A couple weeks ago Emily challenged me to a time tracking challenge. And I have failed. Miserably. The problem is I have a hard time remembering to track my time. Before I quit my day job I was at an advertising agency where I tracked my work in :15 minute increments. Part of the joy of working for myself and being my own boss is the freedom of not having to track my time. Now, I do see how tracking what I’m doing all day could help me be MORE boss (just like tracking your calories can help you make better food choices), but I just can’t.
However, I do make sure I’m spending the time doing what I need to be doing by scheduling everything I want to accomplish on my calendar. From deadlines, to meetings, to workouts, to the fun stuff like going on vacation or having brunch with friends. Scheduling out my life helps me commit to making things happen by a certain date. It gives me vision and organization to my somewhat fluid and flexible work situation.
So here’s what a day in the life looks like for me—I’ll share with you today (I’m writing this on a Tuesday).
5:55AM – I wake up to Fox (my son, he’s 2) yelling “Mommy, Daddy! Waffle!” I go scoop him up from his bed and bring him into my bed to snooze and cuddle with me and my husband (I’m so grateful that I gave birth to a little cuddle bug).
6:15AM – My son is insisting on eating a waffle and wants to play his iPad. We spend the next 30 minutes in bed playing Plants vs. Zombies while he chows down on a frozen waffle. I should win some sort of mom award.
6:45AM – I get up to start on breakfast—this morning it’s turkey bacon, eggs, and avocado with tea and heavy whipping cream. I usually sit at the breakfast nook table with my husband and we’ll browse our computers while eating, but this morning Fox can’t get enough cuddle action in so I hang with him on the couch.
7:15AM – I play one more round of Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad as a way to procrastinate getting Fox dressed for daycare. I never know if he’s going to be into putting pants on from one day to the next. Fortunately, there is minimal struggle, and we’re all fully dressed and ready to go by 8AM. We do get into one fight over jelly beans that just about takes it out of me, but as soon as he’s out the door I’ve got work to do.
8:00AM – The work begins! I start by writing the Being Boss newsletter that I should’ve written yesterday. I don’t feel super inspired, so I just try to keep it honest and brief. I’m feeling bad about our audio from this week’s episode and hop on the Slack group to chat it out with the team.
8:40AM – I head out to go to the gym. It’s a :20 minute drive to get there so I listen to the newest episode of Anna Ferris’ Unqualified podcast with Jenny Slate (my favorite!). I show up to the gym and it’s hopping with loud music and professional athletes busting it out. I’m feeling a little sore from boxing and sparring last night, so I warm up on the bike before I move on to heavy weights (deadlifts, pushups, bench presses, lunges, and dragging a weighted sled).
10:30AM – I head back home after my workout and hop on the computer while cooking my lunch (a protein shake and oatmeal loaded with apple, hemp seeds, flax, almond butter, and eggs). I Google Chat my husband a bit about taxes and our budget. We got hit pretty hard with some end of the year income taxes that has got us re-evaluating how we spend our money, what our goals are and how money helps us get there (listen to the YNAB episode if you want to know more about this), and what we can do to trim some fat in our spending.
11:00AM – I’m excited because today is mostly a work day. I only have one meeting in the afternoon and know I can get a lot done before then. So I open up my Asana app and begin checking off my to-dos which include: finalizing and distributing an events calendar for our Being Boss Clubhouse members, touching base with a boss about hosting our book club, coordinating schedules with Emily for some upcoming calls we have, updating some of our header designs with new images from our shoot with Sarah Becker Lillard in New Orleans, creating a logo so our newsletters for our Clubhouse members look different from our normal newsletters, updating our About Me page, updating our Clubhouse sales page, writing a survey for our Clubhouse members…
In between some of those tasks I’m checking emails where I’m making decisions about whether or not I want to speak in Scotland, work with a brand that makes wooden watches, answer questions about the Braid Method Branding ECourse, sign speaking contracts, coordinate time to interview the Freshbooks CEO for an upcoming minisode, and provided feedback and creative direction to the Braid Creative team on a brand platform.
1:55PM – I’m actually feeling really good about my productivity today and could keep going! I’m in the flow but it’s time to hop on a call to give an interview at 2:00. I double-check to see if it’s audio or audio + video in case I need to put make up on (I’m still in my gym clothes).
2:00PM – The call is audio only and I’m super embarrassed when the host calls and I can’t find my headphones. I feel totally unprofessional, but she’s super graceful about it. We get on with the call where we talk all about how I got started, how Being Boss came about, how to manage a successful business partnership, but I really got excited when we started talking about authenticity and showing up as you are 100% of the time. It got me thinking about all the content I could create around the topic of living out loud as you are, knowing yourself, and trusting your path. Calls like this, that really get me thinking and vibing high are the best part of my job.
3:15PM – I get off my call and start knocking out this blog post. In between writing, I’m bouncing in and out of my email, which isn’t entirely productive but whatever. It is what it is. I just got up to get a piece of dark chocolate from the kitchen and I open the fridge to start formulating a plan on what to cook for dinner. Writing this post is beginning to feel a bit like inception. Very meta. A dream in a dream.
4:30PM – It’s now 4:30 and I have about :45 minutes before I need to leave to pick up my son from daycare. I’ve got some tea going and am thinking about watching some YouTube makeup tutorials but I also know I could finalize some more design stuff I need to do for the Being Boss site. I’ll report back in a few to tell you which wins.
4:45PM – My husband is able to pick up the kiddo from daycare so that gives me a little extra time to squeeze in work. I decide that I’ll bust out a layout design for our Clubhouse page and THEN reward myself with some YouTube videos.
5:00PM – Photoshop crashes in the middle of a design and the work isn’t recovered when I restart. Ugh.
5:30PM – My family comes home and I’m ALMOST done with the design I needed to bust out. I divide my attention between work and cuddling Fox for the next thirty minutes.
6:00PM – For the next hour we spend time on the back patio swinging Fox and talking finances. We wrap up the evening by making dinner, eating together, giving Fox a bath and snuggling on the couch before bed, watching The Daily Show, and finally tucking ourselves in for the night. Every evening I wind down in bed by reading a book on my Kindle. Right now I’m reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less which is our bookclub book for the Being Boss Clubhouse this month (I cannot wait to discuss it with my fellow bosses—I’m only a quarter of the way through and have about exhausted my highlighter).
Now, this is just one day. And what you can’t see here is that my workout, my deadlines, my meetings—they’re all on my calendar (a Google Calendar + Asana Calendar hybrid). If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not reliably going to happen. There are many other days where I’m hopping on Skype to chat out a business plan or hammer out a new Being Boss idea with Emily. Some days I’m walking across the street to have lunch with my sister and talk about next steps for Braid Creative. There are days when I legit turn on Netflix and hammer out some work with GIRLS playing in the background. There are some days when I wrap up a project at 10PM and other days when I sleep in until 10AM. My days are fluid but within boundaries.
This kind of structured flexibility is how I get stuff done without losing my mind and it’s one of the best things about working for myself. But I’ll tell you this: it takes practice to live your ideal day. One day you might totally overwork yourself and the next you might feel horribly lazy and unmotivated. As the seasons of your career change, so will your needs and desires.
If you haven’t downloaded our Ideal Day worksheet check it out here—it might help you find the structure you crave with room for the fluidity you deserve.