My Weekly Routine – And How I “Do it All”

posted by Andrea | 09/27/2011

{photo: my newly renovated home office — I spend LOTS of time in here!}

I often get asked by family, friends, and many blog readers what my weekly schedule looks like and how I balance all my different jobs while still making time to work on house projects, fill our freezer and pantry with food, manage our house, clip coupons, and get at least 7 hours of sleep every night!

It is true that I’m a very busy person — but I absolutely LOVE being busy. The more I have to do, the more I will get done. That’s how I’ve always been and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

I’ve already talked about my daily routine, but here’s a little peek into my “somewhat normal” weekly routine.

My Weekly Routine:

20-30 hours/week = working as a virtual assistant for a couple different blogs

15 hours/week = working for a local company

5-15 hours/week = in-home organizing and coaching for my clients {I’ve cut way back on this lately}

5 hours/week = writing posts for 3 different blogs that I contribute to

20+ hours/week = writing posts and working on my own blog

5+ hours/week = answering longer emails, scheduling appointments, business paperwork, etc.

Those numbers are pretty accurate… and although they can vary A LOT depending on the time of year, I almost always work at least 70-80 hours {or more} per week.

Oh, and I still have to make dinner every night, pack lunches, do laundry, clean the house, run errands, work on house projects, participate in school, church, and community functions, stock my pantry and freezer, and the other 101 random things we all have to do each day.

{photo: our “new” 120-year old farmhouse desk that fits perfectly in our office!}

So yes, I’m busy!

Sometimes I don’t manage everything all that well, but for the most part, I’m able to accomplish all these tasks every week, make time for a little bit of fun, get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, AND take Sundays off!

However, before you start thinking I’m super woman, let me just share a some of the reasons I’m able to do everything I do:

1.  I don’t have any young children… yet! 

I’m not totally oblivious to the fact that children are a HUGE time commitment. I also know that once our baby arrives, I’ll have to work my schedule around her’s for awhile — which probably means I won’t be quite as productive as I am right now. {However, that still won’t stop me from trying!}

We do have two international students living with us for the year, but they are at school all day and they spend a good part of the evening doing homework, so they aren’t nearly as “needy” as small children are.

2. Dave helps me a ton.

I don’t ask him to do as much during the school year because I know he’s crazy-busy too; but he is so great about helping around the house, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, ironing, picking up a gallon of milk on his way home, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, etc.

He’s also the primary “homework helper” for our international students and I know he will be a huge help when the baby arrives.

3. I work from home.

Even though there are weeks when I easily work over 80 hours, almost all of those hours are from home. This means that I can quickly throw a load of laundry in between Skype conversations or empty the dishwasher in between emails. I can run errands whenever it’s convenient and I can make supper in the morning and just stick it in the oven when it’s time to eat.

My office {see pictures above} is approximately 10 steps from our bed, the kitchen, and the bathroom and the laundry room is just around the corner so I always know when it’s time to change loads!

Working from home is such a blessing, and even though it can be difficult to separate work life from home life, it’s also nice that there are many times I don’t have to separate them. This should be very convenient once our baby arrives.

4. I’m focused and I always plan ahead… always! 

I know a lot of people who have helpful husbands, no children, and work from home but still take all day to do what I can accomplish before 8:30am. So even though I have a lot of things going for me, I’m also not going to sell myself short.

I know that one main reason I’m able to do so much is because I always plan ahead and I do my best to stay focused on whatever I’m doing until I’m finished. I rarely let myself get sidetracked by social media, junk emails, or other distractions; I don’t watch TV; and I don’t waste a whole lot of time… ever!

5. I thrive when I’m busy. 

I mentioned this already, but it’s honestly true that the more I need to do, the more I will do. This is not abnormal… but I think I take it to the next level :)

I thrive on productivity and simply love crossing each item off my to-do list every single day! I love setting goals for myself throughout the day, and feel so satisfied with I can look back at the end of the day and think of everything I’ve accomplished.

6. This is my passion!

Obviously it’s easier to work hard, long hours when you’re doing something you love. And for me, THIS is exactly what I’ve always wanted to do {well, besides becoming the next Martha Stewart…}

It just so happens that what I love to do is also extremely useful {cleaning, organizing, meal planning, scheduling, etc.} and I’m simply ecstatic that I’ve figured out a way to make money doing it all.

There is absolutely NO way I could do everything I do if I didn’t love {almost} every minute of it!

So that’s what a week in my life usually looks like.

Yes, there are days when I feel totally overwhelmed — but I think everyone has those days. Yes, there are times when I’ve questioned if all my hard work is REALLY worth it — but then I remind myself how much I love what I do and realize it IS worth every minute.

