There is no balance. The end.
I thought about hitting publish but figured y’all would hate me for the wasted time of clicking over here to find some life-altering advice to make balancing this whole motherhood and business ownership thing a little easier. While I can’t promise a perfect balance of the two (because I don’t think that really exists), I do want to show you a few programs and practice I use to make it work (most days).
Some days I feel like super mom, other days I feel like I’ve failed in every way possible. Some days I feel like the ultimate business woman, other days I feel like I need a re-do.
It’s not easy, this juggling two distinct and opposite roles thing. That’s especially true if you have little ones who are not yet in school – finding ways to keep your business going when your heart and mind are in two different places. It’s a struggle, and there is no perfect answer except to give yourself grace. You’re going to have days when you feel like you have it all together and days when you’re just trying to survive. Hear me mama: It’s normal. It’s okay.
With all of that being said, here are a few tips and programs that I love that I couldn’t do this mom/business owner thing without!
Tips and Advice
1. Set Your Alarm
Training yourself to wake two hours before the rest of your house to get started on your day can help you be more proactive, productive, and more successful overall (says recent studies highlighted in this Forbes article). Also, if you’re like me with little ones under school-age, the only time of day you can work is when they are sleeping!
2. Complete House Chores While Children Are Awake
I know, I know. Easier said than done. However, if my little ones are sleeping, I have to dedicate that time to my business as I do my best to not work while they are awake in order to be fully present with them (as if they’d let me work anyway!). I try to get my twins involved in the household cleaning by giving them age appropriate chores. At just 1.5 years old, this is currently limited to throwing their dirty diapers in the trash and putting their dirty clothes in the laundry room. They love doing their “chus” (chores) each morning and take great pride in helping mama. They are never too young to teach them responsibility!
3. Set A Daily And Weekly Schedule
Setting certain days and hours to complete specific tasks is a great way to stay organized and on track. I check and respond to emails just twice a day, and I pause my email account using Boomerang (see below) in the meantime so that I am not distracted by an alert letting me know there’s more waiting. Studies show that checking your email fewer times a day reduces stress and increases productivity.
In addition, my days of the week are set up in a very specific way. Certain days are for sessions, while others are set aside for packaging/mail, editing, and bookkeeping. This allows me to know exactly what to expect each day and what needs to be completed before I go to bed at night rather than just working off one long To Do list that can get overwhelming. Regardless of what profession you are in, photographer, blogger, florist, or designer, sort out the tasks you complete regularly and divide them up into days.
4. Create a Social Media Calendar
Buy yourself a separate calendar from the one you use for every day life. I personally use (and love) this hardbound planner from Erin Condren as it provides plenty of space for scheduling all of my social media and blog posts in an overall monthly view as well as breaking down my daily tasks related to social media in the weekly view.
Plan your calendar at least a month out. This allows you to remain consistent on social media and/or blog which is better for your business and your stress level.
Apps and Programs
1. 17 Hats
I honestly don’t know how I would run my business without 17 Hats. I always joke that it’s the “mothership” of my business. It runs my bookkeeping, client management, calendar, workflow, to do lists, contracts, questionnaires, everything. 17 Hats or another similar program is crucial to keeping your business organized, efficient and getting time back to spend with your family.
I use my business email accounts through gmail which I highly recommend if you are looking for a change. I prefer gmail over the default email programs and Mac Mail due to the ease of use and various add ons like Boomerang. Boomerang allows you to schedule your emails, so if you are writing an email while nursing your baby at 3am, you can schedule it to not go out until business hours the next day. It also allows you to pause your email account so that your emails don’t come through and alert you until your next scheduled time to check and respond to emails. Lastly, you can set alerts to remind you to follow up if someone has not responded to your email within a certain time frame. No more forgetting to followup with an inquiry or client. Best part? Boomerang is FREE for the basic account!
Buffer allows you to schedule all your social media posts in advance that you created in your social media calendar I mentioned above which is incredibly helpful. Setting aside a few hours every Monday to schedule a week’s worth of posts will give you more time with your family during the week. Like Boomerang, Buffer is FREE for the basic account!
4. Virtual Assistant
While I don’t use a Virtual Assistant myself, I know many business owning mamas who swear by them! You can hand off any jobs to them that will free time up for you such as managing your bookings, calendar, social media, and email. The best ways to find a VA are through a referral from a friend/colleague or browsing Upwork.