Entreprenewlyweds’ Diary – A Month in the Life (Go Behind the Scenes)
Have you ever wanted to sneak a peek at someone’s diary? Or maybe you have sneaked a peek at someone’s diary in the past. Why did you do it? You were probably curious about what was going on in their life, or maybe how they felt about things.
One of the most common questions that we get from people after they learn about our multiple business is… “How the heck do you manage it all?” In this post, we are going to invite you guys into our diary. Instead of “a day in the life”, we are going to share “a month in the life”. That’s right, we are going to show you what each day and week looks like for us, including any time spent working on business activities, family activities and everything in between, along with how we felt each day as a result. The time period that we are using is February, 2015. Now, we are not sure how this worked out so perfectly, but February has 28 days (4 weeks exactly) and it starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.
Please be warned, this post is very long (over 10,000 words). After we go through each day of the month, we will analyze and provide some insight at the end of this post.
Introducing… A Month in the Life
Sunday, February 1st:
Sundays are my packing and preparing day. Since my day job requires travel on Monday – Thursday during the week, I make sure my bags are packed and any final things I need to take care of in New York are covered.
Ariana, myself and Elena are all either sick or recovering from being sick. I am feeling better, so I am playing with Elena so that Ariana can rest. We play with Play-Doh, watch “Casper’s Scare School” on Netflix and play with her animals on our bed.
While Elena is playing, I am also trying to continue work on a product we are launching for Entreprenewlyweds, which is a collection of forms and processes that we use in our real estate business (Sylvester Enterprises) for screening and signing leases with new tenants. Around mid-day I get notification that my flight for the following Monday morning has been cancelled due to weather. I speak to Ariana and end up booking a flight out for tonight, meaning I will have one less night with Ariana and Elena. It also means that I will miss most of the SuperBowl as my flight is right in the middle of the game. I call a taxi to drop me off at the airport, fly to Newark, pick up my rental car, get to the hotel and go to bed.
Sundays are usually a mix of things for me. I try to get things done around the house, giving Tom some time to himself with Elena. Sometimes I keep her occupied so he can pack if he hasn’t already. Mostly, we like to keep our Sundays to ourselves, and get in family time before Tom has to go back to work.
This Sunday is not a typical Sunday. I thought I was recovering, but unfortunately am still very sick. Tom pretty much has Elena the whole day, giving me time for a nap and to just rest. When Tom finds out his flight is cancelled and he has to fly out later that evening, he immediately has to pack and prepare to leave. Since I am sick, he calls a cab to pick him up. Elena and I finish out the evening with snuggles and cartoons on the couch.
Monday, February 2nd:
I usually do an hour on the elliptical at the hotel in the morning before work, but I am tired from the travel the night before and decide to sleep in the extra hour. Before heading off to work, I realize that I have been working in New Jersey for several months and haven’t connected with anyone locally regarding real estate. I jump onto BiggerPockets.com and put a post out to see if any local real estate investors want to meet up and discuss real estate investing.
I work all day and make it back to my hotel around 7:30. This is my home away from home.
Upon checking BiggerPockets, I found out that there is a Real Estate Investors meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night at a nearby hotel. I jump on Google Hangouts and do a video call with Elena and Ariana for about 15 minutes. After the call, I catch up on some daily reading and some e-mail and head to bed.
I did not sleep well the night before, and am still miserable this morning. It is the morning of a big snowstorm (hence Tom’s flight changes), and of course we happen to be out of milk. Elena insists that she wants milk, so I get us ready to go out mid-morning after the snow dies down. Off we go down the road to Wegmans (thankfully it is close!) all bundled up and with 4-wheel drive on. We quickly get milk and a couple other essentials and head home.
Usually my Mondays are a little more productive, but since I was still feeling lousy we had a nice easy day. I helped Elena play with playdough, and we watched a movie or two. And as I do every Monday, I had to get the order list ready for WWS. This is a tough task every week, and especially so when I am under the weather. I got as much as I could done, and saved the rest for Tuesday. Had yet another cup of tea and went to bed early.
Tuesday, February 3rd:
On Tuesday I get back on to my routine and hit the elliptical for an hour in the morning before work. I double check the address for the real estate meeting, answer a few emails and head off to work. After work, I head to the hotel and attend the Real Estate Investors meeting. I meet a few of the people from BiggerPockets, as well as a bunch of other local investors. We exchange stories and I collect ~20 different business cards. During the meeting, I receive an email from one of our commercial tenants (Sylvester Enterprises, our real estate investing business). Business for this tenant has not been going well and he was forced to close his business that day after being open for 8 years. This tenant had been in business when we purchased the building and had been a tenant for several years, so it was tough to hear about the business closing. Luckily we were monitoring some indicators and thought that it might happen sooner than later. So I responded back to him that we would connect and figure out how to close out the lease. Additionally, I texted Ariana and my father to both let them know.
After the meeting when I got back to the hotel I called Ariana and we discussed the impacts and a few potential options. One of the options was to try and lease the property out. The second was to open a new business in this space. Another one was to expand our wine and liquor store into the second commercial space. We had started planning for this in the past, so we decided we would do a deeper level of planning over the weekend when I got home and make a decision on direction.
Tuesdays always start out the same: Elena goes to Doodlebugs, a childcare/preschool program in our area. This was one of our best choices as parents so far. I get 2 days a week to myself to do work, run errands and have some “me” time, and Elena gets to have fun new experiences, learn some necessary childhood skills, and play with kids her own age in a safe and educational environment. She even has tae-kwon-do lessons there!