And for those of you who read this and assume I must have such a boring, stressful, work-filled life; please let me assure you that I honestly love what I do — otherwise I wouldn’t do it! I still have plenty of time to spend with family, friends, and to work on my hobbies.

Believe me, my life is ANYTHING but boring! 

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25 comments

  1. Kalyn

    09/27/2011

    I work from home too, and was having a really hard time getting motivated today. Your post helped me get off my bum and start working! Thanks!!

    [Reply]

  2. Tiffany

    09/27/2011

    I’m really in desperate need of a work at home job and can’t find one. I would love to know where you find legitimate work from home jobs if you have any tips. Everything I seem to find is a scam. Thanks in advance.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Tiffany,
    I’m not sure what you’re looking for — but all my “work-from-home” jobs are a direct result of the business I started almost 4 years ago. I work as a coach, consultant, virtual assistant, ect. but it all falls under my business as a professional organizer — so I’ve essentially created my own work-from-home opportunity.

    I’m honestly not sure where to start looking for other opportunities, but I know this website has some good ideas. You could check there.

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  3. Renea

    09/27/2011

    The more I read your blog the more I like it & you! I am so happy to read it each time it arrives in my inbox. I am so excited to see the upcoming baby posts. I would like to see a baby belly bump picture and an update about how you are feeling & things are going. I liked the link in this email to the daily routine. I just downloaded the templates. Thanks for sharing them with us. Keep the posts coming. Renea

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Renea!!! you just made my day :)

    I’ll actually be sharing a bunch of baby/family updates on Saturday {with pictures} so stay tuned!!

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  4. sarah

    09/27/2011

    I forgot how much you can get done before kids. There is a season for everything.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes sarah, it’s amazing how much you can get done with very few distractions!
    I’ll be sure to enjoy these next few weeks before my adorably cute little “distraction” arrives :)

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  5. Tania

    09/27/2011

    Hi Andrea, my goodness, reading your post just made me feel tired! Seriously, I very much admire the way you organise your life and stay on top of things, I find much encouragement and inspiration from reading your posts, and lots of motivation, too. Thank you for all you do.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tania — that is my goal… to motivate and inspire!!
    And as I mentioned in my post, it’s much easier to stay so organized and “on top of things” when I don’t have kids running around all the time!!!

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  6. Melanie

    09/28/2011

    So, I love your site, and have been trying for years to organize my life, along with the rest of my family. (husband + 4 teenage daughters…you’ll love girls…they rule! ha) But I work and work, my girls are great, but….how do i say this nicely…grrr…my husband doesn’t join the organized wagon. I have tried since we were married to get him to “pick up” and “put away when you use”…to no luck. I have just decided it wasn’t worth it…so i just do it…but that is just as frustrating. Your husband is great about helping out, don’t get me wrong my guy is great too…just in the help with the house stuff. I work part-time and chase my girls to every activity, and would love a more organized life. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Melanie, you have officially joined the enormous club of women who wish their husbands would do more around the house!! I would say that MOST of my organizing clients say their husbands really don’t help very much around the house — which is why I make it a point to mention how helpful Dave is. I know that is not necessarily “normal”… but I’m SOOO thankful!

    Anyway, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job of running your house and family; so my best suggestion to help you “lighten your load” and give your husband a few more responsibilities is to ask him to do tasks that maybe don’t include house work. Like… could he run any errands for you, bring/pick up your girls, do projects around the house/yard, etc.?? If he could take some of those things off your plate, then you would have more time for the house work.

    Also, when Dave and I first got married, I would sometimes get “annoyed” that he could walk right past an overflowing trash can without emptying it. Or see that the dishwasher was full and instead of emptying it, he would just put his dishes on the counter. When I said something to him, his response was “you never asked”. Of course I didn’t think I should have to ask, but I guess men just naturally assume that house work is for women and if we want them to do anything, we’ll ask. So I started asking… and he willing did everything I asked. So even though it sounds simple, maybe you just have to ask {in a positive way} for him to do one very specific thing — “Can you please fold THIS load of laundry and put the clothes back in the basket?” “Can you please put the dishes away”. Don’t give him lists, just ONE thing at a time!!
    Hope this helps!

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  7. J.C.

    09/28/2011

    WOW–you sound like super-woman! When I was pregnant, I could barely do a fraction of what you’re doing. I’d love to be a professional organizer & would love to read more about how you got started with that sometime. I have no doubt that you’ll manage to do it all once your little girl comes–just take a little time off to rest & enjoy being a new mom for awhile (you sure deserve it!).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks J.C. — I’ve been fortunate not to be sick at all during this pregnancy — otherwise I’m sure I would not be able to keep up either. And don’t worry, I’m already “planning ahead” so I’ll have at least 2 weeks of uninterrupted mom/baby time after she’s born… can’t wait!

