It’s one thing to run a business when it’s just you or you and a partner.
But add a family into the mix and roll on the chaos!
I have had many people ask me over the last few years….’Pip, how do you do it? What does your routine look like? How do you stay so organised?’ Especially now that Lucy is at school. All of a sudden, working hours have dropped by 4 hours each day which comes to a whopping 20 hours each week – that’s half of most people’s working weeks!
Now I love routine, but I also love spontaneity so it has taken us six months to figure out something that satisfies both, allows us to spend the time that we need as a family together, and also allows me to continue to grow ProjectBox.
So for all the working families, here is a completely honest, no holds barred, shame-free insight into how this systems lover does it.
Give or take a few minutes, this is our morning routine every Monday to Friday.
5:30 to 6am – Lucy wakes up at some point, wakes me up (who needs an alarm right!) and climbs into bed with me.
6am to 7am – We spend an hour in bed, talking, laughing, snoozing, and watching cartoons while she demolishes an Up and Go from the bedside table drawer (yep, we have a drawer full of up and go’s) as a pre-breakfast filler.
7am – Up to the lounge where Lucy will play with her toys and watch Alviin and The Chipmunks (for about the fifth time through the series by the way) while I head to shower, dress, and do hair and makeup ready for the day.
7:25am – Second breakfast is served.
7:30am – School prep – lunches are made (no, I don’t do this the day before although I do have snack containers in the pantry ready to grab from. Sandwiches and fresh fruit are done from scratch), and school bag is loaded up with drink bottle and lunch box. A quick check of the calendar (we have a separate one on the wall to manage school days and weekend events) to make sure we don’t need library books, special clothes, etc.
7:45am – Things are packed for the day for ProjectBox.
7:55am – Homework is done. For Lucy, the morning before school works best for her. She’s alert, full of energy, tummy full, and focused.
8:10am – School uniform on, hair done (to Lucy exact specifications for that particular day haha!), teeth brushed.
8:25am – One final cuddle together before we leave for the day.
8:30am – Leave for school. Several times we have gotten to school (or daycare when she was going there) with no schoolbag, no shoes on etc. So we stuck a blackboard to the door between the garage and the house, with our final checklist. Schoolbag, shoes, homework, library bag, water, and lunch.
8:45am – School starts and we go our separate ways
9am to 2:30pm – This is all ProjectBox so will vary between a day out and about with clients, networking meetings, supplier meetings etc and also office days (I try to have one full office day a fortnight) which is used to catch up, complete any outstanding work, strategy and work on the bigger picture. Each day I know exactly where I need to be, when, and what needs to be done thanks to the planning from the night before.
2:30/2:45pm – Leave for school pick up.
3pm – Return home.
3:15pm – Make afternoon tea.
3:30pm – This one varies a little between playing together, trying to squeeze in some exercise (this is a fresh addition) and working on ProjectBox activities. If Lucy is interested, she gets involved with ProjectBox activities (she’s a great envelope licker!), if not, she will sit close by playing and demanding my attention until I give in and play (haha)! One day a week we have a local babysitter come who plays with her for a few hours so that I can keep up with ProjectBox. This is also Lucy time for completing her chores – we have a system set up for her to earn pocket money. Does it always work? No, but it holds her accountable and is teaching her to value money.
4:30pm – Dinner preparation starts.
5pm – We eat. For me, something that I have premade the weekend before. For Lucy, pretty much the same thing every night as that is how she rolls. A mix of meat, frozen peas, veges and rice or pasta. LOVE MY AIRFRYER for quick, easy meals during the week.
6pm – Yup it takes Lucy AN HOUR to eat her food. As soon as she is finished, it’s shower time. While she showers, I clean up from dinner (if not done while she is eating) and fold and put away washing (it’s a LONG shower!).
6:30pm – Bedtime preparation – PJ\’s, hot chocolate, cuddle on the couch watching two episodes of her current favourite cartoon.
7pm – Bed routine. We lie and cuddle, talk about and reflect on our day, and Lucy falls asleep.
7:30/8pm – At least two out of five nights a week I currently work from around 8pm to 10:30pm. This is ProjectBox strategy time and planning time. It is during this time that I will decide on my action list for the next day, look for anything that might throw us out in the morning (such as special days at school), and write content. The other two nights are my time for Netflix binging!
9:30pm – Bed routine for me followed by reading an ebook.
10/11pm – Lights out.
This weekly routine is not negotiable except for the ProjectBox time during the day. There are some nights where I am in bed by 8:30pm, or some weeks where I’ll work every night to get ready to launch a big project. I never go to bed after 11pm during the week as I know that to function at my best, I need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Friday night is Fun Friday. We celebrate feed yourself Friday, fat Friday and movie night. This means that Lucy makes her own dinner (within reason), we bring up the mattress (sometimes we will even make a fort!) watch a movie and eat popcorn and lollies. Both of us look forward to this night and it has become quite a special part of our routine.
The rest of the weekend is TOTALLY ADHOC. Yes we still follow a similar routine in the morning, but there are no time restrictions (unless we have organised to see friends). Sometimes we laze around in bed for hours. Others we are up at 6am and going to the beach or to the markets. I still have an action list of things that need to be done but these are household related such as lawns, washing, cleaning, shopping and are squeezed in around what we feel like doing and sometimes, it’s more important that we hang out instead of focusing on all the chores that need to be done.
I also use the weekend to batch cook meals for me for during the week. I absolutely love cooking, but cooking at night during the week just doesn’t work for us.
These are my top tips for making the most out of each day
- Prepare the night before – know where you need to be, when, and action tasks need to be done (read the difference about actions vs to dos).
- Willpower – there is a lot of willpower to focus only on what needs to be done that day. There are a lot of distractions that happen throughout the day so being able to bring yourself back to what needs to be done is really important.
- Templates – writing the same email or document more than once? Template it.
- Checklists – if it’s something you have to think about, checklist it (such as my blackboard to the garage!).
- Use a project management tool. This is my NUMBER ONE LIFESAVER. It tells me what needs to be done each day, keeps me accountable, manages client projects, plans out my socials, houses my to do lists, helps me breakdown my own projects and goals (both in person and in business), and keeps communication about everything in the one place.
- Know what works for you – your own biorhythms of when you work best, when your kids work best, your time schedules etc.
So there you have it. Our own personal system!! The benefits with this are exactly the same as systems for business.
I know exactly every day what we need to be doing and when which sounds insane but is incredibly helpful. There is never the rush in the morning of not knowing what is going on or running late, everything is consistent which means that we don’t waste a lot of energy trying to work out what is going on, and we get to spend time together. There is no decision fatigue. Efficiency is at a peak.
And also just like business, this will keep changing as we both change, grow and evolve and the environment around us does the same.
What does your personal system look like? Is it working for you? If not, what can you do to change it?