How I Schedule My Business With a Family
I work with tons of moms weekly who are bloggers and business owners and the question I hear over and over is this:
How do you do it?
To be honest, some days I feel like I have it all together and some days I wonder if I'm cut out for all of this mom stuff, failing left and right. Like anyone, I have my days where I wake up bright and early feeling ready to take on the world and then I have those days where I can barely drag myself out of my bed if it weren't for my son yelling "MAMA!" I find that being positive about every situation makes it better. There will be days you can't control and it's important to remind yourself that it's okay and that it's totally normal. No one has it all together all the time.
At the moment, I'm booked for 8-9 months in advance and it requires me to keep it on top of my deadlines at all times, so I thought I'd share what works for me best.
Keep in mind, this is my schedule for when my husband is out of town working and this is for someone who works from a home office. He's a corporate pilot so his schedule varies from week to week. Some months, he'll have three weeks off straight and some months he'll have 3-4 day overnights once a week. It truly varies! However, I will say I am so blessed to have a husband who is home as much as mine is. He is such a big help!
When he's home, I still go to the gym mid morning but when we get home I get straight to work until dinner time. He takes Grayson to the park, outside to play with his friends, and keeps him occupied. So, this is my schedule for when it's just me (which is about 4 days out of the week on average.)
6AM: Wakeup call! I like to wake up early so that I can have time to get myself together and begin the day with some of the smaller tasks that need to be done. This includes answering emails, sending completed logo & other design files, sending invoices & contracts, logging insights from the day before for Instagram, and scheduling anything that needs to be scheduled including my clients' email designs.
9AM: Grayson usually wakes up around this time and I like to have breakfast with him. I use this time to get our house the cleanest I can before he decides to terrorize it once again (haha!) I spend the next hour playing with him and walking the dog.
9:45AM - 11:45AM: Gym time is my unwind time. It allows me to focus my energy on something besides work and alleviate anxiety and stress. As you all know since I'm so open with it, after struggling with Post Partum Depression I found that exercise was a necessity for me. When I don't workout for a few days, I start to feel a ton of anxiety and honestly feel like someone is sitting on my chest. It's not a fun feeling! For those of you who ask, I like to do 15-20 minutes of cardio and an hour to an hour and 30 minutes of heavy lifting. I really love Steve Cook's Big Man on Campus training plan (don't be intimidated by the name!). I loved Pure Barre when we lived in Louisiana. On my rest days, I typically still do cardio and sometimes I'll use the bike as my time to brainstorm social media concepts, write blog posts, and answer emails. Not to mention, the gym is either totally dead at this time or you only workout with those who work from home as well. My tip: contact your local YMCA. They've got tons of programs to enroll your kiddo in from 6 months and up! And make sure you have your workout planned before getting to the gym. I love the BodyBuilding app for this and I keep screenshots of my favorite Paige Hathaway plans, too.
After the gym, we head home for a quick lunch and then Grayson lays down for his nap. When my husband is gone, we meal prep like crazy. I love to toss a few fresh chicken breasts into the slow cooker with half a packet of taco seasoning and cook on low for 6 hours. It makes the perfect wrap (or in Grayson's case..quesadilla.)
From around 12:15 PM - 5 PM, Grayson is snoozing (something about the gym, it just wears him out!) and I am working on all the heavy projects for the day. This could be branding work, social media imagery (y'all know I love flat lays!), designing a new website, or just about any other graphic design project I've got on the books.
When Grayson wakes up around 5PM, I put my work to the side and we go outside to play. I also like to take this time to run any errands I need to run before dinner because he's in a totally amazing mood after his glorious nap (being sarcastic here - he's usually super moody!)
We eat dinner around 7PM, have bath time, watch a movie to unwind, and I indulge in a tall glass of wine. Depending on how much I have left to work on, I usually don't work when he goes to bed. I find that if I work late, I have an extremely hard time sleeping which ruins my entire next day. However, when my husband is out of town, I do like to keep myself preoccupied by knocking out the smaller items for the next day. Also, anything I have to do for my own brand would be done in the evening outside of my office hours. I'll be honest, it's super hard for me to sleep when he's gone so I find myself working for hours after Grayson goes to bed - it's a bad habit! And to answer a question I get often: no, Grayson doesn't share the bed with me although I would love to cuddle with my bug all night. But when my alarm goes off, he would be wide awake and it would throw off our entire schedule for the day. We also sleep much better when we have our own space.
So, how do I plan?
Being a mom is tough work. My advice is to schedule what works for YOU and your child. I use Dubsado to schedule out my days, weeks, & months; however, I still love to use my traditional note system to keep everything prepared for the next day. On Sundays, to keep up with my weekly tasks, I make a checklist of everything that needs to be done for the following week, divided into design work, contracts, & invoices that need to be sent. As I finish each project or send a contract, I check it off. When I send off a design, whether it's been approved or not, I mark it off my list. When my client responds with needed adjustments, it gets put back on. This is my personal way of being able to visualize what I have left for the week. It also allows me to prioritize my tasks.
Since I design advertisements, social media images, website graphics, & newsletters outside of my branding & web designs, I use two separate calendars. This really helps me to keep the two separate and neither of them include any personal family-related dates I need to remember because I feel it only clutters your schedule. By keeping my larger projects in a separate calendar aside from smaller collateral projects, it helps me to see at a glance when my busier weeks are. For example, if I only have one website design for the week, I know I can take on more collateral work. If I have three websites to finish, I'll know at a glance that week is full.
Essentially, I have two calendar books & a checklist for each week. But like I said, this is what works for me, and I feel it's always essential to remind yourself that not everyday will work the way you'd like it to. Try to remember that owning your own business is not easy and being a mom is definitely not a small task. My advice is to take it with grace and remind yourself that whatever failed today, will be even better tomorrow. Make sure you're taking advantage of every moment you can, so that you can stay ahead of the game. I try to stay a few days ahead of all of my deadlines so that if my son just won't nap for one day, I know I'm not running behind and can take the time he needs me to without stressing out. I set realistic goals & timelines that I'm comfortable with so that both my clients and my family will be satisfied & fulfilled.
But really, whatever you do - remind yourself that you're doing an amazing job and that we will one day miss these moments.