Having a Routine

I can't lie, it's been a rough weekend.

As most of you now, Joe headed out to New Zealand for his first World Cup on Friday to start his professional snowboarding adventures. And while I was ready and I {mentally} knew what was going to be happening, it hit me a lot harder emotionally than I had anticipated. This is the farthest and longest we'll be apart from each other in our relationship. And while I know it'll get better and he'll be back before I know, I think part of the reason it's so hard for me is because I'm not a fan of change.

Like...at all.

I'm a creature of habit. And this isn't just a trip to New Zealand; this is the start of a whole new career and life path for Joe. He might be back in two weeks, but he leaves again soon after that to move to Colorado for the winter season to train and compete. 

Luckily, I'm a creature of habit and weekday routines are my jam! I've scheduled myself activities every evening, have a full work schedule and am excited to get back into a routine for the week to keep myself busy. When I first started working for myself, getting into a routine was the first thing I did. And I mean that both for work and play. 

If you don't set yourself up on a schedule, you'll get behind and burn yourself out quicker than you'll give yourself a chance to succeed. 

Set Up A Schedule  |  The first thing I did when I was full-time on my own, was get up early. I kept my routine of waking up, hitting the gym, and being at my desk by 9am. This gave me something to wake up for and go to bed for. Otherwise it would be like college all over again where I would lay in bed watching TV and surfing Facebook until 2am for no particular reason.

And I bet you're also wondering...do I get dressed or do I wear PJs? Actually, it's kind of neither. I groom myself every day (shower, brush my hair, wash my face, etc.). I almost always wear mascara because it just makes me feel pretty. If I have a meeting, I'll style my hair, if not, it's usually just in a little bun so it's out of my face. And I have a 'work active wear' meaning, I have nicer yoga pants and comfy tops that I wear so I look put together, yet I'm super comfy for working from home.

The Fragile Work/Life Balance  | The next thing I did was set myself a schedule of office hours. And this part was almost more crucial. It's so easy to say YES to everything, especially when you first get started. You want to get your name out there, meet people, and be involved. And you absolutely should! But also know your limits. Don't burn yourself out in the first month or so by bending over backwards for every single friend, vendor and client. Know your limits and know when to say no; or at least be a strict about when you take another client meetings. 

I used to take client meetings all day, every day. And I still make some concessions. But you have to remember you are a REAL BUSINESS. And it's okay to enforce your business hours...that's why you have them! Clients wouldn't ask to meet their hair stylist or their banker after hours, would they? If you take yourself seriously, so will your client. And even if you do fudge your hours from time to time, be sure to mention that it isn't a common thing. 'My office hours are technically only until 5pm, but I'll make an exception for this!'

Set the limits  |  Setting precedent and limits for communication helps let the client know what they can expect. It's along the same lines of giving out your cell phone or answering emails after hours. I have an office phone, so I don't give out my cell phone anymore. I answer the office phone and return phone calls during business hours, and don't give clients my cell phone to have access to me 24/7. If I do answer emails after hours, I boomerang them to go out the next morning so people don't know I'm working all hours of the night because it doesn't happen often. I need my time off in the evenings to spend with my fiance and friends. I'm only human! I need time away from my business. If I kept answering emails and phone calls at all hours of the day, it would never end and I would be 'on-call' all of the time. 

Take Time For You  |  Now that I've worked from home for a few years, I've definitely learned to LOVE working from home and working by myself. So much so that I keep at least one day (if not two!) a week free of meetings or commitments so I can have an entire day at home to crank stuff out. I am definitely a home body, so it's nice to have time to just work from home, organize myself and get design projects done without being on someone else's schedule. 

The bottom line for all of this though, is that you need to figure out a routine that works best for you! If you're a night person, than adjust it to fit that! Figure out when you're most productive time of the day is, and play into it. Every person is different, this is just what works best for me.