Disclosure:Post sponsored by Mirum but all opinions are my own.
Productivity at work is one of my strengths. I enjoy finding ways to get things done more quickly and effectively. With the new year upon us, what better way to start the year than to find ways to be productive.
Productivity Tips for a Successful 2018!
While I love my job and the work that I do, I want to get it done in the most effective way possible so that I can move on to other priorities in life. As a working mom to 4 kids, being productive at work is a must. I have a job to do, and I have my role as a mother. Both require a lot and the best way for me to be the best at both is to be as productive as possible.
Today I am sharing 10 productivity tips that have helped me be successful at work. These tips help me get all the things done and hopefully will help you start 2018 off on the right foot at work!
Say No to Slow Computers – Buy a Faster Computer
This productivity tip is the most important one I have to share with you. Why? We are all digital people now. The majority of our work takes place on computers. Do yourself a favor and buy a faster computer.
There is nothing more frustrating during a work day than wanting to accomplish a task and not having the tools to do so, rendering yourself completely unproductive! We’ve all been there, you know – trying to get something done, on deadline, but your computer just creeps along slowly. It’s painful and totally unnecessary. You must have the right tools to do your job, and if you are suffering due to a slow computer, it’s time to change that! 2018 is your year for productivity.
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No is not a bad word. No is an empowering word. Being in a place where you can say yes to the things that you want and no to everything opens you up to living the life that you want. This isn’t easy – it is definitely easier said than done, but when you learn the power of NO – your life can be changed! Funnel your energy and productivity to the YESes and away from the NOs.
Wake Up Early
The 30-year-old me would have laughed at this productivity tip. Now in my late 30’s as a mom of 4 kids, this tip is gold. My kids wake up at 6:45 am. From the time they wake-up, until the time they walk out the door for school, approximately an hour later they need my assistance.
As much as I hate waking up early, it has become a game changer in regards to productivity. I have 3 days a week that require me to be productive. On these days, I wake up at 5:15 am. I also set an alarm for 6:30 am. This gives me an hour and 15 minutes to get as much done as possible before the kids need me. It never fails, anytime I miss my early wake-up, my day feels way less productive. That extra 75 minutes will help set the pace for getting things done.
I am always surprised how well my brain actually functions on these days. I thought that since I am typically a night-owl, that waking up early – my brain just wouldn’t be functioning at the capacity needed to make it worth it. I was wrong. My brain works just as well, if not better than late at night. I have been lying to myself so that I can sleep in!
Hardest Task First
This may sound counter-intuitive, but this really works! Look at your to-do list. There is always that one task that you really just DO NOT want to do. Do it first. Finishing the hardest task first will get you over that dreaded hump and bump up your day’s productivity.
Set a Schedule
If your job is like mine, where my schedule is flexible – do yourself a favor and set a schedule. I know what you are thinking – doesn’t that take away from having a flexible job? It may feel like that initially, but believe me – by setting boundaries on your hours and creating a schedule, you are implementing a work-life balance. Your work schedule can be as structured or unstructured as you like, but start somewhere and create a partition in your life so that you can define which part of your life belongs to your job.
Write Down Ideas as They Come
Use your note app on your phone and anytime you have a spark of genius – or idea – write it down! As a blogger, I am always looking for good content ideas. By collecting my ideas in a centralized location, when it comes time to create, I have a handy list that acts as a resource on my phone. This saves me time and makes my creative sessions way more productive!
Deal with Distractions
Distractions come in many forms. Sometimes it’s a kid who is calling from school who forgot his lunch, other times it’s Facebook. Find ways to deal with distractions that allows you to still be productive. For example, our kids typically take their lunch but have money in an account for uh-oh days when they forget it. This saves a call home asking mom to stop what she is working on to bring them lunch. Facebook can be a major timesuck. Like I have a schedule for my workday, I also have a schedule for when I let myself on Facebook. Find ways to deal with your distractions. No matter how hard you try, there will ALWAYS be distractions so be proactive in solving as many as possible ahead of time.
Get More Sleep
This is another productivity tip that I would have rolled my eyes at a few years back, but now I know the importance of getting a good nights rest. Sure, in an ideal world we would all get 8 hours of good solid sleep. I aim for 6.5 hours. Something I have learned is that every person requires a different amount of sleep to run at their full capacity. My husband can get 6 hours of sleep and crush his day, but me – if I don’t get the extra half hour more than him, I feel myself dragging.
