The Not-So-Flattering Truth About How I Get It All Done

by Amy on April 16, 2014

work pants
(These are my work pants.)

Amy, “How do you get it ALL done??”

I get that question a lot.

I work a little over 20 hours a week. I take 2 months off a year. I have 3 small kids. THREE. There are also chickens and cats… And a husband 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ve mastered “work life balance” … because is anything ever really in balance?

But family is important to me. And having a business is important to me. So I figured out a way to make things work.

It’s not always pretty and it’s probably not what you think. But it’ll hopefully give you some perspective.

Here are my “secrets” to getting it all done.

1) I Have NO Social Life

I don’t know any of the hip restaurants here in Portland because I hardly go out. The last time I met some ladies for drinks, I abruptly got up and excused myself at 9 so I could get home and go to bed. Sleep is more important to me than chit-chat.

2) I Wake Up at 5 am

So I can work on my big projects in peace and quiet and squeeze two more hours out of my work day. And even though my office is in the basement and my kids sleep on the second floor, they manage to creep down to find me on occasion. When they do I usually let them watch Ninja Turtles. My husband hates this.

3) I Don’t Do Laundry

Hardly ever. That’s because I have someone who comes every Monday to clean the house and then my nanny does it the rest of the week. And if I still need help, my assistant will do it when she comes on Thursday. The point? I hire A LOT of help so I can spend quality time with FAMILY. This does not include doing their laundry. [tweet that!]

4) I Delegate EVERYTHING

I think you get the idea… I don’t subscribe to the “save money by doing it yourself’ philosophy. The truth is I can do a lot of things. But time is way more valuable to me than any money I could save. When I delegate stuff that doesn’t interest me or isn’t a priority, it frees me up to do what I love — play with my kids, coach, write or teach. This is why I shamelessly outsource everything.

5) I Don’t Always Shower

My office is in my house. Clients rarely see me. I do everything virtually. So why shower? I’ve been known to skip the shower and save time (while maximizing comfort) by wearing my beloved Mickey Mouse PJ’s all day.

6) I Workout for Minutes (Sometimes 7)

Working out for an hour puts me into a vegetative state for the rest of the day. So I save time and my energy by working out consistently for minutes a day. It’s usually a 15 minute yoga class from Yoga Studio or The 7 Minute Workout on my iPhone.

7) I Fight Shiny Object Syndrome by Setting Goals

I have ADHD. I’m a scanner. On top of this, I’m a quick start. AND I’m a mom. If I don’t know what I want then I could spend days, months or years on projects, tasks, or errands that suck the life out of me. I’d likely say yes to every inquiry I get to meet for coffee. I’d offer to organize the summer block party. I’d bake cupcakes from scratch instead of from the box… No way! I’m obsessively selective with my time because I have my entire year planned out in alignment with my goals. Yep if it’s in alignment with my goals, I do it. If it’s not, I don’t.

8) I Follow the Money

I love money. My relationship with it is a priority. And frankly I don’t have a business if I don’t make it. So I prioritize my time by spending it on stuff that generates money. It might mean that my inbox is not zero or my desktop is not clutter free… So be it. And I know it’s not sexy but I budget too ( using a tool called YNAB). Knowing where the money goes, when and why is how I work smarter not harder.

9) I Ask Weird Questions

A long time ago I learned that the kind of questions I ask myself make all the difference in terms of what is possible in my life. So I ask myself questions like, “How can I be a great mom and a rock star entrepreneur?” Or “How can I work as little as possible AND make a lot of money in my own unique way?” Or “how can I take my kids to the dentist and still have a fun time?” It’s never an either or proposition — knowing this is completely liberating.

10) I Have Very Little Mommy Guilt

Sure it yields its head every once in awhile, but I buy into very little mom guilt. I have a nanny and my 3 year old sometimes calls her mom. It doesn’t bother me. Other moms bake cupcakes from scratch but I figure the Toll House Confetti Cupcakes taste better anyway. I put the kids to bed early so I can sneak in an episode of The Good Wife. Hey this mom needs to vegetate.

11) I Don’t Apologize

The truth is I’m kind of a hermit. I LIKE to go to bed at nine. I LIKE to stay in my Mickey Mouse PJ’s for as long as possible. I’m just not the wild and crazy party girl I used to pretend to be so people would think I’m interesting. Sure that girl’s interesting to some people. But she’s not interesting to me. [tweet that!]  This saves me buckets of time I would have otherwise spent trying to be this person so I can get other people to think she’s interesting.

Here’s What I Do Do…

I cook dinner for my family. I volunteer at my kids’ school (I’m the garden rep). I get out in my own garden and dig and plant when the sun is out. I get massages (I have a membership). I maintain a full coaching practice. I hang out with friends who tolerate my tendency to leave abruptly and with little notice. I go on a date or two with my husband. I floss my teeth. I read a few books. And I watch my TV show.

I know what my priorities are. And I know what my priorities ARE NOT. And that’s how I get it all done.

Got any of your own time management tricks up your sleeve? We’d love to know! Share ‘em in the comments section below!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy Harvey April 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

I’m not there yet, but DAMN baby, this is what I’m after : “time is way more valuable to me than any money I could save. When I delegate stuff that doesn’t interest me or isn’t a priority, it frees me up to do what I love — play with my kids, coach, write or teach. This is why I shamelessly outsource everything.”

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Amy April 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Mine are French Bulldogs instead of Mickey Mouse. And they are fucking comfortable. Love this article. Love you. My assistant is coming over in 20 minutes to hang the photos on my wall and clean up after my dog. It’s a steal at $10/hr. xo!

Reply

rebecca@altaredspaces April 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

“I think you get the idea… I don’t subscribe to the “save money by doing it yourself’ philosophy. The truth is I can do a lot of things. But time is way more valuable to me than any money I could save. When I delegate stuff that doesn’t interest me or isn’t a priority, it frees me up to do what I love — play with my kids, coach, write or teach. This is why I shamelessly outsource everything.”

Hooray for you!!! Thank you for setting this model for so many moms. I’m so weary of moms who do things because “that’s what is frugal.” I think kids in the future will see that parents save their TIME to spend on their kids. Spend that money on anything that will get you the life you love so you are happy when you arrive face to face with those kids and clients. You couldn’t do anything better to offer the world a happiness ladder. Wahoo!! Lucky confetti-cupcake eating kids of yours.

Reply

Joe Ella June 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Love, Love, Love This!! This post has liberated my soul deep in my bones!! I love the weird questions…both/and not either/or!

Yes!!! “I’m just not the wild and crazy party girl I used to pretend to be so people would think I’m interesting. Sure that girl’s interesting to some people. But she’s not interesting to me.” Yes again!!!

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Sharon "Smokey"Gray June 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm

You make me laugh deep and that is so valuable. And I love those jam bottoms…I have on a granny gown and a comfy sweatshirt and no shoes. I basically just do what I want, when I want…because for me…I trust myself to boogie when I actually want to. If I want to…then, I know it is right for me.
As I have gotten older, I understand what I need…to respect myself…I know when I’m sluffing (is that a word?) Tee hee LV smokeyg

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