How to Schedule Your Day to Support Your Business and Family
It’s no secret that it’s not easy to work and do the Mom thing. You feel like you’re pulled in a million different directions every day, wondering how you can make it easier. And all the stuff you have to remember – work deadlines, meetings, and kids’ activities; doctor appointments, practices, and everything in between – sometimes it feels impossible to keep it all organized.
I know. I get it. I’ve been juggling it ALL for a while now. I also know that what helps me keep some sanity is getting a schedule nailed down to keep track of everything. And I promise that once you figure out the sweet spot between getting it all done and slowing down enough to actually enjoy it, you’ll get through the day with fewer hiccups. Yes … fewer. No guarantees there won’t be some snags along the way, because, well … life.
Organizing Your Day for Work and Family
So, through my years of being both a mom and business owner, I’ve learned a thing or two about the art of scheduling. But let me tell ya, it didn’t (and still doesn’t) always come easily. Organization, and order in general, is one of the main ways I can thrive. You see, I LOVE a system (thus the name of my other business … System Envy). Setting up schedules for work and family life brings order to what often feels like a big ole stew o’ chaos.
Here’s what I do to keep me on track. I hope these tips help you with how to schedule your day for your family and business:
Set Up a Calendar for EVERYTHING
Keeping both a master calendar and a separate planner for work has been a lifesaver for me. The master calendar is where I put all important dates, like birthdays, appointments, meetings, and after-school activities for the whole family, so that no dates I need to remember get left out and I can schedule things around each other.
My separate planner for work is where I’ll keep track of business contacts, meetings, deadlines, and everything else related to work. I check both of these every day, first thing in the morning (if not the night before), so I can plan my work and personal schedule and adjust as needed. Sometimes if only to wrap my head around a busy day before I’m knee-deep in it. Frame of mind is everything on those days!
Define Your Work Schedule
You wouldn’t expect your 9 to 5 job to cut into your personal life, right? When you clock out for the day, you’re finished with work and can transition into family time. Not always easy when you work for yourself. Funny, isn’t it? Being a business owner is supposed to bring more freedom but that freedom can come with a huge sense of responsibility. It takes a little bit of (ok, A LOT of) balance to keep your business from bleeding into your family time.
Because my husband and I are both business owners, we are kind of always working. It doesn’t sound appealing but the trade off is that we define our own schedules and this is really important to me. We have a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina for weekend and longer getaways and we love to travel overseas with our boys. As business owners, we get to do those things whenever we plan to. As long as we create a schedule and calendar in advance!
I’m a big believer in self-care and I think I do a pretty good job of integrating “down time” in my life. As much as a working mom can, anyway. I get a facial every 4-6 weeks pretty religiously because I love it. I try to get a massage as often as I can. Even just reading my book every night is something I really, really enjoy. All of these help me take care of me! And they actually help me transition from “work” mind to family. It’s not only better for me, it’s better for everyone.
Stick to something that makes sense for you and your family, even if you need to break it up into two blocks of time during the day. Maybe it’s easiest for you to work for a few hours at night once the kids go to sleep and again during morning naptime or when the kids are at school. For some, working one week on and one week off may be the answer. Schedule your work hours during that time, as much as possible, to stay productive and keep work and family separated.
And, just remember, it doesn’t always work the way you want it to. I try to keep my phone calls to just 2 days/week for work. But the rest of it fits in around all the other tasks and appointments. Everyone’s “perfect” schedule looks different, so there’s no need to try to squeeze into a mold. Find what works for you, your business, and your family.
…And Your Space!
I have a home office that I’ve decorated to be inspiring to me. You may already know that after getting a business degree, I went back to school for Interior Design. I have always felt impacted by the energy and flow of a space and as such, it’s important to me, while working, to feel inspired. I actually enjoy being in my office. I keep it tidy and clean all the time and the kids and animals don’t usually go in there so it truly is my work space. Having separate space like this makes it easier to focus during work hours and to have privacy for client calls. It also allows me to leave some work in progress to be picked up the next day. I truly LOVE my space.
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated home office to be successful with your home-based business, but it certainly helps. Even having something like a partition to separate you from visual and audible distractions can help. If you absolutely can’t separate your space at home, you might consider working for a few hours at the library, café, or co-working space to have some distraction-free moments of productivity.
Successful business owners are nothing if not flexible, and that holds true for moms, too. Disappointment is always around the corner if you can’t let go, breathe, and realize that not everything will work just like you want it to. Your kids will have stuff pop up. Your clients may have last-minute requests. It happens. It’s life. Try to go with it.
Be flexible. I promise it’ll get you through the tough stuff. There’s never a perfect schedule that will always go smoothly, so the best thing to do is roll with the punches, pick up the pieces, and take on another day.
This is probably the most important tip in my arsenal: Communicate clearly with your family and business peeps about your schedule. They both need to know that you draw lines for a reason and those lines need to stay there so that you can keep doing your best for everyone. Your clients should know what times and days they can get a hold of you (others are off-limits!) and your family needs to know that when it’s work time, it’s work time. If problems come up, open your ears to concerns and don’t be afraid to voice yours.
Scheduling is just one piece of the puzzle that can help you become more productive at work and home. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about creating a home workspace that’s beautiful, functional, organized, AND family-friendly! Let me know: How do you separate business and mom life? What helps you stay on top of your schedule for each?