Business + Motherhood: Let's Make a List

For the past several weeks I’ve introduced y’all to some fellow business mamas, and now I thought we’d dive a little deeper into the topic of business and motherhood.

What I’ve gathered from these ladies and most other business women I know is that we do not do it all.  One of the biggest struggles we face is balancing time. I know for me, I constantly feel I do not have enough time to accomplish everything. Rather than become overwhelmed with what I need to get done, I’m finding daily, weekly, monthly, and long term checklists work best for me.

So let’s get started on making lists. If you are signed up for the Pen & Paint newsletter you’ll even receive a free printable checklist to download at the end of this week!

Let’s talk about the big projects: the things that are nagging you daily, distracting you from what you need to accomplish right now. My first suggestion is to do a total brain dump. Take a stack of notecards, and write down all those things you want to see happen in your business: short or long term goals, ideas, and dreams. Find a good spot in your office, studio, or workspace and tape them up. I chose the door to my studio so I see them every day before work. Some of the notecards are now checked off as completed, others may never get crossed off. What’s great about this system is I don’t get consumed with those unfinished items because I know they are a “someday” task rather than a “right now” project. This list will evolve over time, and it can be a great reminder of your accomplishments as well as your business's potential. I adapted this from a wonderful idea Monica of Smart Creative Women mentioned on a podcast. (You can add “subscribe to her podcast” as one of your “right now” projects.)

Next up is the monthly project list. For this I use a calendar. I’m not a nice planner/day-book kind of girl. I want to be, but at the end of the day I just need a simple calendar where I can write out all the things I need to get done this month. I keep deadlines for design submissions, shipping dates for sponsored events, sale dates, and applicable social media stuff written there. Having written calendar helps me see things at a glance, and keeps me from getting distracted by email if I have it on my desktop. Everyone is different though, so it’s all about what works best for you.

Lastly for my weekly and daily checklist I use a notebook. Every Sunday night I compile a list of that week’s projects, and every night I sit down and go over the things I need to accomplish the following day. Before starting my day I go over my list. I write down encouraging quotes or thoughts that help me focus and stay positive. It's a mix between a journal and a to-do list. There is rarely a day where I mark everything off my list, but instead of letting that discourage me, I just move it to the next day.

Even though I’ve been running (more like chaotically juggling) my own business for more than three years I’m constantly learning as I go.  I just started reading this book. I’m enjoying a refresher course in building my business as well as finding areas I need to improve.  My weekly goal of reading a few sections of Building a Business is easy to do. One of the things I REALLY lack in is emails. It’s so hard to give emails/messages the attention I want to. That’s definitely an area I’ll be adding to the printable checklist; I need a daily reminder to set aside time for that task. What are some of the tasks you enjoy every day? What are the ones you struggle with? Any suggestions for the checklist that would help you?