A Day In The Entrepreneurial Mom Life

Since leaving academia nearly 12 years ago I have gotten my hands into a lot of projects, many of which are still pumping. Every day I need to touch Women Online (as creative director), Boston Mamas (as founder/editor), Edit Your Life (as co-host), Brave New World Designs (as designer/co-owner) + Christine Koh LLC (as principal...this includes various freelance projects, including one major managing editor contract) so efficiency and focus really are key, given that I need to cycle through projects during the day and also given that Laurel and Violet are not in after school programs (Jon and I really 50/50 it in terms of covering the after school window...I am so grateful for this)!

So when Workbar at Staples invited me to work for a day at one of their locations (Brighton, Danvers, and Norwood) I was like, “OK, this will be fun! Bring on the productivity!” I have shared before about the brilliance of Workbar at Staples so definitely read that recap! Meanwhile, today I thought it would be fun to give you a window into a day in the entrepreneurial mom life. Here’s what went down yesterday:

6:15am: Wake up. Make coffee. Do a quick scan of the day’s to-do list via my Todoist app. (There are 61 to-do’s....this is pretty typical given that every project I work on has so many moving pieces and I break out everything in the app so I don’t forget anything.) Chat with Laurel as she gets ready for her day. Give Violet morning cuddles when she comes downstairs.

7:00am: See Laurel out the door to school (OMG these kids have to be out so early!). Tag team with Jon, who gets Violet ready for the day so I can tackle some work before taking Violet to school.

7:05am: Shower and get dressed. Pack up Brave New World Designs orders for shipping and respond to customer inquiries. Finish editorial project for a client and punt to the project typesetter. Eat breakfast.

8:15am: Pack up to work at Workbar at Staples for the day. Check to make sure Violet’s backpack is loaded. Head out to drop Violet off at school. Catch up on the morning headlines during the commute via WBUR.

9:10am: Arrive at Staples. High five myself for remembering to bring stack of toner cartridges to recycle in-store. Groan when I realize that I failed to bring a UPS package that I could have also dropped in-store! Briefly ogle office supplies (especially the aisle with the Ban.do, Martha Stewart, Cynthia Rowley, Dwell, and Erin Condren products).

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9:20am: Check in at Workbar with Community Manager Pooja (whose style I love, btw). Sign up for a phone booth slot for a conference call later in the morning. Get settled in to work.

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9:30am: Start drafting this post. Observe the super professional yet friendly atmosphere at Workbar (many people clearly know and like each other!). Check out the upcoming events, which include things like special snacks, coaching, get-togethers for new members, and lady lunches. Triage email. Respond to Edit Your Life listeners on Facebook. Respond to Edit Your Life emails. Tackle to-do’s for my current Women Online clients AMAZE.org, Circle Round, and Heifer International. Check in and engage on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for Boston Mamas and Brave New World Designs.

11:00am: One-on-one business consult #1! When I was setting up this day at Workbar at Staples, I asked Staples, “Hey, what do you think about sponsoring a couple of professional consultations?” and they said yes, which was so awesome (I ran a giveaway for two consultation slots)! My first consult was with a lovely woman named Erin, and we talked about the challenges of work re-entry (she has a toddler and a preschooler), how to start a blog, and how to intersect with social media in ways that feel comfortable to her (as someone who is not an oversharer) while meeting her goals.

11:30am: Hop over to my reserved phone room for team call with my Women Online colleagues.

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12:00pm: Eat lunch in the Workbar cafe while I catch up on news headlines. Pop out to Staples to buy office supplies. Because of course.

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12:30pm: Time to give Boston Mamas some love: Review editorial calendar, prep editorial, map out next e-mail blast, communicate about to-do’s with my assistants, respond to advertising queries. Sign up for another phone booth slot so I can do a few video Instagram stories from Workbar at Staples.

1:00pm: Record and share Instagram stories. Grab a latte at the Workbar cafe area because OMG YOU GUYS THERE IS A LATTE ROBOT. Triage e-mail before my next meeting.

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1:30pm: One-on-one business consult #2! So here’s the crazy thing; it turns out my second consult winner and I share a couple of places of employment and a good friend. The world is so small! Leanne and I discussed how to move from the idea phase (she has a lot of business ideas!) to implementation. To the surprise of no one, I love advising on how to start businesses and slay to-do lists!

2:00pm: To-do list check in -- 43 tasks down, 18 to go. Map out a plan for the remaining hour and a half I’m on site at Workbar at Staples. Respond to clients. Respond to Boston Mamas Summer Camp Guide queries. Continue writing this post. Peg a dozen or so tasks to tomorrow’s to-do list as I work through my emails. Check in and engage on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

3:30pm: Depart Workbar at Staples. By the time of departure I’ve finished 57 of the 61 to-do’s for the day. I’ll tackle the last 4 things from a parking lot. #entrepreneurmomlife

3:50pm: Quick check in with Jon, Laurel, and Violet at home. Big hugs for Violet (who I know I don't get a ton of time with on Mondays) with a promise for some special time later in the evening. Toss paper mail in my tote and take Laurel to her art class.

4:30pm: Time for parking lot “office hours” while Laurel is in her art class. Sound check the next Edit Your Life episode and write show notes. Call to reschedule the dentist appointment I missed when I was down with the plague. Research flight options for Mom 2.0 Summit. Draft interview questions for Edit Your Life interview with Isabel Kallman of Feed Our Democracy. I have officially completed my 61 to-do’s for the day and now I can take care of a few extra things! Check in on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook; respond to followers and comment on posts. Triage emails. Jot down a few ideas for the new business proposal I need to draft tomorrow. Do a quick calendar + to-do list review for the next day so I’m oriented for what’s on deck.

5:50pm: In my remaining minutes before Laurel emerges from her art class, go through my paper mail and flip through Harper’s Bazaar

6:00pm: The work day is officially over for me! A few years ago I made the explicit decision to structure my days and workflow so I didn’t need to work in the evenings because to the surprise of no one, working every night was seriously detrimental to my marriage! Head home with Laurel. Enjoy a delicious dinner made by Jon and Violet (Mondays have been so awesome because our routine is that I take Laurel to art class and Jon is on point for dinner and as much as I love cooking and baking I love when other people make me food!) Learn how to play Dragonwood (Violet received this game for her birthday and is OBSESSED and has been begging for me to learn it and play it with her) by watching Laurel and Violet play an open hand. Play a round of Dragonwood with Violet (who completely crushes me).

8:00pm: Start the bedtime routine with the girls and get them settled for the night. Do my dental and skin care routine, which I do while the kids are brushing their teeth because otherwise, I can get lazy about things like flossing and washing my face properly later in the evening when I'm sleepy. Also, this routine helps me avoid late night snacking. Catch up on the day with Jon while cleaning up the kitchen and making school lunches. Hang time with Jon for the remainder of the evening.

10:00pm: In bed with a book. Reading before bed is my favorite. It relaxes me completely! I am exclusively reading novels by women of color and recently finished Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere and am currently reading Ayobami Adebayo's Stay With Me.

10:30pm: Lights out. I love sleeping and try to get at least 8 hours a night (9 is my happy ideal!).

So, a full yet happy day! It was really fun to diary a day in the entrepreneurial mom life! I hope you are inspired to get a ton of stuff down at Workbar at Staples. It's such a cool space and being able to tackle errands at Staples too, is so fantastic. Pop in to tour the Brighton, Danvers, or Norwood locations; membership pricing starts at $99/month.

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Workbar at Staples. The mapping of the day and my thoughts on my experiences at Workbar at Staples are, of course, my own. All images by Christine Koh.