Since I know I have almost a whole day to myself, I always plan to get the most done on Tuesdays & Thursdays. This day was no different. My first stop was to the doctor’s office, and then a quick stop at the bank. Once home, I went right to work getting my order for the store closer to our budget (yea, right).
I call the order in, then make the order sheet for the store clerk to print out. Now it’s time for some office work, mainly Warsaw Wine & Spirits. I sign on to our bank site, update our QuickBooks file, and write out checks for invoices due. At this point, I am feeling a little better, but still tired. I take some time to myself and catch up on a TV show while I snack. After running out to pick Elena up from school, we come home and wait for Grandma to bring us dinner. I drag myself to choir practice, even though I can’t participate it feels good to get out of the house!
Wednesday, February 4th:
Today was a pretty normal workday. I workout in the morning and am busy working with teams throughout the day. I get out of the office by 6 and make it back to the hotel. Just as I get back, I begin receiving text messages from Elena, which are clearly from her because they contain random characters as well as different emoticons.
“Boo” as Ariana mentions in the text message above is Elena’s name for our baby, which is due in June. Since we are not finding out the gender, “Boo” works for now.
After doing a video call via Google Hangouts with Ariana and Elena, I work on some blogging for Entreprenewlyweds and head to bed early to catch up on sleep. I’m excited to be heading home tomorrow to spend the weekend with my family.
Chore day. I start off my morning by unloading the dishwasher after breakfast. Then it’s time to do some laundry, about 4 loads, which I do simultaneously with my other tasks throughout the day. Every other Wednesday we visit my Grandmother for lunch, so we head over and spend about 2 hours there. Elena loves visiting with her Great-Grandparents and my cousin. She falls asleep in the car on the way home, and I unsuccessfully attempt to carry in her without waking her up. Sometimes I can keep her awake so she naps at home, sometimes it’s a battle I can’t win.
We finish out the afternoon with some puzzle time (our new favorite activity), I make dinner while Elena plays by herself.
I am able to throw in some quick documents I need to create for the store. This is why having my laptop upstairs is essential. After our nightly snuggle it’s bedtime for her. I do some 3rd Birthday party planning, and some classroom Valentine planning for Elena while I watch some TV.
Thursday, February 5th:
I woke up today happy (as I always am on Thursday) because I fly back home and get to spend the weekend with Ariana and Elena. Because I am flying and end up not putting in a full day of consulting, Thursdays always seem to be my busiest days, and today was no different.
I am currently sitting in the airport, with my flight delayed 2 hours at this point. Delays are a normal part of travel and normally I don’t mind, but this delay means that I will miss going to Disney on Ice with Ariana and Elena. I originally wasn’t planning on going because I didn’t want to worry about delays, but I really missed them this morning and decided that I would go. These are the times when traveling for business is difficult.
I head up to one of the stores and buy Elena a “friend”, which is a Beanie Boo named Sherbert.
While I’m at the airport, I get a jump on a bunch of work that I need to get done, including the new product creation and putting a plan together for the vacant commercial space that we now have. While working at the airport, I also download a few podcasts (see The Podcasts That I Listen to Every Week) and listen to them while doing work.
I eventually make it home around 11. Ariana waited up for me which was great. We chat for a bit, I go in and give Elena a kiss and leave her friend in her bed, then go to sleep.
On my way home I stop to run a few errands, then pick up Elena.
That night we had a surprise planned for Elena. Friends of the family had plans to take us to Disney on Ice. I was making it a double surprise, since Tom was going to meet us there and Elena didn’t know. Of course our plan was foiled by Tom’s flight being severely delayed. Elena still had fun at the show, and we came home with plenty of loot.
I settled in to relax for the night, and waited up for Tom. We chatted for a bit (our nightly ritual when he’s home) before going to bed.
Friday, February 6th:
I had an interview scheduled this morning, but the woman had to cancelled as she had the flu. I call in to several other meetings to support the client and meet a colleague out for lunch. On the way back, I stop by the PO Box for Sylvester Enterprises and pick up and rent checks that we have received. Given that it is now past the 5th, Ariana will be sending out 3 day notices to anyone that hasn’t paid rent for February.
In the evening I spend some time tweaking and adding features to our landlord product, as well as install a new WordPress Theme on our website, including WooCommerce, which will allow us to create a store to sell our virtual products.
After we put Elena to bed, Ariana and I watch a movie together in our home theater (which we have not been able to do for several weeks because we had to get our receiver fixed). It’s always good to be able to watch a movie together without leaving our home.
While Tom took care of some meetings/calls, I snuggled/played with Elena, and finally put those 4 loads of laundry away (only took me 2 days). While she was napping, I took note of what rents we had received and contacted those tenants who were late. My mother called and wanted us to meet them for dinner. As much as we wanted to stay in, we made ourselves get out of the house and had some delicious BBQ. Tom & I finished out the night by at last having a much needed movie night in the theater.
Saturday, February 7th:
I got up with Elena this morning. She helped me make coffee and played in the living room with her toys. I prepared some of the upcoming blogs for Entreprenewlyweds in between playing with her. These are the days and reason why I love having a laptop in addition to our home office. I can be around Elena and play, plus get some work done while she is watching a movie or playing by herself.
My father comes and visits mid-day. He has worked in the “trades” for the past 30+ years, whether it be construction, plumbing, electrical or you name it. If it can be done with your hands, he has done it. When we started our real estate investing business and as he opened his own wine and liquor store, I’ve been helping him understand and improve on the business side (also see The Trials and Tribulations of Investing with My Father). He has recently partnered with his friend on a few different business ventures. Historically Ariana has handled things such as keeping the books (accounting) for his businesses, but today we want to introduce him to it so he can take it over and outsource it so someone else. Prior to this I setup some basic spreadsheets for him, but it is time to step into a more professional solution.
