Be inspired by these stories of strength
I have been known to be a great multitasker… to the point that a former employer actually gave me 12 out of 10 on multitasking in a review and listed that as one of my biggest assets! Multitasking seems to be a necessity and a sign of the time. Mompreneurs especially need to be efficient multitaskers. But there are times to multitask and times when that is not the best or most efficient idea.
Yesterday I was making lunch for my mom and myself. Since it was a dark, dreary, and damp day I thought grilled cheese sandwiches and soup would be perfect! Now, I have made grilled cheese sandwiches many times. Through trial and error I have discovered how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. You know, the kind that is perfectly golden brown and buttery on the outside and the perfect amount of gooey melted American cheese on the inside? I know my stove, I know exactly what temperature to set it to, what pan and what lid to use, and how much time on each side (2 minutes 45 seconds on the 1st side, 1 minute 15 seconds on the 2nd). I KNOW all this… yet I keep screwing up the darn grilled cheese sandwiches! The reason why is… grilled cheese sandwiches need to be watched, yet since I am prone to multitasking I am not paying enough attention. I figure… Hey! I have 2 minutes and 45 seconds I’ll just reply to that email really quickly or I’ll just do these few dishes while I wait. But EVERY TIME I do something else, even if I set a timer, the sandwich burns on one side or the other! However, if I stay and watch it… I can see then the edges of the butter has melted on the upper side and know it is time to flip it or I can see more steam coming from the bottom and know it will soon start to get too dark and I better flip it. When I DON’T multitask while cooking a grilled cheese sandwich… I tend to get the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. If I DO multitask at all… I get either a burnt sandwich or an “almost” perfect sandwich, but not quite.
The moral of the story is… use multitasking carefully. There are some tasks that allow it and others that don’t. You will know when multitasking isn’t working… when you aren’t getting anything finished or you burn the sandwich so to speak! Some tasks need your full attention! For example, a phone call with a client. FULL ATTENTION!! They will know if you are checking email or not fully paying attention and it will hurt your credibility or even the relationship… they won’t feel important. Scheduling time for different tasks can help you stay focused. For example, you can schedule yourself to do your social media scheduling on Mondays from 9 am to 10 am or you can schedule your bookkeeping tasks for Friday at 1 PM. Then when you think of those tasks at another time, you can say to yourself, “I don’t have to worry about that now… it is scheduled for Friday at 1pm”. Planning your schedule by including tasks can lead to feeling more in control of your schedule. If you need help with this let’s chat! I can show you how I can help!
Now go make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich… You know you want to.
In part 1 of this 3 part series there were 6 tips all about planning your work!
Click here to see Part 1: Planning: There is something to be said for a routine!
And without further Ado… Part 2!
Productivity: How to Make Work Time More Productive!
Tip #7 – Figure out if you are an Early Bird or a Night Owl! Get up an hour or 2 early or stay up an hour or 2 late! Make that time work for you. I am a Night owl… the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn makes me shutter! BUT I can be super productive late at night! Schedule work time in where you can be productive while the rest of the house is asleep. Either early or late! YOU choose! If you are a night owl be very careful to not work so late that you don’t get enough rest!
Tip #8 – Dress the part! I’m not saying wear a business suit around your house all day! However, PJ’s won’t make you productive… just comfy and most likely tired! Dress for successful productivity! Well at least for a pop in visitor or a quick errand! Get up, get dressed, put on your “face” and be ready to take on the day! I’ll be writing a blog post ALL about this in the upcoming days to be sure to check it out!
Tip #9 – Have a defined work space! It’s nice to be able to have the flexibility to work in the kitchen, on the couch, in bed, etc. But you will be MORE productive when you have a set place to work. It is not always realistic to have a dedicated room with a door to close… but you should carve out some space for your “office”. This is helpful (especially with younger children) to set clear guidelines and signals for your kids so they know when they need to be quiet or when you are working and cannot be interrupted. My kids know a hand signal that lets them know I am on a conference call and they cannot make noise. Make a List of Do’s & Don’ts during Mommy’s work time and share it with your kids. Maybe let them make up the signal if they come in the room and you need to let them know you are on a call. I am blessed to be able to have a dedicated office in my home, however I do not have a door. So hand signals come in handy and my kids “get it”. You will want to make sure you have systems in place so you CAN work around the house if needed. A laptop, a wireless connection, a cordless phone, and a wireless printer are all helpful in keeping going if you need to be relocated around the house.
