Developing My Optimized Work Style For Maximum Productivity In Minimum Time
Working at home with a new baby is definitely a contradiction. While it seems like I have all day to get things done, it's actually turning out that I really have to optimize my time and be more efficient than ever.
I'll be honest. I heard babies sleep a lot, so I thought I was going to have a ton of time to get work done while the baby is sleeping. What I didn't realize is that while the baby sleeps, there's still a ton of stuff around the house that needs to be done.
And surprisingly, even though we have two parents at home right now, it's still very busy. Lately it's been better now that he's almost 2 months old, but wow, it was a whirlwind for a while.
Revelation. Being A Stay At Home Dad Means I'll Need To Opimize My Time
The plan with my wife is that she'll go back to work in May, and I'll be a stay at home dad. This is a very unique and cool situation to be in. I'll get to watch my son grow up. My wife will be bringing in extra income AND get to keep her career. We'll save money on child care.
All the meanwhile I'll still be running my online business.
However, I'm going to need to seriously optimize my work day. It's clear to me now that I'm not going to get a lot done during the day. Maybe a little bit, but not a lot. That will get better as he grows up, but once we start having more kids, there's a real possiblitiy that my schedule will get even crazier.
I'm just beginning this journey of having a family, so a lot is still unknown to me.
The good news is that my business is super flexible. I can work any time of day, for any amount of time, and make changes based on my own decisions and goals.
My Style (So Far). Early Morning Batch Work
Working in "batches" is a great strategy for getting stuff done. Worth a try if you haven't used it yet. The premise is simple - do a bunch of work in the same style/category all at once, then schedule it out.
Using batch-style work, I was able to record 24 videos last week. This week, I've edited all 24 of those videos, and will schedule them out today. That's 3 months of YouTube content for the Monday/Tuesday videos (4 videos per month for 3 months = 12 videos per playlist).
By batching I was also able to get some original written content scheduled out until the end of April at this point. I basically knocked out 2-4 blog posts in a day for a couple days then scheduled them for the month.
Every work style is different. I like to hyper focus on one thing and do deep work. It enhances my obsessive nature, and helps me work against my tendency to get distracted during transitions. It's very hard for me to do one thing, then another, without a 30-minute break in between.
Switching gears is hard for me. I'm more of a drag race kind of guy versus a Le Mans style multitasker.
For example, I tried the Pomodoro Technique, and it failed after less than a day. Resetting every hour meant I spent a lot of time cleaning the house instead of getting work done.
I recommend taking some time to figure out what your work style is. What time of day are you most productive? When do you get your best ideas or feel most inspired?
Take notice of when you get big chunks of work done and you feel proud, and take notes of the circumstances. Play to your strengths. Work within your own parameters to set yourself up for success. This is your business, so you get to choose how the hell you want to get the work done.
I'm still figuring out the perfect schedule for me. So far, here's what I've got:
I'm most productive from about 7AM to 11:30AM, Monday-Thursday. I like working in batches, then scheduling. I do poorly with transitions, and logging onto social media is a death sentence for productivity, even if the intent is to publish content for the business.
I'm still optimizing, but getting better.
When my wife goes back to work, the plan is to get stuff done from 4AM to 7AM, then maybe do a full day on Saturday when she's home to take care of the baby. We'll see though. I've been erroneously optimisitice about schedules in the recent past.
Can You Run A Successful Blog With Just 20 Hours A Week?
Absolutely. 20 hours a week is plenty of time to run a six figure website. There are lots of variables in there, so it's not like doing that is easy, but it's possible.
I think the biggest challenge for me will be accepting less-than-parabolic growth.
For so many years my mindset has been "work at much as possible and make as much money as possible". I'm not sure if that is a good mindset to have with a new family. I may have to chill out for a bit and accept that with only 20 hours a week I won't be able to experience 1000% growth all the time.
After all, we all got into this business to imrpove our quality of life, not necessarily to stack dollar bills under the mattress, right?