We walk him through QuickBooks and he seems to understand it enough for what he needs.
QuickBooks has a lot of functionality, but it can definitely be hard to learn, costs a few hundred dollars and may be more than many small businesses needs. If this becomes the case for him, we will set him up with FreshBooks, a cloud based accounting system (try Freshbooks free for 30 days).
After my father leaves, we spend a good portion of the day each working in the office on various business tasks and close out the night with a movie in our theater.
We try to take turns sleeping in on the weekends, this morning Tom got up with Elena. Tom’s dad came up for a QuickBooks how-to, but first we visited for a bit. After he left, Tom & I got some work down in the office while Elena napped. I took care of some Sylvester Enterprises bills, and did some filing and misc office work. Tom was on a roll with work, so when Elena woke up I took her in the movie room for some snuggles. We swapped, and I came upstairs to tidy up the kitchen and make a business call for Warsaw Wine & Spirits (WWS). We had a customer out in a request for some specific wine for Valentine’s Day, so I call to confirm what he wants so I can add it to our order.
After Elena’s bedtime, Tom did some more work together in the office, then we decided on a second movie night in a row.
Sunday, February 8th:
Over the past few weeks I have actively posting our “What Does $15,000 in Real Estate Investing Training Look Like” on all of the Facebook ads that I see for one of the “guru” training companies coming to Rochester. One of my passions is helping others, and I can’t help but feel that these companies are very predatory, so I want to make sure people understand how they operate. From that, a local couple reach out to me regarding real estate investing. Originally I had planned to meet them for coffee, but they had to cancel and we reschedule for next Sunday.
As a result, I end up spending the morning playing with Elena. Now that we had the receiver back for our home theater, we spend most of the morning playing with her toys down there, doing puzzles and watching Disney’s Robin Hood. When I put her down for a nap around 12, I do some work for Entreprenewlyweds to write up some new blog topics and continue to work on enhancing the website for our new product. My sister Erica comes over and I begin to show her Quickbooks as it sounds like she will be doing the accounting for my father’s new businesses. She recently moved back to Rochester from Denver and is looking for some side work. We are looking to outsource business functions, so it is a good match.
After Elena’s nap, Ariana’s parents pick her up take her to a party, while Erica and I go and watch American Sniper. When Ariana gets back from her choir concert, I spend some time with both of them. Around 7, I get the notice that my 6am flight has been cancelled and I rebook for 10 AM the next day. The weather recently has been bad and it seems like every flight this months gets delayed or cancelled.
This Sunday is a little different than usual, as I have a choir rehearsal & concert for most of the day. I spend the morning doing miscellaneous house chores, then get ready to go.
Joining a Women’s choir has recently been one of those “me” things I’ve been lucky enough to do. As a stay-at-home mom (see When Every Day is Take Your Daughter to Work Day), it’s sometimes tough to get quality time to yourself, and to find time to do the things you enjoy. I love to sing, so when a family friend suggested I join the choir I decided to do it! My Mother-in-Law comes every Tuesday night after work to watch Elena, and I get to do something I love that get’s me out of the house and gives me some adult interaction. It’s a win-win as Tom would say.
When I get home from choir we enjoy some much needed family time. I go to bed happily knowing I get to wake up with Tom, since he had to take a later flight.
Monday, February 9th:
After sleeping in on a Monday, I get to the airport. My flight is delayed, so I spent time starting to expand on some blog articles for this website. As we board the plane, we are also delayed and sit on the tarmac for a while. I continue writing blogs as well as listen to some podcasts (Smart Passive Income w/Pat Flynn, BiggerPockets w/ Josh Dorkin & Brandon Turner and Online Marketing Made Easy w/ Amy Porterfield).
By the time I land, get the car and get to the client site, it is early afternoon. I do my rounds and catch up with people, helping some and making sure that they are prepared for the week. When I get back to the hotel, I continue to put the finishing touches on our product and reach out to a colleague to test the purchase process on the website, as well as the product itself.
We wake up with a surprised Elena, because Daddy gets her up when his flight gets rescheduled. As he doesn’t have a lot of time to get ready, I spend the morning with Elena keeping her busy. After we watch Daddy’s cab take him to the airport, all Elena wants to do is snuggle all day.
All I manage to get done today is the Warsaw Wine and Spirits (WWS) store order, load the dishwasher, and make dinner. Some days your child just needs mommy snuggles!
Tuesday, February 10th:
Today is the busy day with the client. I’m working with various teams and organizations to help them do planning for the year, broken down by quarter. Throughout the day, I send texts back and forth with Elena, which consist of a random bunch of letters and emoticons. I also find some time to jump on the camera and watch her at DoodleBugs. This is a nice feature of this program, as we can view Elena in her classroom at any time. Some days it helps me not feel so far away.
We don’t get back to the hotel until late, so I have dinner with colleagues and we debrief on the day/prepare for tomorrow.
I have A LOT to get done today. I drop Elena as school, detour over to the bank to deposit some rent checks for Sylvester Enterprises and stop at the library to return books and pick up new ones. A quick trip to run a couple other personal errands, then a stop for groceries, and I am home to start my work.
I start with my normal Tuesday routine, adjust my Warsaw Wine & Spirits order closer to budget, call it in and make the order sheet for the store associate. Then I move on to updating QuickBooks and paying bills for Warsaw Wine & Spirits. Now I need to take care of some landlordly things. I print return envelopes for a couple tenants for rent, get a new lease folder prepared, and make up a 3-Day notice. Make a couple not so quick phone calls to RG&E for Sylvester Enterprises and Time Warner (Warsaw Wine & Spirits), and schedule some Facebook posts for Valentine’s Day (Warsaw Wine & Spirits).
