Now that my purposefully-slow summer has come to an end, I’m back in the thick of running and growing JL&Co, redesigning my website and teaching an undergraduate PR writing course at Temple University.
Life is a little busy right now! (I’m also trying to stay sane while working on all of the above, but that’s a different story.)
Since I’m juggling many different responsibilities and roles — CEO, professor and blogger — I thought it might be beneficial to break down exactly what a day in my life looks like at this moment in time.
It’s been a LONG time since I shared a day in the life post. In fact, when I last wrote about a typical day in my world in 2015, I was still a side-hustling solopreneur with a 9-5.
It’s probably not surprising to hear that my days now look wildly different now than they did back then. (Uh, a 4:45 a.m. alarm?! I haven’t seen one of those in years.)
A typical day in the life of a business owner
Curious about what it takes to run a business? Here’s what a day in the life of a business owner looks like.
7 a.m. My alarm rings, but I hit snooze, and more realistically roll out of bed at 7:30 a.m. Some days, I spend this half hour scrolling through Instagram or browsing Reddit, but I’m working hard to change this habit. Starting my day by looking at my phone is really not productive. One thing I never do though that I’m very proud of? Check my email. I don’t even open my inbox until I sit down at my desk a half hour or so later. No need to start my day with other people’s priorities, am I right?
7:30-8 a.m. First things first, I make my bed! This is a habit I’ve only started in the last year or so, but the popular advice is spot-on: When I make my bed first thing, I really do feel like I’ve already accomplished something small for the day, and it motivates me to keep going. I turn on a podcast (here are some of my favorites!) while I spend the next half hour “getting ready.” Getting ready is in quotation marks since because I work from home, I don’t have all that much getting ready to do. Most days, I head to the gym in the late morning, so I put on my workout clothes, dry shampoo my hair, throw it in a pony and call it a day. I head into the kitchen to make coffee (AKA fire up the Keurig) and breakfast (typically a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread with jelly). I bring my breakfast into my office and power up my MacBook.
8-9:30 a.m. It’s work time. On Sunday evenings, I make my weekly to-do list, along with my “Do One Thing” outline for the week, so each morning, I always have an idea of what my main priority for the day should be. On this particular morning, I start the day by grading a few remaining homework assignments for my PR class. Then, I jump on a 30-minute case study call for my client Muck Rack. I’m in charge of Muck Rack’s case study initiative from interviewing customers to writing and designing the completed case study — it’s so fun to chat with PR pros all over the world who use Muck Rack. With my remaining 30 minutes before I need to leave for the gym, I jump into my inbox for the first time today. I respond to a prospective new client inquiry, send a few media follow-ups for an event I’m promoting for my client Pennsbury Manor and coordinate an interview time for an article I’m writing for Cancer Fighters Thrive.
10-11 a.m. Time for Bootcamp! Last year, I made a huge commitment to myself when it comes to my health and fitness, and I’m proud that I’ve kept up with it. I work out every single week day, not only because I want to get in better shape, but also because it keeps me sane, AND gets me out of the apartment. Without the gym, I could quite literally never leave my apartment during the work week. So, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, I head to Bootcamp, a small group training program at my gym. It kicks my butt every single time, and I leave sweaty, happy and ready to tackle the rest of the day. On my other gym days, I rotate between cardio, yoga, other strength classes and barre.
11:30-12:30 p.m. I try to eat lunch fairly soon after getting done my workout (gotta get that protein in right away), so when I get home, I pop a pre-prepped meal into the microwave or get busy cooking something for lunch. The beauty of working from home is having the flexibility to grocery shop or cook in the middle of the day! Right now I’m loving stir-frys for lunch — I’m always mixing it up with chicken, chicken sausage or ground turkey with lots of peppers and onions. Sometimes I throw in a sweet potato or broccoli. I started meeting with a nutritionist (Give her a follow for some serious food and workout inspiration!) a few months back, and she’s really helped me hone in on some healthier lunch and snack options.
12:30-2 p.m. Even though the course I teach at Temple is a night class, you’d be surprised at how much time I spend during the work week getting ready to teach. I spend this hour and a half reading the next chapter I’m teaching, preparing a PowerPoint lesson (I always try to incorporate real-life examples from my client work, so I’m often toggling back and forth between email accounts to grab those screenshots) and developing the homework assignment for this week’s class. Once I’m done, I upload everything to Canvas (similar to Blackboard, which is what we used when I was in college) for the students to see.
2-2:30 p.m. Every other week, I Skype with my business bestie Crystal Richard. Crystal is a fellow business owner, blogger and shop owner out of Canada. We chat twice a month to celebrate our successes, vent about our business issues, share advice and hold each other accountable for our goals. Since I work alone, I so look forward to these calls with Crystal — we’re in the same boat, so it’s nice to talk to someone who can relate. She’s such a positive force, and I always leave our calls inspired and ready to take action.
