Kelly is a writer and the owner of two businesses with her husband Ant – one of those being the web and graphic design business she founded in 2006. At the start of this year she stepped away from the front line of that business in order to take on the role of Editor here at Flying Solo. The major goal in taking on the Editor role (other than the fact that it’s her dream role) was to reduce stress and make more room in her life for enjoying her family. Has she succeeded in that quest?
Here’s Kelly Exiter to give us the run down on a day in her life.
My day always begins at 4.15am which I realise sounds absurd, but when you see what time I go to bed, it will seem less so. The reason I get up so early is to ensure I’m able to start each day with writing, exercise … and some time to myself! This things are crucial to maintaining good physical and mental health so I prioritise them highly.
So I give myself 15 minutes to wake up slowly by browsing social media with a cuppa, then the next 15 minutes is spent on the daily writing practice called ‘Morning Pages‘. (This is relatively new to my life and it’s been a really interesting exercise – one I recommend everyone try, not just writers.) After that I spend 15-20 mins checking that the scheduled Flying Solo article for the day has gone live and scheduling all the FS social media for the day. Then I get into my planned writing for the morning (I never sit down to write without knowing what I am going to write about) and after spending 30-60 minutes on that I either head off for a run or go to CrossFit. Once home from whatever exercise I’ve done, it’s shower time. By 7am I am ready to get the kids up and start our day.
The time between 7am and 8.15am is spent on breakfasts and getting everyone dressed for the day. Then Ant heads off to the office and drops our two-year-old (Mia) off to daycare on the way. I head off on the school run with our six-year-old (Jaden) at 8.15am and because a 25 minute commute each way is involved, I don’t usually get to start my working day till 9.30am.
My ‘official’ workday consists of the hours between 9.30am-2.30pm and I spend that time editing submitted articles, going back and forth with our contributors about article ideas, looking for interesting things to share on our various social media properties, writing pieces myself and keeping an eye out for people who have the kind of voice we’d like to see here on the Flying Solo site.
I always stop for lunch around 1pm and I always eat it away from my desk to ensure I’m getting a mental break. This usually takes a solid half hour and it always breaks my heart a little that after I finish lunch I only have an hour before it’s time to pick up Jaden from school! But that’s a large part of the reason I took on the Flying Solo role – to move out of the front line of our business and allow me to do those school drop offs and pickups. (Disclaimer: two days a week our nanny does the school pick up so I can have a slightly longer work day. Even though I’ve stepped away from our businesses I still take care of the marketing side of things for both so those extra hours allow me to stay off the computer at night.)
After school pick-up I sort dinner and do a bit more social media for both Flying Solo and my personal blog. Ant and Mia generally arrive home at 5pm at which point our evening routine kicks into gear: dinner, clean up, baths, getting stuff ready for the next morning, chilling on the couch as a family before Mia goes to bed. When she does, Ant, Jaden and I will watch either Grand Designs or AFL 360 (Ant and I are huge footy fans – he goes for the Eagles and I go for the Dockers and given both teams are currently on top of the AFL ladder, ours is a happy household right at this moment in time). Given our choice of evening viewing it should be of little surprise that Jaden has declared he is going to be a builder who plays for the Dockers when he grows up.
Once our evening viewing is complete we’re off to bed. This is usually around 8.30pm. I always read for a while before lights out which means my day is bookended by things which are just for ‘me’ and ensures I’m practising the stuff I preach over on my personal blog which is called ‘A Life Less Frantic’. 🙂
The biggest challenge I face in the average working week?
Fitting everything in of course. I have a million ideas a day and want to do them all. About five years ago, however, I had a real epiphany and realised that of all the things I valued (and thought I valued) in life, being present and available to my family, having excellent physical fitness and having time to write were the things most important to me. So now, whenever I am considering an opportunity or an idea, I look at the impact doing that thing is going to have on those three things I value the most. If the impact is too high, I knock it back.
The reality of being a soloist?
The fact that you will work more hours a day working for yourself than you will most employers. And sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. But then you remember the flexibility you have as a soloist and realise the freedoms that flexibility gives outweighs any ‘negatives’ Most of the time 🙂
What keeps me going?
My family. I know exactly the life I want for my little family and being a soloist gives me the greatest level of control over providing that life for them.