My Secret to Running a Startup with Twin Babies
I get it a lot.
How do you do it?
When I had my twin boys 8 months ago, 6 weeks early, everyone said it’d be tough. I smiled and shook it off because I thought I was prepared. Boy, was I wrong. As a former management consultant in a high profile firm I was used to working long hours, often through the night, eating at my desk (or in underwhelming company canteens), sleeping little. But caring 24/7 for preemie babies topped it by far.
Especially since I decided to launch my company when I was 4 months pregnant.
Because with it came the hours, the exposure and the worries of being an entrepreneur. Putting together being a mum of newborn twins and growing a company, you get a pretty good picture of my life: little time, little sleep, lots of responsibility.
But as someone once said: If you want to get something done, give it to a busy mom.
I’m getting it done and loving every minute of it. In fact I’ve never had so much energy in my life. And that’s because despite client calls, changing diapers, tweaking my website, preparing food, writing sales pages, social networking, bathing and consoling the little ones, I take care of myself, eat healthy and sleep soundly.
I started eating clean 3 years ago, in the midst of my high-velocity career in consulting. Clean eating means choosing food that is minimally processed; free of toxins and sugar (I also avoid gluten); and sustainably produced. When I started, I had to completely reorganize the way I chose, bought and prepared my meals. What I learned back then, I still apply until this day. It let me lose the baby weight in 8 weeks, power through each day and sleep like a rock.
So — How do I do it?
Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Find a routine that works for your family and business. And stick to it.
I get up 1/2 hour before the kids, usually at 6am, and prepare for the day ahead. Check my calendar, the news, lay out things to wear, to cook, to do. Then I get the kids ready, myself, have breakfast and start work at 8.30am. I alternate with my husband, so that every 2nd day I can go to the gym before work. I work until 5pm, spend time with the kids, feed and bath them and tuck them in, so that my husband and I can enjoy dinner together. Then back to work for a bit and an early night.
2. Limit distractions
I limit the time I check emails, engage on social media or do calls to 1/2 hour, three times a day, so that I can fully concentrate on work when I’m at my desk. Instead of watching TV, most week nights I read a business- or child care-related book.
3. Plan ahead
In the same way as I plan my work week ahead each Friday, I plan the meals for the week on Sunday. I note down a simple meal plan on my phone because what I write down, I’m more likely to stick to.
4. Cluster activities
Working in batches allows me to increase churn-out rate for things like social media scheduling or editing blog posts. I also batch picking up toys or food prep thus freeing me for more strategic things. (Guess I figured that if I can have babies in batches, I can do other stuff, too).
Great things to outsource are obviously child care (4 times a week for me), grocery shopping (thank God for Instacart), cleaning (most weeks) and cooking (as in the occasional health food take-out). In business, my strategy so far has been: understand how to do it and then find someone who can do it better and in less time, again allowing me to focus on growing my business.
It’s still hard to get through the day sometimes, believe me. But then there is my final, but most important, tip:
6. Let go
Juggling all at once, every day, necessarily means that I will drop the ball sometimes. Learning to accept this and being kind to myself when it happens was a major breakthrough for me. People said I would learn it, before I had the boys, and they were right. If one day the twins don’t get a bath, I don’t hit my target of tweets, or I have a piece of (dark) chocolate since I ran out of healthy snacks, it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is to try better tomorrow.
Short answer to what’s my secret? Lots of organization, preparation and discipline + a little letting go now and then. Every day. But then: What’s new to what most of us powerhouse women are doing anyway?