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A Day in the Life of a Designer

Modern transitional kitchen by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.
Design: Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo: French Blue Photography

Ever been curious to see what we designers do on a day to day basis? I am very much a creature of habit and while my days may look pretty similar in this current season of life, as we all know, when life hands you curveballs and we swerve or pivot as needed. We all have our daily routines whether structured or full of freedom, but I really share this to say that if you're a busy parent or can't sleep as much as you want to, you are not alone. I will meet you any day in the kitchen for coffee in the wee hours of the morning before anyone else can ask you for anything. Ha!

Have a sneak peek into my day below!

4:10 AM

You may not know, but I don't sleep much. I think I permanently stopped sleeping normally after my third baby refused for YEARS to sleep through the night. He'd go to sleep then a few hours later, he'd wake up and literally JUMP up and down, having the best time in his crib. While he was happy, he was LOUD which didn't allow us, really ME, to get in quality or really any reasonable amount of sleep. He starts high school in the fall, so try and do that math...#killingmeslowly

Strange fun fact: I NEVER have to use an alarm clock. I wake up most days anywhere between 2:00-4:00 AM, but usually make myself stay in bed until 4:10. Why the rando 4:10 you wonder? My coffee pot is set to brew at 4:00, so once I'm up I head straight for the kitchen and grab a cup...or two.

4:15-5:00 AM

For my morning ritual always begins with coffee and reading. I read my Bible first to center myself. Now I know some of you may be ready to click away but here's the thing. You do you, I'll do me. Personally for me it helps me start the day in a positive mindset, and set my intentions to be a light in the world. I look at daily affirmations before I check in with some local news and weather. I forward any "good news" stories to myself to post later on my facebook page because it makes me happy to see those types of stories and I figure passing the story along might help someone who's out there looking for goodness like me. As the clock ticks towards five I'll take a peek at emails to see what's come through overnight. I might answer a few if I can respond with enough time before leaving to exercise.

5:30-6:30 AM

I change clothes, and depending on the day, I do either an hour of Pilates, go for a run, or do a brisk walk around the neighborhood with a dear friend. I started exercising pre-sunrise when my twins were tiny. It was the only time I could make it work to take care of them AND myself. Even if I could sleep in now, I still think I would make the choice to get up to exercise. I like to get up and get it DONE. Plus we're in the dark and nobody can see me look like hell-0 pete. ha! I may whinge about going but I ALWAYS feel better when I do.

6:45 AM

Back home, I wake the kids up, take a quick shower, make lunches, tidy up, whatever needs doing in order to get everybody out the door for carpool!

Modern traditional dining room by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.
Design: Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo: Madeline Harper Photography

8:00-12:00 PM

By 8:30, I've usually scarfed down breakfast and am in the office and at my desk. I try to time block throughout my days and week by type of work - client meetings, creative design, marketing, networking, business/personal development. We have days where we never leave the office and days where we never make it in to the varies according to client schedules, project deadlines, and installations. That said, we tend to schedule any kind of meetings with vendors, site meetings, or repeat client meetings for the morning hours. Doing all of our running around in the morning is best with traffic too! I personally prefer morning installations as well but those vary according to project size. If we're not out and about, we're knee deep in design work.

12:00-3:30 PM

We're usually back in the office around noon and can grab a bite before sitting down to focus. Afternoons are great for behind the scenes work like marketing, financials, order fulfillment, project management, and of course, creative design time...what we LOVE to do around here.

3:45 PM

I have a hard stop most days at 3:45 every day for carpool. Once we're all back home, we snack, decompress and then my guys dive into their respective homework. The house gets quiet again, so I usually head into my home office to catch up on emails and finish up any loose ends I was working on earlier in the day. I also try to make a plan for the next day to wind down my brain. My goal is always a hard stop by five for family time.

6:30 PM

A great thing about where I am in life right now is that my kids do more cooking than I do. When they were littles, we'd come home from preschool and watch the Food Network (Ina Garten to be specific) mainly for me to get dinner inspiration but they would all watch, mesmerized. Over the past few years, they started helping out when I would work late...first a little, now a lot. It didn't hurt that they're all Boy Scouts where cooking is a requirement! It's definitely a life skill they needed to learn and I admitted would joke that they should do it more often but honestly they all love to cook now and they make fantastic meals. Last night was stuffed shells with HANDMADE pasta and tomato sauce from scratch. I'm one lucky mom and I know it! Once dinner is made, we all sit down together to eat and catch up on one another's day.

Nancy of Nancy Lane Interiors    | Photo by Madeline Harper Photography

8:00 -10:00 PM

We all love a good funny TV show, so we'll watch something together on the sofa after dinner if homework allows. Right now they're on a Seinfeld kick so we're watching every episode of the old tv show in order. I'll watch for as long as I can but I usually exit early so that I can pass out by 10:00pm. If I can get four or five hours of sleep straight, I call it a good night's rest. It rarely happens but its a goal for sure. It's really rest, rally, then repeat.

As much I'd love to get more sleep, I have to tell you there's something magical in the early morning in a quiet house while everyone else is sleeping. Some of you out there probably feel that same sentiment. In case you're trying to find a way to pack in exercise or a little alone time, you might consider waking up a little bit earlier. For me it just worked out that way naturally but I consider my early rising a big help in my juggling and building my business with a hustle and bustle family. Any questions or comments, leave them below in the chat box and I'll be happy to circle back.


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