Back in the fall I attended Rebelle Con, a conference for women entrepreneurs. As I sat there sipping coffee and munching on the most delicious locally made granola, business strategist Rachael Cook took the stage. She gave a talk on self-care strategy, burn out, and work-life balance that had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
Rachael walked us through her own workday and the ways she had maximized focus to minimize burn out. From my memory it went something like this:
6:00 – 6:30 am – Get up, journal, and get ready before the kids wake up.
7:00 – 9:00 am – Mom Time. Get the kids to school on time!
9:00 – 10:00 am – Power walk with Oprah’s SuperSoul podcast.
10:00 am – 3:00 pm – Work, with focus varying by day. (For example: Monday create, Tuesday meetings, Wednesday write, Thursday admin.)
3:00 pm – Work is over until the next day. “Office hours” are clearly defined.
3:00 – 5:00 pm – Mom time. Connecting 100% with the kids.
Listening to Rachael speak about her routine left me with the same feeling I get when I look at an extremely organized pantry. Boundaries were clearly defined. Focus was on point. Mom was mom and boss was boss. I think what I found most appealing about Rachael’s week was the predictability down to the same simple inspiring power walk every morning.
I found myself creating my own weekly schedule that had recipe days and writing days, admin time first thing in the morning, a block for dinner prep and chores, a pre-lunch workout, and office hours ending at 3:00 p.m. some days and 5:00 p.m. others (depending on Mazen’s schedule.) And, I could always add an evening or weekend day if I had a post deadline to meet.
Currently, I lead an incredibly messy work-home life with no defined boundaries. And within my workday, I tend to go with the flow. Sometimes I go to the gym at 10:00 am, and other days I feel like going for a run late afternoon. Sometimes I work into the evening after Mazen’s bedtime, and then the next day I might have personal stuff come up that leads to no work at all. Sometimes I am incredibly efficient and knock out several posts in a very groovy afternoon and then other days I waste the workday away on something that really isn’t productive at all. As an example of blurred boundaries: I am writing this post from a hair salon chair! #multitasking
I work the way I work because I am a fan of Jess Lively’s concept of getting into alignment before action. She believes that for us to be most efficient we have to be in the right mindset aka “aligned to action.” If you force yourself to hustle when your head is elsewhere, you will spin wheels and procrastinate and end up wasting more time than if you had just done what you felt like doing when you felt like it. Call it the intuitive eating of working. This totally rings true for me and explains why some days I sit down and get nothing done and on a random Sunday night I will knock out half my to-do list. You could sum up my current work style in one word: unpredictable.
So all this to say, I can’t decide which direction I want to go!
Do I want to create a more structured schedule for my weeks so that work is work and home is home? Perhaps I would gain efficiency in concentrating my time?
Or do I want to go with the flow and leave well enough alone?
You know the right answer is probably a combination of both! I think what I am chasing more than anything is predictability and a little more structure. Perhaps I can create a more predictable schedule and then go with the flow within that schedule.
Rachael has a book out called Fired Up & Focused: End Overwhelm. Turn Your Dreams Into Inspired Action. I’ve added it to my Kindle and am hoping it might provide some direction!
Please share your own routines with me. Whether you structure your day at an office, working from home, on the road, or are simply balancing full-time motherhood, what do you find works best?