If you’re like me, working from home the past couple of weeks has felt like squeezing my work into pretty much whatever pockets of time I can get. With me working from home with no childcare—I had to figure out my new “normal” pretty quickly. 😬😬
I thought I’d totally mastered the art of being productive, working from home, and efficiency. Then I got pregnant and had a baby. Fast forward a year, I thought I had a handle on a growing family and business, andddd this global pandemic happens. #2020
It’s been that system of rhythms that I built over time that’s been able to expand and contract, depending on life’s different seasons, that has served me so well, and that’s what I want to share with you today…just with a *few* quarantine routine shifts 🙂
I’ve worked from home as a writer running my copywriting business for four years now, (if you haven’t seen my video where I’ve talked a little bit about how to adjust your marketing plan amid a global pandemic, then check it out here) and I want to walk you through how I figured out how to focus on what matters, not just a creative entrepreneur, but also a working mom in the current climate.
I am NOT a unicorn, as a work from home mom with no childcare right now, I’ve messed up so much … like, feeding my child chicken nuggets while realizing I was supposed to be teaching on a summit interview.😳
BUT I DID want to share 4 strategies that have helped me and my team churn in more leads and revenue.
Let’s jump in. 💪
No. 1| Morning Sprints
Have you ever heard the idea before that if you are not making time for something, what you’re really saying is, “I don’t have time to make that a priority right now.” Ouch, that hurts.
A quick snapshot of where I am in life: I have a copywriting business, I work from home, my husband works in the airline industry, which means he doesn’t have a Monday- Friday, 9-5 job. I’m a routine-loving girl, so that has always kind of been something that I’ve had to figure out, anddddd now we don’t have any childcare.
Overall, my workday looks like me getting into the office at around 8/9 AM, and working until Wes goes in at about 1:30pm. I get that chunk of 3-4 hours to work—but what I was finding is that even when I sat down at 8 AM, I was doing mainly admin work. Not a bad thing…but I wasn’t getting that deep work done.
The best fix for this has been trying to fit in 3ish early morning sprint sessions a week. I personally think I’m a very slow processor, so deep work is my jam, I love to just think, and process, and be creative with ideas.
Here’s what you do:
👉3 days out of the week, set the alarm so early it kinda hurts. Like … 4/4:30/5 a.m.
👉Go to bed early. And set the coffee maker!
👉Wake up, have personal/quiet time with my Bible and pray using my VMP journal
👉and, then open up your Zoom/Skype window to…
👉…hop on a video call with a “work from home” accountability buddy (or 3), mute your mics, and just WORK for 2ish silent hours (or until the tiny humans need you)
This has been ~sooo~ helpful to get two-ish (at least) hours of work done before my child starts to cry and get up.
I know that this isn’t earth-shattering, and *probably* not sustainable for the long haul, but it’s helped me so much, especially having an accountability buddy—game changer!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set my alarm to get up, and if I know that nobody is really going to care if I’m working or not, I just don’t show up. I love some sleep.😴😴
But this is the time that I’m creating, I’m thinking, I’m writing, I’m building, I’m working on something that is not admin.
By the time my toddler gets up, I have already crossed off for the day that big thing that I needed to get done, that deep work time—that feels *so* good. I can then get ready, have our family time, shower, get dressed.
By the time my four-ish hours on the clock do start, I can use that time to talk to my team, answer emails, respond to clients, and customers, and students. I’m more of a morning bird than a night owl, and I can get up in the morning a little bit easier than I can stay up late.
If I’m staying up late at night, usually I just want to watch Netflix….just me???
No. 2| Batch days
So if you’ve been around here, you’ve probably heard me talk about my batch days, my theme days.
I’ve been batching my work into different theme days since January 2017. I have marketing Mondays, client work Tuesdays, product development Wednesdays, meetings, calls, and lives on Thursday, finance Fridays, sometimes some admin work too, Saturdays rest, and Sundays personal development.
