Finding Balance with Kelsey Baldwin
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.
I believe that balance does exist and is actually necessary for our sanity and well being. Even though I hear often that balance doesn't exist, I feel that we each have our own version of balance and that we can find it in our lives. It's a process that we're all constantly living in and adjusting to in different seasons.
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. This series features talented and encouraging women like you and a look into what balance looks like for them. The idea is to share a real-life version of balance and how we each have our own variation of it depending on our life and season.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business or work.
I'm Kelsey, and I'm an author, designer, and entrepreneur. For the last several years, I've run Paper + Oats, an online blog and resource for creative entrepreneurs looking to do business on their own terms. I love helping fellow creatives organize, design, and market their digital products, so they can share what they know, and look good doing it. As a single mother, I'm also an advocate for women learning to sustain themselves and gain independence through online business. My first book – Strong Girl, Brave Girl – chronicles my journey through divorce and single motherhood and is now available on Amazon. I live in Missouri with my daughter and my dog, forever in search of our next ice cream cone.
Take us through your typical day and your main daily responsibilities.
As a single mother, every day looks a little different. My planner-obsessed self has learned to go with the flow a little more! On the days my daughter goes to pre-school, I have about 5 hours to focus on work, and that's when the bulk of my work during the week is done. After I pick her up, or on the days that she's not in school, we run errands, do housework, and try to squeeze in some fun outings like a movie, the park, or a trip to a "treasure store" (flea market). On the weekends, she's usually with her dad, so I'm able to catch up on work, and have some re-charge time before I get her back for the next week!
How do you manage your schedule?
I live and die by Asana! This little app houses literally my entire life – every work task, plus things like taking my dog for a walk, appointments, and occasionally even "take a shower." I joke that Asana is my boss, and I just do whatever she tells me to do. Anytime a task or appointment pops up, I immediately put it in Asana so it won't slip through the cracks. I also use a printed planner to organize my upcoming week in more detail – I use the Golden Coil planner, and I love it!
What is one thing you always make time for?
My daughter and I read books every single night before bed. Even if it's way past her bedtime, we'll squeeze one in. I've also been making seasonal bucket lists with her, and it's helped to hold me accountable to getting out of the house and doing fun things with her. We're both home bodies, so it's easy for us to stay in for too long.
How do you find rest?
After her bedtime, I usually work a little more into the night (night owl!), and if my body tells me I need it, I'll take the night off and catch up on shows or read a book instead. And when she's with her dad on the weekends, that's when I get my real rest in! I try to get to yoga on those weekends, make dates with friends, and schedule in some introvert time to re-charge.
How do you find the balance between work and home?
I'm a workaholic, so having a child really forced me to balance my work life and home life more. She forces me to step away from my computer (thank goodness!), and it helps me to be even more focused on what I need to get done during my dedicated work time.
Tell us one thing that you have learned about finding balance in your life.
It's not the end of the world to have seasons of intense work schedules, where maybe it doesn't feel very balanced. I've learned not to feel guilty about those seasons, but know that they're not sustainable. Eventually something has to give, and I have to slow down. Managing work guilt and mom guilt is tricky, but knowing that every season will look different helps me manage my expectations for myself.
What is one piece of advice you would give readers about finding their own balance?
Give yourself grace. Sometimes you'll work too much, and your family will wonder where you are. And other times you'll be so connected to your family, that your laptop will wonder where you are. If you're unhappy with the balance in your current season, make plans now (as in, write it down!) to change that in the next season.
Follow along with Kelsey
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