Running later than I thought, so I run over to the post office quickly before picking up Elena. After choir practice, I hit the hay after a long day.
Wednesday, February 11th:
I didn’t get my normal workout in this morning, but decided instead to spend the extra hour sleeping and preparing for the day. At the client I am working with now I am facilitating several workshops to help them get their annual list of work broken up into a roadmap so that they can deliver on their goals. The process that I use with these clients is much like the process that Ariana and I use for our annual goal setting and planning. It’s heavy on sticky notes and collaboration, and the end result is a basic high level plan that we can execute against and track weekly.
I don’t get back to the hotel until nearly 8. I do a video call with Ariana and Elena, who are both in great moods and very excited to see me tomorrow. After finishing the video call, I head over to a colleagues room to debrief on the day and prepare for the next day. It’s amazing how much you can learn and grow when you constantly do these reflections. I have grown so much in the past 6 months, which is why I don’t measure experience in years, but in the number/amount of actual experiences, regardless of time (read more here).
Started off my morning my favorite way, Elena snuggles and cartoons. Elena is in love with puzzles lately, so she spent the rest of her morning commissioning me to help her with them. While she napped I got some in reading and worked on birthday party organization. I got the toilet cleaned and organized my daily blog summaries while she played, and then my mom came for a visit after work. We’re very close with our families, Elena’s 3 grandmothers each stop at least one day a week.
That night we went to Elena’s school for an open house Valentine’s Day party. They do a lot to keep families involved, and they hold these open house activity nights for most holidays. Elena had a great time playing and doing the crafts that night, they practically had to kick us out! On the way home we ran to Wegmans quick to pick up some treats for her Valentine’s Day party the next day. After I put her to bed, I decided to torture myself further by making some homemade Valentine’s cards for Elena’s classmates. Pinterest is both a gift and a curse!
Thursday, February 12th:
I was able to work out in the morning, and that helped me with having more energy for the day. I had a busy day of meetings, but was happy because I was flying back home to see Ariana and Elena. As I get to the airport, I realize that my flight is once again delayed. I do a little blogging and end up watching a movie as I am tired from the day. After a few hour delay, I finally board the plane and fly home. While on the plane, I have a great conversation with a woman who was also from Rochester. When I finally get home I go in and give Elena a kiss. Ariana fell asleep waiting for me, but wakes up when I get home. We have brief conversation, then we both fall asleep.
A quick run to Doodlebugs to drop Elena, then home for a fun day of chores! Finally got a chance to clean our mess of a bathroom, and then I move on to the living room. Before I can vacuum I have to pick up an entire floor of toys (this kid has way too many stuffed animals) in the living room. I move onto the kitchen to tidy up. First unload the dishwasher, reload with the dirty stuff on the counter, and finish by washing what’s left. Throughout the day I manage to throw in 2 loads of laundry and print piles of coloring pages for Elena’s art party. I work on this daily blog for a bit, then it’s time to pick Elena up. We spend the rest of the night snuggling & playing, waiting for Daddy’s plane to get in.
Friday, February 13th:
I sleep in and wake up to Elena crawling up into bed and giving me a kiss, which is the best way to wake up. I spend some time in the morning catching up on emails and blogs. I come across an interesting video blog from Pat Flynn, which is a tour of his home office. Since we recently published a blog on our home office, it was interesting to see his thoughts and the design that went into his office.
I end up meeting an old colleague for lunch and handle a couple of calls throughout the day. Once those are done, I spend a bunch of time writing up blogs in between playing with Elena and watching a movie in the theater.
Daddy had a couple morning meetings and some work to do, so Elena & I spent the morning snuggling. Fridays are usually when the exhaustion from the week catches up with me, so while she naps I take some mommy time to read and catch up on TV shows. Playtime with Elena again in the afternoon while Daddy finishes working, but as soon as he’s done Elena claims him for some playtime in the theater. As soon as she’s in bed we decide to have some us time with a movie.
Saturday, February 14th:
I wake up early today and start working on some upcoming blogs for this website. After a little while Elena wakes up, so I get her and we eat some breakfast and snuggle on the couch. We then go down to the home theater and play together for a while. Ariana sleeps in for a while, then once she wakes I get back to work on blogs and other activities for Entreprenewlyweds. After I finish some upcoming blogs, I jump on to Facebook and schedule out some daily blogs posts. This allows me to batch my Facebook updates and not have to allows be updating social media, but still connecting out with our fans. Want to learn more Facebook tips and tricks? Check out our review of Amy Porterfield’s fbInfluence 2.0 and see if it is for you.
I eat lunch with Ariana and Elena, then Elena goes down for a nap. Ariana and I use this time for doing our weekly planning, which includes emptying our inboxes, assisting each other with some tasks and targeting what we need to accomplish this week. We also discuss different strategies and steps around our upcoming niche website. By the way, our first blog announcing the niche website comes out today, which generates a lot of interest and people reaching out to us. After going through our work for each business, I take an afternoon nap.
Ariana’s younger cousin Joseph comes over tonight, so we get a pizza and hang out in our home theater. Elena loves playing with Jospeh, so we play some basketball, wrestle a little bit and play some old school video games, all while eating pizza.