Find how much sleep your body needs and give it the rest it deserves. You are your productive best when you get your optimal amount of sleep.
Organize Your Desk
My desk is chaos. During the holiday lull, I took time to go thru everything. Pens and markers were organized into a jar. All of the random school papers and kid artwork was organized into a storage filing cabinet. Mounds of random post-it notes and papers were thrown away. As I sat down to start planning for 2018, I was refreshed and motivated by having a clean desk that allows me to know where everything is!
Wear headphones? That seems like an odd productivity tip doesn’t it? Listen, here is the deal. If you work in an office, chances are chatty Patty wants to tell you the latest gossip or unnecessary news at random times during the day. This KILLS productivity. While this is not fool-proof, but people are less likely to approach you when they see you as plugged in. I can speak from real life experience on this!
Also in regards to wearing headphones, find music or noise that helps make you productive. Might as well have sound going to your ears when wearing headphone to distract people! I find that Moby really gets me in the “zone” for working. Find what works for you!
Productivity Gives You Freedom
Get your work done so that you have the freedom to do what you want. For me, that freedom is spending time with my kids, streaming Netflix for hours on end (which coincidentally if you have a faster computer will work much better) and finding random ways to be creative. Whatever your why is for being more productive, I hope that these productivity tips help you make 2018 your most productive year yet!
Thanks to Mirum for sponsoring this post. #IntelODHolidaySavings
WORKING WITH A SICK KID ISN’T FOR THE WEAK. I dont want to poo-poo the life of a working mom, because believe me there are MANY advantages. Just like staying at home there are your good days and there are your bad days. There are the perks and then there are the downfalls. I am going to try to being non-bias and cover both the good and the bad on this blog, hoping to help another working mom in the same situation.
Today is Monday. I was up all night working on a big launch for work today. Up at 7:30, logged on until 8:15 got the kids fed, dressed and the husband had the kids out the door by 8:45 am. Good start to a great morning, right? Well its MONDAY and we all know how MONDAY like to be the bully the key is just not letting the day win,
Headache after headache, an inbox full of emails and I am trying to stay on top of it all when the phone rings. Its the dreaded call from the kids school.
Your son is here in the office with 101.2 degree fever, we checked both ears and both read the same temperature.
Thankfully today I was working remote. The kids school is 7 minutes away. I told the teacher I would be there within 15 minutes, hung up, put my shoes on and ran out the door.
I arrive at the daycare to find Zeke, our youngest laying in the office floor on a mat. He sees me and starts crying. I pick him up, kiss his head and proceed to talk to the teacher about whats going on.
All of a sudden, what you dont want to happen, happens. Standing at the entrance to the daycare my son starts puking . I am holding him so my hair and shirt catch it. The teacher runs to get a trash can, I turn him around and he pukes all over the entrance, splashing the poor teacher. I DIE.
3 of my kids attend this school. Thankfully, we pay them well but no one is ever paid enough to catch a childs vomit.
The teacher hands me wipes. At this point, I have vomit everywhere even between my toes *barf*. Another teacher runs to my rescue and hands me a small bag in case he vomits, and a clean shirt for my son to put on. This school is good people. VOMIT everywhere, and the teacher is helping me? crazy.
I got him home, gave him Tylenol, jumped in the shower and had him play in the bath within a few minutes of my arrival. I sat on the bathroom floor working on my laptop as he sat in the bath tub playing with his boat. Its amazing how kids can go from puking their brains out with a fever to playing with a boat, asking for bubbles in 30 minutes.
Having a sick kid is something that puts a major kink being a working mom. He is sick. I dont want him infecting his class, but I have to work. Tomorrow is my in-office day. I have a weekly leadership meeting that I have to attend, preferably in person not on camera (I can just see the video bomb of my kid throwing up.) I have one-on-ones with my team. We have so much going on and its so hard to know that I have to half my heart.
Thankfully my husband is an all-hands-on-deck kind of guy. He is staying at home with Zeke the first half of the day. Ill do the morning run-the-non-sick-kids to school routine, then head to work for a half day. Run home at lunch, do the tag team hand-off the sick kid relay so that he can go in the office.
