As a work-from-home mom to an outgoing and very curious 17-month-old daughter, I consider myself truly blessed. But balancing life as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur has been quite an adventure! It has taken some trial and error since her birth, but this summer, I’ve found a way to adjust my work hours around my little one’s sleep schedule so I can be her primary caretaker, while still maintaining a full-time business.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing tips for successfully time blocking your summer, whether you’re raising a toddler or simply trying to achieve a more structured workday. I hope you find inspiration and motivation in seeing how I (try) to maintain a healthy balance!
Time Blocking is a Game Changer!
Time blocking is a time management method that involves allocating specific time slots (“blocks”) to all the necessary tasks and activities throughout the day. Time blocking allows me to increase my focus and productivity through a daily structure, and encourages me to be more intentional with how I spend my precious time and energy.
Some time blocking methods require you to assign specific tasks to certain hours of the day. I’ve tried to get that granular but it hasn’t been as successful for me, so I’ve chosen to be more flexible with the blocks I have in place. Let me show you!
How I Time Block My Day with a Toddler
Breaking down our summer days into chunks has made a world of difference. My day begins early with my daughter still asleep; I get up around 5:00 a.m. and work from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. before my husband gets up with her. My morning work time is reserved for deep-thinking tasks, like writing content or generating ideas and strategies. While it’s hard to get out of bed some mornings, I really like working during these quiet hours of the day!
My husband leaves for work around 7:30 a.m., so after getting ready and eating breakfast, my daughter and I move into the most active part of our day, which usually involves leaving the house. (As anyone who has spent time with an active toddler can attest…leaving the house is a lifesaver!) We like visiting parks, going to the dog park, swimming, visiting the Children’s Museum or zoo, or even just going on a Target or Costco run.
After lunch, which we often take outside or on-the-go, my daughter takes her afternoon nap from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. This is my golden window for work, where I squeeze in meetings and tackle the remainder of my must-do tasks.
Once she wakes up, I’m back to being fully present with her. We sometimes go back outside or run errands, and then pick up the house before my husband gets home from work around 5:00/5:30 p.m. We make dinner, bathe our daughter, and wind down for the day as a family.
After she is tucked in for the night at 7:00 p.m. (yes, I somehow managed to win the lottery with a toddler who sleeps 7:00-7:00 every day!), I often work for another hour or two. While I sometimes get inspired to write at night, my evening work hours are normally for catching up, clearing out emails, and writing out my to-do list for the next day. I’m writing this blog during one such time block, in fact!
I shower at night to wind down and try to make it to bed by 9:00 p.m. at the latest. Any later and that early morning alarm clock is pretty brutal!
That’s how my Monday-Thursday workdays are broken down. Fridays are lighter from a work standpoint, since we often leave for a camping trip in the afternoon, and I try to only work weekends on an as-needed basis.
A Qualified Team Makes All the Difference
If you were counting my working hours in the prior section, you’ll see I only work 3-5 hours a day, four days a week. The only way I can manage my current client responsibilities AND still find time to create additional content and resources is by having an amazing team!!
The Emily Writes team includes four incredibly talented freelance writers, one of whom is also my Online Business Manager. My OBM, Amanda Russell, keeps the Emily Writes operations running smoothly on the backend, managing our Asana and creating writing assignments for the rest of the team. Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do without her! In fact, she published this blog post that you’re seeing, after another awesome team member has copyedited it.
My fifth team member is an administrative Virtual Assistant who helps track social media metrics and complete other miscellaneous backend tasks. You’ll get the chance to meet all five of these amazing women in a special blog series, later this summer!
I also work with an independent website designer to maintain my website and a couple of incredible graphic designers on one-off projects. I have also contracted the incredibly efficient Melissa Swink & Co. team to help support one of my clients. Rounding out the Emily Writes team is the lone guy – my husband – who helps manage my QuickBooks. (How lucky am I to have married a finance guy!?)
I’m proud to have this awesome pool of talent to support my clients’ content needs. I also love the fact that I get to partner with so many work-from-home women – many of whom are also moms – who are balancing work and home life, just like me.
Giving Myself Some Grace
Of course, not every day goes exactly as planned. This might be my ideal schedule, but life definitely gets messy!
Toddlers have a mind of their own, and sometimes naptime is very short or hard-won. I try to combat my Type A personality by being flexible and adaptable during this season of life, because being a mom AND an entrepreneur are two very important parts of my identity.
I try to embrace the moments when things don’t go perfectly, and give myself the grace to adjust plans when needed. Yes, I have worked some late nights to meet deadlines, and yes, I’ve been known to crack open my laptop on Sunday afternoons.
But that’s OK! Balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship takes creativity, organization, and a healthy dose of self-compassion. I believe that by embracing the concept of time blocking, collaborating with an excellent team, and giving yourself grace, you too can navigate the beautiful chaos of being a work-from-home entrepreneur.
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