Tiffany is the co-founder and CEO of The Stoke Fam, a blog about family adventures and travel, where she is responsible for content creation and growing the business.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Funny enough, my current role is not at all what I went to school for. I actually have a degree as a Registered Nurse and am still licensed. For now, I keep up my practice hours primarily through volunteering.
Over the years, I’ve worked everywhere from oncology to post-op care. I actually spent several years as a charge nurse on a busy Medical-Surgical floor, which gave me valuable experience leading a team. I hope this will come in handy as we continue to grow at The Stoke Fam.
There has always been a desire in the back of my mind to start an online blog and business. In fact, at one point several years ago, I even bought a domain and then backed out because the technical piece seemed too overwhelming at the time.
A couple of years later, we found ourselves on a mini-farm and began documenting that on a simple Blogspot blog. Then, a while later, my husband had a job offer that allowed me to stay home and spend more time focusing on homeschooling our kids, but it required us to leave our mini-farm.
We had been working towards the goal of more time freedom for travel and family adventures, so, even though we had to move, it was the perfect fit at the right time.
Then, a little over a year ago, we decided to revisit the idea of the blog. Obviously, it’s an idea that had been mulling for several years, and it was finally the right time to give it a go. We settled on our current topics – family travel, adventure, and homeschool, and got to work.
We established the business, built the blog, and hit the pavement running. Currently, my husband and I run the blog together, but due to his schedule in healthcare, I take on the primary roles of CEO and Content Creator. My role is to create content, grow the business, and, most importantly, help other families as they work to adventure more and stress less.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Truth be told because I work from home, and we also homeschool, each day varies. In normal times, our schedule includes one day a week where I drop the kids at an outdoor school and another day at co-op classes. Our current schedule looks a little different due to COVID-19, but our overall routine has stayed mostly the same.
Over the last several years, one thing that we have found is that sticking to a routine over a regimented schedule is most effective for us. Thankfully, my kids are no longer super early risers, so a typical day for us starts between 7-8 am.
I will get up, workout, start coffee, and shower while my boys (8 and 10) work through their morning routine as well. Next, up is a couple of hours dedicated to helping them with school. Occasionally, if they have something they can work on independently, I will utilize that time to respond to emails and messages. However, I save the larger chunks of work for the afternoon.
After lunch, the boys spend time on chores and reading before they move into free time, which allows me a few hours of dedicated time to work on the blog before moving into the evening routine after my husband comes home.
If I’m working on a post or project that needs a little extra attention, I may work through dinner while he takes over or for a while after they are in bed. That said, one of the most important things for my sanity is being able to have downtime at the end of the day with my husband, so I do my best to protect those hours.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes! That is my favorite thing about it. It allows me to flex my hours around the needs of my family.
If we have an important event during the day, I can shift my schedule to work in the evening. I can write ahead when we are going to be out of town and schedule out social media posts.
Or, I can choose to work some while we are gone as well. I was even able to write a blog post during our most recent road trip while my husband was driving then I packed away the computer for the rest of the trip, guilt-free!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To some degree, I feel as though there is never going to be a “perfect” balance, especially when you add kids and a growing business in the mix. There are some days that are bound to feel overwhelming.
I find that being able to control my schedule and get out and do the things we love (like snowboarding, hiking, and traveling) on a regular basis is key to feeling balanced.
But, at the end of the day, I think what it boils down to the most for me is peace. If I can be at peace with how I spent my time each day, then I take that as a win. If I finish a day thinking that my business, my family, or myself didn’t get the attention they deserved, then I need to take a moment to reevaluate and do things differently the next day.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
Organization! I’m a total checklist and calendar nerd, and I feel lost without a plan. I love online checklists and tools for keeping the high-level tasks I need to do organized, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty list for each day, I need paper.
Having a paper calendar or notebook to write down each task I need to do and physically checking them off is incredibly motivating for me.
Outside of staying organized and on task, I think one of the best habits I have developed is making time for physical activity – whether it’s a workout at home, hiking with the family, or snowboarding. I can think more clearly, stay more focused, and feel better after I’ve gotten in a good workout, even more so if it was outdoors.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
There are so many!
I have to say that Danielle LaPorte’s books have helped me to re-examine what I actually wanted out of life. Her brutally honest kick in the seat is exactly what I need sometimes.
Dan Siegel is fantastic for learning about how our brains work, especially concerning parenting and our kids.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah made me examine what lengths I would be willing to go to do the right thing.
And, Wild by Cheryl Strayed had me pondering my own persistence and whether I could push through when things feel almost insurmountable.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I start with a top 3 List each day. On this list, I place the 3 tasks that will make me feel as though the day was a success – even if nothing else gets done. Then, my goal is to complete those tasks before moving on to other items on my to-do list.
In addition, I also write down a task that is tied to one of our long term goals. This goal is often a smaller piece of a larger task that will help us as we are growing our traffic, increasing awareness, and building our brand.
Breaking these larger goals down into smaller tasks and working on them one at a time keeps me moving towards our long term goals without feeling overwhelmed.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I especially love hearing how moms who are also entrepreneurs balance it all. So, I would love to get a sneak peek into the minds of strong women such as Chalene Johnson and Jessica Rey.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It’s okay if you feel like you don’t have it all together every day. Those who say they do are lying.
There are going to be hard days, hard weeks, and hard months – in business and life. Work relentlessly towards your goals, and celebrate them when you accomplish them. But, do NOT feel guilty about saying no when you need to prioritize another area of your life.
Ultimately, it’s about being at peace with your decisions at the end of the day, and YOU are in charge.
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