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A Day in the Life: Tim Bruffy

The April 2017 edition of Inc. magazine detailed A Day in the Life of eight entrepreneurs at the top of their game.  CHAMPS was curious; how do our members, themselves local entrepreneurs and business leaders at the top of their game, make it work?  Today our series continues with Tim Bruffy, owner and personal trainer at the Atlas Fitness DC.  Tim has cracked the code to living a healthy lifestyle, being a successful business owner, and finding dedicated time for his family.  Who doesn’t want that secret!  Here’s how Tim balances his day to day.  Check it out hour by hour.


Owner / Personal Trainer


4:30am-5am      Wake up and start the coffee. Walk and feed the dog. Drink coffee and watch a little news to stay current.

5am-5:30am      Shower, get dressed and get into the gym by 5:45am. I review previous days shift reports, client lead trackers, and give the space a walk through. Begin with first client/class by 6am.

6am-8am              Working with a client or instructing a class. This is where I try to slip in some nutrition or quick visit home to see my wife and kid before they leave for work and day care before I have to report to our school programming by 8:45/9am.

9am-10am           This is where I’m available to support our school programming and our team. After clean up I head back to the gym…

10:30am-1pm   I reserve this time to take meetings with staff, school administrators, advisors, banks, lawyers, etc… oh and hopefully its over food!

1pm-2pm              This is where I rest my mind and body with some meditations or a nap, sometimes I can’t quite distinguish which one I had. lol

2pm-4:30pm      This time I reserve for emails, any top priority assignments/projects, run personal or business errands, or when I dedicate time to my fitness. Fitness loses often.

4pm-4:45pm      The family usually gets home around this time so hopefully I get to see them before I head back in for my evening client/class schedule.

5pm-8pm             Working with a client or instructing a class.

8pm-8:15pm      Make sure support staff at the gym are good and I head home.

8:15pm-9pm      Eat and spend as much time with my kid and wife as possible.

9pm-10pm           Watch TV and hang with my wife.

10pm-10:15pm                  Address any high priority communications that I missed between 4:30pm and 10pm due to being on the go…this is as needed.

10:30pm               Try to be in bed no later than…to repeat it all again.

Fridays are the same up until about 2pm…and then it’s all family. I still reserve first thing Sat/Sun mornings, 6:30am-8:30am, to continue any necessary emails communications, any top priority assignments/projects, or when I dedicate time to my fitness. The rest of the weekend life and family happen until later Sunday PM and then I begin to get into beast mode again by reviewing my weekly assignments and plans or make any changes to scheduling.

The April 2017 edition of Inc. magazine detailed A Day in the Life of eight entrepreneurs at the top of their game.  CHAMPS was curious; how do our members, themselves local entrepreneurs and business leaders at the top of their game, make it work?  Today our series continues with Hannah Jacobson Blumenfeld, the c0-Executive Director at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW).  It’s a special someone who dedicates her work in life to the arts and education, and we wanted to know how Hannah balances her day to day.  Check it out hour by hour.

Hannah Jacobson Blumenfeld

Co-Executive Director
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

April 27, 2017


After browsing my phone mindlessly, getting caught in the instagram rabbit hole (I REALLY have to stop doing this before bed), head to sleep.






Do a super-quick, 2-3 minute yoga practice to kickstart my day and get my joints moving.  I’m a very big breakfast person.  I really function so much better when I’m able to cook, sit, eat, and really savor a nourishing start to the day.  I try not to read, have my computer out, or be distracted other things during breakfast time–in fact, I usually don’t even really talk to my husband.  That’s my me-time to set up for the day. Today, unfortunately, was not that day.  I made a big green smoothie with all the good toppings to throw in my bag, along with ingredients to assemble lunch, and rushed out for an early morning CHAMPS Board meeting in Eastern Market.



My commute is between 45 minutes and an hour depending on metro–even though I live and work in the city!  Unless it’s bad weather or I’m REALLY running late, I try to walk downtown from my apartment in Adams Morgan in the morning to take the metro, instead of taking the bus to the metro–it’s a great way to and get some fresh air and movement in early in the day.  I’m a big podcast and music person, and although I had been on a political podcast kick, I am honestly finding it unsustainable to surround myself with that early in the morning these days–so I often turn to lighter podcasts, like Serious Eats Special Sauce or Call Your Girlfriend, or just listen to some good, happy music.  I hop on the metro at Farragut West and use those 15 minutes to read a book or skim through the Politico Playbook–it’s just about the exact right amount of time to get through the whole thing and feel like I have a handle on the major political goings-on of the day.  As for books, I’ve been reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith recently, and am currently reading The People and the Books, by Adam Kirsch–recommended to me by my dad.



I got lucky with metro timing (and a little bit of jogging at the end, to be honest) and make it to my CHAMPS Board meeting just a few minutes late (I really hate being late, but with the amount of zigzagging I’m now doing around the city on a daily basis, it has unfortunately become more a part of my daily reality).



