For those of you readers who are new to the blog, it’s been nearly a year since I quit my full-time day job to dedicate time to my family and pursue my passion, Holey Socks Art.
In that year I’ve learned that I am quite naive. I imagined having all of this down-time and being able to dedicate 5-7 hrs daily to my business and it would all be relatively easy. Make art all day and sit back and relax. I even picked up a part time job caretaking at our apartment building to just help out and make some “pin money”.
Well, turns out that after helping the kids get ready and dropping them off at school and then putting in 1-3 hrs of work at the apartment complex and then another 1-3 hours at our apartment cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and then back to deliver packages for the apartment complex and pick up the kids, I was often left with only about an hour each day to be “productive”.
Turns out that really wasn’t enough. Not to mention that it’s really hard to be productive when you have so many things swirling around in your head you don’t even know where to start!
Starting a business took so much more time than I planned. Making products was the easy part, but then you start to learn about all the best tips/tricks for tagging items on Etsy for optimal view results, promoted items, SEO, branding, blogging better, social media presence, social media dashboards, etc. Whoa! My head was spinning.
So over the last couple months I’ve had to take a step back and regain my focus. I started with a goal and made sure that I set aside time for research (thank you YouTube, you’re a lifesaver), found what tools help me and which ones didn’t, decided what things were important and what things weren’t that I could just let go of and made myself a plan. I asked my readers and fans- what did they want most? What do they want least? More of? Ideas?
So I’ve started with “consistency”. I work best knowing what I need to do each day and utilize all me new tools- whether it’s my nerdy type-A cleaning list, my priority chart or calendar. It also helps to feel accomplished when you get to check something off the list!
Once that was done, I quit the caretaker job. Yep. It was just a time suck EVERY day. Instead, I’m working one day a week at a home care company doing private duty pediatric nursing. I’m confident that having to give up only one day each week, the SAME day each week, will be much simpler as it will free up big gaps of time on my days off. In addition, it will double my income. Nice, right? It has felt like a defeat when I tell people about this, but really, business is booming!
Frankly, I think it is going to be good for me to GET OUT OF THE APARTMENT!! I’ve felt like a hermit being chained to the computer so much recently and it’s hard to work from my laptop most days just because I don’t always have access to high speed wifi and it doesn’t have Adobe Illustrator on it. I don’t know how I would live without Illustrator.
For the last week and a half I’ve had the girls home on school break (one of those year round charter school things) and that has definitely put a crimp in my days and made me dig back into my old bag of tricks.
Here’s what I do to make time:
1. I give the kids the the choice of “fun first” or “fun later”. I’ve made it clear that just because they are on break doesn’t mean I get to be. I still have some work to do, but I have the luxury to be flexible about it.
Turns out giving them some control over WHEN it happens seems to make the day so much more bearable as they know what to expect and they get some say in it.
You’re gonna hit road blocks. Letting them pick whether they go over or under can help things run more smoothly.
2. Take time for yourself when you need it. I don’t know about yours, but my kids are constantly talking. I can’t even use the bathroom in peace. You’d think I’d have gotten used to it, but I cannotstand banging and knocking at the door when I am trying to use the bathroom. So, I started leaving the light off and peeing with the door partially open. No one suspects you’re in there! I know, it’s not for everyone, but if you find yourself just needing a minute or two of peace (or maybe a good cry) it might be a nice thing to try. Just sit on the edge of the bathtub in the dark and enjoy the silence. Just don’t get caught or it’s over.
3. Break up the chores. I can’t do it all in one day. And even if I did, I’d have to do it ALL over again tomorrow. So, I decided that I’m not doing more than one or two chores on any given day. Yes, there are still the everyday tasks like wiping down the counter and tables and dishes, but those are pretty quick. I’m talking big things like vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing down the bathroom etc. This way you can be sure it all gets done weekly and you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You can peek at mine HERE.
4. Streamline. Yeah the bed looks nice with 152 pillows on it, but really is it worth it the 2-3 times a year people might see it? Do you think it’s really giving you any extra points? KISS- keep it simple, stupid. That’s only ONE of the reasons I love Norwex. Pretty easy to clean your house lickety-split when essentially all you are using is a wet rag. It also allows you to put your kids to work without fear of exposure to chemicals. (I am NOT a consultant, just a very excited consumer!)
Other ways to keep it simple: canned or frozen vegetables (did you know that the nutritional value is comparable to fresh and at times even higher?!- read more HERE); using my crockpot or slow cooker for nearly everything; letting go of doing things the “right way” and delegating things to others.
5. Say “No”. You need to do what is best for you and your family and overloading yourself just isn’t in the interest of either.
6. Realize that you are not responsible for everyone’s entertainment. I think it’s important for my kids to play together, without me. I’m not saying that you should completely ignore your kids, after all, we sit down and play board games regularly because family time is important. BUT, it is important for kids to learn to use their imagination, to figure out disagreements themselves, and to have their own alone time. For this reason you will almost always catch me with a book in my purse to read at the park or wherever I might find the opportunity to let them just be kids.
Kickin’ my feet up while my kids play!
7. Use your time wisely. If social media is your thing, great! But if not, be aware of the time you waste on your phone/computer pinning away for an hour (guilty!). This is time you had all to yourself to do something constructive- read, write, soak in the tub, etc. It’s the same way that a latte everyday can slowly erode your budget- social media can suck up your YOU time! Beware.
8. Bribery. Yeah, call it rewarding good behavior if it will make you feel better, but I will just be honest- I bribe the hell out of my kids. Who wants to empty the dishwasher for a quarter? I’ll share my chocolate with you if you pick up all the dirty dishes in the living room and put them by the sink! Whoever feeds the dog gets 3 kisses! Yeah, that one still works. I’m sure some of you are shaking your heads thinking “There are a couple of kids who are going to grow up expecting something every time they have to do something…” Maybe you’re right. There are things they just have to do- clean their room, clear their spot at the table, etc. But if it helps me get things done, well, I’m gonna bribe them for all I’ve got!
I hoped they helped. Interested in sharing some of your tips? Feel free to add them to the comments below or if you’d like to guest post contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org