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Asking Questions


My Routine: Work Time


With two kids, I get asked a lot about how I get everything done for Val Marie Paper. 

I shared a bit about this on this fun page of the website, but today I thought I’d share exactly what my work day looks like. 

Two days a week, I go to the coffeeshop from about 7-9 while my husband stays home with the girls. This is when I work on blog posts or projects that need my full attention. 

workday routineVivi goes to school 3 days a week. This leaves me about 9:30-1:30 at home. With Vana’s schedule, I normally feed her and we play till about 10:30 when she goes down for a nap. She will normally take a long nap since the house is quiet till 12:30-1. This gives me about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to work. I’ll normally tackle a specific project and hold off on emails for the first hour. 

On Wednesday, I have my shop manager, Pamela come and ship out orders for the week. Honestly this is a big reason we ship once a week. If I had to create labels, print them, pull out all our packaging material every day during the week, I would literally only be shipping and would have no time for projects, blogging, etc. 

Two days a week, I have both girls at home. They nap at the same time for 1-2 hours. On these days, I work mostly on emails.

A few tools or practices that have been crucial to making this work is:

  • Having as much content on my site as possible. I get a lot less emails than I used to because information is pretty clear. 
  • Text Expander. I think Google has a way to create template text, but Text Expander allows you to create them and type a little phrase and it will pop up in any program (i.e. email. Evernote, blog posts, etc.) I have email responses and even links that I always search for that will pop up instantly when I type the designated phrase.
  • Editorial calender. I don’t always stick to it but it is helpful to plan content ahead of time. I used to scramble to post things the day of (and still do sometimes) but when I plan it’s so much less stressful! 
  • Batch days. You can see Paper & Oats for more info on these here
  • I blog about things I know or want to know about. This makes it easy and a joy to do. I keep graphics really simple. I used to hunt around for photos that fit the topic and this would take soooo much longer than planned. Now it’s simple graphics I create from a template I made.
  • I don’t blog more than 1-2 a week. 
  • Clearly defined processes. I have been working on making these more concrete lately because having a clear plan helps me do things quicker without having to guess my way through things. 

A few other random thoughts:

  • I rarely work at night. I feel like God really impressed this idea of boundaries several years ago after a few years of no balance and lots of burnout. There are definitely busy seasons that call for night sessions (like right before product launch or book writing) but this is not the norm thankfully.
  • If I need to play catchup, I’ll go to the coffeeshop on Saturday for an hour or two if I REALLY need. Typically though, I just have to trim my original plans for what I do. 
  • I no longer set myself up for failure by having a huge list of things to accomplish. I use Nozbe to schedule my work time. I am able to add how long I estimate for each task to take. I input all my to-dos as I think of them and divide into categories (Shop, Blog, Household, Misc, The Finishing School). On Friday, I’ll plan my work week for the following week and won’t add more than 2 hours worth of work for each day. Even though I have more time on Tuesdays and Thursday, I leave room for emails and things that will come up! I highly recommend Nozbe if you are looking for an online organizational tool! 

I still don’t have it all figured out though. There are plenty of days when I have one last email to send or orders take extra long and I look to Netflix to entertain Vivi while I try to work, but these are getting fewer and farther between as I start to create more margin in my work days!

Have any tools or tips that help you accomplish your work??

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