Finding balance with Jillian Dolberry

Last year, 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.

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

I own a little online gift shop called Hazel Berry Design Co. where I sell inspired gifts for women that harvest a faithful life through grace, kindness, truth and prayer. I also head up marketing and design for a family business. They are a good balance to each other and I enjoy the differences between the two.

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

On the days I work (Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays) I wake up around 6:30 and get my son up and ready for the day. Most days he goes to Daycare with my husband (Tuesdays he goes to a family members house) and they head out the door around 7:00 ish. Once they are gone and coffee is poured, I get to work. My daily responsibilities are always changing so I try to stay flexible in in my schedule in what I do when. Some of those responsibilities include: sending/replying to emails, shipping orders, brainstorming new projects/collaborations, working on designs for new products, updating accounting, and somewhere in there I take a shower (don't judge). I also try to fit in a grocery run on Mondays so that I can go alone and not feel hurried to get home (its the little things!).

What do you wish you had more time for?

Creating for fun! I remember the times of just being able to run off to Hobby Lobby, grab a canvas and a few paints and just make a massive mess. I am a horrible painter, but it was so much fun!

What is one thing you always make time for?

My family. I hear people say how they have a hard time saying 'no' to work in order to spend time with their family. For me it's been the opposite. I will gladly give up a few hours of my dream job to get a few more moments of my family all sitting on the floor rolling a ball around. Those little giggles are worth the work piling up. And before my son was around, just being able to connect with my husband at the end of the day was all I needed to pull my eyes away from the screen. Although I sound firm in that decision, it doesn't keep the doubt of "should I being doing more to grow my business?" out of my head. But when truth makes it's way back into my heart, I rest in knowing that God will make my business what he wants it to be regardless of my efforts. So I need to be sure to glorify him through my actions and decisions. Spending more time with my family, than brainstorming my next big venture, is that for me.

How do you manage your schedule?

My schedule comes together with a little help from Trello, iCal and my Kindness Calendar. Trello helps me keep all of my projects, ideas, and to do's all in one place. I have tried paper planners (and have a slight addiction to them) but nothing really transformed my productivity like Trello. It's just simple. It's less clutter on my desk and if I am out and remember something that I need to do, I can access it anywhere and add it to my list. iCal holds personal and professional appointments with an alarm so I don't forget about Dr. appointments or meetings. And my Kindness Calendar (I have one on my fridge and one in my office) is an "in my face" reminder of my husbands schedule, date nights, dinner with friends, and weekend plans. I like keeping our social dates on the KC because it reminds me to be mindful of how I can show kindness at these events and the people I encounter. For example, in June I am hosting my sisters baby shower and June's focus is 'Being Thoughtful'. I am reminded to not just pull things together out of convenience, but to give the gift of thoughtfulness and making it a day to remember and honor my future nephew!

How do you find the balance between work and home?

I try to focus less on balance and more on obedience. I don't think there is a formula that works every time and for everyone, or a schedule that keeps it all in place. I just try to follow what God puts on my heart. Sometimes that is spending the day with my family when the to-do list is piling up, and sometimes it's working a late night when everyone goes to bed just to get caught up.

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

God is the ultimate organizer. No planner or calendar can keep up with his plan for your life. Sometimes it's overwhelming, but one world God keeps slipping in my heart at the end of every exhausting day is "beautiful". Our busy life is beautiful, and it won't last forever. So I am trying to feel really grateful for the crazy right now, and at the end of each day soaking up God's grace for all of the weakness I physically and emotionally feel.

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

Don't forget that busy is not a burden if it's to grow the kingdom of God. And on the other side, stay in tune with that God is trying to tell you about your next steps. Maybe it's saying no to the busy life and yes to the rest your been hoping for more of! Either way, Grace carries you through each season. Don't push it away.

Follow along with Jillian

If you are interested in contributing to this series, or know of someone you would like to see featured, send me an email at and let me know!