This post is as continuation of the cross blog conversation that I’m having with Marya Mesa of SunCoastMomma.com. We’re talking about balancing families, our online businesses, illness and everything in between. You can read the first post here.
In Marya’s last post, she shared how scheduling her work in blocks of time was best suited for her family and business life. Marya mentioned that this is the very reason she chose to specialize in social media and writing in her service-based business at SuncoastVA. Then she asked me:
“Alicia, my question to you this week is how do you manage your work time? Do you work in blocks of time or certain hours?”
Time management was definitely something that I struggled with in the beginning, especially once my son was born and I was trying to figure out how to nurse and work on my business without falling asleep at the keyboard!
When I started out online, one of the biggest pieces of advice floating around was to work during the times of day that you are most productive. That sounds great in theory, but when you’re juggling kids, work and household stuff, that can seem almost impossible!
So I played around with different tactics until I figured out what worked for me. Like you, I work in time blocks. And as my son grew, those time blocks moved and shifted during the day. So it was more important for me to make a list of all the tasks that needed to be done in a day and then place each of those tasks in a time block that I had available.
For example, when my son was first born, he slept a lot. But I needed to sleep a good bit of that time, too. So if he took two morning naps, I would work during one of those and sleep during the other. I didn’t go to daycare, so as his sleeping schedule shifted, I shifted my work schedule to accommodate him.
Now that he’s four, he goes to pre-school and our schedule is quite different. He goes to school for two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. He naps for about an hour and a half in the afternoon after lunch. He goes to bed at night around 8:30 PM.
Therefore, I work while he’s in pre-school, during his daily nap and once he’s in bed for the night. This is where the time block method comes in handy. If his schedule shifts, I just move my time blocks to accommodate that.
This is also where I fit in a little of that advice about working at whatever point of the day you feel most productive. Since I can’t do that exactly, I choose which of the tasks on my daily to-do list that I feel like doing in each block of time that I have available.
For example, in the morning school hours, I’ll check my task list for the day. At that moment, I may feel inspired to write or record a video blog. So that’s what I’ll focus on during that two-hour time block. Since the late evening is when I have the longest stretch of time to work, I may choose to work on one longer task at that time, like a transcription project.
This is how I join the two concepts of “time blocks” and “most productive time of day” to work best for me.
I want to send this back to Marya now.
Marya, has there ever been a time that you’ve chosen work over family time or vice versa? Do you ever struggle with the whole work/life balance thing?