I was listening to a Lively Show podcast on the Jess Lively website the other day. She was interviewing one of my favorite bloggers, and fellow Hoosier, Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind, Design For Minikind and Clementine Daily. The podcast was about an hour and I listened to it with one earbud in while my daughter was watching a Tinkerbell movie.
Erin and her husband are both self-employed and are raising a toddler. She talked about how she was naturally a morning person and that her husband was a night owl. Originally, they thought it would make sense for Erin to care for their daughter in the morning and her husband would watch her in the evenings. Then, Erin would work in the evenings and her husband would work in the morning. They noticed that the arrangement was not working well and Erin was just not happy.
So she and her husband switched their schedules. Erin identified that the hours between 5 am to around 1 pm were her "golden hours." The hours that she was most productive during the day. Now she works in the morning and her husband works in the evening. She is happier getting a full day in by lunch and she is spending quality time with her daughter. She and her husband respected their natural rhythms and their household is back on track.
I recently completed an exercise that identified my golden hours and it was life changing. You can read more about that here.
Identify Your Golden Hours
Watch how your body naturally responds throughout the day. Do you wake up early or do you like to sleep in? Do you hit a mental wall at 3 in the afternoon? Do you love to work into the wee hours of the morning? Do you like to have a couple of minutes to yourself in the morning before the kids wake up? Journal or take notes about your natural rhythms throughout your day.
Once you have identified your most productive block of time, commit to one small action step to make it possible to work during those hours. That could be getting up earlier to answer a few emails or write a blog post. Finding a babysitter for your child while you work during the day. Having dinner as a family and then letting your spouse handle the nighttime routine with the kids while you start your work day. This may take some trial and error to figure out what is right for you and your family.
Once I identified my golden hours, I noticed that my productivity increased exponentially. I was mentally sharper during those hours. I recognized that I had a limited amount of time to work, so I was less inclined to go spinning off down the internet. In fact, I do not do any online research during those hours. I work on Vale Design branding, logo and business name brainstorming work only. Sketching, ideating, etc.
My Current Golden Hours Schedule
5:30 - wake up
5:30 - 7:30 - blog work / answer emails
7:30 - 9:30 - Daughter wakes up. Breakfast with family and morning routines.
9:30 - 2:30 - GOLDEN HOURS - Vale Design creative work only (Kiddo at babysitter's 2 days a week)
2:30 - 3:00 - Pick up my daughter. Play and read books
3:00 - 5:30 - Daughter's naptime. Answer emails / Pinterest research
5:30 - 8:30 - Dinner with family and nighttime routines
8:30 - 9:00 - Last minute Vale Design work if any
9:00 - 10:30 - Wind down for the day and go to bed
Now start your journal and locate your precious golden hours!
You can find other FREELANCE 101 right here.