May 10th 2021
Life as a working woman can be a constant whirl of deadlines, emails, school runs, big decisions, food shopping, washing and meetings (to name a few things), and then there's your social life and the fact you're meant to look half decent whilst doing it all to fit in. It's tough but many of us wouldn't have it any other way. Every person's position is unique so there's no definitive guide to life management, but we caught up with 10 successful business women working in beauty, health and fashion to see how they manage their weekly diaries.
“I try and look at my schedule for the week ahead and as I have a lot of business meetings based around breakfast, lunch and dinner, I try to balance it out and not have 3 in the same day. So I will make sure that I pre-make this amazing tomato-lentil soup that I will have for dinner on days when I have big breakfast and lunches. Having one very light meal a day helps me keep my weight steady. Conversely, I will have a super light breakfast of fruits and seeds on days I know I have dinner plans.
“Beauty-wise, I find it hard to keep on track unless I lock everything in. So – I block-book my root touch ups with Adam Reed at Percy&Reed – I am booked in every 4 weeks at 8am on a Monday. It's In my diary for the next 6 months. That way I never have a panic attack about my roots showing! For my mani, pedi and waxing I go to Bliss Spa and I book my next appointment when I am paying my bill for the current treatment. That way I can time it all perfectly and it's all in my diary.”
“I find that the best thing for me is to sit down on a Sunday night with my husband and make a plan for the week ahead in my diary - this includes everything from our work days to who’s taking control of the nightly bedtime routine! Planning a to-do list with pen to paper is so essential for me as it helps me visualise everything I have to get done in a week - I’m definitely not one of the google diary technical types. I also have another diary planner at home that’s for the nanny so that everybody in the house knows what the plan is and exactly what their duties are.”
“Having two kids at school and being part of an industry where jobs come up at the last minute means being able to plan ahead is super difficult for me. Week on week I generally don’t tend to know what I’m going to be doing and can have jobs chopping and changing 24hrs beforehand, which makes things pretty chaotic! So, unable to really plan in advance, I try and do little organisational shortcuts while I’m en route places to help make life a little easier. For example If I know I’m going to be working with Max Factor I’ll put outfit ideas together in my head so that I can get ready really quickly. I’ll also use taxi rides to do my makeup or put a lick of polish on my nails. I’ve also recently been using Hello Fresh which is a company that delivers your weekly food, portioned out and ready to cook which helps take the drama out of having to go shopping and plan a menu for the week ahead!”
“My week is always pretty busy - I have a very erratic schedule and I travel a lot for meetings, so careful planning is essential to maintain my fitness routine. I schedule my workouts and also, more recently, rest and recovery time into my diary - I then treat these with the same commitment I would a business meeting. When possible, I also try to block meetings and travel into 3-4 days of the week, so I have the flexibility on the other days to work at my desk and go to the gym at any time.”
The organised side of my life feels like the least of it, partly because running a small business with four stores and a website, you're constantly adapting and reacting to ever-changing situations and that sort of overwhelms your entire existence - essentially, you're on a roller coaster and can't get off. So although I mentally minimise personal organisation, in truth, my 'roller coaster' has well-oiled wheels and it's definitely up to date with its MOT and servicing. This translates into the three things that work like clockwork in my life that keep me sane:
Clothes. I have a great working wardrobe that starts from the ground up because footwear, when you're having to mix a day of business meetings with perhaps loading boxes onto a van or scrabbling around in the warehouse, or needing to be in store for an evening event, is critical. I do realise I'm lucky with clothes - to a certain extent, I've still got a Vogue wardrobe and have always been interested in clothes so I'm never at a loss as to what to wear.
Food: It's control thing but working in an area (Highgate) where the lunch choices are minimal, I now make my own lunch nearly every day. It's usually a combo of chopped veg and dips - carrots, avocado, hummus, almond butter, etc. and bring it in to work in a Tupperware box. I've learned that when you spend the day running, you can't rely on eating properly so if I make my own, I know where I am and don't feel so bad if other meals slip. Every now and then when I know I'm under the cosh and don't have time to shop let alone cook, I'll sign up for a few days or a week of either Pure Package or The Detox Kitchen food delivery programme to ensure I'm eating well-planned and delicious food at stressful times.