Tip #10 – Put your kids to work for you! My 9 year old LOVES this and now my 7 year old is getting intrigued! Find small things they can do… put stamps or address labels on mailing, filling product orders, filing paperwork, stamping your info on your brochures or labeling your products, etc. Let them watch you work or set up a table in your office as their “desk” and give them small tasks to do. As they get older you can negotiate payment if you feel that is appropriate. If your kids are like mine they love to “help”.
Tip #11 – Plan special “Independent Time” Avoid the “We’re Bored!” dilemma with planned activities they can only do while you are working on something where you cannot be interrupted (unless, of course, it is a true emergency!). Find age appropriate things your children can do on their own independently. This can be educational, crafty or just plain fun! Find learning game websites, stock up on some craft kits from the local craft store, have a stack of printable pages with puzzles or coloring from online. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to pay attention to the amount of time you allot… younger kids can’t do 60 or 90 minutes, but maybe older kids can! If you need a larger chunk of time… plan something special (no more than once or twice a week to keep it special!) Find a movie/DVD and serve a “special snack”. Note: don’t plan for things that they could need your help or that they need to be supervised. These should be items they can do on their own, feel accomplished and grow! BONUS TIP: You know your kids… are they a morning, afternoon or evening kid? When do they thrive, when do they have their meltdowns. When do they need you? Look for their pattern and plan accordingly.
Tip #12 – Get your home and office organized! If your office and home are cluttered you are wasting time. PERIOD! Take the time to create systems and de-clutter! You should have systems in place to help keep your household and office running smoothly. There are all kinds of organization ideas and checklists online. If organization is not your thing…ask for help! This is something worth spending some time on to help increase productivity in the long run. I have a blog post about quick clean up tips in the works so be sure to check back for that one!
Tip #13 – Don’t be a slave to the Phone or e-mail! When the phone rings you DON’T have to answer it. That was one of the most freeing changes I ever made in my life! Of course if you are expecting an important business call be ready to answer. Use your Caller ID… you have voicemail or an answering machine… they can leave a message and you CAN call them back when it is a more appropriate time for you and your family. There are very few business emergencies that can’t wait for a better time to be handled when you are more plugged in and ready to handle the call. Same goes for e-mail… DON’T get caught up in constantly checking your e-mail. Turn off that little sound that chimes when a new message comes in. Have a system for when and how you will check your voicemail and e-mail messages. If you know when you will do it you are not constantly thinking about it wasting productive brain space. Bonus Tip! If you have a business line in your home… teach your kids to NOT answer the phone. It is much more professional for the machine to answer than a cute 5 year old. When your kids are old enough… teach them to use the caller ID… if it is their friend they can answer away. If they don’t recognize the number they should let it go to the machine. Bonus tip 2! Take the time to teach your children phone etiquette. Teach them how to answer, how to leave a message and how to ask to speak to someone. This skill will go a LONG way in life!
So there you have it! Do you have any Productivity tips to Share? Post them in the Comments below! Stay tuned for Part 3 Coming Soon!
It’s summer! YEAH! Oh wait… what do I do with the kids when I am supposed to be working from home?? Yes, working from home gives us much needed flexibility, however flexibility is very different than NOT working at all. So I’ve compiled some tips on how to get your work done and still maintain that much needed time with your bundles of joy! I’ve categorized the tips into a 3 part series called The 3 “P’s” – Planning, Productivity and Priorities! The list looks long, however not all tips will work for all work-at-home moms (and dads). So browse through them and try some that look appealing. You can always come back to try more and more until you find the perfect combination for YOUR family! Better yet.. why not let me coach you through it? Ok… Let’s get to part 1 of the list!
