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decide to stay in south Georgia instead of moving to Atlanta?
Sarah: Both mine and my husband’s families are from Turner County. I’m married to my high-school sweetheart. He’s the reason I love ag because he was president of the FFA when I was in high school — he taught me how to show sheep. When I graduated college, we moved back to Ashburn [Georgia] on purpose because we loved south Georgia. We knew we were going to have kids one day and we needed the support of our families with both of us working and traveling.
Atlanta is so busy and we’ve been used to this lifestyle pretty much our whole lives, except for college, and the traffic is a little crazy. Here I have all the perks of small town life, plus if I need to be in Atlanta, I can be there in two hours and 15 minutes.
After 10 years in an office setting, what’s it been like adjusting to a home office?
When I started working from home, I said, “I’m going to get up every single day and get dressed as if I was going to be at an office.” That lasted about four months. It helps because I have a designated office in my house — there’s no television; the snacks are all downstairs, so it’s like I have to go and eat my lunch downstairs. And sometimes I get on a roll up here and work through lunch, so it’s nice to have that designated space.
I am the primary person who runs the kids to school in the morning. I have to put on … not pajamas, so that helps. I just feel like it jump-starts me to go ahead and have a shower in the morning even if I’m putting on jeans and something casual.
The struggle to adapting to working from home, on a personal level, has been kind of tricky because I have to make plans to see people. It’s not just seeing them in the kitchen and heating up my lunch, it’s a lot more planning.
effort for are really important to keep up a good network. Setting aside time for a one-on-one conversation is important. Keeping those relationships fresh and active is important not only in our industry, but with people I went to high school with, too. They’re working, they have kids, they’re juggling all the things; it’s nice to have a sanity check.
You mentioned your email calendar and planner. Why are these the tools that work best for you?
When I graduated high school, I was such a technology nerd [my now-husband] bought me a Palm Pilot for college. Like, syllabus day was my favorite day in college because I would go ahead and put in deadlines and tests. That’s a personality thing — some people cannot live by a calendar. But with technology, we all walk around with a smart phone in our hand at all times. I can be driving down the road and tell Siri, “call the car dealership and set up that appointment,” or “put that reminder on for Tuesday morning” and it’ll pop up and remind me.
I operate out of Outlook for work for my email system. That shows up on my native iPhone calendar, so that just works nicely. I also have a physical planner that I utilize because sometimes it’s nice just to have it in my hand. Once a week I’ll just double-check to make sure [an event] is in both places.
I use a planner that’s like a perpetual planner. So when the month goes by, I’ll stick the January tab in the back and add some more planner pages that have the week-at-a-time view. I always have a full 12 months.
How do you set boundaries between work and home, especially since they’re in the same place?
I utilize the “do not disturb” feature on my iPhone and I have all of my notifications turned off for emails. If somebody texts me for work it’ll still pop up, but honestly a lot of times when it’s time to sit down and eat supper, all the cell phones are not in the kitchen. Personal phones, work phones, they’re put away because we only have a few hours at night.
drive themselves one day. If you’re fortunate like I am to have a mother and mother-in-law and sister to help fill in the gaps, that’s great. If not, have a reliable babysitter or friend. The kids need a break from us as well, and that alleviates that.
Women, especially women that work from home and are juggling all the things, just need to remind themselves to give themselves some grace. You really only have 100 percent of yourself, so unless you quit your job and not have a partner … you do have to balance it. So don’t hold yourself to an impossible standard. The same thing with maintaining friendships and if you’re in a religion. Just know what’s important, and make sure you’re giving what you want to it, but not letting it run you over.
The #LeadingLadies series highlights women entrepreneurs and women who are outstanding in their fields. Have someone you’d like to see here on a future Wednesday? Shoot me a message, pretty please! Read past #LeadingLadies posts here.