Professional singer, vocal coach, and YouTube star Freya Casey of Germany is also a single mom to a young daughter. She shares some of the systems she uses to manage it all–and some of the struggles she's faced–in this episode.
A Productive Life is Built on Personalized Systems–Do What Works for You
Freya was born in Germany and lives there now, but she spent about seven years in the United States when she did her vocal training. Performing, teaching, raising a young daughter, and building a business to support the two of them keep Freya busy and motivate her to make the best possible use of her time.
Freya’s life is full of many different moving parts. As a performing artist, she performs as a soloist and with orchestras all over Germany on the weekends. Since her daughter was born, she doesn’t travel as extensively for concerts as she once did. She's also a vocal coach–she teaches about twenty students in her home studio and also does online vocal coaching. She also has a YouTube channel, where she publishes three videos each week, plus a podcast where she provides vocal tips, and she's working on building her online business.
A Typical Day
As an early bird, Freya typically wakes up between 6 and 7 a.m. and tries to get as much done as she can before her daughter wakes up. She takes care of her dog, home tasks, and email first thing, before she needs to attend to her daughter. Once her daughter wakes up they have breakfast together, and Freya takes her to Kindergarten. While her daughter is at Kindergarten, Freya will teach students Monday through Wednesday, while on Thursday and Friday she creates content for her online platforms. She tries to batch her projects as much as she can, as setting up and taking down the equipment for her various projects can take up much of her time. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons she also teaches students.
As a single mother, Freya acknowledges that it can be difficult juggling it all. She recalls the days when her daughter was a baby and she had to care for her and the house all alone. She felt like her house, work, and life were a mess. She found a video on YouTube and saw another woman (Alejandra Costello) who had systems in place that helped her to live an organized life. Little by little, Freya set up her own systems to help her own life. She has also recognized that saying no is another “system” that helps her to stay focused on what matters in her life.
One way Freya is able to stay on top of things is through “outsourcing”–hiring help. She has an assistant who edits her videos and podcasts. She also now has an au pair who helps as a live-in nanny, providing up to 30 hours of childcare each week. She hopes that as her online business picks up, she can outsource more tasks.
While it can be difficult to be willing to outsource and ask for help, Freya has realized that her friends and neighbors actually want to help. Some of her neighbors enjoy watching her daughter, and her assistant goes above and beyond the tasks Freya gives him, because they are thankful for the opportunity. She's learned to accept help, and even to ask for it, recognizing that people often actually feel good about helping others. “I love it when people ask me for help,” Freya said. “It makes me feel important.” She acknowledges that other people often feel the same way.
Freya says that her biggest challenge is that she never has a schedule that remains the same. She travels for her work, which, as anyone who travels for their job knows, can make it hard to maintain a consistent routine and schedule. She has come to the conclusion that sometimes you'll just have to miss out and cancel some things to accommodate unexpected travel, and that generally people are understanding.
Freya also knows she needs to give herself grace and to build in time to take care of herself. She meditates or goes for a run whenever she can. This helps her brain to function better. She has to take care of her body and mind, or the “ship won’t sail anymore.” Especially as a musician, she needs her body to be in good condition.
Paper and pen are Freya’s favorite tools. She likes to able to write things down quickly. She does use Evernote to make audio recordings and she records her ideas there. If she's listening to a podcast and has an idea, she will pause the podcast and quickly record a voice memo in Evernote to capture her idea so she doesn’t forget it. She also sometimes sends an audio file to her assistant if she needs a transcript, etc.
Freya likes to write her appointments in her paper calendar. She uses a year-in-a-glance planner and she prints out a basic paper calendar and uses it as an insert in her planner. She also likes to do a brain dump on paper at night.
Freya highly recommends Alejandra Costello's YouTube channel about home organization, where you'll find a lot of great tutorials and tips.
What happens on a day you feel gets away from you?
When Freya gets the feeling, “I’m not going to make it,” she tries to put everything aside and go for a walk. This is a time where she unplugs and frees her brain. When she steps away from everything she realizes that the world will carry on, and her business will not die if she can’t get everything done exactly as planned. She says, “Things will continue without you being on top of everything all of the time.” By taking five steps back, she starts to feel less panicky and realizes that she can cross unnecessary things off of her list, or move them to another day or time.
Freya has learned to walk away and let her brain unwind by going to the forest near her home. Being in nature grounds her, and helps her understand how small her problems are, and how she should enjoy God’s beauty and understand that He’s in control.
What's on the horizon for Freya?
Freya is getting ready to launch another master class for singers. She's hoping to launch another singing program this year, and possibly a membership site. She would like to continue creating new content, connecting on social media, and helping others who need voice coaching.
On the personal side, Freya plans to keep renovating her home, and financially get on track to invest for the future.
Last Words on Making a Life That Matters
Freya says, “Take care of yourself first, and everything else second, because without you, nothing else will work.” She also recommends coming up with systems that will work for you.
Connect with Freya:
- On her Freya’s Singing Tips website (or her main website in German)
- On Facebook
- On Twitter
- On YouTube
- On her Freya's Singing Tips Podcast
More About Freya:
Freya Casey is a professional singer and vocal coach from Germany. She studied opera at Southern Methodist University and at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart in Germany, has performed lead roles in opera productions in the United States and Europe, and has been a performing artist on cruise ships all around the world.
Besides having a very active career on stage, she has a passion for helping other singers find the beauty in their voice. Freya has founded the “Musical Academy Tübingen,” which brings a music theater show onto stage each year, and she teaches private lessons in her studio as well as online.
With her tutorials on YouTube, she has reached tens of thousands of people and enjoys creating opportunities for ambitious singers to work with her. In her weekly podcast “Freya's Singing Tips,” she gives valuable advice for anyone who wants to learn how to use their voice in a healthy way for the rest of their lives.
Freya is also a composer and songwriter and has produced music for commercials, movies, and CD productions.
What do you think?
What systems do you use to stay on top of your commitments? Share your questions, suggestions, and ideas in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me!
Announcements & Reminders
- Spend time this spring with a group of motivated women like you, in one of my paid The Productive Woman Mastermind groups. If you’re looking for encouragement, motivation, and accountability in achieving your goals and moving forward in a life that matters, you'll find it there. TPW Mastermind groups are small, to allow maximum participation and benefit. New groups will start in early May, but the groups are being formed NOW, and spaces are limited, so don't wait–visit the Work with Me page on the website for information and a link to the short online application. Questions? Email me!
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