My friends - "I wish I could work from home. That's amazing"
Me - "Yes, I know. It's really nice."
Also Me - "UGHHH.... KIDS LEAVE ME ALONEEEEE go and get your own snack for the 1,000th time today, will ya, I've got too much to do!"
Don't get me wrong, I love working from home, being an entrepreneur, making my own schedule and still being there for my kids. But, I mean, let's be real, it's not all glitter, rainbows and unicorns. Hell, there were even some days where I don't think I brushed my teeth for days at a time because I was trying to do it all.
Ew, when I think back to that time in my life, it makes me sad.
Sad, because I wanted so badly to have some sort of a self care, mom life, work from home life balance, and feeling like it was never going to happen.
Sad, because I was SUPPOSED to be feeling like this was wonderful and instead I felt like I was failing at everything.
So what changed, you ask?
Not that I was flying by the seat of my pants prior to this "schedule" revelation. See, I THOUGHT I had a schedule in place, but in reality...this "schedule" of mine, was a freaking joke.
Here's is a rough outline of what my "schedule" was like when I was in a constant state of overwhelm.
get kids ready for school
drop off kids at school
fulfill Etsy orders
pack + ship orders
post office drop
post to IG
write email content
write at least one blog post
post in FB community
pick up kids
hang time with kids
shower (if time)
rinse and repeat
Picture this, every day M-F (I did have the smarts to only work 5 days a week)
It may look like I had my shit together, friend. But I assure you I did not.
I know what your thinking...'Kristyn, that's not bad, at least you have a list!"
....but it was.
It was really bad.
I had no time allotted for certain tasks. I just had a blob of to-do's that I was staring at all day long, with no certain order or purpose and it gave me anxiety to even look at the damn thing.
One thing's for sure, I knew that if I didn't have these tasks all done by the end of the day,
I was failing....at life.
I mean, holy shit, the pressure!
No wonder I was constantly overwhelmed and not getting everything done I needed. Unfortunately the things that ended up being put on the back burner were usually self-care and kid time.
"Oh, just play on the IPad for a little bit longer, kids."
"I'll shower tomorrow"
"OMG it's 4:00 and I haven't eaten yet? No wonder I feel cranky and awful."
I felt like a failure. I mean, I was practically setting myself UP FOR FAILURE every damn day with this "schedule". I was assuring myself that my day would consist of nothing but chaos and stress. And that's exactly what was happening.
There's this myth that if you work from home you have it all. Like, being a work at home mom means you’ve hit the freakin' lottery and now can manage a successful career all while, keeping your family running smoothly, and it don't forget, it comes naturally, right?! Pshhhh....
In truth, it takes practice. This means that a schedule is even more important than ever before. With a REAL schedule, and not just a to-do list blob, you’ll be more effective and more productive.
Then came my two life savers....
Time Blocking, and her best friend, Time Batching
What is Time Blocking?
Basically, time blocking, is assigning your tasks and to-do's to specific blocks of time throughout your day. Then you focus on those tasks, and those tasks only, during their assigned time block. Sounds simple, right? Well, that's because It is. And once you pair this with your other new biz bestie, Time Batching, you’re going to be a productivity powerhouse.
What is Time Batching?
Time batching is just as simple! I also call in content batching. I use it it for my email sequences, blog posts, Instagram posts etc. I block off a certain amount of time for each task and once that time is up, no matter how far I have gotten, that's it. Donezo. No more thinking about it, onto the next task. I can feel good about it, because I know that I have allotted more time to get it done later!
I have a free Time Blocking template just waiting for you!! Grab that here. The best way to use it, laminate and reuse weekly with a dry erase marker. #easypeasy.
It's also pretty, so there's that.
With this chart, you can see your day clear, black and white (with some pink in there) in your face, here's what we are doing.
Important things to remember...
~Time Blocking is NOT a rigid, minute by minute type schedule. You can be flexible. That being said you should stick to it, and be diligent on staying on task.
~Set a timer on your phone as a reminder. A 15 minute warning, if you will. Give yourself enough time to finish a task. If it's not done, carry it onto the next day or that evening. Do you best to get things done in the allotted time. If it's not, no worries, schedule time the next day!
~Do not over schedule yourself. Be realistic and easy on yourself. You are not superwoman. Make time for fun things too.
How to Create a Block Schedule
Divide your day into 2-4 hours of block time. Try to avoid anything less than 2 hours at a time, except your sleep block if you have one, and don't be too specific about the times. In other words, block at least 2 hours for a task, even if you think it will only take you one hour.
Give your blocks a name. Better to be more generic than specific. Like clean, or house chores, or work, or kid time. This will give you the flexibility that you crave, but still keep you on task. Like, "Work" for 4 hours. You can do whatever you want for 4 hours, as long as it's work. You can break it down further as you wish, but this is a great place to start.
You can set AMOUNTS of time for certain tasks within a block. How long. Not what time. For example, I like to set my timer and speed clean for 30 min. as a part of my clean block. Be careful here, though. If you get too specific, you’re micromanaging..... again.
Figure out which blocks need no distractions. I have some blocks where I don’t take calls or check social media. Mini tasks and minor distractions can kill your productivity. So when you really need to be focused, plan for no distractions during that time. You’ll have flexibility in other blocks to check your Facebook or Instagram posts and stalk your likes and comments count
Don't forget to grab your FREE Time Blocking Chart here. Get a head start on your productivity sooner than later friend, you can thank me tomorrow!!
Now, I must be going my blog post time batching alarm just went off, see how that works....Bye Felicia!