Planning: There is something to be said for a routine!
Tip #1 – Plan, Schedule and Plan some more! You are going to need to make a plan, a schedule and get a little creative! Write a list of ALL tasks – work related, kids related, home maintenance related, fun related, etc. Start filling in a Weekly Plan Sheet (see below) or Make recurring appointments on a digital calendar like Google Calendar or even get a large paper or white board calendar you can fill in and post in the kitchen or some common area where everyone can see it. While you will need to be flexible you need to make the schedule and routine a priority.
Once you have a plan and a schedule you must be prepared to revise it… and often! As the seasons change and as your child(ren) grow, their needs will change. There are pros and cons to every age! For example… many infants nap! Instant productivity time! Elementary age children (like my 7 & 9 year olds) usually “need you” but on a different level. And Tweens and Teens… well your main goal is to keep them out of trouble! Kids of all ages thrive on a schedule with routine. Even during the summer you’ll find more peace when you have a schedule even if it is loose. The Key is… the kids need to “know” the routine (and so do you!).
Tip #2 – Sitters, Play dates and Summer camp Oh My! An hour or 2 of dedicated think/work time can be priceless! Don’t be afraid to hire a sitter or find a way to have a few hours of kid free time each day. Find out what summer camps are available in your area or schedule play dates for your kids a few times a week. A less expensive alternative to a baby sitter is to consider hiring a Mommy’s Helper… A Mommy’s Helper is usually a child not yet old enough to babysit on their own but are more than able to help entertain the kids and do light tasks around the house. This opportunity can help them to feel accomplished and get their feet wet before they are ready to babysit without a grown up in the building. The caution here is be careful not to hire a mommy’s helper that needs too much of YOUR help! You can also trade sitter time with other moms & dads that work from home. Don’t be afraid to pick the brains of others in the same position as you are.
Tip #3 – Three Words that can change your family life = Weekly Family Meeting. – We stumbled across this idea a few years ago and it has made ALL the difference. What is a family meeting? Well once per week we sit down as a family (you could sit at the kitchen table or get comfy on the couch or floor) and have a meeting. There is an agenda and everyone participates. We start with each sharing something we are thankful for or excited about. We next go around with concerns or something we need help with. Then we go over the schedule for the upcoming week. We find conflicts or where we need to make adjustments, and figure out who is driving who to where so that everyone is on the same page before the week starts… We wrap up with assigning tasks and going over the chore charts followed by everyone sharing what they are looking forward to most! IMPORTANT: Let the kids have input! This should be a conversation! Kids support what they help create! My kids get excited for family meeting night. Now when I say “week” it’s the “family week” so if your meeting is on a Wednesday your week goes from Thursday to Wednesday. J Give it a try! It is amazing!
Tip #4 – Make Meal Time a Priority! Family meal time is important! Sitting around the table and sharing a meal is quality time at its finest. I am blessed to have worked our schedule out so that all the family sits together for 2 meals a day (in the summer 3 meals from time to time!) In the summer when you make lunch important, sit together at the table and reconnect it gives you the chance to reset for the day. Talk about how the morning went and review what they can expect for the rest of the day. Take the time to connect and for the kids to feel important. You’ll be shocked at what a 30 minute connection over a meal can do for the rest of your day! Tell them about the 2:00 call you cannot be interrupted during and what they will be doing at that time. Dangle the carrot of the next Mommy/Child time planned for the day. We all do better with something to look forward to!
Tip #5 – Plan your meals like you plan your day! Have a meal schedule… no more guessing what’s for dinner! Planning meals save both TIME and MONEY! You can go to the grocery store once per week (or even less often!) Or better yet… make the list and have someone else go for you! You know what is for dinner so you can take things out to thaw in the morning. You can plan cooking time with the kids! In our family when we don’t plan we often end up eating out or getting take out… that cost much more money and is often less healthy.
