While I’ve been balancing school and a side hustle turned business for years, and then learned how to juggle motherhood and entrepreneurship, I’ve never actually worked a true 9-5 until a few weeks ago when I started my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. And between my new job, Cohort Sistas, my blogging business, and making our new house a home, a sis is EXHAUSTED!! 🥱
I’ve had to dial content creation a bit back down to the cadence of a side hustle instead of the full-time energy I was giving it for the past two years, especially since Cohort Sistas is quickly growing and also requires a lot of time investment. Although I am yet to fully figure things out, I am actively taking these four steps to ensure that I’m able to work effectively at not only my day job but also at my two businesses as well.
I just counted and I literally have 38 things on my to-do list right now. Obviously, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so I not only write down what I need to do for each area of my life — Notre Dame, Safe Journey Media, Cohort Sistas, and Personal — but I also try to write tasks within each category in order of importance. Then I make a to-do list for the week as well as a to-do list for the day, evaluating which things need to get done urgently. Everything is important, but everything is not urgent, and when you’re balancing multiple work or passions, it’s critical that you know the difference.
P.S. My favorite planner which helps keep me organized beyond my running to-do list in the Apple Notes app is the Productivity Planner which incorporates the pomodoro method of working but I’m open to new planner suggestions!
I am not a superhero, so I cannot do everything alone. So I delegate and outsource things that I do not have to or want to do. Now that I’m working full time and need to be available to my students and colleagues, I no longer have time to respond to all DMs and comments. I used to be able to keep up with comments myself and DMs, and was really proud of the fact that I was able to be so engaged with my audience, but with scale it became increasingly difficult. So I have a social media manager on my team who handles community engagement. If you think you’ve been chatting with me on DM, you probably haven’t lol!
At home, I outsource cleaning and lawn care, because the two hours a week I’d spend mowing the lawn or sweeping the floors can be better spent tackling something on my to-do list. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Don’t kill yourself trying to handle everything by yourself. Hire a professional to assist with the tasks you do not have time for, or ones that you’re not good at.
Since I barely have any time to focus on everything I’m doing, I use different tools to keep all things that I am handling separate and well organized. Since I work collaboratively with people to keep my blog business and non-profit organization running, I’ve invested in tools such as Asana, which is a project and task management tool that is great for working collaboratively (though I also use it for things that are just for me, like keeping track of my academic writing goals!). Instead of spending my day going through emails from my team, we use Asana to complete assigned tasks, ask questions, and communicate about what we are working on.
Other tools I use to stay organized personally and professionally include:
- Google Drive: cloud storage for documents; I also use Google Slides for lectures since it’s easy to work on from anywhere
- DropBox: More storage but this time for anything that I also need synced to my computers, like photos
- LastPass: password management tool where my team can securely access passwords for all social media pages
- Mint: see all finances at a glance
- Quickbooks: Tax & accounting overview
- Hootsuite: social media management
This right here is it!! Time blocking is a time management and planning strategy where you can schedule out every part of your day and week. Most people only add deadlines or meetings to their calendar — with time blocking, you add in specific times you’ll be working on certain tasks to your calendar, breaking your workday or week into smaller time slots. I like to have a general time block that breaks my different types of work up throughout the week — for example, I teach on Monday and Wednesday afternoons so on my calendar 12-3pm on Mondays and Wednesdays is blocked out for teaching prep. Fridays are creation days, so my morning is blocked out for writing & YouTubing while my afternoons are for recording the Cohort Sistas Podcast.
You can be as granular as you want with time blocking — put in your lunch breaks, scheduled phone calls with your friends and family, or time you want to spend working on your side hustle on your calendar. This is also helpful for understanding just how much time you devote to your work — you’d be surprised, you probably spend more time working than you realize!
Even with all these things in place, I cannot stress enough how HARD it is to balance all the things I have going on (I’m writing this while uploading footage for my editor while also video chatting with my boys lol). But I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love the life I’ve created and all the ways in which I get to use my gifts to impact others.