Finding Balance with Kathryn Duckett

When I wrote a post about how I schedule my work week and how I get it all done as a stay at home mom of a toddler and business owner of a growing, thriving business, the response was overwhelming. I quickly realized how many of you needed guidance for creating your own schedule and finding balance between work and life. I realized that we all want a glimpse of how others are making it work so we can better structure our own lives. 

Because of this, I was inspired to start this series featuring other busy women and business owners sharing how they manage their schedules and work towards work/life balance. My hope in everything I do is that we can make our lives less busy and more intentional so that we find more room for joy. I hope that this series will inspire you in your own life and help you find just the right combination of work and play so you can make it happen too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business or work.

I’m a brand designer and strategist for creative professionals. We have a little team here at Crème Brands — it’s mostly just my assistant Rebecca and I, though we sometimes do bring on specialists to our projects when needed. I love playing with great typefaces and creating timeless logos, but what I’m really passionate about is helping artists grow confident and heartfelt businesses that are profitable and purposeful. I’ve been delighted to work with clients of all sizes in my career as a graphic designer — from award-winning wedding vendors to New York Times bestselling authors. With that, I’ve designed dozens of book covers, publications, and branding systems, including Cottage Hill Magazine. I live in Louisville, Kentucky with my husband Thomas where we are renovating our first home & dreaming of working together full time someday. I love to bake cookies & listen to people’s stories, so if you came to my house I’d probably make you chocolate chip (the kind with the crispy edges and gooey center!) and ask you all about your life.

Take us through your typical day and your main daily responsibilities.

I’m definitely a right-brained gal, so I don’t stick to a set order of doing things each day. (Though I am so jealous of people that are good at routines. I swear my husband puts his deodorant on in a certain order each morning!) Lately I’ve been getting up, making a cup of coffee,reading the news, and prepping food for the day (doing Whole30 right now!). Sometimes I’ll listen to the audio Bible app on my phone while I shower and get ready for the day too. Then, some days I work from home and sit at my kitchen table to catch up on emails and admin work, or I head to my little studio I rent at Forage shop in Louisville. There, I dive into any video calls I have for the day (coaching or sales calls), planning projects, and sketching or designing for clients. Rebecca works from NYC where she just moved (lucky girl!), so we use Basecamp to chat back and forth on client proofs or internal projects.

What do you wish you had more time for?

I’d definitely love to spend more time with my family members, who live in Wisconsin! I’d also love to be able to spend more time with my in-laws in Oklahoma. We’re 7-12 hours from both sets, and there’s just nothing like face-to-face time with people.

What is one thing you always make time for?

Sleep & rest. My parents really modeled this for me growing up, showing me the value of being unhurried and having margin. It’s something that I hope will be the environment in our home too.

How do you manage your schedule?

Sales — I manage our booking by taking a max of three full branding clients a quarter. This makes my booking process simpler for everyone, and it gives me a clear sales goal each year.
Clients — I manage our project schedules once they sign our contract with Dubsado. Then, they get a list from me of all of their homework and an overview of our project in a pretty PDF so they know what to expect.
Day-to-Day — What’s worked well is Calendly for appointments, which automatically schedules them on my Google Calendar. Since Rebecca and I use Basecamp to collaborate as a team, we use the calendar on there for anything we’re doing internally.

How do you find the balance between work and home?

Having a studio space to “go to work” has helped a lot. I’ve found that since I’ve had that, the times I do work from home are much more enjoyable and focused. I also love to read & bake, and that’s helped me with balance a lot, too. When I was first starting my business, my poor husband and friends were probably sick of hearing about it. It’s important to have hobbies (even if they seem unimpressive!) and not just live and breathe your business! I’ve found that helps me stay grounded (and it helps me recharge too!).

Tell us one thing that you have learned about managing a busy life.

Be careful with what you say yes to. “Yes” is an expensive word. “Yes” can also be a wonderful, worthwhile investment, but you have to be careful you don’t overdraft on time.

What is one piece of advice you would give readers about managing their own schedule?

Don’t feel guilty if your time management looks different from someone else's. There’s so much freedom in how you can spend your 24 hours. It’s going to look different for different personality types, different seasons, and different families. Managing time is not a one-size-fits-all thing. It doesn’t mean we all need to be early risers, or we all need to be list-makers. It just means you do the things that matter with the time you have, and that’s something I think we’ll all be working on for the rest of our lives.


Follow along with Kathryn