My (not so) secret ways I schedule my time as a work-at-home business-owner mum
Hello, my name is Lorin and I’m a mum who runs her own business at home.
Okay, silly introductions aside, I’m writing this post because my time is at a premium. And whether or not you’re a mama, I know your time is too.
So I wanted to share my not so secret ways I schedule my time as a work-at-home mom. And, I know we also love a good snoop, so I’ll go ahead and share my full daily schedule with you too!
As a preface, I want to add that babes grow and change fast. Which means their needs and routines grow and change too. There’s every chance I’ll read this post in 6 months time and life will look different. And arriving at this current schedule took months (years?) of adapting, listening, changing, growing and figuring out what works best for our little family.
At the moment, Finley goes to school. He hasn’t always. Before he started school in March this year (2019) he had a full-time BFF (also known as a nanny or au pair) Violet. And before Violet, who started working with our family the March prior, my amazing and beautiful Mum cared for Finn during the day.
Any time from 7.45 to 8.15 we’ll leave the house and drive to school. Because our departure varies so greatly based on whether or not I packed a lunchbox the night before (I probably didn’t), how much Finn hates clothes that morning, or whether he is satisfied with the breakfast options I’ve presented to him (he probably isn’t) the time I get back home from school run varies too. But for the sake of this article not being made up entirely of variables, let’s say it’s 8.15.
I’ve been working with the magical Amanda Denelley who encouraged me to establish a morning routine. I always thought this was out of my reach as a mama to a baby/toddler, but the permission piece I didn’t know I was waiting for was that my morning routine can start when I get home.
This is a period of time in the morning that I try to enjoy a quiet house, not be on a screen, have coffee by myself and move my body a little bit. Some mornings that’s hanging laundry, other’s it’s a few sun salutations. Whatever it is, I’ve learnt that I feel most clear-headed and productive if I don’t just get home and sit at my desk.
I also like to take 5 minutes, sort and tidy my desk and office, then look at my task management and establish what the day will hold and what tasks are a priority. From 9 I start actively working on those tasks.
This is what I call my concentration time at work. From 9 until I fetch Finn from school is when I have a solid block of undisturbed time to get work done and I try to do concentration-heavy tasks during this time. Writing code for a website, designing branding concepts, writing articles and content, banking and invoicing. Anything that requires loads of brain power and prefers a calmer environment.
I take a few breaks along the way: coffee, snacks, and then lunch. I also try not to switch haphazardly between tasks and another area Amanda helped me work on was scheduling my week ahead of time and keeping it fairly consistent from week to week.
I leave the house at 13.45 to fetch Finn from school and wake him up from his nap. This can take a while and we go fetch Violet from her two-thirds-day job at around 14.10. We get home at 14.20, I prepare a snack for Finn and Violet, unpack his school bag and hopefully unpack and repack the dishwasher. Then I’m off again at 14.40 to fetch my niece from school and get home around 15.00.
Then I have another coffee, take a few minutes to breathe and realign myself and get back into working. The work that I do in this time is quite disrupted. Not in a bad way, but the house is busier, Finn needs me through the next three hours and I don’t do anything that requires a lot of focus in this time.
Since it’s not highly productive and rather what I would consider just ‘busy’, I’m working towards my goal of not using the afternoons to do Freckled Design Studio work, but rather personal and homekeeping tasks. I’m trying to take active steps towards not making myself feel bad or guilty for not being able to not work every afternoon, but rather be gracious in that this is something I dearly want to work towards and can and will make happen!
Then at 16.45 we prepare to take Violet to the train station and Finley usually needs fair warning for this paytime to come to an end and we spend 10 minutes playing the ‘just one more minute’ game.
I get home again around 17.05 and Freckled Design Studio is closed and I try to be fully present in my time with my family.
What this looks like to me right now is:
am Client work for brand strategy and design projects
pm Grocery shopping
am Writing next weeks’ content, bookkeeping, budget and stats
pm Bulk cook dinners (Tuesday -Thursday)
am Client work
pm Necessary learning or admin
am Client work
am Client work
pm Afternoon off with Finn
In all reality, this is the goal, and my weeks don’t actually look like this. But it’s what’s scheduled on my calendar so that I can take active steps to making this my real day. Right now, and especially after the last 3 weeks with Finn being sick and off school and a flurry of Brand Basics calls and Woman’s Day Giveaway calls, this is definitely not my reality. But having caught up with most of my workload and emails, this is my goal for next term.
So there you have it - a real raw inside look at how I schedule my time as a work-at-home business owner mom. And I’d love to hear from you, what does your schedule look like? Do you have a productive and unproductive part of the day? And how do you manage your tasks in those times? Let me know in the comments!