I totally realize that may sound extremely anal if the idea is new to you, however, it helps me not blur all the days one into another, especially with working from home. It gives me some idea of time and space, especially since I spend the majority of my days on our little piece of land, going back and forth from the house to the office. The beauty of working for yourself is that you can craft your own routine.
I also recommend using some sort of timer system to make sure that when you are getting those few hours to work, you’re staying focused. I like the Focus Keeper app for this— I don’t think I’ve ever checked my numbers quite like I am now, so I wanted to share with you that little system as well.
I’ve shared my finance Friday routine before, but this is a little bit of a change in it, something I’m doing now is, I set up all of my income streams to funnel into one account, or folder as I like to think about it. All of the money goes there, and then on Fridays, I go into that account, and I divvy things up, and put that money into different folders.
So for me, that looks like putting 10% into owner’s draw, 10% into profit, 55% into operating expenses, and 15% setting aside for taxes. If you’ve read Profit First, you’ve heard Mike talk about this idea before. I don’t love everything in the book, but this is one idea that I loved. It has helped me so much to be able to have confidence to look at these numbers, see what’s in the operating expenses folder, and think, “Okay, we are covered for the next 90 days If we have no revenue coming in, we’ve got enough money in there that we can cover our basis for whatever is going on right now.”
Talk about peace of mind amidst a global pandemic.
No. 3| Prioritize education and growth.
This quarantine schedule (reduced work schedule ), means that whatever it is on my plate really needs to deserve to be there. One thing that will always deserve to be there is figuring out things that are going to move the needle in my business, education.
If you’re like me as a creative entrepreneur, you love to learn, but if you don’t set aside time out work on it, it doesn’t happen. That was my problem. You don’t need to be the most productive you’ve ever been in these crazy times(working from home and limited childcare!) but experimenting with ideas to see if it can move the needle in my business, specifically in our profit, that’s just part of being an entrepreneur.
For me and my routines, this works best on Sunday evenings. I have done our weekly prep for the week, the house is quiet, I can pour a glass of wine, pop open my laptop and work on some education. I can learn some sort of deeper strategy, or read books and articles I’ve been saving and pocketing. Or I can use this time to work on or finish up any courses that I’ve bought. I’ve loved seeing my students inside Copywriting for Creatives and Primed to Launch talk about what they’re working on right now.
Over the past couple of months in quarantine I’ve realized how thankful I am that I spent money on coaching, and education, and having these Masterminds, and communities— when I am stuck, or I don’t know what to do right now, I can go to those places, and find help and support.
Trying to dive into trainings, or listen to them while I’m meal prepping, or playing with my toddler doesn’t work for me. So setting aside just even a couple of hours on a Sunday evening has meant everything.
No. 4| Shifting to big ONE
Currently, I pretty much just have time to get ONE thing done a day. During the time I do have to work, I’m usually focused on that ONE big thing, which for me, has looked like reworking and optimizing something that’s already in existence.
I updated and launched a small $37 offer, which resulted in a big injection of cash, which was so helpful right now at a time when I need it. I have updated my welcome sequence, I’m rewriting ads, updating landing pages, and going in and changing things so the messaging is current for what’s going on right now.
For me and my business, these are not just rainy day projects, I’m actually picking things that I know are going to move the needle, and correlate directly to sales. I need to quit being so dadgum perfectionistic about things, let that go, and just get things done the best I can. These are the “get it done projects”— I’m eating the elephant one bite at a time.
I’m figuring this quarantine routine out right alongside you—no matter your situation, I hope some of these tips were helpful today. I definitely have left way more emails in my inbox than I’ve ever been comfortable with. BUT I’ve also launched a new product that gave a cash injection at a time when I need it (so I can continue to pay my contractors and team) and I’ve had tons of dance parties and bubble blowing sessions with my toddler.🤗
I want to look back on this difficult season and at least be able to say: “I stewarded my time as very best as I could”.
I’m cheering for you along the way!