How I Do Everything I’m Doing

posted by Andrea | 03/12/2012
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Ever since Nora was born, I’ve gotten at least 3 or 4 emails each week asking me how I’m able to keep doing everything I do… even with a new baby.

And while I’d love to simply respond by saying, “I’m super mom”, that’s just not the case!

Two months before Nora was born, I wrote this post about what my weekly routine looked like and I mentioned that the #1 reason I was able to do so much is because I didn’t have children yet.

Even though no one could  have fully prepared me for how challenging and time-consuming motherhood really is, I wasn’t totally naive as to how much extra work a newborn would bring. It’s been 16 weeks, and I’m finally starting to figure out my “new normal”. I can be a work-from-home-mom… and here’s how! 

1. I Cut Back

I knew that I would not be able to continue working 70+ hours each week on top of house work and a new baby… so the first thing I did was to cut back the number of hours I worked.

Here’s what my OLD weekly schedule looked like:

  • 20-30 hrs = working as a virtual assistant for a couple different blogs
  • 15 hrs = working for a local company
  • 5-15 hrs = in-home organizing and coaching for my clients {I’ve cut way back on this lately}
  • 5 hrs = writing posts for 3 different blogs that I contribute to
  • 20+ hrs = writing posts and working on my own blog
  • 5+ hrs = answering longer emails/comments, scheduling appointments, business paperwork, etc.

TOTAL = 70 – 85 hours per week

Here’s what my NEW weekly schedule looks like:

  • 20-25 hrs = working as a virtual assistant for a couple different blogs
  • 10 hrs = working for a local company
  • 0-2 hrs = in-home organizing and coaching for my clients {I don’t do any in-home organizing right now and only do 1 or 2 coaching calls each week}
  • 2 hrs = writing posts for only ONE other blog
  • 10 hrs = writing posts and working on my own blog
  • 3 hrs = answering longer emails/comments, scheduling appointments, business paperwork, etc.

TOTAL = 45-55 hours per week

I know that still might seem like a lot of hours, but since it’s 25 – 30 hours LESS than what I was doing before, I feel like I have tons of extra time 🙂

2. I Hired Help

I love having a clean house… and for the most part, I actually love cleaning it too! However, cleaning takes time and since cleaning is one task that someone else can easily do for me… I hired help!

I found a really sweet college girl who comes every Friday and cleans my entire house while Nora sleeps and then entertains her until Dave get’s home. This is honestly the perfect situation for me because I can still feed her and interact with her all day long, but I still get plenty of focused time to work.

I use this time to write almost all my posts for the following week which means I don’t need to think about my blog much during the week. Obviously, there are still plenty of other things I need to do for my blog each week, but writing my posts in advance definitely saves me lots of time and stress during the week.

Obviously, our families are also tremendously helpful as they LOVE playing with Nora… but I can’t really ask them to clean our house or to come over but not talk to me or bug me the entire time 🙂

3. I Have a Fantastic Husband

Dave works really hard to get all his school work done on time so I can have a couple hours in the evenings and/or on Saturday afternoon to do much of my VA work. He’s also extremely helpful with general daily tasks like washing the dishes, folding laundry, etc.

I could not do this without his help!

4. I Get Sleep

Nora is finally starting to sleep more at night and is usually sleeping by 10:30pm {so much better than 1:30am}. Dave and I try to be in bed soon after Nora falls asleep… but then we get up on time. Even though I get up at least once during the night, I still try to get up with Dave around 6:00am.

I work best in the mornings so this is “my time” to get stuff done! I race against the clock to see how much I can get done before Nora wakes up — which is usually around 9:00.

5. I Use My Phone

As I mentioned before, my iPhone has saved my productivity! I use my phone to respond to comments, emails, FB messages, tweets, etc. all while I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, riding in the car, experiencing dead time, feeding Nora, etc. I’ve even drafted posts on my phone!

I shop Craigslist, and Amazon.com via my phone, use it as a GPS, and take / edit photos all from the palm of my hand — saving me hours and hours of time every week.

6. I Take Time Off

This might sound counter-productive, but it is really important for me to have time each day and each week to close my computer and just take a little time off.

Dave and I both pack things up for most of the day on Sunday as we have church functions, family activities, and just need a day of rest. I also take about 30 minutes every evening to “re-group”.

After dinner, Dave often plays with Nora for 30-45 minutes while I clean up the kitchen {yes, this is relaxing for me} pick up the house, take a hot shower and put my PJ’s on. Some nights, I’m completely ready for bed by 7:00pm… which, I’ll admit, is kind of ridiculous. But having that little chunk of time all to myself is fabulous, and taking a hot shower de-stresses me and gives me a little more energy to get through the rest of the evening {which is Nora’s fussy time}.

I still haven’t had great luck taking naps, but having a few moments away from my responsibilities each day and each week does wonders for my productivity!

So as you can see, I’m definitely NOT super mom.

I have lots of help from family and friends… and really flexible jobs that allow me to work when it’s convenient for me.

What are your best tips to get stuff done?

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6 comments

  1. Leah

    03/13/2012

    How unbelievably rude! I am appalled that people would ask you to do such obviously time intensive projects for free.

    Maybe if somebody sends you a picture of their disaster wanting your specs and ideas, maybe say, “Wow looks like you really could use some help! Would you like me to send you a quote for the project you are asking me to start?” Or maybe have a link on your website with your pricing structure for those kinds of projects for a frame of reference. You probably already do something like that, but you are so right to expect compensation for your time and to set boundaries.

    I mean, 99% of most normal people would feel pretty uncomfortable to demand that a stranger spend hours of their time doing something special just for them for nothing. Maybe because its the internet it makes people detached from normal social mores? Probably this kind of rudeness probably comes with the territory for a blogger, but I feel for you. That’s gotta be hard some days.

    Anyways, I really love your blog. Just discovered it for the first time today.

    [Reply]

  2. Flavia

    03/12/2012

    Very good how you’ve changed your schedule. Even better that she sleeps until 9am, my daughter is 5 and still only sleeps until 6:30-7am each day 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Diana Kotecki

    03/12/2012

    I’m so glad that things are starting to come together for you. It really just takes time when you have a baby. Each month will get smoother for you and Nora. I love that you are so realistic when you talk to us through your blog. Thanks for keeping it real (especially for all the other new moms!). Have a great day!

    [Reply]

  4. Thrifty Military Mommy

    03/12/2012

    I wish I could say I did as good as you when I started having kids. Unfortunately I was terrible at time management until recently which meant that every time we had a baby my life came to a screeching halt.

    Since Reading Tell Your Time by Amy Andrews at bloggingwithamy.com my life has been revolutionized and I get way more done than I ever thought possible in one day. I don’t have any family and friends to help me unfortunately since we move so much (hubby’s in the military) but I do pretty good for now. If we ever have another one I’ll definitely be looking for more help.

    I’m so happy things are working out for you! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. Lisa

    03/12/2012

    Andrea-

    I started taking hot baths after dinner when my kids were little and my hubby played with them. They are now 10 and 12 and I am STILL bathed and ready for bed by 8 on most nights!

    🙂
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  6. anne

    03/12/2012

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting to see how you’ve reorganized your schedule.

    [Reply]