Stop by a sponsoring business on my way back to work, and then head down the street to CHAW.  I’ve been running around to meetings all week, so this is my first chance to really settle in and check in with staff.



Checking email, doing a bunch of small tasks that had fallen by the wayside due to meetings and some larger conversations throughout the week.  I use my emails as a kind of to-do list, so my >100 unread are daunting.  I try to tackle as many as possible in chunks of time like this one.  We get requests and ideas every day for partnerships, events, and more, and so many of them are worthy and valuable.  Keeping all the balls in the air requires some major google calendaring!  I am also currently living off of Boomerang, which brings old emails back to the top of the inbox to ping you–it’s a life saver.



Go for a walking meeting with my Marketing & Development Coordinator.  We had to postpone our weekly team meeting from earlier in the week, and since today was so beautiful, we took it outside.



Assemble lunch.  I always bring from home–I am an avid farmers’ market shopper and colleagues often poke fun at me for my “purse kale”–I am rarely without a garden of vegetables sprouting from my various bags!  I eat in front of my computer to keep up with emails.  I know this isn’t ideal, but that’s part of why I try to keep breakfast as more “sacred” time.  I like to knock out some of the easy but perhaps tedious work while I have something fun (read: delicious food) to do to keep me upbeat!



Work on event promotion for our Paint Bucket Campaign kickoff.  This is our largest fundraising campaign of the year, raising $70,000 in 70 days for tuition assistance–supporting our commitment to never turning a student away for inability to pay for an arts class.  We’ll be holding the kickoff in partnership with Dacha Beer Garden on May 2nd, so I’m boosting the event on Facebook to reach a different demographic and audience.


Work on event logistics and PR for our major event on June 10th, a 45th Birthday Bash and performance festival, which will include a fun run/walk around the Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal public art project.  We’re having 10 businesses as sponsors (one at each animal), so outreach is key.  I’m also working on other event sponsorships simultaneously.


I’ve recently moved my workspace (which is basically my laptop and me) down to the first floor to be more accessible to staff and aware of the goings-on in the building since becoming a Co-Executive Director.  Staff members poke their heads around to ask some questions, which is always so much easier than emailing or trying to call upstairs to my old workspace, which was in the old walk-in costume closet that I liked to call the Hobbit Attic (!! True story.  We try to keep absolutely as much of our building as possible free for the arts to thrive, and space is at a premium!)  My Co-Executive Director and I used to work right next to each other and are a bit more spread out now, but we’re basically in constant touch via text and email.  We also have different work-from-home schedules, and today was one of hers–so we did all of our work together virtually.  We touch base regularly throughout the day–so key for open communication, mutual support on projects, and working together effectively and efficiently.



Kids start coming in for the youth arts program, which is generally when I head out to work some more from home.  I tend to do most of my writing from home, when I have sustained projects, because when I’m at the office, I tend to get wrapped up in what we lovingly call the “CHAW Vortex.”  There is always so much going on that it can be hard to concentrate fully on just one thing–it’s great to be part of that energy, but less great for higher level writing.  In addition, I have a major lull in the afternoon in terms of productivity, so I am grateful that we have a human-centered and flexible work arrangement that allows me to do that.  Plus, it gets pretty raucous at that hour (as it should!!), so unless I have evening meetings, I take that time to commute–which is way nicer than trying to get home at rush hour–and it gives me a little space to re-energize at a time I need it most.  I check in with staff before I leave to make sure everyone has what they need from me and know where I’m going.



Today, I have a meeting with a board member at Peregrine, so I head over for an iced tea (I am big on tea) and score a table outside!  We’re discussing fundraising.



I head to the metro for the commute back up to NW.  I walk back from Farragut to Adams Morgan as a way to decompress from the day.  I usually use this time for personal phone calls with my parents or friends who work flexible hours–I live in a studio, so it’s nice to have some space to move while I have phone chats.



Hot Vinyasa Yoga!  I am a member of The Studio DC and love the community there.  I have met many of my closest friends and have really developed a strong affinity for this part of my day.  It’s super important for me to do yoga almost every day, when I am at all able.  I’ve been practicing for five years now, and it gives me a way to gain perspective, balance, and physical activity in a way that I find personally very nourishing, empowering, and thoughtful.  I’ll often go to a 5:15 class, which has the added benefit of maximizing a time of day that otherwise feels less productive for me, but when I’m on the late side, this one works.  Today was a planned late class with a friend, followed by dinner.



I head back to my place to put dinner together and eat on the roof with a friend.  I cook dinner just about every night.  I love being in the kitchen, and I grew up with dinner time as important family time.  My husband is currently out of town presenting at a conference, but when he’s home, we mostly sit at the table and try to really talk and catch up on our days.  He works from home, but even if we’re around each other for hours, we’re often not really present–dinner time is important for that!  Sometimes it’s just a couch-TV-dinner kind of night, however, and Silicon Valley is the show du jour.



