Friday, March 19, 2010

How Does She Do It?

Here it is!  The post I have been asked to write since I started my blog a little over a year ago.  People are constantly asking me how I manage 4 part-time jobs and 2 young children.  I suppose this post was not written sooner because of all that I have going on.  My shop is in addition to these jobs, but also what helps me maintain my sanity in the chaos of my life.  I can go in the garage, turn on music, and sand and paint and complete a project from start to finish just as I want.

                                     Shabby Chic Spring Wall Hanging

Upon reflecting to write this post, I had a difficult time figuring how I do it all.  I don't think about it a lot, I just do it!  I suppose if I thought much about how much I do, I would be completely overwhelmed, but most days it is quite easy.

Although everyday in my life is different, I have listed below what a typical day looks like for me...

7:15am - Wake up and lay in bed thinking through my day and cuddle with the kids and visit as they come in.
7:45am - Get out of bed and get everyone dressed and fed.
8:30am - Husband takes son to school, I check and return e-mails, tweet, and package up sales.
9:30am - Play with younger child. Husband stops at post office on way to work. 
10:30am - E-mails and Twitter again. Do computer work for one of my jobs for as long as the little one allows - usually 1 hour.
11:30am - Play with little one or go on a walk with her, run errands. 
12:30pm - Lunch
12:50pm - Little one down for nap (hopefully).  I now do e-mails and Twitter again and have time to work on pieces for my shop, take pictures, listings...
1:30pm - More work for day jobs.
2:20pm - Wake little one from nap and get her ready to pick up brother from school.
2:50pm - Pick up son from school, visit, snack time...
3:20pm - Kids play while I do more work on the computer, e-mails and Twitter again or tutor student in Spanish (depends on the day).
4:15pm - Stop the kids from fighting, get ready to go to another job, make dinner.
5:30pm - Husband gets home while we're eating and I head off to work.
6:00pm - Teaching
9:00pm - Get home, tuck kids in, eat snack, e-mails/Twitter, spend time with hubby.
11:00pm - Go to bed.

Again everyday is different.  There are days that I have meetings almost all day, so my husband flexes his schedule and goes in late and comes home after the kids are in bed.  And I do not work every evening.  

Tip #1 - Helpful husband!  I couldn't do this on my own and we really value the hours of his job and the flexibility.  He goes in late, so I try to schedule as much in the early morning hours as possible. 

Tip #2 - I can't do nothing.  I have never been one to sit still.  Even in college I worked 3 jobs while going to school full-time.  In graduate school I had 3 jobs, a toddler, and commuted to school which I attended full-time.  I love having a lot going on - that helps!

                                                   Shabby Date Tags

Tip #3 - A calendar that works!  I have ONE calendar where I put EVERYTHING.  It does not work otherwise.  I have all work meetings and appointments, kids' appointments, who is watching the kids when I can't, fun events...EVERYTHING on one calendar on my computer which is always open and accessible.

Tip #4 - To Do lists!  In my schedule I said that the first thing I do in the morning is think about my day.  I go through, in my mind, what I need to do that day - work, phone calls, errands...  When I get up, I make a To Do list with every task that I can think of.  It gives me a focus which is very important when you have a lot going on.  I keep it right next to my computer with a pen, so that I can add to it or cross items off as accomplished.

                            The Ultimate One Page To-Do List

Tip #5 - Keep an eye on the big picture.  I focus on today - the here and now with my To Do lists, but you have to keep in mind long-term goals as well.  I will look at my calendar each day to see what I have coming up later that week and anything major over the next month, so that no major project sneaks up on me.  I put deadlines on the calendar to help with this.
Tip #6 - Love what you do!  Before I went back to school, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to raise our kids and spend as much time with them as possible.  We did not want them in full-time child care just so that we could earn more money.  This is an individual decision that everyone has to make for their families and it is not an easy one.  We decided that we would go into debt, so that after completing my masters I could make at least as much money, but be able to work only part-time.

On difficult days, I remember why we are doing this - for our family.  I do not take on extra jobs for the money right now, but because I am keeping my eye on the big picture.  I eventually do want to go back to working full-time and am planning for that.  I actually did just turn down a job and I have to say that my husband and mother were surprised and proud of me.  That is because I just accepted another job a few days before that.  Thinking I'm crazy?  This is the job that will become full-time, just as we planned.  I have so happy with my life and have worked very hard to accomplish my goals for myself and my family. 

One Challenge - If you ask me what I am doing tomorrow, I really don't know!  I will have to refer to my calendar.
 One Bonus - I work very little in the summer, so I have a lot of time to enjoy then.  I live for the summer! :)

I'm sure I could think of more I do to manage everything, but this is already quite a list and it's time for me to get back to my To Do list for today.  Reminds me of a quote we've probably all heard, "It's a crazy life, but it's our life."


  1. You ARE busy! Keeping on track is most important and I am so impressed with your daily planning to keep on track.

    Thank you for using my clock in your post. How so sweet. I am following your blog, too.


  2. Wow, I am dizzy just reading your post. :)

    That is so amazing, you sound happy and organised.

    I went to school 3/4 time with 3 little kids and ran a small biz, my Hubby travelled and worked long hours but I had a great circle of babysitters :)

    Now, with my youngest in college I look back and wonder how it all got done but at the time I was like you "I don't think about it a lot, I just do it!"

    More power to you, :) T.

  3. wow! you ARE busy... I have a hard time getting anything done if I dont have enough time to finish it, Some of my projects dont take long, but sometimes I spend so much time deciding which of my 5billion hobbies to work on that I run out of time! blah.

    Great tips, awesome entry.

  4. Great tips! I'm glad you found my to-do list, it works great for me.

    I keep *meaning* to consolidate my calendar to my computer - now I'm really gonna do it!

  5. Wow! You are busy and organized too! I am also using a calendar to keep track of everything!
    Thank you for using my tags!
    You have a wonderful blog!

  6. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a little organization and focus. Congrats to you for finding the right balance for your family.

  7. Great post. I have 2 little ones and 2 part time jobs but I think I should take some advice from you. Becoming a follower!