A day in the life

People talk about work-life balance, but I’ve always thought about it in the reverse: life-work balance. The “life” component of that equation is the part I cherish most. It’s also the hardest to hold on to. Between working a 9-to-5 and running a side business, “balance” is hard to strike. Work begins to encroach on everything. Moreover, “balance” looks different from day to day, week to week, and season to season. It’s hard to be present and engaged in every aspect of my life at all times. I’m always looking for tools and systems that can help me, at the bare minimum, to be more aware of my time. Even if those tools don’t change how I spend my time, per se, awareness is a great place to start.

I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain, into my life and the way I structure my day.


7:40 am

My alarm clock sounds off. Sometimes, for the second (or third) time this morning! I’m slow to rise, but coffee helps shake the cobwebs. If you’re familiar with the 5 love languages, I receive love from others via acts of service. The little tasks others do for me are things I appreciate immensely. Which thankfully, you know, my fiancé John Michael understands well. Part of his morning routine is to make coffee and a smoothie each morning. Each morning I wake up to a cup of hot coffee and a kale and banana smoothie on my bedside table. Once I’m up though, I’m up. There are three major pieces to my morning routine.

The first step is to check in with my planner. Did y’all expect anything else? My evening planning routine happens in bed, before I sleep. And my morning routine happens in bed when I wake up. Because I plan my day out the night before, this morning check-in is more of a scan of what’s going on. I evaluate whether I need to add anything I forgot or to move appointments around. I will adjust my planner in the morning. If I’m dog-tired and slow to rise and I see a heavy to-do list slated for the morning, I trim it down to just the essentials. Maybe I move tasks into the afternoon. Regardless, it’s important to visualize the flow of your day and to make adjustments depending on how you feel.

The second thing I do is check in with my phone. Some people say to avoid your phone until later in the day, that it’s a black hole waiting to suck you in. I respect this, but my business runs online. I like to know what’s going on with my community and within my niche. Stashing my phone away until later just doesn’t work for me. Trust me, I’ve tried it! I spend time on Instagram and YouTube to see if any new content has launched from my favorite creators, and I respond to DMs. The last part of my morning routine is to check email. I sort through my emails and categorize them based on priority and subject. For Plan With Laur related emails, I respond to the most urgent ones and hold others until the evening. For work, well, let’s talk about work!

9:00 am

Without fail, my workday starts like clockwork at 9:00 am with a daily team meeting. I love my team’s energy; it’s a great way to start each weekday! If the coffee John Michael made has fully kicked in at this point, I am humming along. I spend the first part of my day responding to work emails. Y’all, I know I’m not alone here, but I have a lot of work emails to wade through each morning. Since our teams are dispersed and remote, we rely heavily on email and collaboration tools for communication.

Once I clear my inbox, I pivot to project work. At any given time, I juggle multiple projects at work with competing deadlines. I use time blocking strategies to protect my time in the morning to focus on project work. John Michael keeps an eye on Minnie, our mini Bernedoodle, during the morning so I can lock in at work.

12:15 pm

By noon, it’s time for a break! In this season of life, John Michael has been doing more of the cooking for us. So to help support him while he’s cooking, I do a 15-minute cleaning sprint while listening to one of my favorite podcasts! What is a cleaning sprint? It’s a concept I’m pretty sure I made up. I choose one room in the house and do everything I can to clean and tidy within that room in 15 minutes. There’s not an assigned room for each day of the week, but the bedroom, bathroom, office, laundry room, and kitchen all get special attention. If it’s a busy week, I focus more on tidying vs. deep cleaning. The point here is that neither of us like cleaning, so we try to gamify everything to make it more fun. Adding a podcast distracts from the task at hand.

Lately, my favorite podcasts are Higher Learning (The Ringer), The Daily (New York Times) and Planet Money (NPR). John Michael loves economics and finance, so I discuss the last one with him! After the little cleaning sprint, we grab a quick bite and then it’s back to work.

3:00 pm

My afternoons at work are often more flexible than the mornings. Depending on what I finished during the morning block of work, I prefer to schedule individual and project team meetings during the afternoon. Thankfully, my team is aligned with me on this! I keep an eye on Minnie during the afternoon, so we start taking short walk breaks together to keep her engaged and to get me away from my desk for a few minutes.

The mid-day doldrums are real! One of my annual goals for 2021 is to cultivate a strong body and a strong mind. Our focus recently has been on nutrition–specifically, learning more and being more aware of the food we consume. Everyone has different opinions about nutrition and I won’t wade into that debate. But I eat when I’m hungry, which includes a daily snack in the afternoon. Lately, I’ve made a protein waffle from Kodiak Cakes, topped with almond butter, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey. I used to snack constantly during the afternoon. Having a protein-focused snack helps tide me over completely until dinner time.

5:00 pm

I mentioned those walks with Minnie because they’re really a precursor for our longer walk on the beach at 5:00 pm. Where I live, during the summer dogs are allowed on the beach only in the morning and after 5:00 pm. This is just during peak tourism season. As soon as we can get out there, we do! Minnie is a social butterfly. And she loves rolling around in the sand (much to my chagrin). She makes friends on the beach, plays in the surf, and it gets her tired out for the rest of the evening. John Michael and I are trying really hard to keep her needs front of mind. Plenty of exercise is exactly what the vet ordered!

7:00 pm

A weekday evening is often anchored by a 1-on-1 meeting with one of my patrons from my Patreon community. Ours is a small but mighty community of planners and goal-setters that convent together as a group several times each month to chat about everything planning and productivity. We have a Facebook group where we’re constantly spinning up challenges and being accountability partners for each other. And for the highest tier patrons, I meet 1-on-1 once a month in a more formal setting to understand their goals and help them create plans to achieve them.

I love my Patreon community, and I cherish the opportunity to work with fellow planners 1-on-1. Foundational to my work and my brand is to help others. In an emotional sense, I derive purpose and value out of these meetings and relationships. I am participating in their journeys. There is no greater privilege! After the meeting I grab a quick bite to fuel the rest of my night.

10:00 pm

On a typical weekday, I work the rest of the evening on Plan With Laur tasks. Depending on the day, this could mean responding to emails, organizing collaborations, content planning, editing videos, or writing blog posts like this one! John Michael helps out with a lot behind the scenes. We often work together, putting on a TV show in the background. Working together allows us to discuss any questions we have for each other. Right now, we’re rewatching Grey’s Anatomy from start to finish, but we’ve also watched Who Killed Sara and the entire series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When we’re really focused on work, we keep HGTV on in the background – Flip or Flop is easier to tune out than a Captain America fight scene!

After John Michael wraps up his work and puts Minnie to bed, I keep working. I’m definitely more of the night owl in our family. My evening routine is short and sweet – it’s a recap of my day in my planner. I review everything I got done today. I then plan out everything for tomorrow and turn off the lights.

And that’s it! Invariably, each day looks a little different from yesterday. For the most part, however, I try to protect the parts of my day that I know are most important. Do you have any systems or processes that you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments!

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