I’ve been a fan of Emily Ley for years now. When I discovered her products I HAD to have them and then when I discovered her blog and the message she was sharing, I was hooked. I’m so inspired by her creativity, passion and heart for her family. She found a way to have it all (a creative business, an amazing community, a family who feels completely loved) and do it well. A few years later Emily took a chance on me and I joined the EL team! I’ve seen first hand how she puts these tips into action. Her strategies are both practical and simple. I hope you find them as useful as I do!
**Photos by Captured in His Image Photography
Being productive when you’re a busy mama of three who works from home can be tricky. When I started this brand, my goal was to be able to create a job that allowed me to provide an income for my family and offered a flexible schedule. I had no idea our company would grow into what it is today. I also had no idea that I would have three children in five years. The Lord has blessed this little family of ours in more ways than I can count and even though its really, really hard to manage everything some days, it’s totally worth it once everyone is asleep and I’m able to reflect back on the day. Whoever said, “The days are long and the years are short” clearly knew what they were talking about. Because I only work three days a week and my kids are itty bitty, I’m constantly prioritizing – constantly choosing what matters most.
I hold a few truths very close to my heart: The craziness we are experiencing right now (with a rapidly growing company, infant twins and a preschooler) is a season. A beautiful, precious, exhausting season. I have to give myself grace to not be perfect at ALL the things right now. Multi-tasking is a lie. You’re never actually multi-tasking, rather constantly shifting your focus from one thing to the next, sometimes super fast. Therefore, attempting to multi-task is a bad idea.
If I will regret not choosing it when I’m 80, I choose it now. When I sat down to create this unique schedule, I first listed out my non-negotiables (these may change as my kiddos get older, but for now, they work):
As much as possible, I want to always be the one who takes Brady to school and picks him up. Those conversations in the car are precious and those moments at the door are so special.The creative side of my job is difficult to switch on and off. When I’m designing or working on something creative, I have to be 100% there. Finding an incredible nanny to help us do life and building an incredible team to manage our brand was essential.
When kiddos need me, work waits. No questions asked. The same stands for our team. Family first. Always. Once I put those truths into place, I was able to see the values my heart found most important.
These are my five best tips for making what matters happen in your own life:
1. Choose what matters. Decide your non-negotiables and stick to them. Sometimes its hard to always drop-off and pick-up Brady (especially when I get early meeting requests), but every time I choose that time with Brady, I add a little drop into his memory bucket. Money can’t buy that kind of treasure. When you determine your “what matters most” and “it” needs you (children, husband, family), be there. And be there 100%. That means drop the phone, turn off the computer, shut down the email. The world can wait.
2. Build an incredible village, because it truly takes a village to do business and family. My family lives eight hours away. I miss them everyday but I’m so grateful to have an incredible support system of friends who are family and a team of women who inspire me daily to be my absolute best. No one does “it” by themselves. Behind every woman / wife / mama is a village of people who love and support her. I’m teary even writing this because God has built up this circle of people around our family that enrich our lives in every way. Build your village. Love on them and allow others to love on your family.
3. Single-task instead of multi-task. When I’m working, I’m 100% working. And when I’m with my littles, I’m 100% mama. It’s really easier said than done, as you can imagine, but I remind myself of this truth every time I pick up my phone to answer an email during my days with my littles. Sure, it has to happen from time to time, but I try and separate the two as much as possible. And the same is true on the flip side, I purchased a pair of really nice wireless headphones a few weeks ago, so that I could focus 100% on work when I’m working. I’m often distracted by the sweet baby sounds (or mad baby sounds! ;)) that come from the other room, so with my headphones on and 100% trust and faith in our amazing nanny, I get to work and focus on the job at hand.
4. Systems, systems, systems. Routines, traditions and systems are KEY to making things happen for me. I implement them in my home, my job and with my family. For instance: I end my day with my inbox at 0. Every. Single. Day. I flag any email that needs attention later and delete them from my inbox. I delete the junk and start the next day fresh. When I have time, I go back to my flagged list. I do a small load of laundry Every. Single. Day. (Because… three kids… seriously…) I pick up my kitchen and living room every night before bed. That way I start the next day with a clean slate, stocked diapers and no dirty dishes in the sink. Do I mess this up all the time? Absolutely. But just trying to do these things keeps me on track.
5. This is probably the most important truth: grace not perfection. For many years I held myself to a standard of perfection, chasing the elusive idea that I could do it all (with six inch heels, perfect hair and made-from-scratch dinner on the table at six every night). I laugh typing this now. Sometimes delivery pizza on the floor is just as good as a homemade dinner on the table. It’s okay that the laundry isn’t finished. It’s okay that the mail is stacked up and the living room needs to be picked up. Constantly prioritize and know that you don’t have to do it all. On that same note, take care of yourself. Sleep, nutrition and fresh air are necessities so that you can be your best inbox-emptier, baby-snuggler and pizza-orderer. 😉
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