schedule

Podcast: Our work schedule (and how to come up with your own) via EntreFamily.com

Podcast #20: Our work schedule (and how to come up with your own)

Balancing work time between spouses, especially when you’ve got a family to take care of, can be more than a little tricky.

We’ve written previously about our work schedules and daily/weekly routines (here and here). They’re an ever-evolving thing for us, and yet the longer we do this dance of both of us working from home while sharing family and homeschool duties, the better we get at it. 

It’s a frequent topic in our EntreFamily Facebook group, and a continual conversation with other EntreFamilies we know in real life. We’d be willing to bet it’s a topic that matters to you, too.

Hard as it can be, it is possible to find rhythms and routines that allow you to both keep on top of your business, do your most important work AND care for your family intentionally in the midst of it all.

So join us as we share how it works in our home, what we’ve learned about ourselves and each other, and the key things to take into account as you create your own shared work schedule.

Ryan's work setup. Blocking out the world with his noise-reducing headphones and enjoying his MANY screens.

Ryan’s work setup. Blocking out the world with his noise-reducing headphones and enjoying his MANY screens.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How we devised our weekly personal and work schedules, and how we make it work while homeschooling our five kids (note: this podcast was recorded before we put our kids into school temporarily).
  • Why our schedules perpetually evolve and always will.
  • The three parts of our work day and why we divide it up that way.
  • Creative ways to get more work done when you’ve got kids in the home (hint: the work force you might not have considered).
  • How your personal routine (or lack thereof) affects your work routine.
  • The invaluable effects of personal reflection.
  • Key things to consider when creating a schedule that will work for you.
  • Why it’s important to understand your own values and personal mission (as well as those of your spouse).
  • The practicalities — work responsibilities, kid’s schooling, extracurricular activities, personal rhythms and productivity, mealtimes and bedtimes and the pillars of your day.
  • Why you should keep trying when scheduling gets frustrating.
Mischievous but adorable munchkins playing by mommy's desk.

Mischievous but adorable munchkins playing by mommy’s desk.

Resources from this podcast:

Quotable:

“Intentionality is the main thing.” -Ryan Langford

Find Ryan and Stephanie:

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Entrefamily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Go ahead and listen by clicking on the play button right here at the top of the post.

Or, listen directly through iTunes or Stitcher!

Thanks for joining us for today’s podcast!

All photos from my Instagram account.

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What a Maker’s Schedule is and how it’s revolutionizing my work time

The longer I’ve been a “creative”, the more I’ve realized that inspired work doesn’t just happen naturally.

Nor does it fit in around the cracks of a busy schedule.

At least for me (but I’m quite sure this applies to many or even most creatives), I work best when I have solids chunks of time to settle in to my work, to get focused, to brainstorm, to dream, to invent, and to immerse myself in what I’m doing.

Though I can write, work on design projects, and do important strategizing work in shorter stints of time, the simple fact of the matter is that I don’t do it very well in those circumstances.

I need time. Time to engage in what I’m doing. Time to work without distraction. Time to let my mind wander and to run through possibilities and ideas and wild thoughts. That’s often how the creative process works best.

Perhaps that’s why for many people, their best business ideas or that amazing new title for their book or those brilliant lyrics came while they were jogging or washing the dishes or driving their kids to karate.

Creativity requires play and freedom and open spaces. It can’t always be told when to show up. It’s rather impulsive, and flourishes best when given room to wander.

photo-1416339684178-3a239570f315

Enter the Maker vs Manager Schedule

About a year ago, I first read the article Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule by Paul Graham, when my friend Myquillin wrote this fantastic post about the concept.

I thought it was brilliant. Essentially, this is what he says:

Makers work best in uninterrupted chunks of time.

Managers are used to scheduling things by the hourly slots in their planner.

When people who do “maker” work try to function on a “manager” schedule (ie. I’ll spend this hour writing this one thing, then the next hour in this team meeting, then I’ll have 30 minutes to edit some photos and make graphics, etc.), they struggle. Even one task that breaks their creative workflow, such as a half hour meeting, can throw off an entire morning, or even a whole day.

This quote from the article says it well:

When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.

For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work. (bold mine)

When I first read this last year, and then came back to it again this fall, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I can’t state strongly enough how true I have found this to be.

Putting a Maker’s Schedule into practice

Ryan and I have been tooling around with our weekly schedules lately, especially as we plan out 2016 and figure out how we’re going to make time and space for our most important tasks.

I came to the realization that my most important work is my creative work. All the other “manager” type tasks I do matter, and clearly, I’ll never be off the hook. To my utter dismay, answering emails, attending meetings, giving people feedback, and fixing technical issues will always have their inevitable place in my work.

