Scheduling is Everything: How I Handle Two Businesses and a Baby
Written By: Tamara Budz
Being a Boss Mom is hard, but if you plan it right, you can achieve balance in your life and work.
I know exactly how difficult it can be to raise a family while building or running a successful business. I run two companies; an eCommerce arts and crafts business called Twined and a marketing agency . I also have a six-year-old little boy. I’ve owned my own business since my son was about three-years-old. Keeping a fairly consistent schedule is one way that I manage to fit everything into my days.
My son is in school exactly 36 1/2 hours per week, 7 hours per day, plus his beloved Minecraft Club on Mondays. Each day, I spend about 30 minutes of my time commuting to and from school. Since I walk with him, it’s an easy commute and I get a tiny workout as a bonus. That leaves me with 6 1/2 hours of productive time per day. I use my productive time to run my businesses and even a little self-care by practicing yoga twice a week. I’m not an early riser, but I will work a couple of nights each week if I need to finish a project or ship out orders.
In order to maximize my time, I schedule similar tasks for each day. Part of the reason that I create schedules is to keep me focused on one task at a time. I can multi-task if needed, but I certainly accomplish a lot more when I am focused on a single task. In order to accomplish everything, I need to be efficient. For me, efficiency comes by focusing on one task at a time and crossing each time off my to-do list. Because of the way I schedule, my weeks are never exactly the same, but they are similar. I like to plan each day according to the most pressing tasks at hand, but I definitely allow myself some flexibility in order to make my schedule work for me.
On Mondays, I do yoga and volunteer at my son’s school for a couple of hours. I also ship orders for Twined, grocery shop, and any other task that requires me to run around town. I usually finish up all of my chores and run around tasks by about 2:30, which gives me about an hour and a half to work. I use that time to reply to emails, answer inquiries and return phone calls, and sometimes jump on Facebook or Slack and participate in a group discussion or two. Monday nights, my son has more activities, so while he’s gone my husband and I take a walk around the neighborhood and plan out our week.
Tuesdays are usually butt-in-chair work days for me. As soon as I get home from drop off, I handle urgent emails and customer questions. Then I work on client projects or course creation. I usually take a break to check analytics for my sites and my client’s sites when I need a coffee refill. I am easily sucked into Google Analytics, so I have to be careful to close that when I’m finished and get back to work. Tuesdays always fly by and I usually end up tying up loose ends and answering emails while my son does his homework after school. I usually break around 4 or 4:30 to hang out with my son a little before dinner. After my son goes to bed, I usually end up back in my office for at least a little while on Tuesdays.
Wednesdays usually bring meetings, at least in the morning. I have two standing networking events on Wednesdays at 9am, and I typically alternate between them. I also schedule meetings with clients and potential clients on Wednesdays and send out another round of orders if needed. I usually try to do yoga on Wednesday around lunchtime. After that, I get to work on whatever projects I can finish before I run to pick up my son. Wednesday evenings my husband plays hockey, so I almost always work on art projects on Wednesday nights. I find that later in the evening is one of my most creative times, so Twined project testing is one of the best activities for me to do on hockey nights. If I don’t have projects to test, I work on my personal art projects. Sometimes those projects turn into something I create for the company later, but a lot of times I just paint or draw or color with reckless abandon because I truly enjoy it.
Thursdays are typically full workdays if I do not have meetings. If I have meetings, I typically set up early and get some work done before the other person arrives. My weekly blog posts for Silver Shade Group come out on Saturdays, and I write them on the Thursday before so that I have some time for editing. I manage my own sites, so I frequently also make website updates/changes on Thursdays. I find it easier to make those changes while I’m already working on the site for the blog posts. I also do client work, project instructions, and course creation work, depending on the week and what I get accomplished on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursdays are very popular days in my Facebook groups, so I always make time for social media on Thursdays, too. I help out after school with the Yearbook club on Thursdays, so I usually stop for the day before I pick up my son from school. I also try not to work on Thursday nights after dinner. Instead I plan my nights out with friends or hang out with my husband or keep my son up a little later.
I rarely schedule a meeting or anything else that requires me to leave the house on Friday unless I have orders to ship. I use Fridays to catch up on any miscellaneous work and handle anything else that may come up during the week. I spend a little time on social media in the morning, then I check internal analytics again and read up on some industry information that may be emerging or pertinent to my businesses. If I’m enrolled in a course, I do that work on Friday, too. I like to clean out my inbox on Friday afternoons, but once I pick up my son on Friday, I’m done with work for the day. We try to go to the park if it’s nice out or watch a movie if it’s crummy. Sometimes if I don’t like the movie, I’ll pick up my computer, but I try not to do that too often.
Over the weekend, I do usually work on Saturday morning to publish the Silver Shade Group blog posts. I also sometimes paint or pack boxes on Sunday evenings if I want to get ahead for the week. That’s about it, though.
In order to spend more time with my son over the summer, I reduce my hours significantly. I manage this because I do not take as many marketing projects over the summer as I do throughout the rest of the year, and consumer goods sales are naturally slower over the summer. In order to get some work done, I do send my son to camp every other week. On the weeks he has off, we hang out and do amazing, fun things and schedule our family vacations. On the weeks he’s in camp, I follow a similar schedule to what I do during the school year. I also work a bit more in the evenings during the summer, but I work for myself partly so that I have a flexible schedule, so I try not to overdo it.
I hope that sharing my schedule has helped you to determine how you can create your own unique calendar that works for you. Keep in mind that I’ve spend over two years figuring out how to maximize my schedule and it has changed even this year as my son’s school hours have increased, so it may take you some time as well. Look at your schedule with a keen eye and cut the non-essentials. Does each activity benefit your business? Your family? Your personal well-being? If not, it has to go. Now get to work building your own great week!
Tamara Budz is an experienced marketing consultant who specializes in Branding, eCommerce and Merchandising for small and mid-sized companies. Tamara has 15 years of marketing and merchandising experience at companies ranging from small start-ups to large, multi-national corporations. Tamara is the founder of two eCommerce start-ups, including the arts and crafts subscription company, Twined. Prior to her work at Twined, Tamara worked in Merchandising and eCommerce at two Fortune 50 retailers and in Marketing and Brand Management at a consumer goods importer. Tamara holds an MBA from the University of Florida and a BA from Roosevelt University. She is based in Charlotte, NC.
Tamara has a branding course called Brand Builder Boot Camp. You can learn more about that here.
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