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This post has been highly requested and I’m really excited to share. I am constantly being asked how I run a full-time business while also being a full-time mother. So here is what my daily schedule looks like:
- 5:30-6:00 am – If I have work to do, I wake up. This is when I answer emails, edit, upload, etc. Whatever needs to get done first thing is what happens. Anything that isn’t an emergency, will wait. If I don’t have a ton to do and I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll also work out. BUT, if Beck is on a sleep strike, I have no shame in sleeping in until he wakes up. I don’t function when I’m low on sleep and honestly, my work, house chores and Beck suffers when I’m tired and in a bad mood. So if you’re like me and know you need extra sleep, by all means, sleep.
- 7:00-8:00 am – Beck wakes up around 7/7:30 am. We spend about 30 minutes together getting ready for the day: diaper change, brushing teeth, saying good morning to our puppies and rolling around in bed. We don’t change outfits until after we’ve ate breakfast (Beck is a messy kid). The goal is to be done with breakfast by 8:00 am — sometimes he eats super quick and sometimes he’s in a ‘mood’ and it takes longer. If Brent is home and not traveling for work, he eats with us and at 8:00 am, says goodbye and goes to work in his office.
- 8:00-11:00 am – Morning Activities! Beck is happiest in the mornings and that is when we do most of his dedicated activities like speech therapy/”school”, story-time, play-times, play-dates with our friends and any doctors appts/well-checks. We’ll also either make our way to lunch with friends or will make food at home together.
- 11:00 am – Lunch time. Lunch can take between 15-40 minutes and again, if Brent is home, he joins us. It’s one perk of us both working from home but it does get lonely when he’s away traveling days on end. I try my best to get him fed by 11:30 am to simply avoid melt-downs.
- 12:00-2:30 pm – Beck’s Nap Time = My work Time. Beck is normally asleep by 12: 30 pm but if we had a super busy morning, he’s out by noon. This is the time I get emails done and workflow tasks finished. Sometimes his naps are much shorter and sometimes his naps are close to 4 hours. I don’t wake him and I work smart ( no phones, no social media, no tv).
- 2:30-5:00 pm – Afternoon activities. This is typically when I get Beck involved with my business and I try my best to keep things educational. I talk to him while I package up prints or film, cleaning my camera gear (he already loves his pretend cameras and taking pictures with them) and he’ll go run errands with me. This is the time when I go to the grocery store, post office or any other random stop that needs to get done. I typically won’t do long drives in the mornings because he likes to fall asleep in the car, and if that happens, he will sometimes boycott his nap, and like I said, that nap is my valuable work time.
- 5:00 pm – Dinner! We’ll go out together or eat at home. Either way we eat as a family if Brent is home and the goal is to get Beck fed by 6:00 pm.
- 6:00-7:30 pm – Family Time or Work Time. If I’m in the midst of busy season and Brent is home, this is the time he takes over. However, I do my best to keep this to quality family time together as it’s rare we get to spend dedicated time together. If Brent is here, this is playtime and then Beck’s bedtime routine. The goal is to get him in bed by 7:30 pm and he’s usually asleep by 8:00 pm or earlier.
- 7:30/8:00 pm – My time to work. This is when I grab a snack, some water and bust out work. In the busy season, I’ll stay up until midnight, sometimes even later. But, if I’m sleep deprived, I’ll go to bed much earlier. I know my limits and as soon as I start to notice I’m procrastinating, I hit save and hop in bed.
I want to note that this schedule has only worked for me since Beck has gotten older, gone to one nap and has a solid schedule. Before that, it was extremely difficult, there were lots of tears and all I can tell you is to nap when your child naps if you need it and otherwise, work during those naps. Don’t force it and if you start to get overwhelmed, take a deep breath and know that it WILL get easier.
The key is to be flexible. I meet with clients when it’s most convenient for them – and most of them are working professionals that can’t get away during typical weekday work hours. This means most of my meetings are in the evening or on weekends if I’m not booked with a wedding. If weekdays are best, I try to schedule when Beck eats lunch and goes down for nap, that way Brent is able to keep working and watch the monitor while he sleeps. If Brent is traveling, then I’m getting a sitter. But we do out best to make sure everything is scheduled around each other’s schedules. We always make sure Brent is here to stay with Beck when I’m photographing a wedding. If I’m traveling and it’s a place we want to see together as a family, they’ll come with me.
Lastly, the only way I stay sane is because of my online assistants. I use 17hats (you can click here to get 10% off your subscription when you sign up) for managing workflows, my calendar (including Brent and Beck’s schedules, my personal and professional schedule as well as upcoming publication features), daily tasks, automated emails, sending online invoices and agreements, keeping track of where I’m at with booking new clients and it even has a bookkeeping feature. I use Later.com for scheduling my Instagram posts (which can also be shared to my Twitter and Facebook). And because Pinterest is huge for me, I use Tailwind (click here to get a free trial) for scheduling and automating pins. I spend about 1 hour every month planning my social media, which revolves around my scheduled blog posts and publication features. It’s a well-oiled machine and one that I’m glad I implemented when I was pregnant.
To end, the key for me is consistency and staying flexible. I don’t want my life to feel like a routine and I don’t want Beck to grow up thinking I’m a Drill Sergent. I want to teach him hard-work and grit, but I also want him to be free-spirited and grow his creativity. It’s all about finding that balance. I have no issue breaking away from the routine once a week as long as it doesn’t have a negative impact on our personal and professional lives. Yes, we’ll have bad/sick days where we hunker down and watch movies. Yes, there are days where I get absolutely nothing done (I mean, every single person on Earth has those days no matter if you’re at home or in the office). And yes, there are days when I’m at my breaking point and want to hide. Acknowledge where you are in your current state and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s healthy to take “me” time (for me, it’s spa day with no screens, no work, no tv, no noise).