Boss: Know no bounds
(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)
Time: Managing the circus act
When you are a mom, you become a professional juggler. You are a mom, chauffeur, referee, counselor, chef, engineer, and housemaid (I’m sure I missed a few) all rolled into one for those cute little earthlings called your children. When you have additional roles & responsibilities outside of your home, the circus act becomes even more chaotic.
As a mother of two young children who is also starting up her small business, I can’t emphasize enough the fact that time management is crucial,…but you also have to be a ‘flow as you go’ type of individual. Believe me, it’s great to have plans and times carved out for certain tasks to be completed; but there will be many MANY moments when your child will unexpectedly get up in the middle of the night for various reasons, which will require mom to stay with them for the entire night. Or there will be days when they just won’t take that 1-2 hour nap, the exact timeframe you have allocated to do something for yourself. For a multitude of reasons, your plans will occasionally (okay, who are we kidding!! It’s frequently) go on the wayside when you are a mom. Sometimes it’s a miracle when you have been able to shower, eat your own meal from your own plate, & be dressed in stain-free clothes, all in one day.
As I digress from the real topic at hand, I feel like time management has been my main recipe for succeeding as a novice entrepreneur who also happens to be a mom of 2 young children. With that being said, time management as an entrepreneur with 2 kiddos (for me) involves the following:
- Use every spare moment to be productive– When I have at least 15 minutes of spare time, I capitalize on this free time. Whether checking or replying back to an email, writing down some ideas, or collecting all tools/ supplies for a specific task, I use those spare minutes.During my lunch hours on my main work gig, I will often utilize that time to do something related to homelife, SoireeFrillsCo., or personal life. If I can pick up groceries during a moment when the kids aren’t with me, I take it. If I can respond to emails during that brief free moment, that means it frees up time to do another task the next time I have a free 10- 15 minute moment. As you can imagine, I am always on the go and will often eat lunch while running to do another task. Even throughout dinner, when the kids are settled and have their meals in front of them, I celebrate those 5 minutes of quiet time by loading up the dishwasher.
It is amazing how much of a time saver it is when I use pockets of time throughout the day; because a parent, you very rarely have long stretches of free time (and may I add, free time without the kids hanging on to your legs, lol) …and when you do have free time (which is typically at the end of the day when the kiddos are fast asleep), you are more apt to go to bed too. When I have those tempting moments to just crash in front of the TV at the end of the night, I just think of how great it feels after I have contributed time towards my small business. I am not an idler, nor do I like to waste time. I make every minute count, because time is valuable. I like to think that I will never get the time back, so may as well make the most out it. Give me 15 minutes and I can accomplish a ton!
- Write it down & create lists- I am forever a list maker, writer, & journaler. I have been this way since I can remember. I love sticky notes, pens, journals, & notebooks. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing out a completed task from your ‘to-do’ list. I also love to compartmentalize things…aka categorizing things. I have separate lists for: meal ideas, grocery lists, fitness activities, work-related schedules, school related tasks & deadlines, home chores, and kids activities. It is no wonder (as a compartmentalizer) that I feel the need to have separate notebooks/ lists for each area of my life.
If it gets written, down, you are committed to it. Also, when it gets written down, it is more likely to happen versus if it was just floating around in your brain waiting to materialize.
I also love to post these lists on the fridge or on white eraser boards for everyone to see at home. Not only is it a great visual reminder for me, but it also gives a visual cue for everyone in your family as to what is on your list of things to do (particularly for meal plans, grocery lists, & family activities).
- Junk drawer & dump book- I always have a million ideas milling around in my mind. Many of which are focused on tasks that need to be done to “survive” the day. So it has been helpful for me to have a random “dumpbook” that I carry with me so that anytime I have a fleeting idea related to my business infiltrate my mind, I am able to immediately write it down before the idea slips from my mind. I can then always revert back to this dumpbook & organize my business ideas when I have a larger chunk of time to process my ideas.
I also find that I will stumble upon ‘brain blocks’ so sometimes having a dump book to explore my creative juices produce clarity in a specific project. Having a random art journal is so neat to look back as it has served as a process tool for my projects.
- Allocate the anticipated time & multiply by three; you will definitely need that extra time- My rule of thumb: if something takes half an hour to complete something, you need to allocate an additional hour on top. Remember when I said there will be unexpected occurrences that pop up when you are a parent? 99% of the time, something you did not expect to happen will come up…guaranteed! So if you have that grace time period, you are setting yourself up for success. This always works for me. As a perk, if you finish the project task well before the allocated time, consider that free extra time for you to do something else.
- Combine multiple tasks to be efficient- The greatest advice I ever received from a girlfriend was way back when before I had children. She said, she will often wipe down or dust the walls as she is going up & down the stairs whenever she grabs an item. You have no idea how many times this rings true now as a parent. Whenever I need to go an area of the house (be it the basement, laundry room, upstairs, kids’ rooms) I will often think ‘what items d o I need to put away in that room?”. If I am going by the sink, I will often wash a few dishes that need washing if I have a few free moments. Sometimes its about doing things in small chewable chunks as opposed to doing it in its entirety.