My friend leaves, I grab a bunch (or two or three) of grapes and settle in to work.  It’s a little later than usual for me to get back to work, but it tends to balance out throughout the week.  I turn on the Great British Baking Show for some background white noise and work on the e-news blast.




The April 2017 edition of Inc. magazine detailed A Day in the Life of eight entrepreneurs at the top of their game.  CHAMPS was curious; how do our members, themselves local entrepreneurs and business leaders at the top of their game, make it work?  Here’s our first look behind the scenes with Holly Harper of Blue Bike Communications.  

Holly Harper

Freelance Writer / Small Business Marketing Consultant
Blue Bike Communications

One particular bit of research from the book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play when No One Has the Time, by local journalist and busy parent Brigid Schulte, has stuck with me since I had my daughter in 2012 – people who work part-time and/or from home and are caregivers are the most stressed of all of us.

Why? True multitasking, the constant changing of hats, tasks, and directions in a single day, is simply exhausting. When you have shorter, broken up periods of work and a larger share of personal and domestic commitments (and therefore you likely become the default parent because you’re “part time”), the intensity and pace of life dramatically increases.

Not that I’m complaining. My life is full, but I often compare my calendar to a game of Tetris.

So how do I keep my stress manageable, my home life sailing on calm waters, and my business thriving? Commitment to the calendar.

Between Google Calendar, Google docs, Asana, Harvest, Wave, and Calendly, I schedule everything (literally, everything…). My method: Stop procrastinating, do what’s on the list, no distractions, and be sure to schedule in some happy hours and some “absolutely nothing” blocks.


April 26, 2017


OMG! I’ve been asleep for more than 2 hours by 12am most nights.


Yes, this time for an alarm seems odd, but it’s exactly enough time for me to get up, get dressed, and get out the door in time for the…


Old City Crossfit class. The best thing about Crossfit: I don’t have to schedule anything except setting my alarm at 5:42am. For busy people, an instructor-led class allows me scratch “plan workout routine” off the to-do list. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for – more free time, hands-on coaching, strength and conditioning, and community.


Drive to Miner Elementary School, where my daughter is in PK4, and drop off bags and bags of treats for the big kids and teachers so they can get through these next two weeks of PARCC standardized testing.


Check email. I WON A PROPOSAL! Woot! Crap! … Jump in shower while thinking, “This is a big one – marketing and social media planning for a non-profit organization that may include travel and I have to be the expert. Deep breaths. I can do this.”


Kid awake, wrestle into uniform, braid hair, cereal, PBS kids, pack bookbag, supplies.


Walk to school (yes, I am aware that we are 15 minutes late, per usual). Hugs and love and hellos!


Organize the massive, growing pile of generous donations for the Miner PTO Community Yard Sale, Saturday, May 6 at 9am…(hint, hint). I’m the chair of the fundraiser, so come!  (Don’t worry these items have been sorted out).


Walk home to find a sick spouse-zombie walking around the house and the exasperated housekeeper wondering what to do with him. Seclude self in office with coffee and computer to work.


11:10am – 2:45pm

Phone on completely silent (not even vibrate). No distractions. In the zone. Focus on client work, as follows:

  • Email tete-a-tete
  • Social Media Management (Topic: USAF Air Show Event in NC) – 20 minutes
  • Brochure edits, round 4 (Topic: Fracking) – 3 minutes
  • Blogging (Topic: Sustainability Consulting) – 1 hour

[Check email and waste 15 minutes on social media. Refill coffee. Put in load of laundry.]

  • Copy Edits to Book Design (Topic: Bilingual Teen Math Book) – 30 minutes
  • Advertising Design and Promotional Material Design (Topic: Waterbeds for Dairy Cows) – 1.5 hours


Lunch break! Empty dishwasher. Reheat leftovers. Call Dad for a chat (I use mealtimes and driving times for quick check-ins with friends and family. Helps me stay connected to my global network and is efficient!)


Conference call with a new client! (Topic: Email content for a global food supplier to their restaurant customers).


It’s WEDNESDAY! It’s 25% off day at The Thrift! Since we’re renovating a Southern Maryland fixer-upper, and I still need a few things, I’d better run up there really quick. And make it a business trip by stopping at the bank to deposit some checks and pick up a few things at the CVS for the school yard sale.


Convince spouse to pick up the kiddo and take her to the park (mostly to get the dog walking done before dinner) while I drive home. Traffic! Ugh.


Cook dinner. It’s filet mignon tonight (Note: NOT normal. Just happened to be the only meat left in the freezer. Score!). Eat. Clean up. Bedtime routine for the tiny human.


Join friends for the premier of The Handmaid’s Tale. Dystopia. Popcorn. Summer bourbon drinks. Good conversation.


Come home. Settle in the basement for some catching up on email, the news, and Pinterest. Read my daily 10mins (it’s amazing how you can get back to reading full books and articles by setting aside just 10 minutes!). Confirm conference call for Friday (Topic: Blog posts for non-profit sector fundraising managers).


Brush teeth. Jammies. Set alarm for 5:42am. Sleep.