Daddy’s home, so I take advantage of his morning with Elena to take a shower and run to Wegmans. It’s Valentine’s Day, so Wegmans is packed (mostly with men, way to wait until the last minute guys!). I pick up the items we need, plus some special treats for the kids later. My aunts had a wedding reception that was adults only, so we agree to watch my little cousin Joseph later that night.
While Elena & Daddy played in the basement, I got the 2 loads of laundry put away. During Elena’s nap, Tom & I got some misc. office work done (filing, business discussions, etc.). As soon as Joseph arrived, Daddy was on play-time duty. I waited for the pizza upstairs and got some reading in. We ate, then the kids (Tom included) played for the rest of the night while I watched. I don’t know who had more fun!
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Sunday, February 15th:
I sleep in a little this morning, only to be awaken by a kiss from Elena (this is how we taught her to wake us up, and it is the best thing ever). We play for a while, then I bring my laptop upstairs and work on some blogs/the niche website while Ariana and her watch a movie. Around 9 AM I get a text as I was supposed to meet a local couple for coffee to help them get started with real estate investing. It turns out that they were stuck in their driveway due to snow, so we decide to reschedule. I often meeting people who want to start a business or invest in real estate for coffee to answer some questions and guide them. Sometimes this all they need, other times they end up wanting more coaching and Ariana and I will help them get their business going.
Ariana’s parents have the week off as it is February break and they are school teachers, so they pick her up in the afternoon and take her to her house for the next 2 days. This gives Ariana and I some time to do some work, as well as time to celebrate Valentine’s day. I pack for my trip midday. At night we get some steaks, prepare a nice dinner and watch a movie together in the home theater.
After a late night, we decide to have a relaxing family morning. Elena is going to my parent’s for a couple days, so Tom wants to spend as much time with her that he can. I get her bags all packed, and then start to look at the re-order report for the store (WWS). Elena is off to the farm after her nap. Tom & I spend the rest of the evening celebrating a late Valentine ’s Day. We make delicious steaks for dinner and head down to the theater for a movie. Tom has a much needed Manhattan, and I celebrate with some sparkling apple juice.
Monday, February 16th:
I didn’t sleep that well last night so I wake up at 4 and get to the airport early in the morning, only to find a ton of people (I forgot that it was February break, so everyone is going on vacation). Thankfully I have TSA Pre which allows me to skip the normal line and get through security much faster. My plane ends up being delayed for about an hour and a half, but I make it to Newark.
I go through my work day and call it an early night without doing much work after.
Holy Crap I get to sleep in! My parents are teachers, so they are off of work for February break and have taken Elena to the farm for a couple night sleep over. This gives me 2 whole days to get things done. I decide to split my tasks into 2 categories: things to get done at home and errands to run. Today is the at home day. I throw in a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher and get some things done on the computer all before breakfast! I update my daily summary in preparation for this blog, otherwise I forget all the things I do everyday. Then it’s onto some business work for WWS. I pay bills, update Quickbooks, download new state & federal poster requirements (always fun figuring those out), talk to my employee for 30 minutes and create our order sheet for that week. During all that I have thrown in 2 more loads of laundry. I finally take a well deserved lunch break.
After lunch I take some time to upload my new choir music for practicing purposes, then I start in on MOUNDS of paperwork sorting in the office/basement. Unfortunately when time is scarce, there are tasks that go undone. For Tom & I, paperwork filing is that task. Over the life of our businesses, we have adjusted our processes many times. We are still perfecting paperwork filing. Check out our latest blog on our newly organized office to see our most recent process. In order to completely organize our office, that requires getting rid of any and all unnecessary papers we have accumulated. I am able to reduce our piles greatly today, but still have some work to do. I finish out the evening putting those loads of laundry away while catching up on a couple TV shows.
Tuesday, February 17th:
After a good night’s sleep I am feeling refreshed. Today ends up being a busy day at the client, as I am helping two groups plan out their roadmaps for the year. Today I also find out that I will be finishing my work with this client in the middle of March, so I begin planning and preparing for how to ramp down and transition them to run without me, as well as prepare myself for switching to a new client.
At night I debrief with some colleagues on the day, the sessions and the progress made. Afterwards I come back to the room and work on some blogs, as well as run through some of my presentation that I will be giving next week in Las Vegas at the IBM InterConnect Conference. I’ve attended this conference for the past 3 years, speaking each year and am looking forward to it. I was hoping that Ariana could join me, but with her being pregnant and it being all week, she decided that Vegas for a 21 week mother and no one to watch out 3 year old was not a good idea.
Onto day 2, the day of errands. My mother has dropped Elena off at Doodlebugs, so I begin my day with a quick trip to the PO Box to pick up rents and then to the bank to deposit them. I stop at the library, as I have recently taken up reading again (another one of those “me” things), and then go to Party City for Elena’s birthday party supplies. A quick trip to CVS to pick up a thank you gift for the Gates PD (we live in a great community, one of the officers gave us an act of kindness) and then to the police department to drop it off to them. Over to the dry cleaners to drop off a couple things for Tom, grocery shopping and then home for lunch.
I decide to take it easy after a busy morning. I call in the WWS order, then relax and get lost in my book for a while. On my way to pick up Elena I shovel out the mailbox quickly, as our mail woman has been having issues getting to it with all the snow. As I wait for my Mother-In-Law, I make dinner, then it’s off to choir practice.
Wednesday, February 18th:
Today was a busy day and draining emotionally. I found out that I only have 2 weeks left with this client (for my day job) and I’ll be shifting to another client. New opportunities are always exciting, but there is still a lot of work left to do with this client, and trying to determine how to wrap everything up in 2 weeks in a challenge.