Whenever I want to get in a great workout but don’t have time to go to the gym, I will intentionally choose an activity that will force me to be active. For example, my favourite activity is to take the kids sledding. The kids love it, I get a hella workout, and then we all are exhausted afterwards, which means a lengthy naptime. WIN/ WIN!!
Playdates with other girlfriends with kids are also the bomb. You squeeze in social catch up time with social activity for the kiddos.
Gotta love it when you accomplish two goals all in one.
- Take time for self-care
I cannot stress the importance of self-care enough. Self-care should have been my number one point. When I was first initially starting to practice to art of self-care as a newbie mother, I would often have to talk myself out of the unending guilt I felt for being away from the kids. I felt sheepish for wanting to go get my hair done & highlighted (which meant me being away for 3-4 hours away from the kiddos).
What I’ve come to realize though is that you can only be as good as a caregiver to others if you are a good caregiver to yourself. I am quite convinced that the more I take care of myself, the more energy I have to look after my family &do the things I love. I also notice that when I feel my best, the more creative ideas come to me. The more I do the things I love, the more I want to do. Go figure ; the irony is that the busier I am, the more I want to do. Managing my self-care has not only served me well in my personal life; but it has done amazing things for my business. Improved self-care has proven to lead to increased productivity in my world (as I am sure that has been shown in research studies….more to come on that one).
- Embrace the messiness– I have always grown up associating fun with messy. I’ve also believed that the funner something is, the messier it is. My crafting is a testament to that. Whenever I am crafting up a storm, my house looks like a tornado just came through. Life with kids is also a hundred times messier than my pre-kids stage. As soon as I tidy something up, it is bound to get messy or rummaged through within 5 minutes…guaranteed. So one of my key ingredients to being a craft creator as a mom..is embrace the messiness. Yes, there will always be dishes to wash; yes, the laundry will continue to pile up (OMG…do you know how much clothes a pre-schooler and a toddler go through??); so may as well enjoy the moments when you can when you can have FUN, especially when it comes to spending time with the kids. The dishes & laundry can wait another day….and in my world, sometimes it’s doing the laundry when they are out of clean socks or pants. Who else can relate to me??
One of my life mantras is ‘life is messy; so embrace the messiness”. It has definitely served as a tool to enjoy life with the kids while building my small empire.
Always me, SoireeFrillsCo.
Motivation of the week: Laughter. There has been many challenging moments this past week that caused utter frustration; but laughter & laughing it off (when I got to that level) made me get through those moments.. .And of course my wonderful support system, who made ‘laughing it off’ so much more bearable J
Boss-in-training: No-no bounds
(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be-bosses- The don’ts, followed by the ‘do’s’)
Don’t expend energy on the things that don’t give you ‘all the feels’
Being a kid is all about fun! And FUN is the major ingredient to anything in this world.
-Who do you love hanging out with? The people you have fun with!
-What kinds of activities do you pursue? The ones that you love doing!
-What facilitates best learning? The fun learning experiences that allow freedom to explore.
-How does one maintain a regimented routine? When enjoyment is integrated in that schedule.
I am a strong believer that fun is the root & essence to most (if not all) things in this world. Am I saying that life is all about fun? No, not all….though what I am saying is that success in anything in this world exponentially increases when the concept of fun is woven into the goal.
I want my girls to know that anything in possible; and that impossibility can be attainable with hard work and when the efforts come from the heart. But what comes with hard work is overcoming barriers; and if you aren’t having fun in the process while hurdling through those inevitable challenges (because there will always be challenges to anything), life can become pretty dreary. And life is already hard as it is without the extra layer of dreariness.
As a personal side bar, I remember sending my daughter to ballet lessons…and she didn’t enjoy it. But I kept pushing on with it, thinking that ‘ yes, she will learn to enjoy it and one day she will enjoy coming here’…and I kept convincing myself that this was for her own good. Eight weeks in, I noticed she still didn’t take a liking to ballet. But one day, they did a spontaneous bootcamp, sporty drill as a side activity; and she looooooved it. She was laughing, trying all the different stations, and talking so much more. I hadn’t seen that since starting those classes. It was then I learned a valuable lesson; I had made these ballet classes all about me (even though I kept telling myself it was for her); but really, I should be encouraging her to do the activities she loves; as opposed to signing her up for activities that I had envisioned her to love. From then on, I learned to only encourage activities that make her squeal with glee.
I want both my girls to know that life can be (and should be) fun while pursuing a dream…and if you are lucky, your goal/ dream can be all rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
Dear Elle & Enne,
What I love about childhood & youth is the innocence & fun that exudes from everything that you both are & everything you do. When I watch you explore and learn, I am always mesmerized at the light I see in your eyes and the pure amazement that comes from your faces. There is something to be said about wanting to pause moments in time so that I can freeze those overwhelmingly awesome emotions forever!
Don’t expend energy on the things that don’t give you ‘all the feels’…and what your cool mom is trying to say is this….love with your whole heart, do with your entire being, and pursue all things that make you happy. There is nothing more a mother wants more for her children than to see them be successful in what brings them joy
I will forever be your number one fan; and if there is something you want to pursue, be it small or big, I will be right there next to you holding your hand cheering you o.