I recently had a question from Terra:
Do you set specific "OFFICE HOURS" within which to do the business side of your business, or do you just answer the phone whenever it rings, squeeze in work time here and there among the busy-ness of life, etc.?
I have to admit, this is something I definitely have trouble with. I do have a nanny three days a week which is when I do the majority of my work. I only schedule sessions for times I have child care...I do not try to do a session with my kids in tow. I want to make sure I can give my client my full attention and I know that I cannot do that if I had my kids with me. I've heard some photographers talk about being able to have a session with their kids (and I'm talking young children) but I personally cannot imagine.
For phone calls, I do have an 800 number that I have setup with certain "office hours" which are based on the hours that I regularly have a nanny scheduled. During those hours the calls will ring through to my cell and home phone numbers so I can connect. However, during the non-office hours the callers go directly to voice mail. This system seems to be working pretty well. I use Ring Central for my 800 number and I've been happy with the service and found it pretty easy to setup.
Now, email is a whole other issue. Because I can read and respond to email even when I have my kids running around. I can read and respond to email at night when I'm watching TV. I can read and respond to email when I wake up in the middle of the night. Not surprisingly, I'm having a much harder time dealing with the time I spend on email. I'm anxious when I'm away for too long.
Part of me really wants to limit my work time to the hours I have a nanny but I have found that it is unlikely that I can get everything done in that time. I have started trying harder to have what I call "housewife" days where I do some sort of activity with the kids, maybe do some laundry and dishes during naptime, and even make dinner. But those are the exceptions rather than the rule. I'm much more likely to fill in all the spaces of time with work. Not a great balance but I'm trying to figure out what will work best for me and not leave me stressed out about things that are left undone. There is always more to do than the time I have but that is a good thing.