Exercise: I began exercising properly for the first time in my life at the beginning of this year. I do two 30 minute classes a week of high intensity personal training at EqualsResults, a gym near where I live. It's a great de-stresser, takes almost no time at all and acts as a support mechanism when other areas of my life are constantly shape-shifting.
“I'm sort of low maintenance high maintenance if that makes any sense! I like to think ahead in terms of how many days I can make my hair, nails and lashes last, so it appears like they are always done if I have to film or do public appearances. I get my eyelashes done with Jin at Luxe Lash London once a month, which means I don't have to wear eye make up, which saves me a lot of time in the morning. I either do my acrylic nails myself - makes for a great Instagram opportunity - or I get Neringa at Glo salon to do my infills and together we create something magical. Polish lasts longer on Acrylic nails than a normal manicure so I can sometimes get away with leaving it for 3 weeks.
“When it comes to my kit I have a lot of stuff and I obviously don't want to take everything everywhere with me. So, I have different clear sachets from Mac for each colour scheme and then I often second guess what I need for each job. I always take the classics and then a selection of hot faves just in case!
I've also got colour co ordinated draws of it in my house which are replaced after each job if used. Welcome to my world!”
“My work means I travel quite a bit, so I end up spending a lot of time in airports and find that a great place to catch up with work and organise myself is in the departure lounges. More than anything I loathe being late to the airport, so I do my best to make sure I’m always early so that I can use the time before my flight to send emails, make phone calls and relax. I also keep all my appointments updated on my ipod and ipad, which are connected to everyone in my life so that I’m never double booked for a meeting.
“The nature of my work also makes it near impossible to pre-schedule workouts. In general though I’ll try to do 3 pilates classes a week at TenPilates, squeezing them in when I can - flexibility with my time is key - I’m more than happy to do a class at 8 o clock at night if necessary.”
“I always keep lists on my iPhone, I even theme them (home, work, to do, shopping etc). Otherwise I forget if I don’t do things straight away. I keep an online shopping list too, so that I don’t forget products I have run out of in my next shop.
"I find keeping milk and bread in the freezer essential, and I buy this great organic risotto packets; one of them; some frozen homemade stock and a jar of artichokes and you have a perfect impromptu supper anytime.”
"As well as my own three kids I also have four step kids, so planning ahead is absolutely crucial for me. To start I always take a look at both my written diary and my computer calendar to see what’s going on in the week ahead - mainly in terms of who’s in what night and whether I have to cook for just me and my husband or the kids as well. Once that’s sorted I then plan out the weeks menu - with seven mouths to feed I need to make sure I do a big food shop well ahead of time and I have a few family favourite recipes that I keep up my sleeve. As we’re super busy and travel quite a lot we try and eat pretty healthy most of the time, so my husband and I eat a lot of quinoa, fresh herbs and protein. We also eat a lot of sweet potato with feta as the kids love that too!
"It’s also really important that I take a look at my schedule at the beginning of the week so that I can arrange meetings and appointments with clients in between picking up and dropping of the kids, which can be pretty hectic. I try and schedule in some pilates classes when I can too as I think it’s really important to make sure you’ve got a strong healthy body when you’re rushing around a lot and picking up the little ones all day!"
“I’m the queen of the ‘to do’ list. Even my ‘to do’ list has a ‘to do’ list! Working full-time as a PR Director is challenging enough, add to that a 4-year who has just started pre-school and my husband’s brilliant idea to set up our own food-e-market place website, we’re currently working 20-hour days with very little respite, so I need lists and reminders to ensure I don’t miss anything. Every day takes some planning and preparation, I pack my daughter’s school bag the night before, I lay her clothes out ready for the morning and whilst my husband is cooking dinner, I’ll make lunches for the next day or persuade him to make enough for leftovers lunch! To be honest I couldn’t do anything without his support and vice versa.”
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