The Word: My Balancing Act – Scheduled Chaos w/6 Tips
I’m a work-from-home mother. I have been for more than five years now. I have been a writer in various forms, graphic artist, formatter, mentor, blogger, and done whatever I had to do to help my family using my God-given talents. I’m a survivor, love my family, and do what it takes to remain anything but a burden. I’ve paid my taxes and continued to do the best with what I got. With all that I do every day it certain has become a balancing act. Years ago, I posted my schedule that I knew at that time with timeslots included. Of course, this was a flexible schedule that always changed day to day or even week to week.
I’ve been asked in the past how I handle everything. That was part of the inspiration for the original Facebook share of my schedule in truth. I’m always curious how other parents handle their schedules with working from home as well. I’m in awe of others making it work too. Some days it feels like I’m spinning too many plates waiting for them to crash down upon my head with a miracle they haven’t yet. I’m lucky to have a supportive husband and we’re a team. He understands I’m scheduling the chaos and I know he appreciates all my efforts. My Mother’s Day gift is usually a hug from my son and a ‘thank you for all you do’. Which means so much. It feels good to be appreciated.
I am my family’s secretary. I handle it all. I am the one answering the phone calls, making the meetings, scheduling the appointments, and working. I spend long hours at the computer and on phone handling calls. I am not sure if my restless nights due from my insomnia help me, but it gives me something to do when I can’t sleep. I take in consideration the dates and times of everything. When things just simply cannot be done and when things simply need to be handled. These help me in devising the scheduling.
The most important things to me for scheduling are that of what my family needs coming first. When things end, begin, when things are due. After knowing those things are handled, I start filling in the gaps with other things like my work hours. I take my working, graphics and writing, seriously so I schedule them as a any other job would. I give myself x-number of hours with breaks included. I am an agenda planner queen since high school.
An example of my schedule without insomnia
- 6am – wake up
- 6-7am – breakfast
- 7-8am – check emails/phone calls/social media
- 8-9am – cleaning/check social media/work begins
- 9am-12pm – work/chores/answer any incoming emails/calls/social media
- 12pm-12:30pm –lunch/chores
- 12:30pm –2:50– handle more chores if any/work
- 3pm – 3:30pm – finishing up anything that hasn’t been done earlier in the day
- 3:30pm-4pm – another break/begin dinner arranging/finish up work for day
- 4pm-5pm – catch up with spouse/check mail/deal with social media again
- 6-10:30pm – family time
Coffee is happening throughout my day. If I have deadlines, I tend to drink more coffee.
Now if my insomnia has flared up most of the chores, emails, and online things have been handled in the middle of the night. For example, my blogging happens most at night. I have even been known to get a lot of work done in these quiet hours as my family sleeps. Work can consist of anything from writing to graphics and anything in-between.
My advice is balancing what’s important. Schedule time for your writing when you can. I’m not saying you won’t be tired. I’m also not saying that you must follow in my footsteps the way I do things, it’s what works for me and may not work for you. I know may freelancers, like me, work a day job along with freelance. More power to you and you have me in awe. Freelancing is my day job, my night job, and my whenever I have time job.
Tips I recommend:
- Loyally keep a calendar or agenda book to write down everything and keep dates organized.
- Prioritize what’s have to, need to, and want to do’s.
- Stick to your schedule as best you can daily, but don’t restrict yourself so much if emergencies happen you can’t recover when you’re able to return to the schedule.
- Set goals. Make a word count or page count, whatever it is you can handle and meet it. Even if it’s as small as just a few sentences or words. Something is better than nothing and it all keeps moving forward.
- Don’t be hard on yourself if you drop one of the balls you’re juggling. It happens to everyone. Remember to pick yourself back up and keep juggling along.
- Do not burn yourself out. Schedule yourself breaks. Too much time at a computer is bad for you. Take a walk, read a book, or even take a nap.