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    Julie Reply:

    I am sure you are already aware of this, but it sure helps to have some meals plans all finished and ready to go as well as having some meals ( 2 weeks or so) in the freezer so you or someone else just has to pull them out and pop them in the oven or in a pan to cook. It’s amazing what I can get done before the kids (I have 4) get up. However, they all have chores, so that does help too!
    Love the posts!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Julie, I talk a lot about meal planning and freezer cooking — and am a HUGE advocate for both!

    We almost always have at least a weeks worth of meals in the freezer as well as a large assortment of baked goods, fruits, vegetables, snack items, broths, etc. My stocked freezer has saved my butt many times and that is one thing I definitely want to try and keep up with after kids.

    Oh, and I’m glad you mentioned getting stuff done while your kids are sleeping. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they take naps whenever their kids take naps. Obviously, I don’t know just how tiring parenting will be, but I’m pretty sure my mom never took naps when we were little, and I’m definitely planning on being productive during their nap times!!
    Thanks for your tips :)

    [Reply]

    Emily P. Reply:

    Having a baby will absolutely take up a lot of your time (especially in the first few months until you can really get a schedule going), but you can definitely get things done when you work responsibly around their schedule. And while there are times you will NEED to sleep when they sleep (like in the beginning when you’re getting up many times a night!) I, like you are hoping, ended up not napping while the baby napped for all that long. I loved getting stuff done and usually felt better having taken a shower and done some cleaning or whatever else than I would have having a short nap. However, make sure you make time for yourself and take it easy! You will need a lot of rest too. Don’t be afraid to let yourself take it! :)

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    Emily P. Reply:

    OH–and like Julie mentioned, getting things done before the kids get up is key. I wake up at 6, an hour before my son, so that I can read my Bible, pray, and do a little planning for the day. It has been the most amazing, renewing time for me. Highly recommended! At least once you and your little one figure out a schedule and things get a little smoother. Although knowing you, this is probably already a part of the plan! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Emily — all very good tips and suggestions.

    I will most definitely be taking time to rest and relax after the baby is born, but I know some people who are still napping while their 1 and 2 year olds nap — and by that time, I’m thinking {and hoping} that my kids are on a pretty regular napping schedule and then I can use that time to “get stuff done”!

    I know that having a baby will be such a huge change for our family. I’m definitely not expecting it to be all smooth sailing — and I appreciate all the tips and suggestions I can get. So thanks again :)

    Emily P. Reply:

    Oh my gosh! Yeah, granted we have a good sleeper, but my napping while the baby napped lasted maybe like two months…ha. He wasn’t completely on a schedule by then, but I was getting a decent amount of sleep in a couple of chunks at night and didn’t feel I needed naps anymore really. It felt so good to get to that point where I could get up and start my day and just CONTINUE it instead of knowing I’d be crawling back into bed after a couple of hours. Although, if I’m sick or he happens to have a rough night or something I will still take advantage. So although a nap here and there is nice, I guess I’m not the type either who would want to continue it for that long! I, too, like to get things done! :)

  8. Kristen

    09/29/2011

    Another great post, Andrea. I have to smile when people tell me I’m the most organized person they know, because I don’t always feel like it! Sure, we do accomplish a lot, but one can only do so when we are intentional. We all have our off days, too, but like you, I do best when I’m busy. I’m so excited for you as you wait to meet your little one! I know you’ll be a great, organized new mom!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kristen — compare to most people you ARE extremely organized! And I could not agree more with your statement about “accomplishing a lot because we are intentional” — amen!

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  9. Fun Weekend Links!

    09/30/2011

    [...] My Weekly Routine–And How I “Do It All” –I just love this website. It’s been a huge blessing to me as I learn to better manage my time since I’m both a homemaker and freelance from home. Managing work + a home gets hairy sometime. The tips that I read here have been priceless. Needless to say, this article was just the thing I needed to read this week! [...]

  10. Calm Busyness with Routines

    10/19/2011

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  11. Jessica

    11/12/2012

    I don’t mean to pry into your personal financial business, but how do you make money from home with so few organizing lessons in peoples homes? Do you get paid for your advice via skype and email?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I get paid for all my virtual assistant work (30 hours), all my coaching appointment, writing posts for other blogs, and all the advertising on my blog. Plus various other odds and ends :)

    [Reply]