2:30-6 p.m. I spend the rest of the afternoon with my head down, buried in work. Here’s a sampling of what I did on this particular day:
- Laid out posts for the week on the Muck Rack blog. (We publish 3-4 times a week, and I try to stay a few weeks ahead with our content calendar).
- Edited a post my team member Rachel drafted for the Muck Rack blog. Sent it to the team via Slack for approval.
- Completed the monthly report for client The Write Life.
- Finalized a proposal for a potential new client — sent it off via email. Fingers crossed it pans out!
- I review and approve the strategy document/wireframe my amazing website designer Michaela sent my way.
6-7 p.m. I typically end my work day around 6 p.m. Tim getting home from work often reminds me that it’s time to power down the laptop, and transition into a more restful evening. Making dinner is often my favorite part of the day — I find cooking so relaxing, so I spend this hour getting dinner ready (Tonight’s menu? Pork chops, asparagus and a potato/onion medley). Plus, it’s Tim’s birthday, so I made cupcakes.
7-10 p.m. We eat dinner together while watching Jeopardy (I swear we’re not an old married couple yet!) and then spend time after dinner catching up on our days. Once we’re all caught up, we snuggle up on the couch to relax with whatever show we’re watching at the moment. Right now, we’re all about Big Brother, but it’s almost over, so we need to find a new show to watch next. On occasion, we’ll go out on a weeknight for dinner or trivia, but more often than not, we save our social plans for the weekends.
Between 10 and 11 p.m. Time for bed! Most days, we’re in bed by 10:30 p.m. I fully admit, this is the time of day I spend the most time on my phone. After saying goodnight, I typically use this time to scroll through Instagram and catch up on reality TV gossip on Reddit. Once I put the phone down, I’m completely conked out within seconds for a sweet night of sleep, ready to do it all again!
4 ways my schedule has changed since I started JL&Co
Re-reading my day in the life post from 2015 reminded me of just how different my days are now than they were then. While I loved the hustle and bustle of my old life, I can’t lie: My new schedule is much more my style.
Here are a few ways my schedule has changed since I quit my day job and started my own business.
1. I no longer wake up before the crack of dawn. I used to pride myself on being a morning person. My most popular post on this blog to this day is one about why I wake up at 5 a.m. Spoiler: I don’t wake up then anymore. I did for many years, but realized it wasn’t out of the desire to be awake then — it was a necessity. In order to run a blog and a side hustle, along with a full-time job, I had to wake up then to get it all done. Yes, I grew to appreciate that time, and how much I could accomplish then, as soon as it became an option to not wake up at 5, I grabbed that opportunity.
2. My days are 1,000 times more peaceful and in my control. It has taken me awhile to settle into a routine (and my routine does tend to shift with seasons and responsibilities) but one thing that’s for sure is that my days are 1,000 times more peaceful than before. I start my day when I want to. I respond to emails when I want to. I go to the gym when I want to. Of course, I prioritize my work and my clients, but I do it on my time and my schedule. It’s very freeing.
3. I have support. Back when I side hustled, I was the only one doing the work. Since starting JL&Co, I’ve brought on my team member Rachel to share the workload. While my to-do list each week may look daunting, I can rest a bit easier knowing that Rachel is tackling half the list. I also know that I can lean on her for advice and encouragement when I need it. Having this support is so crucial since being a solo business owner tends to get a little lonely.
4. I prioritize my health and wellbeing. Thinking back a few years ago, I’d do my best to squeeze in workouts throughout the week, but often times client work and blog to-dos would take precedent. Instead of prepping healthy meals for work, I’d run out during my lunch break grabbing a sandwich from Subway or a quick meal from Chick Fil A (insanely delicious, so not healthy to eat on a regular basis). Now, working from home and making my own schedule, I can truly prioritize my wellbeing. I schedule my gym sessions into my calendar and treat them like a client meeting. I meal plan on Sunday evenings and prep my food for the week. Doing this gives me one less thing to think about during the work week, allowing me to focus on my business while still taking care of myself.
It won’t always be like this, but I’m embracing it for now
I’m sure a year from now I may look back at this post and laugh wondering how my daily routine managed to change so drastically again.
For now though, this schedule works for me. Yes, there are weeks where I have in-person client meetings or major deadlines to meet and have to shift things around, but for the most part, this is truly what a day in the typical life of running JL&Co looks like.
It feels good to know that this schedule is one of my choosing — a schedule I’ve designed to allow me to practice energy management and do my very best work for my clients, my students and my blog community.
Do you have any questions about how I manage my day or a typical day in the life of a business owner? I’d be happy to answer them in the comments below!
Photo via Pexels
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