A Day in the Life: How to Balance Work, Parenthood and Marriage While Traveling

June 21, 2017

Zack and I have received a lot of questions about exactly how we’re finding the balance with work, parenthood and our marriage while traveling. I’d be lying if I said our current schedule is what we imagined before we started our travels. We definitely had a different idea of what our days would look like before we left NYC, but I think the way they’ve taken shape has been even better.

When you work for yourself it can be tricky to establish boundaries around your work flow. It’s easy to always be “on” and I admit that’s something I’ve struggled with since we left the states. Up until last week I was spending far too much time wrapped up on social media, checking emails and doing a lot of other “busy work”. Essentially, I wasn’t making the most of my time and was struggling to find time to take care of myself and felt slightly overwhelmed.

I ended up writing out a schedule so that I can keep things as efficient as possible while still allowing myself plenty of hands on time with Owen and quality time with Zack. I realize this is kind of dorky to share, but since you guys asked I figured I would put it out there!

My Work Day Schedule

This is my typical work day provided Owen actually naps, we don’t have visitors or anything else unexpected doesn’t come up. If motherhood has taught me one thing it’s that usually as soon as I write something like this out, things will always change and you’ll have to readjust. This schedule is a good one for me to aim for, but not to hold myself to every single day because life will certainly happen.

How I Start My Days

The days that don’t start with a screen are always ten times better than the ones that do so making time to read, meditate and exercise is really important. Having Zack at home with us is essential in making this happen – it was never part of my routine before hand. We make sure to give each other a little time for ourselves each morning before getting started for the day.

Limiting Busy Work

Taking e-mail and social account checks down to 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night is a huge change for me. I honestly don’t know how much time I was spending plugged into apps and messages, but lets just say it was much more than an hour a day. By making this one small change and sticking to it I have freed up so much time to do actual work I enjoy and has made my free time that much more precious and personal.

Uninterrupted Time with Owen

Zack’s work flow has been much heavier than mine since we started traveling. He wrote this incredible article and it’s really helped to bring on so much new business for him so he’s been ultra busy. That being said, after we’re both ready for the day Zack will typically dive into work and Owen and I are on our own for a bit. We will either read and play with toys at the Airbnb, head to the park or run errands. It’s honestly a lot like NYC in that way. Around noon or so Zack will typically take a break and we will all make or grab lunch and spend time together before Owen goes down for a nap.

Utilizing Nap Time with Rotating Tasks

Nap time is my first real, uninterrupted time to work is after. It’s important that I make the most of this time since it’s likely just somewhere between an hour or two. I broke up some rotating tasks to help keep myself organized – invoicing, analytics, out reach and research for new business and press. I take on one of these each day during nap time and make sure to get social posts set in Planoly as well. If I have content ready I can get ahead on this which makes my life so much easier and makes days that aren’t quite as smooth less stressful.

Family Time

Once Owen is up Zack and I both put our computers down and usually leave our Airbnb. We’ll explore a new neighborhood, walk around ours, pick up groceries for dinner or check out a new restaurant. This is also when we will take any photos for Household – we’ve really been trying to take advantage of that magic hour businesses, it’s the best!

Bed Time

Once dinner is finished and we’re home we’ll run through Owen’s bed time routine – Zack and I take turns on this depending on workflow. From start to finish this usually takes us an hour, and from there is where my real work time starts.

This is usually when I write pieces like this, edit photos and clock more than half of my working hours.

Finding Time of Our Marriage

Since we’re traveling to places where we don’t have family and friends this means no sitters or date nights out and we really have to work hard to make time for each other.

There are a handful of nights where Zack and I make the decision not to open our computers at all, unless it’s to watch something together on Netflix. On the weekends that means grabbing a beer when Owen is napping in his stroller and just chatting, or taking long walks with Owen where we can really talk and connect. Like most things finding this time is a work in progress and we’re doing what we can every day. It’s so helpful to have the family time that we do and we definitely count that as time together.

No Screens Before Bed

I’ve been guilty of this for so long and I can tell you the night I switched things up, left my phone to charge in the kitchen and picked up a book and read for a half hour before bed I felt anxiety begin to subside, and I slept way better than usual.

What systems have you implemented to make working from home with your kiddos possible?

Leave a Comment

  • This was so good to read, thanks for writing up a post! I’m nowhere near as good as you and am finding I’ve reached the point where I can’t just solely focus on work / social all the time. I feel like I need to schedule dedicated hours and I definitely like your idea of only two x half hour on social and apps as well as half hour of no screens before bedtime. I need to try this out!

    • Awh, thanks so much for reading Sina! I’m so glad it could help. I’ve found it’s so hard when you’re trying to do everything all day. It’s far easier for me when I can section it off and fully commit myself to either work, myself or the family. And the 30 minute thing has been a game changer! It’s crazy how much time we think we need to put into one task or another. Being super intentional has helped me so much. 🙂

  • This was a great read! It’s interesting to see what a freelancers day to day looks like. You and Zack are both great writers, and I applaud you for traveling around the world with a toddler – I’m sure it is no easy feat! Although you have your husband and son by your side, do you ever get homesick? When do you plan to return, if it at all, to the States? Would you come back to NYC or land some place else? I love following your journey!

    • Thanks so much Suzie! We are actually returning to NYC in September for a couple weeks, then heading to Phoenix (where all of our family is) for the remainder of the year/Owen’s birthday/holidays. We have a couple domestic trips planned, but we thought it would be nice to rest our heads with family for a couple months before we head out again. If we’re home sick for anything it’s people. It’s been surprisingly easy to give up our “home” and belongings. We’ve found it’s each other that bring the truest sense of home. 🙂

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