. I do everything in the evenings since I work full time during the day.”
Dusty from Dusty Rose Cakes:
Check out Dusty Rose Cakes on Instagram!
“It’s a very hard balancing act, for sure!! I’m a mom to not only an 18 month old, but aslo a teenage son and a daughter in college. I also run a cleaning service for two hours every morning.
I write out my baking list on Monday mornings and make sure I have everything for the week. Then I get baking and planning the week’s orders.
I can do 4 bakes per day and I try to be done by Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays I make buttercream and start decorating.
I try to get all my prep work done before bed time. Then after I get my daughter down, I decorate. I usually have everything done by 21h30, then I can chill and watch Netflix, do yoga, or spend time with my boyfriend.”
Tam from Sweetly Sifted:
Check out Sweetly Sifted on Instagram!
I am married! At the moment I work out of our apartment. My husband wears noise cancelling headphones when the mixer is on and I keep him sane with cake scraps and Netflix ✌🏻
As I work full time as well, I usually have a week long work plan with baking on Mondays usually, prepping any decor on Tuesday and Wednesday buttercream and fillings on Thursdays and decorating anytime.
I rest in between, whenever I can! Sometimes I think I am crazy for taking so much on but I love it!
I always make sure that I limit pickups on Fridays and Saturdays only, leaving some of Saturday and all of Sunday for me and husband to have together.
I have Mondays off work so I usually spend the whole day prepping planning answering emails and baking cakes, cupcakes, making cookie doughs, macaron shells, etc…
Astrid from Astrid’s Home Bakery:
Check out Astrid’s Bakery on Instagram!
“For me it’s easier… I’m single! Hehe, so I have a pretty flexible schedule. I tell my clients that orders need to be placed a week in advance, so that gives me the chance to plan ahead, buy any supplies and try out recipes (if I am doing something new).
I also like to bake one day and decorate the next day. I usually rest on Sundays as I’m very involved with my church.
So, that’s pretty much how I manage my time. I do take last minute orders but only if I know I have the time.”
Amie from Hot Hands Bakery:
Check out Hot Hands Bakery on Instagram!
“I split my time between freelance digital marketing and baking. Mondays – Fridays I usually work on the computer for the first half of the day and bake in the afternoon.
Usually I end up baking one night during the week and one day during the weekend.
My husband mostly works at home when he’s not traveling, so we just coordinate schedules. Sometimes we’ll take a day off during the week together and work Saturday, etc.”
Aurelia from Philosophy of Yum:
Check out Philosophy of Yum on Instagram!
Yep, so I’m married and a full time Home Baker! Over the past 6 years of baking full time at home, I have come to realize a sobering truth:
If I’m overworked, it is MY fault and no one else’s.
I used to bake for every day of the week because I was afraid my clients would move on to another bakery if I turned them down. And the biggest motivation for baking every day is obviously that I didn’t want to lose out on money.
I baked this way for 3 years and completely exhausted myself… It was not pretty.
If I had to list all the family and friends I turned down for BBQ’s, picnics, birthdays, dinners, etc., this post would be like 10 000 words long. It’s so bad and sad.
My husband played a KEY role in this area. I was so mad at him for not understanding my obligation to bake every day.
By God’s grace He often surrounds us with people who love us more than we love ourselves.
I decided to stop baking for Sundays and eventually for Mondays as well. This meant that I was off the whole weekend. The exact days my husband is off as well.
What happened to my clients? They just started planning ahead. In fact, my new work week made my bakes appear more exclusive! So rad!
What happened to my profit? Well, after I learned how to stop undercharging for my bakes, my profit is seriously almost exactly the same as when I worked 7 days a week.
What happened to my quality of life? It’s a million times better!!! I now actually have ENERGY and HEALTHY relationships and TIME. I finally have a LIFE.
So guys, don’t fall for it. YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE. You are your own boss, so you need to learn to be a KIND one.
I now have a timetable (which I HAVE to stick to ALWAYS). I bake for 2 coffee shops for Tuesdays and Fridays. I bake for a local deli for Wednesdays. And the rest of my business comes from direct clients. I bake for Saturday mornings, but by noon it’s all done.
With direct clients it works great for me to do all my baking the day before clients collect. And then I decorate everything the morning of their collection. But I do take care to prep all the decorations the day before, i.e. making sauces or jams, making chocolate decorations, chopping nuts etc.
So I work Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday mornings, Thursdays, Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. So I basically work 4,5 full days a week and from noon on Saturdays I am (very intentionally) free the whole weekend!
I permit an exception at the end of each month, since folks over here love spending money on bakes when they get their pay checks!
During such a week I will work the whole Wednesday & Friday as well, but not on the weekend.
Resting on weekends with my husband, friends and family has increased my quality of life DRASTICALLY!! In fact, it has also helped me to recover from my work week better so now I bake with a LOT more speed and precision during the week.
And yes, I have thanked my husband and apologized repeatedly for being such a near sighted workaholic.
The Most Important Thing in Home Bakery Time Management:
Let’s be honest here. We LOVE baking. We gravitate towards it and it’s not going to stop any time soon.
My first step towards a balanced, healthy work life was to ACKNOWLEDGE that I can’t just carry on and hope that my work life and family life magically holds together. It doesn’t work.
I get it, there’s always stuff that NEEDS to be done. But taking at least 1 day where I have NOTHING to do with baking, has increased my passion & work performance drastically.
>> Don’t abuse your passion, rather set rules in place to maintain it.
You NEED to set up a schedule for your work week (including at least 1 day of TOTAL REST) and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT.
If YOU don’t respect your rules, then no one else will. Don’t make exceptions. It’s never “just this once”. If you allow clients to twist your arm once, they will do it again.
Just last week someone phoned me last minute and asked me to bake a gluten free cake for them for the next day.
My policy is that orders need to be placed at least 3 business days in advance. It is plastered all over my website. These folks were too late, so I politely said no, but then they even offered to pay me more!
PAUSE and digest for a minute, no matter how nice and persuasive they are!
By now I’ve learned how to politely decline, but in the beginning I had to spell out the consequences for myself:
# Aurelia, if you do this, then you will be working till 10pm and start working again at 6am.
# If you do this, then you won’t be able to spend any time with your husband tonight.
# If you do this then you will be teaching the client that it is totally okay for them to bribe you! You will be teaching them that you can be won over when they wave an extra $10 bill in your face.
# Do you really want to be someone who is manipulated by sweet speeches and money?
And what was my conclusion (in my mind)?
NO! I don’t want all those things to be my reality!
Spelling out the consequences for myself gave me the perspective I needed to politely decline orders that cross my boundaries.
So once again, here’s the most important thing:
If YOU don’t respect your rules, then no one else will.
Don’t make exceptions. It’s never “just this once”. If you allow clients to twist your arm once, they will do it again.
In the end, something will suffer. And if YOU suffer, your husband, kids and friends will also suffer.
I sincerely hope that this post has given you some clarity and perspective on how to plan your Home Bakery’s work schedule!
If you have any questions or concerns, just comment below and then we can chat about it.