This one is for YOU if you’re one of a hundred moms a year that message us saying “no…but really! I can NOT get work done from home with my little ones – how are you doing this!?!” I FEEL YOU SISTER. And for years, I was like how will this EVER get better? The more my business grew, the bigger the workload grew and that just doesn’t mean I just showed up to more sessions, that means more behind the scenes and at home work had to be done. The more you shoot and the more you add components like blogging and creating content to your business, the more you need to work from HOME. That gets really hard when you keep adding on to your family but in order to maintain sanity and put a slight dent into my workload during the day when I have the kids – I divide my workload into two components I’ve mentioned before but never detailed on the blog!
“Interruptible” work and “non-interruptible work”
I mentioned in the past that I DO NOT work for the most part when I have the kids with me during the day. There are certain business tasks that I used to attempt to complete around the girls and I would end up SO disappointedly irritated with them which in turn made me feel guilty, because it’s their job to be kids and need me. I would be frustrated when I was trying to get this one 10 minute task done and it would take me a couple of hours to complete. Moms and dads understand this well. When children are added to the mix, a lot of things are harder to complete from laundry to dishes to meal prep to going to the bathroom…it gets tricky!
I couldn’t spend my days though as an entrepreneur not doing one thing for 9 hours that would help me get a head start on what I would conquer during office hours. YES – OFFICE HOURS, because you NEED to set those! I’ve been such an advocate of this for so long that having some sort of child-free time whether it’s when they sleep (which I can’t do because I don’t function well at night anymore, I’m way too exhausted!) but may work for night owls or having a friend, family member or babysitter come over to help. I have challenged those in the past who mention babysitting or daycare being financially not an option to consider how much they spend on non-necessities like shopping trips and out-to-eat expenses and see if there actually IS room for something that would be an absolute necessity like having child care to help your business run better so you can make more money! If that’s NOT an option, I would truly dig deep and rack my brain trying to figure out how I would get office hours child free whether it’s trading babysitting with another mom or doing a photo shoot trade (or whatever you do for a living, if you can trade, do it!) because it’s crucial to running my business and I could not do all of the work I do if I had to do it with the kids always in my care!
So besides a really meticulous and awesomely crafted workflow I’ve worked on for years, I’ve also divided my work into TWO categories of interruptible work and non-interruptible work.
Here’s what that looks like for me as a photographer:
Culling sessions & weddings
Brainstorming blog ideas
Brainstorming content ideas
Logging transactions on EveryDollar to keep up with our Dave Ramsey budget
Going through our daily lifeflow list
Logging mileage for business trips
Quick, easy emails
Making bill payments online
Simplifying/downsizing a closet, drawer, etc and donating or throwing out
Loading/unloading the dishwasher
Quick Voxer messages to our team members
Uploading finalized galleries to Pixieset for delivery
Editing session images
Editing wedding images
Writing a blog
Most client emails
Wedding blog submissions
Creating a family budget for the following month
Creating content for downloads
Skype calls with clients
Skype calls with our team members
Prepping items/client gifts to be mailed (we do this all from home now, post office picks it up!)
This is not nearly everything I do, BUT, I can actually plan my day with the kids and my office hours accordingly based on which task fits where! Now, I will recommend HIGHLY not planning on more than two of the interruptible items during your time with the kids, because the more pressure you put on yourself, the worse you feel when it doesn’t get done. It’s beneficial to say okay, I am hoping to accomplish these two interruptible items (culling a session and logging recent transactions on Every Dollar) and if I get to folding some laundry, that’s great too, but certainly not to be expected. Taking care of kids is a HUGE and consuming job in itself so keeping the pressure for the interruptible work MINIMAL is key!
Having knowledge of what frustrates you to be interrupted while working on is how you create this list. I can’t be interrupted/stopped while editing or I lose my groove and then I get stressed about jumping back in. Blog submissions can be really grueling so those need my uninterrupted time and I would NEVER try to have a client or team meeting via phone call or Skype while watching the girls because those little ones sometimes are magnets to mamas who pick up a phone!
If you are able to create a similar list, you would be able to better plan your work days by putting a small dent in your business tasks before stepping into the office, but not to the point of ignoring the kids and having your computer out the entire time and feeling guilty which defeats the whole purpose of it being interruptible work. Generally I will do this interruptible work from 8am to 1pm and then stop and give the rest of the afternoon to the girls exclusively! And it’s not always a daily thing, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep our heads above water!
Again though – having the uninterrupted time is the key to pushing through and keeping on top of things and sometimes business owners say “I can just have the freedom to get to it when I want” but this can be a very heavy mistake if you aren’t dedicating specific office hours to actually accomplishing that work. You can fall into a pattern of making excuses day after day about how you’ll get to it later and before you know it, you’re months late delivering images or work and no one wants to fall into that, although so many of us have at some point while trying to find a little work life balance!
Create a list of things you can be interrupted during and things you can’t, see if you can allocate these items to a couple days a week and get a head start on your work without feeling guilty and behind!
Want to keep up with an Outer Banks mama of three sweet (and oh so wild!) little girls shooting weddings & small business photography while making time for the things that matter most? Click on the links below and let’s connect!🙂