Finding Balance with Rachel Heckman

A couple of months ago, 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, and 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.

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

My name is Rachel Heckmann and I am the creator and owner of Rachel Allene Photography + Lettering. I am a calligrapher and photographer specializing in handmade prints and product photography for creative women in order to encourage, empower, and cultivate confidence and truth, all for the glorification of God. I love creating inspiring quotes to remind women of their strength and beauty. Confidence is so key in helping women walk into their purpose, and daily, visual reminders of these truths are so helpful! I also loving working with other creative women for product photography, so I can showcase their unique skills and help promote their work. I started my business as a leap of faith, and it has been such an incredible (and often challenging) experience and lesson in trusting God and learning about my skills, purpose, strengths, and weaknesses.

What are your main daily responsibilities?

My daily responsibilities range from running the administrative side of my business, creating prints, fulfilling orders, managing my social media, editing photos, keeping up with my emails, to staying on top of the laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, going to Target (this can happen daily), and house chores.

What time does your typical day start?

I typically wake up between 5:30am and 6:00am.

Take us through your typical day.

I wake up, and first thing, I get outdoors and get moving. My workouts are a mix of running, Pilates, and walking. Starting my day in my running shoes is a necessity. Without it, I just don’t feel right. It helps set my mindset in a good place and wake up. I then shower, make the bed, clean up the house, make breakfast, and do my quiet time. After that I will tackle my emails, spend time on Instagram commenting on photos and responding to comments on my posts. I then take time to plan out the rest of my day. I list out everything that NEEDS to get accomplished, any errands, appointments or meetings, and finish it out with other to-do’s that aren’t mandatory, but still need to be accomplished at some point soon. Depending on my mood, I will begin with either the creating side of my business and work on custom calligraphy orders, or start with photo editing and other computer work (blogging, Pinterest, work on my online shop, etc.). I usually break for lunch around 12:30 and take time to give my mind a rest. I either go outside, do some leisure reading, or set up a phone date with a friend. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon working on whatever I didn’t do in the morning.

My husband gets home from work around 5pm, so I do my best to be done with all work by then. I have a high value on living intentionally and keeping work during “work hours” and keep boundaries around my time with my husband. I must say, not every day goes as planned. Sometimes I have random errands I run in the afternoon. Or my sister has an last minute need for a babysitter and I go watch my niece for an hour. I also make time to have coffee with friends, go on walks with my mom and sisters, and get a pedicure (duh). What I love most about being an entrepreneur is that I have complete control over my flexible schedule! However, because of that freedom, I often feel guilt for taking time off and allowing myself to be flexible. Does anyone else struggle with this entrepreneur guilt? It’s a balancing act! And I am still learning every day.

What do you wish you had more time for?

I wish I had more time to travel. I love, love, love, getting out of town for weekend getaways with my husband! But after a summer of attending NINE weddings, my husband doesn’t have much vacation time saved up, and we are often left feeling drained at the end of the week. And I will always be someone who wishes she had more time for friends and family. I love to be with others, and I can often feel lonely and isolated during the long work days of being an entrepreneur.

What is one thing you always make time for?

I always make time for my husband, exercise, and sleep! My friends often joke about my strict bed time, but I’m not sure it’s really a joke! Sleep is so important for me to be productive and happy!

How do you manage your schedule?

I approach my schedule with a mindset of flexibility. I learned pretty quickly, that sticking to a strict schedule wasn’t the best fit for me. I like to take each day at a time and tackle the items that I feel motivated to do. Let me say, however, that this doesn’t always work. I often have to do work that I don’t always feel motivated to do. I manage those days with lots of self-talk, rewards for completing certain tasks, and a really good playlist. The reason I plan my schedule day-by-day, is because that is how my mind works. I like flexibility and freedom to choose my tasks. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me! I am also a big proponent of grace. I give myself grace to move slower on days when I feel drained. And when I am feeling energized, I maximize that time and get as much accomplished as possible.

How do you find the balance between work and home?

That’s a tough one. I believe I am still on the journey of finding this balance, but giving myself grace is something I keep coming back to. Recently, I have been living by the rule of #lesshustlemoregrace. I see so many people hustling and bustling, and I don’t want that. I did that for my whole life! And I got burnt out. So, I am learning to give myself grace. Grace to start work later so I can get the laundry folded, or the dishwasher emptied, or one more Target run. At the same time, sometimes I give myself grace to get take out instead of making dinner because I am exhausted after a long week of working. In addition, I have a pretty strict rule of no working on the weekends. This doesn’t always happen, but I do my best. That way, the weekends are used for rest, getting caught up on errands, meal planning for the week, spending time with my husband, chores, and food prep. I leave the weekend feeling ready to tackle the work week, instead of feeling depleted and work-fatigued. It’s a win-win in my book!

What brings you joy in your day to day life?

Honestly, I find so much joy in the fact that I am able to do what I LOVE as a career. It’s pretty incredible! In addition, I love hearing how the prints I create resonate with others and encourage them. And lastly, my husband. He is such an incredible support for me and always comes home from work excited to hear about my day. He rejoices in my exciting announcements, and empathizes when I have a rough day. I am blessed and thankful to have such an incredible support from him AND my family! I couldn’t do this without them.

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

It’s less about being busy, and more about being productive. Embrace each day with a deep breath, peace, and grace for yourself. And pray, pray, pray! I have learned that I have to pray a lot. I guess that’s more than one thing! Oops!

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

Find the best way to approach your schedule that works for you! Some people thrive on a extremely structured schedule with pre-planned tasks for each day of the week. Some people need more flexibility. Or maybe you need a balance of the two! Whatever it is, find what makes you thrive and stick to it! Don’t compare your schedule to others, because you have a unique way of being productive. Find it, and be proud of it. And give yourself grace!


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If you are interested in contributing to this series, or know of someone you would like to see featured, send me an email at rachel@intentionally-designed.com and let me know!