As many of you know, my daughter is starting public school this year. (If you’d like to know a bit more about our year of home school and the public school situation check out this post.) Her beginning school means that I will be able to take a real shot at making art my full time career. I’ll have six hour days, five days a week, to dedicate to art. And that is unbelievably exciting. And intimidating. Last week, my daughter did a week of nature day camp. Every day I dropped her off at 9:30am and picked her up again at 3:00pm. It was a really nice preview of what a full day of free time would be like. And boy, was it a HUGE eye opener in terms of time management.
Basically, I have to entirely figure out how to function productively again. For roughly the past five years, my week days have consisted of time with my kiddo. Our days were filled with playtime, adventures, visiting family, playdates with friends, and things like errands and housework too of course. What I would consider a pretty typical stay-at-home-mom life. My days were centered entirely around my kiddo. Which is exactly what I wanted. We had a bit of a switch up in September of last year when we started home schooling, but really, the focus of the daytime hours didn’t change much for me – it was still about her.
My time came after dark. I’ve always been a night owl, ever since high school. My creative aura is just in full swing once the sun sets. That schedule worked perfectly in conjunction with having a child. She went to bed, and I had around four or five hours to myself for my personal projects and hobbies. It’s been great!
So when she went off to camp last week each day, I was elated at the idea of having a whole day to myself! I could get so much done! Let me tell you, it was a slap in the face. I have ZERO idea how to effectively manage my time when it comes to projects. I know that sounds stupid. GEEZ KAYLY, JUST WORK ON STUFF. But it really is different when you’re used to one routine and you suddenly have something entirely new to work with. The hours just flew by. And yes, I got many things done, but not nearly as much as I wanted and my days felt really unorganized. It really opened my eyes to how much I need to actively plan out my days, or I will not be anywhere near as productive as I want to be.
Since I’ll be going to bed earlier once she starts school (since we have to get up earlier to get her to school on time) I definitely need to be making the most of my days. I currently have a small army of notebooks + my two planners dedicated to working out the best way to schedule my time. Here’s what I have to work on balancing out:
- Grocery shopping. I currently do this on Monday mornings each week and it takes about an hour. Do I keep doing it Monday mornings and sacrifice the hour out of every Monday? Or do I find a new time to do it that doesn’t impact my ‘work day’?
- Keeping up with emails/blog posts. Normally, I do this in the evening after dinner if my kiddo chooses to have some TV time. Should I incorporate it into my work day instead, and spend more family time since she’ll be gone all day? Or keep it the same so she can relax with some TV still?
- Social media. As I begin marketing and promoting my business come September, I plan on scheduling out a lot of social media stuff so I can be consistently active with it. Do I do that as part of my work day? Do I pick one day each week to work on it and schedule it for whole the week? Do I schedule a block of time each day for checking in with my socials?
- Art. This is what I’ll be spending the majority of my work day on. But the question remains of what I should be working on. Should I spend my days only on commissions until they are done? Or work a bit on commissions each day and personal art each day? Also, what the fuck am I doing with my personal art???? (Yay creative crisis!)
- Blogging. Currently I write up & schedule my posts for the week on Sunday nights after my kiddo goes to bed. This is only thing I can confidently say I plan on keeping the same schedule for. I really like Sunday nights as my ‘planning night’ where I plan out my week in my two planners, and write posts up.
I’m not actually looking for you to answer all the questions I have. Learning to navigate this new schedule is all part of the process. And that’s why I’m writing this post. It’s cathartic to share the process. To share about things that feel completely overwhelming. Currently, the idea of making art my full time job feels really overwhelming. It feels like I’ll be sitting around doodling all day. It feels like it’ll be a huge waste of time. It doesn’t feel like a ‘real job’.
My goal is to get to the point with the process where these posts will have actual useful advice & information to share. But for now, you get square one, which is the unknown. It’s a complete new chapter of my life. And, like all new things, that comes with a huge amount of uncertainty and fear. But I am willing to put in the work, make mistakes, figure things out, and try my best to make it happen. Hopefully, you won’t mind that I ramble to you all about it along the way. And even if you do, I’ll just keep doing it anyway. 🙂
How do you go about dealing with a huge schedule change in your life? What are your favorite time management strategies?