Name is Amber.
And I currently work from home as the "Brain + Gut Health Explorer" as well as homeschool our twin 6-year olds known as the Gillies and provide daily therapy to our little man. To answer your questions, "NO" I am not insane nor am I superwoman. Honestly, each day I feel LESS like superwoman and more like Bridget Jones. If Bridget Jones didn't have a diary and instead had twins as well as a business she needed to run from home.
Yet the other day, I received a voice text from a dear friend who stated... "I think of you often as I bought you a mug that said "every day hero" and I need to ship it to you."
Every Day Hero.
I'm not even going to lie to you... when I heard those words, tears streamed down my face. It was pure joy mixed in with horror. I look like I have it all together. ME?!? Shizzzzzzzz... that can not be, right?
Let's just set the record straight. I do not have it all together. However, I do have a few SECRET TOOLS to help me juggle homeschooling... with business... therapy sessions and all the appointments which comes with having kids (doctor, dentist, ballet, ninja, etc.)
So, here goes... from this every day hero to you, another every day hero (You!).
Seriously. This is gold. If this is the ONLY thing you take away from these words, you are already a step ahead. See, our Gillies awaken from their slumber around 7am most mornings. And the first words I hear are, "mama, the SUN is up!"
When the Gillies are up, I am in mom-mode. There's no nanny, there's no baby-sitter, there's no family member who lives next door from us or even in the same time zone. YIKES! It's me. Now, this is not complaining. It's just the season we are in at this moment of our lives AND I'm completely aware we CHOSE to move to the PNW away from our Southern family (in pursuit of the hubster's dream). It was OUR decision and I understand there are single-parent families out there... and I'll be honest, I am applauding all you single parents. YOU are every. day. heroes! Making things work, YOU should share some tips (and please do).
The point is when Gillies are up at 7am and until they rest their precious heads at night (around 7:30pm), mama is ON! This means I have to PLAN accordingly so I work. Now, there is the rare occasion when I have a business call after 7am PST or need to attend a meeting in the afternoon. Sometimes, the hubster is available to HELP OUT... and sometimes, I'm rocking it solo. But the MAJORITY of my work gets done BEFORE 7am each day.
How? I BLOCK my time... and yes, it means OWNING up to waking up early in the morning. Through trial and error, I realized I am unable to do any "work" after the Gillies go to bed... it's like they SUCK all the intellectual neurons out of my brain and I'm left with mush. So, I RISE early to get my work in... and save the EVENING for other things, such as: commenting on social media, replying to DMs, researching or reading a new book.
TAKE-AWAY: Glimpse over your day, when are you MOST productive? Can you outsource some tasks so you can work during that period? Or you a solo parent OR just need to balance working when your littles are asleep/at school? When can you block roughly 1-3 hours of uninterrupted time for YOU to get work done?
One thing which helps tremendously in our household is communication. The Gillies are well-informed on when mama has a business call or we have an appointment or when classes are in session. They know. The hubster is informed but his mind is filled with tasks and it doesn't help I tend to remind him at the WORST time possible (ie. when he is mowing the lawn/leaving for work/on a call himself). Me picking the WORSE time to inform the hubster about an appointment is probably my best superpower.
When I talk to the Gillies, it's sorta like gardening. A few days beforehand, I inform them of what's happening in the week to come. I call this "planting the seeds". Then the day leading up to the event, I will talk it over again... "watering". The day of the event, we go over it again to make sure everyone understands the flow of the day... aka. pulling weeds (or limiting any confusion).
This works out extremely well for us... the Gillies always know what we are learning with homeschooling that day, if/when we are doing physical therapy, who has what appointment/class that day, if mama has any calls scheduled and if there's a family adventure planned. Plus, it keeps me on my toes as well. Now, I realize when they get a wee bit older (ahem, pre-teen) this will most likely change... either they will have TOO much to discuss or maybe not want to talk to mom so much. But for now, it works. TALKING it out and planting the seeds for events keeps us all on the same page. We may just have to remind the hubster once or twice more.