After I got him out of the bath, I broke a self imposed work-from-home rule, I worked from bed. Zeke was cuddled up next to me sucking his thumb, napping. These days are hard. Zeke needs his mom and dad. His mom and dad need him, but also to pay the bills. The struggle is real, the choices are tough. Just thankful that while today was all HELL, we all survived. (Monday, you will not defeat me!)
How Working Moms Can Juggle With a Sick Kid
I know that I am blessed to now have a flexible work schedule. That said, that hasn’t always been the case. If you are a working mom with a sick kid, here are 3 simple tips for dealing with work and a sick kid:
1. Talk to Your Boss
Make your work aware of the situation. How will you make up your hours, or will you take off of work? Giving specific detail on how you are handling the situation is the best way, in my experience to approach a sick kid situation. As someone who leads a team, I find it easier to deal with a situation when the employee knows how they want to solve the situation.
2. Game Plan
Pick up the kid, then what? Whats the plan for tomorrow? Will you take him to the doctor or an after hours urgent care center? Figure out what your plan is and execute it. Who can help? Gather your tribe, it takes a village to raise a kid!
Setup an area where you can be near your child and work (if applicable). Screen time limits go out the window when my kid is sick. If my son wants to watch 5 hours of Peewees Playhouse, so be it.
Be there to love on your child and give him the attention he or she may need. The good thing is, typically a sick child just needs to sleep!
4. BONUS TIP!
Wine. This lovely Dancing Bee Honey Wine (mead) reminded me of a smooth, semi-sweet whiskey. Its just what the doctor ordered for the day I had. CHEERS. Love me some TEXAS wine1
YOU CAN DO THIS, MOM.
Being a working mom with a sick kid is tough, but this too shall pass.
This was originally published on July 20, 2015 on Digital Mom Blog.
I had just had our fourth child, 4 years ago. I had been at the company for over 10 years and I was just DONE. I needed a break, not to have to travel and a chance to reconnect with my family. 6 weeks maternity leave and 6 weeks working part-time – that was not enough to manage 2 kids under 2 and then a 6 and 8-year-old. So, I quit my job – and worked for myself the last several years.
10 Things I’ve Learned Since Going Back to Work Full-Time
Last year, a call came from a previous boss who I admired. After 4 years of self-employment I went back to work full-time. Here are 10 things i’ve learned since.
10 Things I’ve Learned Since Going Back to Work Full-Time
1. Schedules are a Good and Bad Thing
I miss sleeping in and doing whatever whenever. That said, my body appreciates a schedule.
2. I Actually Feel Like I Get ME Time
Being at home with kids can totally deprive yourself (or at least for me) of ME time. Sure, every other week I had a GNO. There were playdates and my husband helps whenever – but there was always adjustments that had to be made and until I went back to work, I didn’t realize how little ME time I actually was getting.
3. Doing Your Hair and Getting Dress is a Good Thing
I felt like I was in such a slump when I stayed at home. There was no time to do my hair and really, I didn’t have a need to. Going into the office a few days a week, I enjoy putting make-up on, getting dressed and feeling human again.
4. Introverts and Working in an Office
I am a total introvert about 90% of the time. I love a good chat and laugh – BUT that being said, I totally had to put on a blanket of grace going into an office atmosphere. How easily I forget about people just wanting to chat or popping in to ask rather than email when I am in work mode. It’s just the office and how most offices (especially those with mostly women) are run, but it was definitely one of those flashback points and a good reminder how introverted I can be.
5. Having Kids Can Make You a Target
I once heard someone mention that they should have a child so they would have an excuse to get out of work. WTH. This made me chuckle. It’s 2015. Working and life go hand-in-hand. While it isn’t always ideal – I am typically pumping out emails while my kid plays with the train in the doctor’s office while we wait for the nurse to call us back. I’ve learned to ignore the haters and give it my all. At the end of the day, my boss is happy, work is done and some people just don’t get it. More thoughts on working and juggling 4 kids to come…
6. There is No Such Thing as a 40-Hour Work Week
Thankfully I love to work. That 40-hour work week thing, totally a myth at least in my line of work.
7. When It Rains It Pours
Murphy’s law totally applies to working full-time and having children. When my kids all piled back into school full-time this August, the inevitable happened. Every single one got sick, and the sicknesses lasted for weeks on end. My husband and I did this crazy juggling act (while doing everything we could to not catch whatever the kids had) to make it work. We survived. You will survive, but like woah.