When I get back to the hotel room I decide to not do any work. I do a quick video call with Ariana and Elena. Elena is crazy as usual and talking up a storm. Ariana seems like she is happier now. Earlier in the day she was dealing with some issue with our mail woman, so she was not happy and I was tired. I look forward to going home each week, but I really look forward to it this week.
So instead of doing work, I do something that I almost never do, which is watch TV. I flip to Discovery Channel and one of my favorite shows is on, Dual Survival. I watch 2 episodes of that and go to bed.
After a busy couple days, I decide to spend the morning snuggling and reading while Elena watches movies. Sometimes I forget the limitations of being pregnant, and I find myself overtired today. We have lunch at my Grandparents and visit for a bit. We have a lazy afternoon, all I can manage is to unload & reload the dishwasher. We play a couple rounds of Elena’s new game “Silly Faces”, and then I head to bed shortly after she does.
Thursday, February 19th:
I wasn’t sleeping very well with a lot on my mind, so I got up at 1 AM and began working more on the niche site. At this point we are in the “pre-launch” stage. In the past, I didn’t think much about this stage and would just do all the work, then launch to crickets (or my close circle of family, friends, colleagues). This time, I decided I would spend some time educating myself on product launches, so that hopefully this niche site launches to some people, and we can really do some big product launches in the future. While working on the pre-launch activities, I’m also working on the blog post for this site in parallel, documenting in detail all of the steps that I am taking.
Elena is off to Doodlebugs, and I make some stops on my way home. Target for some much needed WWS decor, and the bank & post office for personal errands. I take some time to finally write up the daily blog blurbs so Tom can start putting the article together. It’s weird to go back and read everything, even weirder thinking about all the people who are getting a glimpse into my every day life!
We have plans to have friends over the next night, so I spend the afternoon sweeping and mopping the basement, putting away all the filing I did earlier during the week, and tidying up the living room and kitchen. I pick Elena up and we keep ourselves busy until it’s time to pick Tom up from the airport. For once his plane is somewhat on time and Elena is so excited to see him!
Elena gets to ride up & down the escalator, and searches Daddy’s pocket to see if any “friends” have stowed away. We spend the evening relaxing and catching up on Daddy time.
Friday, February 20th:
Today is pretty exciting as we have an ultrasound. When we had Elena, I went to every appointment that Ariana had with OB. This time, with me traveling, I don’t make it to many. Being in the room, seeing our baby and hearing the heartbeat was simply amazing. It’s moments like these that really make me remember why Ariana and I work so hard, which is because we want to build a great life together, for us and our growing family.
I meet a few colleagues out to catch up, and of course I had to meet them at my good friend Dan’s brewery The Lost Borough Brewing Co.. Dan was a college roommrate and in my wedding. I helped him over the years with discussions and guidance toward opening his brewery, so it becomes my go to meeting place.
We end the night with pizza, movie and conversations with some friends.
I get up and have breakfast with Elena so Daddy can sleep in. While Elena plays, I check the RSVPs for her birthday party and make up some signs for decoration. I have an ultrasound/OB appointment so a family friend comes over to play with Elena. Unfortunately, our OB doesn’t allow kids under 5 into the ultrasound lab. During Elena’s nap that afternoon Tom & I finish tidying up the house for our guests. We finish the night with pizza & wings from our favorite place, good conversation with good friends, and a movie. Every once in a while it’s nice to have a normal adult Friday night.
Saturday, February 21st:
I get up this morning with Elena and we spend the morning making coffee together (on a side note, people are going to think she is from Bwoston because I have taught her to say cwoffee), playing and watching some TV shows. The second half of my day consists of doing various business work, and then I jump back to playing with Elena while Ariana gets a girl’s night out with dinner and a movie. Elena and I spend most of the time playing in the theater, then I get the rare event of reading her a story alone, which is nice.
After I put her to bed, I begin putting slides together for my presentation. Every time I present I work on improving my delivery and incorporating new elements. For this presentation, I’ve been reading “Talk Like TED – The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds“.
Up until this point I essentially organized the presentation in my head, but I figured I should put a few slides together. I wait up for Ariana and we talk for a little bit before we go to bed.
As we are both up early during the week, we usually try to take turns sleeping in on the weekend. Today was my day. While Daddy continues his playtime with Elena, I quickly run to the post office and the dry cleaner. As Tom has a lunch meeting and some work to get done, we swap. I have lunch with Elena, and then during nap time I throw in a load of laundry, update WWS Quickbooks, and print out the signs for her birthday party.
Often on the days when Tom’s home, Elena likes to play down in the basement when Daddy is doing work. I join her with my laptop, and get started on a new procedure document for WWS. For months we’ve been talking about passing on the ordering for the liquor store to one of our employees, and I am finally able to sit down and spend some time writing up the process. Since I have plans to go to a movie that evening, I spend some time doing puzzles with Elena (her new favorite thing), and she helps me unload the dishwasher. After multiple “One more kiss & hugs”, I head out for a girls night.
Sunday, February 22nd:
Whereas most weeks I travel out on Monday, this week I am traveling on Sunday. I’m attending IBM’s InterConnect conference, which is a huge conference and event in Las Vegas with 21,000 attendees. Some of the people from “Shark Tank” will be there giving a keynote, and Aerosmith will be performing. I am giving a presentation on the afternoon of the first day of the conference, which is a great time slot and opportunity. This will be the third straight year that I have been invited to speak at this conference.
Originally I was hoping Ariana could come with me, but with her being quite a ways along with the pregnancy and no one to watch Elena, she decides to stay home. So I board the plane for 8 hours of travel and look forward to catching up on some podcasts and doing a bunch of work on the niche site/blogging.