TAKE-AWAY: Set time to "plant the seeds" with your littles and let them know the course of the day. EVEN if they are babies or toddlers, just breaking things down and speaking the activities to them will help YOU remember, too. Also, do better than I when telling your spouse the activities/appointments you have planned. I'm seriously the WORSE at picking the right time to tell the hubster. The WORSE!
As a mom-preneur who works mainly with women, most of which are fellow moms, I have found that informing clients UP FRONT the times I am available is much appreciated. Most of my clients get it... from 7am-7:30pm, I am on "mom-mode". If I can get to your email or answer your question during the day, I will. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until after the Gillies go to bed for the response. Setting boundaries up front was so helpful and less scary than I anticipated.
Plus, it took the pressure OFF to respond to EVERY. SINGLE. QUESTION at that moment. It allowed me to put down my phone and truly be in the moment.
Now, this wasn't something I did STRAIGHT from the get-go. Setting these hours happened, when I noticed our little miss carrying around a toy mobile phone and saying things to me such as, "Give me one moment, mama is answering this question." It was at that moment, I realized SHE is mimicking what I am doing... and if that's what she sees, I need to change. Because bouncing from MOM-MODE to BUSINESS-MODE may be easy for some... but for me, it wasn't.
Setting boundaries, keeping the Gillies in the loop of what the day looked like and informing clients of MY hours allowed me to be FULLY present to who needed me... the Gillies, my clients or myself.
TAKE-AWAY: Be comfortable with your business hours and let your clients know RIGHT off the bat WHEN you are available for them. Also, I think it's good to let them know when you will be "busy" with mom-duties. It's real.
Now. There's a few more things I could say which help me work from home: owning my business hours, being FULLY present and giving myself grace BUT here's a BONUS tip for you, superwoman.
You probably heard of that slightly disturbing question, "how do you eat the elephant?" And the answer: one bite at a time. YIKES! I know, it's gross. Yet when you take a step back and think about what it's implying, it is so true.
One bite at a time... that's how YOU are going to move forward in your business. Except it's not BITE it is ACTION STEP.
Here's the thing, it's like Tony Robbins said:
Folks tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, Lord knows that was me. I would plan ALL these amazing things but at the end of the day, sometimes, I was just grateful we remembered to brush our teeth! Can you feel me?
This takes me to the BONUS TIP for you: keep your tasks small for the day with your business. Want to write a blog? Okay, maybe you just brainstorm ideas for your blog today and sketch out the outline if you have time. Need to create an opt-in page for your new course you are launching? Fantastic, create an opt-in page. Looking to gain more followers on social media? Maybe create a social media post and comment on a few others posts as well.
You don't need to have LOTS OF HUGE ITEMS to check off to move your business forward. Why? Because LIFE happens and maybe you only get to do ONE thing on your list. ONE THING! But when you see how you didn't get to do all the other things, you get discouraged and take a few days off to finish that new Netflix series. Who knows?
Here's what I like to do! I write out my non-negotiables for the week (ie. appointments, business calls, homeschool assignments) and what I would be THRILLED to get done in my business that week.... such as: it would be GREAT to be on a podcast to talk about my upcoming book launch. Fantastic!
So, I brainstorm ways to make that happen and will give myself a GOOD. BETTER. BEST. tasks for the week! If I did ONE of these tasks, good. If I did TWO of these tasks, BETTER. If I completed ALL THREE of these tasks, BEST WORK DAY EVER! Now. Your tasks will look like mine because our businesses are different, but you feel me, Vern.
TAKE-AWAY: Give yourself THREE tasks for the day... and if it's ONE HUGE TASK, break that huge task down into BITE-SIZE pieces and only put three on your to-do list for the day.
Why? Because even if you did just ONE task, you are still moving forward. You feel accomplished and not beat down. PLUS, it gives you SPACE in your day to... just be, because even superwoman needs to put her feet up and chill for a bit.
If you found these tips helpful, ugh, love... YES! I'm so glad you did- shoot me a DM and let me know, it would make my heart happy (or just comment below).
And I wasn't kidding about the upcoming book launch, either. Eager to hear about the book's goodness then just CLICK HERE! Oh, I hear the Gillies are UP! Activate mom-mode... until next time.
love + gumption.
Brain + Gut Health Explorer