And yet, if I don’t make time to write well and write often, work on design and branding concepts, create marketing and business development strategies, record podcasts, etc. then I will lose my impact, because those are the principal things I personally do to add value and substance to our businesses.  

Which means that I absolutely must factor Maker time into my schedule and make it a priority.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 4.50.38 PM

This is what it looks like for me right now.

As you can see, most days I work 9:30-3:00 (with a break for lunch as a family), and on Tuesday and Fridays we have a nanny here until 5:00pm. This hasn’t really changed much from what we’ve previously shared about our schedule.

What has changed is the way I’m structuring my days and my week. There are a few key things to note:

  • Email distracts me greatly. When I open email early in the day, I feel anxious and struggle with letting other people’s needs/demands/desires direct what I do the rest of the day. So, I’m trying not to dig in to email until my most important work is done, at the end of my work day. My really key team members have ways to contact me directly if they need me earlier.
  • Since my afternoons are a bit shorter, and honestly tend to be hold more interuptions, I’ve kept most of them as Manager time. I’m using these spots for scheduling meetings, or working on things that require a bit less intense focus or can be done in shorter periods of time.
  • I included one entire Maker day on Tuesdays. This is a day when we have someone with the kids and I can actually get out of the house (because I work best when I escape our home office), and spend the entire day throwing myself into big projects.
  • There are three other full mornings with a Maker focus, for my various work projects and our different businesses.
  • I have a few spots in the week where I have what I call “Maker Flex” or “Manager Flex”. I’ve defined “Maker Flex” as post writing, copywriting, scriptwriting, video directing/editing, design/graphics, podcasting, photography, brainstorming, book writing. “Manager Flex” includes phone calls, meetings, being interviewed, extra email or slack, looking at things for other people, mastermind conversations, errands, site maintenance. The idea behind this is that there are plenty of other small tasks that have to fit in somewhere, but they can generally be classified as something I would do better when I’m in either Maker or Manager mode. It also lets me use these flex times to give extra time to particular projects that need more of me than usual. 

This realization has literally begun to revolutionize my work. 

When I have Maker time, I can (usually) really clear my plate and focus only on the task at hand, allowing myself to get into a clear, productive, creative place.

When I have Manager time, my shoulders relax and I let go of the tension and anxiety I usually feel, because I know that what I’m doing isn’t an interruption or distraction – it’s what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

What the Maker's Schedule is and why it's revolutionizing my work time

Does this resonate with anyone else? For my fellow creatives, how have you worked to implement a “Maker” schedule?

Image credits – top image, desk and chair, coffee on table

Your Weekly Brew

I don’t have quite as much for you this week as usual, but I figure you’ll all be out celebrating Mother’s Day and hopefully a gorgeous May weekend, so it’s all good, right?

I did want to mention, though, that this week we got back to this family/work schedule that we began during our time in France, and oh… it’s good. It really does work well for us.

I’m always so curious to hear about the ways that other entrepreneurial families organize their days and weeks. So much so that I made up this super-simple form to ask YOU what yours look like right now:

Tell us about your family’s schedule HERE

It’s short and sweet, I promise. Just a paragraph or two about the schedule itself, a thought on why it works well for you, and your name. Done.

Once I get a good amount, I’ll compile them into a blog post so that we can all learn from each other and get some fresh ideas for our own homes. Sound like fun? I think so!

On with the Brew…

Read More

The importance of routine and ritual as an entrepreneur

Routine.

It’s a tricky thing. Routines can be difficult to establish and make habit. We can also feel that they’re tedious, monotonous, or even that they stifle creativity.

This past couple of months, though, Ryan and I have both recognized afresh how vital having a regular work routine is to our ability to:

  • Keep up with our businesses and tasks in a way that feels balanced, and not stressful.
  • Ensure that both of us are getting sufficient work time and not having to scramble to get things done.
  • Put out high quality work that we’re proud of, and to which we know we’ve given the best of ourselves.
  • Stay motivated, inspired, growing and developing in our fields.

We’ve seen the two extremes of both having and not having routine over the past two months.

Read More

Our new schedule, what it is, why it’s working

They say a change is as good as a holiday.

Well, this past month, we used a working-holiday as a grand opportunity to change up what we were doing with our family’s schedule.

Our plan was to settle ourselves in a small, non-touristy village in France, where we could truly just live for a month (out of the 11 weeks we’re traveling), while also taking time to engage with the culture, get out and explore the area, and work on our French skills. (And that top photo is the street on which we’re living in said village.)

We’re excited to say it feels like we’ve accomplished that goal. Although we had several extended periods of time living in one place while on our one-year trip, we never managed to get into such a solid, balanced routine, nor had we found one back home that was really meeting our family’s needs.

So we went ahead and made a brand new schedule, with the changes motivated by specific things like:

Read More
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