During the fight, most of my time was actually spent reading “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds” and preparing for my presentation. When I finally land in Vegas, I connect with my colleagues and enjoy a few drinks/catching up with them.
As Tom has an unusual Sunday flight today due to the conference, I let him sleep in while I get up to watch cartoon with Elena. She decides to stay in her pajamas on our trip to the airport, so we drop him off without getting out. When Daddy has a schedule change that causes him to leave early, she tends to be sadder than usual on those days. For this reason, we spend a large part of the day snuggling, doing puzzles and playing. While she naps I get some more work done on the WWS order process document, and also get started on the re-order list for the week. She has a rare bout of energy when she wakes up, and actually agrees to let Bunners & Blankie take a bath (it’s impossible to get those things in the wash!). Mid-afternoon my employee calls with an issue at the store (frozen pipe burst in the basement), so I call my Father-in-Law to see if he can take care of it. I spend the rest of the evening relaxing with Elena and getting some reading in.
Monday, February 23rd:
Today is the first day of the conference, and Vegas is pretty amazing so far. I’m staying at the Mandalay Bay hotel, which is one of the two hotels where the conference is being held, and I simply can’t believe how big it is. I attend the first keynote session then sought out where my presentation was and tested out all of the equipment.
My presentation was from 2-3. I had a decent size room, and having a presentation on the first day of the conference with a good time slot was awesome.
The room was pretty packed, I finished up in ~50 minutes (I had a 1 hour timeslot), hit most of my key points and had a lot of positive feedback from people after.
I spend the rest of the day in our booth, speaking with potential customers and connecting deeper with my colleagues. Given that I work in consulting and our company is primarily virtual, there is not a lot of face time with my colleagues. Most of the people at the conference are either in sales or developing our products, so I love learning from them and sharing more from my experiences with our clients.
After we close out the booth for the night we head to one of many bars in the hotel to unwind.
Started off the morning with an Elena snuggle and some reading, then a call to our mechanic to schedule an inspection. While our little artist got some painting in, I worked on the work schedule for WWS, and then the re-order for WWS while she napped. In the afternoon I finally convinced her to help me clean up our mess of a living room, which we immediately covered again when Elena wanted to play. I left her to herself while I made dinner, and we ended the night with a video call to Daddy.
Tuesday, February 24th:
Today is Elena’s third birthday. I start the day sending her some text messages .
I spend most of the day in the booth. It’s a long day but it is great to be able to talk to a lot of different people. In the afternoon I make my way over to the MGM Grand and check out another keynote session. The session was interesting, but what I was really looking forward to was seeing Barbara Corcoron, Daymond John and Robert Herjavec as they listen to and give feedback on some real life pitches. Overall, I was pretty under impressed with the pitches that the entrepreneurs gave. Granted, it is tough to stand in front of thousands of people and pitch your business to 3 Sharks, but the problems for me came down to the pitch content itself more than any other factor (I’ll have a blog on it soon).
Afterwards, I bought a copy of Barbara’s book, met her and got it signed.
It was a pretty surreal moment for me. I don’t often get excited when seeing an athlete or celebrity, but I do get very excited when I see successful entrepreneurs. I felt like I had to capture the feeling before it fleeted, so I pulled out my phone and started blogging while on the bus back to my hotel. I’ll share a blog post on this later this month.
To end the night out, I connect with some of my colleagues and attend a few open parties that are being thrown for the conference.
It’s Elena’s 3rd birthday! It is also, a Doodlebugs day. I put her in a special outfit and drop her off, knowing her class will get a special treat for her big day. I head off for my usual Tuesday errands, post office and bank (Sylvester Enterprises) and the library (personal). I spend the rest of the day working on WWS, putting in the order, paying bills & updating Quickbooks, and finishing up the March schedule.
I decide to run to Wegmans quickly on my way to pick her up, I wanted to grab some small things for her birthday even though her party isn’t until Saturday. Normally we would celebrate more on her actual birthday, but with Tom being away it didn’t feel right. I make her favorite for dinner (pork chops and steamed edamame) and then unload the dishwasher before I leave for choir. Elena & Grandma enjoy some birthday cupcakes while I’m gone, and she plays with her gifts from Grandma.
Wednesday, February 25th
Today is a mixture of being in the booth, talking to clients and catching up on some sleep since the booth was a little slow mid-day and we had a late night with clients the night before.
After the booth closes we decide not to attend the free Aerosmith concert, given the struggles with travel to MGM and finding seats. Instead, we decide to go out and check out the strip, given that myself and several other colleagues had not previously been to Vegas. Before we head out I do a video chat with Ariana and Elena.
The Strip is pretty impressive. The hotels are so nice, and being inside of them really makes you appreciate how much money Las Vegas has. After our time on the Strip we hang out at the some hotel bars with a few clients and enjoy our last night in Vegas.
We start off the morning in our favorite way, snuggling while I read. When Elena decides to occupy herself playing, I take advantage and sort her closet/dresser. With her party coming up, I want to weed out all the clothes that are too small or out of season so I can make room for the new stuff!
Elena has her 3 year appointment this afternoon, so I put her down for an early nap. We finally meet our new pediatrician (we had to switch due to new insurance and our old doc was out of network. Don’t get me started on how upset I was about that!), and she is happy with Elena’s progress. We get home just in time to visit with MeeMee (Elena’s name for my mother). I get some household chores done while they play. We spend the night as we do most others, playing, watching movies, I work on various projects. Before Elena goes to bed we have a family video chat with Daddy.
