I get a lot of questions about my daily routine when people hear that I have a full-time day job plus two businesses and two little kids. Sometimes they’re genuinely interested in how I manage it all, and sometimes it comes from a place of judgmental disbelief, but since I get asked so much about “how I do it all,” I figured I’d share a day in the life of my work week.
Preparing for the Week
Before I start each week, there are a few preparations that I do on Sunday to make my week easier:
Lunch Meal Prep
A huge time savings during the week for us has been to pre-make all the kids’ lunches for the week. We use these bento boxes and the fruit and sandwiches stay fresh all week. We make all 5 days in advance on Sunday, and it has made weeknights infinitely less stressful.
Side Hustle Planning
I spend 30-60 minutes on Sunday laying out in a physical planner my to-do list for my two businesses. Although I went digital with my calendar years ago, I’ve actually gone back to a physical planner for purposes of managing my digital marketing, legal, and blog deliverables. It makes it easier to schedule out each day to ensure I can stay on top of the work during the week.
5:10 am – Wake up. When my husband is in town, I get up 3 times per week for 5:30 am Pilates. I get up, brush my teeth, put my workout clothes on and head out the door. I am NOT a morning person, but this is the only time I’ve been able to consistently work out. When my husband travels, I get up at 6:00 am so I can be ready by 6:30 am to get the kids up and ready for school. My routine is pretty simple to minimize how long it takes to get ready. I straighten or curl my hair to make it look presentable, and spray with a spray wax for hold and volume. My makeup routine is quick (primer, foundation, eyeliner, quick swipe of eyeshadow, cheeks, bronzer, and my newest addition, evening out my eyebrows with this godsend).
7:00 am – I leave the house at 7:00 whether I have to take the kids to school (when the hubby travels) or not. I arrive at work around 7:50 in the former case, and about 7:35 in the latter. I usually listen to podcasts on my commute to and from the office. It’s an efficient use of my time. Since it’s quiet at the office at the beginning of the day, I read my daily digest emails and review my work emails. If my day isn’t too busy, I’ll do a quick review of my digital marketing clients’ websites to make sure everything is operating correctly on the site, and I’ll do a little keyword research in preparation for drafting new content or tweaking existing content. By about 8:30, my day gets busy with meetings, calls to tenants and vendors, and site visits.
9:00 am – In terms of my day job, I usually start each day the same way. I review emails, look at my tasks and make a priority list, and then I try to tackle difficult tasks first, whether that’s a tough phone call with a tenant or vendor, a difficult conversation with an employee, or a challenging financial issue with my budgets. I like handling the hardest things first because it makes the rest of your tasks easier and also doesn’t let the difficult issue linger all day, taking up brain power and creating worry.
12:30 pm – I typically try to bring a lunch so I can bring my laptop into the office kitchen and work on the side hustle while I eat. I try to get 30-45 minutes of substantive work, whether that’s drafting an agreement for a legal client, adding content to a digital marketing client’s site, or prepping a strategy for a new client. I also try to schedule any side hustle phone calls for some time between 11 am and 1 pm to try to keep it within the lunch hour. And at least once a week I schedule lunch with a colleague or mentor to get out of the office, get a break, and most importantly, work on the invaluable relationship building that supports all of my careers.
4:45pm – I head out of the office at 4:45 sharp so I can get to the kids’ school on time. I typically arrive at 5:30 but it gives me a buffer in case of traffic. If I’m not listening to a podcast, I’m catching up with friends or family since it’s rare to have time to chat that is not interrupted by work or kids. If necessary, I may make client calls, though I typically do these in front of a computer or somewhere where I can take notes as we talk.
6:00pm – Dinner in our house is usually takeout, takeout leftovers, or frozen food. I’ve tried to meal plan, but it’s a time commitment I just don’t have now, so this is one area where I’ve just had to let go. If my husband’s in town, he will happily cook for us something fresh. When he’s out of town, which lately has been almost 70% of the time, we’re often living off sandwiches, cereal, or waffles for dinner.
7:00pm – The next 90 minutes is a whirlwind of playing with the kids (we like building with Magnetiles, playing with the dollhouse, or playing hide-and-seek), bath time, and bedtime routines. My son goes down at 7:45 and my daughter is in bed by 8:30, with a few check ins that sometimes last as late as 9:15.
9:00pm – By now, I’ve completed the bedtime routines and finished packing things up for the next day for school and work. I’ll usually sit down at my desk in our home office to get work done, because when I’m really tired, I get distracted if I work on the couch or in bed.
11:00pm – I try to go to bed by 11:00 each night, but sometimes I’m working as late as midnight. I always get a second wind by 9:00 so no matter how tired I am when I get home from work, I’m usually full of energy and ready to work. I’ve always been a night owl, and I do some of my most productive work at night. In order to shut off my brain, I try to drop the technology at least 20 minutes before bed, and because I sit at a desk for much of my day, I do a quick pre-bedtime stretching to help ease tension (here is a good one to try).
And there you have it–a day in the life of a working [overworked?] mom. If there’s a theme in my routines, it’s focus and efficiency. And one thing I try to do is take a break when it’s too much. Sometimes I have to go to sleep even if I have a lot to do, or watch a 30-minute show to unwind knowing that I can get to my to-do list the next day more energized if I take some time for myself.