CREATING A BALANCED WAHM SCHEDULE | A GUEST POST FROM MARISSA LAWTON.
Ok, let’s bust out the real talk.
The vast majority of us became makers and mompreneurs because we were called to do so. There’s something inside of us that pulses through our veins and declares us different than the rest of the world.
This urge to create - this passion inside - is what brings out the best in us. Quite literally, we are our best selves when the beautiful imagery inside of us comes out on paper or computer screen, through yarn or paint or wood.
What sets up apart from others is what truly makes us thrive. However, these maker tendencies are also what makes it difficult for us to fit in. We place value on things that are different than the rest of our peers and that sets us apart.
We’ve all tried to fit the mainstream mold, work the traditional jobs, and conform to Monday - Friday, 9-5 standards. And through turbulent trial and error, we’ve always arrived at the conclusion that’s been there all along - we’re different. We can't adhere to someone else's idea of a schedule.
Many of us may have come to entrepreneurship through different paths. Some might have known from childhood that we would be creatives when we grew up. Others might have been struggling to climb the corporate ladder when the tiny voice in our head finally spoke up about our true calling.
Regardless of how we ended up on the mama maker path, it takes a lot of courage to throw away a traditional work week and start a business from home. We face a lot of decisions about what living life outside the traditional norms will look like and how we will balance building a thriving “unconventional” business while doing more conventional things like mortgaging our homes and raising our families.
But ultimately, we know that pursuing our own creative businesses is what aligns with our inner values and leaves us feeling content and complete.
The difficult part of bucking a traditional lifestyle, however, comes from the fact that it’s up to us to hold ourselves accountable to routines, structure, and schedules. There is no one telling us what to do or when to do it and our time management and productivity skills get tested to the max. We have become our own bosses and there’s no one but us breathing down our necks to meet our deadlines and scheduling goals.
This struggle is often a contradiction for the creative entrepreneur. We know that we need to meet our deadlines, schedule productive work hours, and follow through on a consistent work routine, but that type of structure is often in direct competition with our creative values.
So in this post, I’ve put together three questions to ask yourself to ensure that your Work At Home Schedule lines up with your core maker values. I’ve also collaborated with Lilah to create the Mompreneur’s Balanced Month worksheet you can download and complete while you follow along with this post. You can grab it here >>> bit.ly/balancedmompreneur
What Are Your Core Values?
Before you can develop a schedule that aligns with your core values, you first have to know what those values are. It's easy to imagine that all of us place importance on the same things: family, our relationships, our parenting styles, fulfilling businesses etc.
But, each of us is unique and there are certain things that may be important to you that others could care less about. For instance, you may be passionate about using your maker business to give back to those less fortunate in your community. Because of this core value, you may want to prioritize time where you volunteer at or donate your goods to local shelters or nonprofits.
Though this time “takes away” from your business and your family, it is still hours spent that align with something you care about deeply and therefore needs to be built into your schedule.
The same goes for those of us with close extended families. Perhaps you get together with your entire family for Sunday supper every week. Typically, for entrepreneurs and those with non-traditional working hours, the weekends are prime time for creating. However, if you know there is something important that is going to take a large portion of your weekends, you will need to align your evening and weekday hours to accommodate for your core value of family time.
One thing that especially important is to not neglect your business as a part of your core values. You were called to be a maker by the very passion that is running through you. Don’t ignore your calling or feel guilty for needing time to develop a thriving livelihood. Instead, prioritize time for your business just as you would anything else that aligns with your core values.
2. How can you structure your time to align with your core values?
Have you ever noticed how much of your time is eaten up by insignificant things throughout the day? You may have planned to complete a large project, but instead ended up running to the grocery store, getting your car’s oil changed, or waiting on the cable guy
Each of us has a ton of little things that go on throughout our days that eat up our time. The thing is though, these little things typically have nothing to do with the values in life that fulfill us. Really, it is these little things that leave us feeling drained at the end of the day if we have given too much time to them instead of what light us up.
Without being diligent about our schedules, these little things can devour our entire day and leave us zero time to devote to our creativity, our families, our relationships, or any of the other things we value.
So, instead of planning your days around all the errands and obligations you have to do and assigning the left over time to your core values, structure your time the other way around. Try assigning your core values to nonnegotiable priority slots in your day and giving any of your leftover minutes to the small, insignificant things.
3. Are there parts of your schedule that don’t feel right?
Perhaps the best way to develop a schedule that aligns with your core values is to experiment with how your routine makes you feel.
The beauty of running your own maker business is that you get to call the shots of what your work day looks like. If your creative juices flow best in the evening or late night hours, you can arrange your schedule so that you capitalize on your most productive time.
The same is true if you have little ones at home and need to squeeze work into nap or other quiet times.
However, there might be certain days where the demands of running your creative business overrun the other parts of your day you have set aside for pursuing your other core values. This overlap is what often makes us feel overwhelmed or frustrated when it comes to having an unconventional career path.
If you find aspects of your schedule don’t feel right or like they aren’t aligned with your value system, try asking yourself if they are parts of your business you enjoy. If so, it may be a simple matter of moving things around for a better fit. If you don’t enjoy those aspects of your business, see if it's something you can change or delegate. If it's not serving you or your core values, get rid of it.
It takes a while to know yourself and your business well enough to create a schedule that aligns with your core maker values. The great thing about trusting your creativity over a conventional workplace is that you have given yourself the freedom to explore exactly what you want from your life as a creative entrepreneur. It’s not always easy to find balance among all the things you have to do as a mama, a maker, a business owner, but it is entirely doable with a little effort.
If you're a mama maker who needs help balancing her work and family life and designing her schedule around her core values, don't forget to download the Mompreneur’s Balanced Month worksheet that comes along with this post. You can grab it here at bit.ly/balancedmompreneur >>>>
Marissa Lawton is a Self-Esteem & Strategy Coach for mompreneurs. In a previous life, Marissa worked in corporate finance. She then became a Mental Health Counselor who specialized in women's issues. Today, she uses her training as a licensed therapist along with her business degree to help moms raise their biz babies while raising their real-life babies. To learn all about balancing your family, home, biz, and Me Time head here >>> bit.ly/balancedmompreneur