Everybody asks me how I manage to take care of little Lia all day while running a business. Well it's certainly not easy and if you're a perfectionist you might not be good at this.
I often don't have more than 3-5 minutes of uninterrupted time to do any kind of work (including writing this blog post), so there is a lot of task switching, and having to remember where I left off. (Studies show that this is bad for your brain, which would explain why my brain has turned into mush).
Here are some of the things that help me:
TO DO LISTS!: - I can't live without these, I maintain several to-do lists at once, and I make all my employees maintain them too. Without these, things fall through the cracks. Also, if I have 2 minutes, 15 minutes, or 2 hours to work, I quickly scan through my lists and pick an action item that can be completed in that time. Without these my brain freezes and I don't know what to work on.
I'm Glued to My Phone: I think it's a bad sign when many times a day Lia grabs my phone out of my hands, and instead of playing with it like other kids, she slams it on the floor. Yes, I do this, I'm on my phone with customers, employees, suppliers, and so on all day, whether I'm at the gym, or in toddler class with Lia. I hope you don't do this.
I Use Young Local Mommy's Helpers: I like having Lia by my side all day, but I also need to get some work done, so a 7th or 8th grader comes to the house every day, and plays with Lia in the studio. Lia gets 100% attention, they play games and read books, all while being 3-4 feet away from me. Lia loves her babysitters and I love them too. Everybody is happy.
I Empower My Employees: My employees ARE my business, I'm nothing without them. I invest a lot of time training them, and making them experts in many parts of my business. I load them up with knowledge, but I also encourage them to make decisions on their own. I never get upset at them for making a mistake, I love them dearly and take good care of them. They are the secret to freeing me up to spend time with my daughter, and working on growing my business.
I Let Bad Things Happen: - Like I said, you can't be a perfectionist. It's simply not possible to get everything right all the time. If ever we make a mistake with a customer, we usually make it up to them several times over, they end up being so happy and even glad the mistake happened, and we end up getting a customer for life! Usually any type of mistake usually results in extra shipping costs to get it right. This is just the cost of doing business, I take this into consideration, but in return I get more time with Lia. I think it's a good trade off. Thankfully my employees are very conscientious and treat the business like their own. So mistakes are very rare.
Lia's Has a Play Area in the Studio: - This way she can engage in independent play while I work, and if she needs me I can easily spend some time with her, and then get back to work.
I've given up on looking good - Pictures say it all! :)
Here is a typical day for us:
7am-9am: - Breakfast, and I answer emails, and knock off a few short tasks ( make phone calls, pay bills..) from my to do lists, while Lia plays by herself next to me. Mornings seem to be the best time for independent play. At 9am my employees come in, and we have a pow wow, I answer questions, and give direction for the day.
9am-10:30am - Lia and mommy have a fun activity- music class, gym class, toddler time, playdates..
10:30-12pm: I go to the gym while Lia is in the gym daycare.
12pm-2pm: Make/eat lunch, and check in with my employees.
2pm-4pm: - Lia will nap 45-90 minutes, and I get to work, YEY, FINALLY!! If she's awake, we play.
4pm-6pm: Mommy's little helper comes over and plays with Lia. This is my time to get a good chunk of work done. Make/design jewelry, work on growing my business.
6pm-7pm: Play with Lia, try to sneak in a little dinner prep
7pm-8:30pm: Daddy gets home, and gives Lia a bath while I make dinner. We eat and put the Little Lady to sleep.
8:30pm-12am: Watch TV with hubby while working on the laptop or in studio.
and that is how it's done :)