As a result, I thought I'd write this post in which I'll talk about the work I am currently doing, what a day is like and how I have learned to say no, a lot...
(A Remote Design Job)
1) Goodbye to remote design work
When readers began finding this blog the requests for remote design help started coming in. I took on quite a bit of remote work, adding to the list which already included local design work as well as the projects done in my own home, work that provides the bulk of the content for this blog. Then of course I am a mother and a wife, and live in a wonderfully social neighborhood. So yes, things were getting busy...too busy.
As a result I looked at everything putting requirements on my time and chose what to take off my plate. The first item cut was remote design work. This wasn't easy as I thoroughly enjoyed working with many wonderful people, and it meant walking away from projects I had discussed working on in the future with these clients. People were very disappointed and I felt bad. (You know who you are, thanks for still being my friends!!) It is still hard to say no to inquires, but it gets easier when I remind myself that if I accept this work I won't have time to go swimming with the kids or go out to dinner with my husband.
(Master Bedroom Retreat~A Full Service Design Project)
2) Goodbye to "partial" design work
I have also begun to have the opportunity to write for venues beyond this blog. This has been work that I have completely enjoyed, but as a result there has had to be more use of the word no. I again looked at how time was being spent and decided to no longer take on some types of local design work. Often I have accepted jobs which address only some of the issues in a space, such a paint, lighting, furniture layout, etc., but not the whole design of the space. I fully understand most people have a budget and would rather not pay me to oversee a project from start to finish. But I have finally concluded that when a client hires me to work on parts of a room, without the opportunity to address the entire space, the end result can be disappointing. When I am not involved throughout the entire process I can't ensure the final result. I now take on only full service design projects...which means I have a lot fewer clients these days. Which leads me to:
3) You can have it all, but not all at the same time
I know these decisions will have an affect on my career (and the bottom line), but Isabella and Max will not be young children for much longer, and there will soon be time for taking on more design work if that is what I decide to do. I truly believe in life you can have all you hope for with hard work and perseverance...but rarely all at the same time.
4) Coffee & Early Mornings (Print by MadeByGirl)
So, how do I fit the rest of it into a day? The key is the hour I wake up. It's hard but simple. I awake to brewing coffee at 5 o'clock. Yes, in the morning. Ugly, I know, but it works for me. These quiet early hours are the time I get nearly all my writing done.
5) Summer vs. Winter Schedules
My work life is clearly divided between summer and winter months. With school aged children I can get a lot of work done during the hours the kids are at school. In the summer months it is more challenging and I do scale back on work to make more time during the week to just hang out with them. Our summers find Isabella and Max up much later into the night, but then they sleep much later into the morning. As a result, waking up at five typically gives me three hours of uninterrupted work before the kids wake up and the chaos begins! It is amazing how much can get done in these hours. Winter is different, waking at five gives me about an hour to write and read blogs before they wake up. Then the "breakfast, dressing, lunch box, do you have your homework" routine begins to get them out the door to the bus stop on time. But afterwards I have over seven hours before picking them up, and that is a huge block of time to get a lot of work done!
6) Working From Home & Multi-Tasking
The beauty of working from home is that I lose no time commuting to and from work and I can easily throw in a load of laundry as I walk out to the garage to get a can of paint. Multi-tasking is my best friend. Multi-tasking is also my savior in the summer, as is organization. With a little planning, it takes nearly no time out of my day with the kids to stop by the paint store after picking up books at the library across the street. Home Depot sits on the way to grandma and grandpa's and again, it doesn't take a lot of time to stop in and pick up all the supplies needed for any projects that week. Same goes for all the other local resources used, I just plan a stop along the way to other activities.
And as for time to work on projects, in the summer it is definitely challenging! I take advantage of any time the kids are at camps, playing at friend's homes, at the grandparents or time when my husband has father/kid time!
And of course, nothing would really get done if I didn't have the support and encouragement of my family and particularly my husband. He is my biggest fan and supporter, and truly does value that I have the opportunity to do work that I absolutely love. In fact, look at what he surprised me with yesterday morning as my blog approached having 1000 followers...thanks!
I hope this has answered many of your questions! And if any of the work I do tempts you to be intimidated or discouraged, please remember I was probably working on it at five in the morning...