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Voice Over Mamas: How To Organize
& Balance Time For Work & Family

December 18, 2013

By Heather Costa
Voice Talent
"You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift, breathe and notice, smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today, Mama, it will be over before you know it.” – Jen Hatmaker
As working mothers, we are constantly trying to find the balance between raising happy, well-rounded children and having a career that we’re passionate about, and that is worth taking the time away from our kids.

It is impossible to always have the best of both worlds 100% of the time. However, it IS possible to find that balance and to not sacrifice either. 

The first step in creating this idyllic scenario is to step back and understand your personality, work style, priorities and limitations, as well as your children’s.


There isn’t a perfect solution that works for every mom, but there are plenty of things you can try until you find something that fits!

As you try these different styles of juggling, know that your children will love you, even if you drop a few balls from time to time.

Before giving you my "solution” to this never ending dilemma, I just want to say that I do not have it all figured out. There are days when I’m at my wit's end, stressed with finding that balance and feeling guilty for not accomplishing everything or "choosing work over the kids.”

However, most often, surprisingly, I feel in control of my time and am genuinely happy. So this may not be perfect – but it feels pretty close.


There are three programs I use to accomplish this seemingly daunting task of staying organized.

Google Calendar. I use this for our everyday schedule (color coded for different categories of activities), with events for that day up top (scheduled as "all day”) and time-specific activities in their appropriate spots.

Evernote. I use this app to keep track of things with my voice over stand-up partner, Kelley Huston. We meet for 15 minutes every morning Monday-Thursday and 30 minutes on Friday, for a more extensive "parking-lot discussion.”

We discuss what we’ve done yesterday, what we’re planning to do today, what we’re planning for tomorrow - and what, if anything, is standing in our way.

Then we figure out a way to work around it. It’s amazing how having someone to hold you accountable really adds to your productivity and your feeling of accomplishment when you reach your goals!

Stickies. I use this app for my actual schedule each day. I love this program because I have it set up as a small vertical window on the side of my screen so I can see it when I have other things open. I color code this as well, to make it easy to see.

If an activity is something that takes me out of the house, I make it bold, so it catches my eye.

Now obviously, things come up - auditions, the baby doesn’t nap that day, a last minute meeting, etc. When that happens, I simply adjust the schedule and continue on. The more specific I can be in my daily schedule, the more likely I am to complete the tasks.

If it’s too general, there’s a greater risk that it’s not going to get done.

Once I’ve accomplished the task, I italicize so I can visually see things as they’re being completed.

You’d be surprised how "checking” something off your to-do list mentally prepares you to move on to the next task.


There are general VO tasks that I designate for each day. This gives me an overview of what I’ll be putting my focus on, in addition to auditions that come in, jobs that I book, etc. – the unknownS that we always have to happily plan for.

is the day I work on research. This is when I research new companies that I want to contact for potential work.

Tuesday is the day I contact prospective clients. On this day I send out emails, phone calls or postcards to the new companies I’ve researched and I introduce myself.

is the day I spend following up. I’ll reach out to prospective clients I’ve previously contacted (after an appropriate amount of time has passed). I may also touch base with prospective clients I’ve been in communication with, just to say hi, as well as current clients to remind them that I’m here.

is my writing day. This may be a blog article, a newsletter, a marketing campaign or a press release.

Friday is my invoicing day. On Fridays I spend time invoicing my clients, as well as following up on overdue payments. When time allows, I also use this day to update my VO budget, year-to date income and business expenses.

Weekends I like to reserve for family time and very little work. However, I will take a couple of hours and prepare for my upcoming week. This is incredibly important for my success and to keep me stress-free. This includes scheduling weekly tweets, planning my kid’s activities for the week and creating an outline of the goals I need to reach by the end of that week.


Every day my schedule is different - and that’s the fun of it!

It all depends on my workload, my kid’s schedules and what I’m in the mood for.

Sometimes I start my day at 5 a.m. and end shortly after the kids go down, while other days I start just before they get up and work until 11 p.m. I’m not spending all of that time working, I’m spending that time enjoying a balanced life of work, family and me time (something you mustn’t forget!).


I find it’s best to work backwards in goal setting.

Once I’ve determined what I need to accomplish, I plan the steps from the end date to present day in order to make that happen.

Voice over talent and fellow Voxy Lady Lauren McCullough taught me that it’s not just about setting goals, but setting SMART goals. If your goals aren’t attainable, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

During the weekdays, I try to schedule a 15-minute activity with my 2 year old, then 30 minutes of work time, then back to my 2 year old, and so on.

The blocks of uninterrupted time are before the kids wake up in the morning, during nap time and once they go to bed. If my 5 year old is home early, or not in school that day, then I try to plan everything around him.


Even if you think you have these magical powers and can accomplish everything in a day without breaking a sweat (ha, yeah right…), it’s OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP.

You have to be okay with realizing you can’t do everything, all the time, by yourself. That’s where you need to prioritize your strengths and the things that are important to you.

Outsourcing is a wonderful thing (I am still learning this myself!).

You should be spending your time doing what makes you the happiest and where you are the most successful using your skills. You’re a voice talent, not an accountant - so hire an accountant. If your strength isn’t in editing, outsource that too (Karen Souer is definitely someone to keep at the top of your list.)


Always keep your eye on the things that matter most to you with a focus on what YOU excel at.

As a VO mom, you need to have a support system in place. I have a handful of people that I love and trust who I can reach out to when I need assistance with childcare.

Fortunately I am able to work most VO gigs and auditions around the kids, but when a VO comes in that needs to take priority, I already have everything in place to make it happen without missing out on the job or feeling like I’m letting my kids down.


Now you’re either thinking, WOW that’s awesome, I can’t wait to do that, too. OR, holy cow, this woman is nuts - I couldn’t imagine having such a rigid schedule.

Like I said, you have to do what works for you. This definitely works for me.

One thing I can say though, is the schedule I create the night before almost never stays completely as scheduled once the day begins - and that’s okay! I adjust the times and activities as needed. By having this outline sketched out in advance, my day goes so much smoother.

Happy voicing, Mama!
Heather Costa is a full-time voice over talent and a member of the Voxy Ladies. Her voice over credits include Finish Line, Clear Channel, PetSmart, Chase Banking Corporation, Comcast, Prentice Hall, Carrier, the Educational Testing Service, the Village Voice and eBay


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Comments (3)
Alina Medina
12/18/2013 at 11:56 PM
How encouraging to see a mom with little ones successfully running a VO career! I have a 10-month-old and I thought I'd have to wait a few more years to get started with my business. Your tips have shown me that maybe it's possible I can get started sooner. :)

And congrats, Jessica on twins!! What a blessing! :D
Jessica Fields
12/18/2013 at 1:18 PM
Great article! As a full-time voice actor with twins on the way in April, I've been putting a lot of thought into this balance. Great tips - I'll have to bookmark this one. :). Thanks a ton!
Jessica :)
Randye Kaye
12/18/2013 at 8:10 AM
Heather, this is awesome ! Helpful, honest, detailed, and so relatable . My kids are grown - well, chronologically:)- and the work/family balance never ends, it just evolves. So worth it! As we grow both our families and our businesses, these tips are priceless. Thanks!
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