Thursday, February 26th:
Today is the final day of the conference. Typically by the end of the conference most people are getting ready to leave, and I am in that boat. My flight takes off at 11:30, so I wake up, pack my bags and head down for the free conference breakfast.
While at the airport, I begin reading the book that I purchased at the conference, Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business (book review coming soon).
When I board the first flight to Chicago, I put the book away and catch up on the sleep that I missed while in Vegas. I continue to read the book during my layover in Chicago and well as on the flight from Chicago to Rochester. During this time I get through ~1/2 of her book.
When I land, I grab my luggage and head home. I am happy that Ariana is still awake, since it is approximately 11:30 PM. We chat for a while and then head to bed.
Today is a busy day! I drop Elena at school, and then head to the mechanics. My vehicle needs an inspection, so my Sister-in-Law picks me up. We have plans that day to work on some of the decorations for Elena’s Art themed party. We head down to the basement and get to work making paint splattered paper lanterns and a big banner.
Mid-morning the mechanic calls to let me know my vehicle needs some work, so we head over to grab the car-seat in case its not finished that afternoon. My stomach is grumbling, so we decide to grab lunch while we’re out. A quick stop at Walmart for some last minute supplies, and we head home to finish up. Since Tom’s flight isn’t scheduled to come in until 10:30pm, we head over to the local bowling alley after dinner to visit with my family at their league night. I put Elena to bed, and work on more party decorations while I wait up for Tom.
Friday, February 27th:
It has been a long week between being in Las Vegas and traveling. Ariana was great and let me sleep in, and I wake up to a kiss from Elena. Ariana spent most of the day preparing for Elena’s third birthday party, so I spent time playing with Elena. This meant playing with all of her “friends”, including her new lion that I bought for her in Vegas.
We also watched a few movies, including some old Disney movies and Big Hero 6, her new favorite. During this time I also did some work for my day job, including booking travel, submitting expenses and preparing for the upcoming week.
When I put her down for a nap midday, I decided to take a nap as well. In the afternoon/evening, I continue to relax with Elena. While she watched Cinderella and does floor puzzles, I do some blogging and work on the niche site.
Tom is exhausted and I have a lot to do, so I get up with Elena and let him sleep in. Elena has a blast decorating a special birthday shirt with t-shirt paint.
Mid-morning I have a hair appointment, and after I head to Wegmans to get my ever-growing list of party supplies. The rest of my day is a blur, while I chop up fruits & veggies and get all the food ready for the party. We take a break to go pick up my vehicle, and we order from our favorite pizza place for dinner. After Elena heads to bed, I start packing some plastic tubs with all the party supplies, checking my multiple lists to make sure I have everything. After a long & busy day, I decide to pause my preparations and relax with Tom before bed.
Saturday, February 28th:
Today is the day when we are holding Elena’s third birthday party. I spend the morning with Elena while Ariana heads to the party hall to get it setup. We play with her new toys, do some puzzles and snuggle while we watch some cartoons. I also work on some blogging while she is playing.
After an early nap I get her ready and we head over to her party. We have ~40 people there and Elena has a great time. Additionally, it is great to catch up with family members.
After the party we play with some of her new toys and spent some time relaxing on our bed as a family. Once we put her to bed, I work on cleaning up the content for this blog post while Ariana reads in bed.
Party day! Again, I have so much to do that I set my alarm, which means Tom gets to sleep in again. I finish some last minute packing and then hop in the shower. My Sister-In-Law and I get to the lodge where we are having the party by 9 AM. The next couple hours we run around like crazy, arranging tables, decorating, and setting up all the food. My parents get there with the cake and cupcakes, and I run out to pick up the balloons and some items we forgot.
Finally, the party is here. I take pictures, and greet everyone coming in. I make sure to eat something, then I try to mingle while keeping the party on track. Elena has a great time, running around with all the kids and snuggling with family members. The kids all love the party activity I have set up, they each get to paint their own canvas to take home. Soon its time for cake and presents, and then too fast everyone has left and we start to clean up.
Lucky for us, our family is very practiced at fast and efficient clean up. We pack up the vehicles, and then immediately unload when we get home. Our house is a mess, but we’re so drained we decide to relax as a family and leave the work for the next day.
So as we review the month and type this summary, we realize that this post is already over 10,000 words. Given that the ideal length of a blog post is 1,600 words, according to Medium, we are well over that number.
But that is OK. Our reason for doing this was to really show you guys, our audience, how we balance it all and what our lives look like from each of our perspectives. We believe that we accomplished this, but we also had some unexpected side effects.
We Learned More About Ourselves
People often recommend creating a daily journal, which is essentially what we did here. By writing in our journal daily, and especially now as we reviewed the month, we became more aware of what we were doing, how we were feeling and where our time was spent. This also lead into…
We Learned More About Each Other
Given that Tom travels 4 days a week to work with clients, a portion of our week is apart and we don’t necessarily know as much of the day to day about each other. By each writing about our days and reviewing them together, we learned more about how the time we spend apart goes and how we each feel throughout the week. We obviously get some of this through our calls and video chats during this week, but this post enhanced it. As a result, we both feel our relationship has improved and we are more committed to each other and our goals than ever.
We Collected Amazing Data to Analyze
In reviewing, we realized that we had a ton of information about where our time is spent and how we really make it all work and where we can continue to improve. We have started analyzing and reviewing all of this data. Stay turned for the future, as we plan to really dive in deep and analyze this. We will be creating some sort of product, whether it be an eBook or something else, that has all of this information analyzed and recommendations based on it.
Thank you all so much for sharing this journey with us. If you made it to this point, we are really interested in your thoughts and questions. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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