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Balancing Motherhood and a Business, Part I

working mom

So we have been on this balance kick lately, I’m not sure if you noticed 😉

One of the things that I struggled with at the beginning of starting this business was balancing everything and trying not to let mom-guilt get in the way.  I still struggle with it.  I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve found the way in which I manage my time to be effective.  It took me a while to get there, though.

Before becoming a mom, I had all the time in the world.  I remember in college when I was assigned a mid-term paper at the beginning of the semester.  I would look over the details of the assignment and think to myself, “eh…I’ve got time.  That isn’t due for another few months.”  And then I’d wait until the week the paper was due to begin researching and writing it.  Granted, I usually did well, but the procrastinating did not serve me.  BUT in my defense, I had all the time in the world and I was able to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted.  No one else demanded much of my time, except for when I got a puppy…that’s a different story.

Now, things are a tad bit different.  I have two young children that depend on me.  They demand my time – rightfully so – and so the time I have to dedicate to my business is, well, extremely limited.  So I had to take a step back, breathe in deeply and let go of the rigid plans I had for my day-to-day and allow for more flexibility.

Some days, I could crank out a whole 3 hours worth of work, while other days only allowed for 20 minutes here and there.  Before I had implemented a few key time management principles, my days seemed stressful and overwhelming.  But now, I am able to work “when I can” and on my own time.  And THAT is what I love about being a mamapreneur – all the mama-ness and startup-ness melted into one big pot with a dollop of ice cream!  I’ve learned to embrace and love this journey.

I’d like to show you how I do it.  Starting with Brain Dumps…

  1. Brain Dumps

Oh I love me a good brain dump.  And I talk about these ALL-THE-TIME!  If you work with me, you know I love brain dumping, because, as moms we hold so much in our brains we rarely let it all out.  By performing a brain dump every single day, you allow for space and eliminate overwhelm in your day-to-day.

What’s great about brain dumping is that this can apply to anyone, not just business owners!  Anyone reading this blog – the mamapreneur, the stay-at-home-mom, the full-time working mom, grandmas, ANYONE – can benefit.  Let me show you.

Every night I grab my journal, or a notebook that is solely dedicated to “brain dumping”.  Each evening is granted a fresh, clean page to write on.  I usually use a pretty pen (because I love a good pen), and I take time to let all of my to-dos and tasks out on paper.  Literally, I write down EVERYTHING I have to do in the coming day, week and even month.  My lists usually look like this:

Brain Dump, May 15th, 2017

•Clean out the fridge
•Write out a social media strategy for Jamie’s upcoming summit (start date: June 1st, 2017)
•Record Lesson 1 for Module 3 for ecourse – launch date next week!!
•Fix chicken pot pie for dinner (crockpot recipe on Pinterest)
•Write Blog: “How to knit cat hats”
•Call the pediatrician – RE: eye exam
•Pay Electric Bill
•Social Media Posts: FB Group, FB Page, Instagram (check social media calendar for deets)
•Write article for guest post
•Give dog a bath
•Connect with Megan
•Meeting Friday RE. Mom Event – remember to ask about banana bread

Some items on this list seem SO random, but I got it all out and down on paper so that when I lay my head down at night, it isn’t all stored in my brain and is out in the world ready for me to conquer.  I include everything from cleaning out the fridge to high level social media strategy tasks.  It is ALL there.

The next step is to prioritize.  What items HAVE to get down tomorrow?  I obviously have to feed my family, so the chicken pot pie is a must, as well as paying the electric bill.  But when it comes to my business, I must get the things done that help me get 1 step closer to my end goal, whatever that might be.  I almost always only pick 1 item off of my list as a top priority for the next day.  Something that is attainable, and helps me edge up.  In this case, recording lesson 1 is very important, because I know that my ecourse launches next week.  If I do not accomplish this, then my ecourse will not launch on time.

And so I know that I need to record.  With kiddos around, I usually wait until they are in bed to actually record.  But I then can think through – “ok, how can I be fully prepared for when it is time to record, so that it doesn’t take me all night long?”

And so the next step is to break down the top-level priority item into smaller action steps that allow for more flexibility within my day.  Action items such as:

•Ensuring my computer is setup with the powerpoint slides, microphone and earphones
•My script is finalized (I usually can read this throughout the day even when I’m with my kids)
•Do I need any special music or editing tools downloaded to my computer?  If yes, then I take the time throughout the day to download those items and have them ready to go.
•Do I need to connect with anyone throughout the day via phone to talk through this item?

You get the picture!

I do all of this because it simplifies a top-level task and gives me space to breathe, but to also feel like I’m making progress (because I am) so that when I do sit down at my computer to “hammer things out”, I am well-prepared without the mom-guilt.

Once you have identified all of the priority items – those that MUST be completed within the next few days – it is then time to work through the other items and give them a date.  For the list above, cleaning out the fridge can wait a few days, and the dog can totally wait for his bath.  These are low-level items, but they still are in the near future.  And so I always try to give these tasks a date with a priority.

And that’s it!  That is step #1 to working towards a seemingly more balanced motherhood and work life.

Be sure to tune in for part 2 of the series SUPER soon, where we will talk about the prioritizing process (make sure you have some colorful sticky notes!!!!)

 

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