Tip #6 – Multi-Task with Care! It’s a fact that moms have to multi-task… but you have to learn to be an effective multi-tasker. If you are doing 100 things and not doing ANY of them well what is the point? Learn your limits and if things are getting crazy take a breath and prioritize.
Do you have any Planning tips to Share? Post them in the Comments below!
Stay tuned for Part 2 Coming Soon! Part 2 – Productivity: How to Make Work Time More Productive!
Our mind is powerful… Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Similarly Mary Kay Ash said,” If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
This past weekend I was out running and some guy in a maroon car yelled something No-so-nice to me out his car window as he drove by. In the moment it REALLY hurt my feelings. But in the moment I didn’t understand why. I walked the final mile home, choking back tears and letting some flow. I walked in my door, sat down at my computer and wrote this Facebook post:
“To the A-hole who yelled “get moving Fat Ass” to me at mile three of my four mile jaunts… if your intention was to hurt my feelings… you succeeded, BUT only for a moment. Yes, I choked back tears for the rest of my run. I am aware I am painfully slow and I realize I am fat… thanks for the news flash. However, I refuse to give you my power or my confidence. I will be back out there tomorrow and the day after… running at MY pace FAT ASS and all! At least I am OUT THERE! I suspect that if you EVER ran a mile that you didn’t HAVE to you’d have more RESPECT than to yell something like that. Now back to paying attention to people that I care about and that MATTER.”
That post got 19 Likes and 39 comments – all supporting me and bashing that moron for being rude. Thanks Guys! **Blush**
Even though the purpose of me posting that in my mind was to get it out and move on, instead I found myself harping on his words and how crushed I felt in that moment. While I ran today (the exact same route) I continued to process this… At about the same place in the workout that the guy in the maroon car had yelled out at me, I had a new epiphany! I realized that his words were so hurtful to me that day because he was reinforcing what I was telling MYSELF that entire run prior to passing him in his maroon car. My “self-talk” that day was not kind. I was beating myself up for gaining weight, for letting myself fall out of shape after completing a half marathon in October of 2011, for being “painfully” slow, for my clothes being tight, etc. etc. etc. If I had heard anyone speaking to someone the way I was talking to myself in my mind I would have told them how rude and disrespectful they are!
Yes, today I ran the same route, however the “self-talk” was different. I ran the 4.21 Miles in the exact same amount of time, on the exact same roads, in the exact same direction, but this time I felt lighter and enjoyed the run MUCH more. I reminded myself where I came from. I took the time to look around, enjoy the buds on the trees and the sunshine on my face. I listened to my favorite band (Bon Jovi) and sang along in my head. When my legs hurt I said to myself, “you got this! Just go to that tree up there” I sort of made a game out of it. It was the same course but it felt completely different!
What do you say to yourself? Are you getting in your own way? I think we sabotage ourselves much more than we realize.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. ~ Buddha”
We should be paying attention, because what we say to ourselves has a direct impact on our success – or failure. Controlling our self-talk takes practice and discipline. Even when we think we are doing well… that little voice of doubt sneaks in when we least expect it to. The negative talk slowly takes over and becomes our new, unwanted mantra. Before we can eliminate the negative self-talk we must first be aware of it!
The most common form of negative self- talk is “I Can’t” I challenge you to pay attention to when you speak or think the words “I can’t” and then ask “Why can’t I?” Use this awareness with any negative thing you want to replace… change the word or phrase to something more powerful and positive! You can even go so far as to create a positive affirmation. Use ALL your senses…Visualize it, even cut out pictures if you can, Say it out loud in a powerful voice, imagine how it will feel, etc. This works with ANY goal!
By being intentional about what we are thinking and paying attention to how we talk to ourselves, we can create a mindset to achieve the life we are after – whether it’s something personal or something professional, we’re likely to do better and most importantly, feel better about what we are doing.
I’d love to hear some of YOUR positive affirmations… Comment below with an affirmation you’d like to share! And don’t forget to subscribe to be notified when new blogs are posted!