I’ve asked some of my favorite creative mamas to help out while I’m away with our new baby. Today, the wonderful Erin Austen Abbott of Amelia shares some thoughts on running a business as a mom! Thanks Erin! –Nole
As moms, we always have to think two steps ahead. What will my child need when we leave the house? Will they need to eat while we are out and about? Etc… You are always thinking about the next step. I apply the same thought process to running my business AND raising a small child. –Erin
I organize my life as I would a diaper bag, as silly as that sounds. Each pocket, filled with what will be needed next. I plan my days around my son’s schedule and I got him on a schedule so that we would all know what was coming next. He knows what his day entails therefore we have less meltdowns. Being two is probably a bit scary I imagine, but he pretty much always knows what’s coming next, which means he doesn’t have to worry. This means that I can work in the most time with him and also be the most productive for my business.
I write it all down… I make to do lists daily and I also make a weekly list, so that I always know what is coming next, then I move those things to my daily list as they need to happen. I stay away from weekly calendars and only use a monthly calendar, so I can see what’s coming in two weeks, three weeks, etc… I don’t let things sneak up on me, just like my two year old always knowing his schedule…. less meltdowns to fix.
I get to school drop off and pick up a little early so that I can send emails or look over what I need to do for the next few days. If you stay ahead, then you never feel frantic and if you do get behind, you aren’t really getting behind…. just in line with where you need to be.
People ask me all the time how do you juggle so much and my answer is always the same… organization. Always thinking ahead to what you will need next and planning accordingly. In business, you know what you will need next, just plan for it. If you work with fabrics, have a spot in the roll that tells you when you need to reorder. Work with paper? Have a sheet in the stack that tells you when to reorder, rather then running out and then reordering and getting behind in your turn around to your customers. That’s why I package up online orders the day they come in and mail out them just as quickly. I don’t want to get behind.
Staying organized allows me to take off on Saturday and Sunday and just spend it with my family. If I need to do some work on those days, I save it for when my son is napping. I don’t pretend to have it all together and get it all done, all the time. Email is a black hole to me, but I’m trying to get better about answering faster. Like with a child, you pick your battles.
For those of you that work from home while juggling a child (kudos by the way), I can’t stress this enough… have your own space. Have an office space that isn’t a catch all, but an actual real space. Convert a closet if you have to, but have a place that you sit and work daily, that is all yours. I don’t think you will be as productive if you just have a little pile of work here and more stashed there.
Create office hours for yourself, even if it’s an hour here, four hours there. Do what you need to do during those office hours so that you can play with your family the rest of the time. Maybe you have a helper come watch your children two days a week and you pack it all in to those two days. It all counts, but set those hours. You and your business will be glad you did.