I attended the Rock the World conference, and got to meet a number of fascinating entrepreneurs. One of them was Emilia Prahin, who is the COO and marketing director of a company called Signature.Styled. This platform matches busy professionals with stylists who will help them shop for the right wardrobe; you can use the site to book your session (currently only in NYC).
Prahin also has a day job in the fashion industry. She has two young kids. So how, I wanted to know, does she structure her weeks?
The good news is that there is time, in 168 hours, for all these things, particularly with some creative strategies.
First, Prahin has honed an exquisite level of productivity at her day job in order to keep her hours at 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. “My strategies for confining my work to this time are to stay focused, follow a to-do list that I try to create with every project, and really understand all the details involved prior to starting something new,” she says.
While she has a business partner for Signature.Styled, she needs to be involved in a lot of matters too. And some of those things really need to happen during the work day. Her solution? “I use my lunch hour for my start-up. I meet with my partner during our lunch for updates and planning. If we are not meeting during that time, I write and answer emails, brainstorm, do research, or go over my to-do lists. Sometimes I schedule phone calls at that time as well.” She’ll schedule in-person meetings for 5 p.m. In NYC that’s not considered a no-go meeting time (a lot of people work 9:30-6:30-ish hours). “I will come into my day job earlier that day so that I can leave earlier to make it on time,” she says.
Long time blog readers will not be surprised to learn that Prahin is a proponent of the “split shift.” She does start-up stuff at 5 or 5:30 p.m., and then will go home and spend a few hours with her two young children. They’re in bed by 9 p.m., and that’s when she fires up the laptop to work in earnest on her business. “As in all entrepreneurial work, it’s never done,” she says, but “I do have a to-do list of what I want to accomplish in my time for each night, and I try to stick to it as much as I can.” She enforces a stopping point of midnight or 12:30 a.m. — “to make sure that I get to sleep and have the energy to do it again the next day!”
It’s a pretty grueling schedule during the workweek, but here’s what makes it all possible: Prahin does very little work on the weekend, either for her main job or for Signature.Styled. She will occasionally do an hour or two at night, and nap with the kids during the day in order to make up the sleep, but not much beyond that. “It’s hard not to work on weekends, I can be doing so much in that time,” she says. “But my children need me more than any job or start-up ever would and spending the time with them and my husband is the most important thing in the world for me.”
The good news is that by organizing her time this way, she can log full time hours at her day job, invest around 20 hours a week in her start-up, and still spend big chunks of time with her family too. This rhythm of busy weeks and lighter weekends “does make it easier on my family, but also easier on me, as I know that at the end of the week, no matter what happens, I will still get to spend time with them!”