Welcome to my new feature, A day in the life, in which I will tell you about the organizational strategy I have embraced in order to simplify my life, working and non-working. I would like to share with you the reasons why I decided to overhaul the structure of my days, and the tools I used. Naturally,
my main aim is to help couples who are busy planning their own wedding (alone or with a professional help) find focus and balance in their commitments
but the advice will be hopefully useful to everybody.
One of the hardest parts of going self-employed and exiting a structured work environment, as of tackling any major life project (setting home together, getting married, having children, etc), is building a productive routine for yourself. Finding your way to get things done. It all goes down to organization and inner balance, really. During the first three years of my adventure with fatamadrina I basically improvised at this, while devoting most of my organizational skills to devising the best practices to running the admin, financial and technical parts of my job. But when I read Michael E. Garber’s E-Myth (and reread it, and reread it again) I realized I needed to go back to tackling the basics if I wanted to move on in my business. This is the task I gave myself for the summer, to analyse every single part of my life looking for better structures and more effective solutions. My main goal was to find myself with more me and family time, while at the same time improving the quality of the service I provide to my clients. What follows is the day routine I have planned to work to that goal.
I wake up around 6, feed the little one and move to my desk with a huge mug of coffee, to do the first hour of work of the day (my other job, doing online community management and content strategy consulting for some companies). Around 7.15 I move on to waking up my eldest, prodding her to wash herself, eat and get dressed, while I myself get my breakfast and put on gym clothes. I prepare the little one for nursery school and by 8.15 we are out on foot. After dropping the kids off to school I put on my iPhone earplugs and do some 45 minutes of fitwalking around the neighborhood. I’d love to do more but there’s no time and I can always do some more Wii exercise later on in the day, if I feel like it.
By 9.30 I am at my desk, groomed to office standards, because I find it helps me being more productive. I have radio or music in the background, and water handy. I use a productivity software which forces me to take 5 minutes break every 25 minutes of work, and I find it prevents me from actually wasting time online while providing me opportunities to do some small house/office work offline. Lunch break is set for 1 and I stay off-duty until 2.30. If I have a chance, I go coworking with an old colleague, who’s also self-employed. We find it is a tremendous help, providing us with both an opportunity to get impartial feedback and chill out.
I generally work again until 3.45 when I go fetch the kids and spend time with them until 5, when they know I have to get one more hour of work. Between 6.30 and 9 p.m. I am all about the family. The phone is on and I have occasional Skype chats with clients, because that’s the best time for them, but at 9 I make a point of switching off the phone. Day is over!
Before going to bed I try and spend one more hour in front of the computer to make sure I am aware of the activities for the day after. I also try and have the computer turned off entirely for the night (I have programmed self turning on and off to ensure that) then move on to 15 minutes of me time in the bathroom, thinking about outfits for the day ahead or just applying a face mask.
Sounds like the impossible routine to you?! Well, naturally this is theory and any accidents can interfere. But I have realized that without a draft structure on which to elaborate I would never be as effective as I want to be. That’s why I have taken time to read Leo Babauta’s Focus, then sat down to draft structures and lists determining every single aspect of my life. It’s like an office manual for my existence, with even outfit and make-up charts, and I have promised myself I will stick to it as best as I can.
And I tell you, it’s working, and I love it!