My New Normal: A Day in the Life of a Creative Business Owner
A while back, I wrote a post called “The New Rules for Working at Home” that has quickly become one of our most popular and most-pinned posts of all time. Because of the wonderful response we received from that post, I thought it might be fun to share a little peek into my daily life - specifically, how I handle the delicate balance between work and home life.
I’m unapologetic about getting a serious amount of sleep. I don’t function on anything less than 9 hours, and I think it’s responsible for so much of my creativity. Once I’m awake, I have a morning routine to help get me focused. Like most creatives business owners, I feel pulled in a million directions the moment I open my eyes, so having a structure in place for the first part of my day helps immeasurably.
I grab a cup of coffee, make a quick smoothie (I’m obsessed with this one from Dr. Oz), and sit down at my desk. There I work through a series of daily tasks to keep my business running smoothly and my mind at peace, including my Five Minute Journal, a quick categorization of any new transactions for the business (in Quickbooks) or home (in EveryDollar) and a review of the previous day’s social media activity and website traffic. I finish up by working through the emails that have come in since last night, and flagging those I’d like to read further or need to follow up with.
Once I have the dailies taken care of, I like to spend the first part of the day working on Magnoliahouse, rather than within. This includes things like writing blog posts and creating graphics, working on our overall marketing plan, and developing new projects that we have in the works. This is one of my favorite times of day because the house is quiet, Max (our very rowdy Bichon) is usually still sleepy, and I let myself explore new ideas for our little studio and do the work that I’m most passionate about.
The absolute best perk of self-employment is scheduling my workout at my favorite time - midmorning. Three days a week, I sneak off for an intense bootcamp-style class, and on the other days I’ll run or do yoga. I am by no means a “runner,” but I take the general attitude that if I’m sweating, I’m doing it right and enjoy the chance to get some fresh air. Lots of sleep + a daily sweat is my formula for clarity and creativity.
Home, showered, and back in some variety of yoga pants (let’s be honest), I usually eat lunch at my desk. I’m currently attempting some sort of gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle (obviously with an exception for pizza), so lunch is usually something simple like a salad with chickpeas or brown rice and veggies. Since I haven’t usually started in on a client project yet, I’ll answer emails, catch up on the blogs I follow in feedly or take a quick scroll through Instagram.
The afternoons are my powerhouse for working on my clients’ projects. Depending on my current load, I’ll block off from noon to 5pm or 6pm exclusively for clients. I’ve definitely learned the hard way that my ADD-brain can’t handle switching between a lot of projects, so I like to chunk my time out into larger blocks. While I’m in the middle of one of those blocks, I like to put my phone in the other room and turn off email notifications, so that I’m not tempted by distractions and can really focus on my work. Between projects, I’ll let myself hop back on Instagram, unload the dishwasher or make a cup of tea to rest and reset my mind. Our clients are phenomenal and often get back to us really quickly, so towards the end of the day, I’ll do another round through my email and make minor edits as needed.
If I’m able to spare the last hour of the day, I like to spend it on some kind of creative or professional development. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the drills in The Postman’s Knock Calligraphy Workbooks to improve my hand-lettering, or working through a styled photography class on Skillshare.
On a normal day, I try to completely unplug and stop working by 6pm. Zac comes home starving from the hospital, so I usually jump right into making dinner while Zac plays DJ and occasionally bartender. Recently, I’ve been loving GatheredTable’s meal planner, so I’ll know in advance what we’re having. After dinner, we’ll usually take our little monster for a walk and then settle in for some quality TV time - and by quality, I do mean binging on medium-grade Netflix gems (we just finished Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 and it was incredible).
Occasionally, Zac will want to play some FIFA on the Xbox or go to bed early if he has an early start at the hospital the next day. In those cases, I’ll sneak off to my office to do a little bit more work, but I try to avoid sending any emails or working on any client projects - especially if I’ve had a glass of wine or two! Usually, I’ll use these little bits of time to work on blog posts or our other special projects. Does anyone else find that you’re extra creative after dark?
I wasn’t joking about getting a lot of sleep - I very rarely find myself awake after midnight. I wind down at the end of the night by filling in the evening portion of my Five Minute Journal, and then reading for a few minutes. I used to read business books before I fell asleep, but I found I’d get excited, start coming up with ideas, and forget to sleep, so now I usually read fiction before turning in. I save the business books for weekends, and the rare moments I can steal away in the everyday.
Ok, your turn. Tell me in the comments what components make up your perfectly productive day!