8. Defining Your Priorities is a MUST
Something I did before accepting this job was layout what my priorities were. My family is always a priority but what was it if I went back to work that I would need to keep focused on.
For us, we decided on these 2.
The older kids would not come home to an empty house every day. There may be some days but not everyday.
We would have technology-free family dinner at least 4 times a week. Good conversation, laughter, catching up and communicating around the table – this has been so good for our family unit – even though truth be told, most of the time it’s done at the table with takeout.
9. Delegation Rules
Since my full-time job isn’t my only job, there is no way to keep all the balls in the air without delegation. I have an assistant who helps maintain my other businesses so those are something I don’t have to think about until night and the weekend.
10. There is No Right Answer
I have a friend who asked me what I thought about going to work full-time. It wasn’t a mean spirited question, it was one of those deep conversation starters. I thought and prayed long and hard before making the decision to go back to work. Like everything else, there are good days and bad days and everything in-between. I know the decision in regards to going back to work full-time for ME was the right one. I was able to watch our younger 2 kids for the first several years of their life. Those times are something I wouldn’t ever want to replace. That said, this is my current chapter. I’m writing it the best I can, and enjoying this season to the fullest.
Are you contemplating going back to work full-time? Have you gone back to work recently? Sound off!
MOM MONDAY: Kitchen Fire, Pneumonia, Feeling Helpless & Finding My Zen
Y’all being a mom isn’t for the weak.
Just when I think I’ve got it ALL under control, the world slaps me back into reality. Last week was a joke y’all. It’s one of those weeks where you just want to curl up and hide and be woken up when it’s all better. Where shall I begin.. okay let’s start on Sunday.
The Kitchen Fire
At 8 am, last Sunday I woke up looked at my iPhone and it was 8:00 am on the dot. BOO, I was suppose to be able to sleep in, but I heard a few kids up playing. Suddenly, there was a smell in the air. I jumped out of bed – ran to the kitchen and it was full of smoke.
First, I yelled “FIRE!” and just as planned my daughter helped get the kids downstairs and out front. I am trying to find out what in the world is up – and it’s a oven mitt on the stove top. The stove top had been pushed on. I should say there were BROWNIES from the previous night when Grandma came over to baby sit.
Here’s the deal. My kid (not naming names) woke up, snuck downstairs and decided brownies sounded good for breakfast. He (or she) grabbed a brownie knocking the stove on to the ON position while doing so. Oven mitt was on stove, the rest is history.
The GOOD news: We had fire extinguishers and were able to extinguish the fire with minimal damage to the house. Emotional damage is a different story. Our youngest spent the week yapping HOUSE ON FIRE to just about everyone he conversed with.
The BAD news: Because of the crud the fire extinguisher uses to extinguish the fire went all over the stove, the brownies were ruined and guilty-not-naming-names child was incredibly sad. Sorry kid, can’t have it all – thankfully we still have a HOUSE.
PNEUMONIA and Ear Infection
Our youngest, Zeke has had this cough for a month. A few weeks back I took him into see the doctor not thinking much of it. Our oldest had strep so she had an appointment, might as well make it a family trip. Well low and behold, Zeke had strep AND a mild case of pneumonia. We were prescribed 3 drugs for 10 days and breathing treatments.
Fast forward 2 weeks, Zeke wakes up screaming with ear pain. He proceeds to stay up ALL NIGHT LONG. Nothing was killing the pain. I pinterested every recipe imaginable and nothing would stop his ear pain from an ear infection.
Tuesday, we took him back into the doctor. He officially had pneumonia which the previous round of antibiotics didn’t knock out because it was the wrong strain (no idea) – AND an ear infection. YAY.
More prescriptions and breathing treatments. We make it home and before I can even process everything, my husband calls – he is ill.
Yes, both son and dad had pneumonia. It was a week from hell, which continued as Zeke’s other ear started hurting. Double ear infections with pneumonia. *CRY!*
Feeling Helpless and Finding My Zen
Breathing treatments, medications, a sick baby, my husband was spending each hour sweating off a fever, or with chills due to a fever. On top of that, I have 3 other kids and a full-time job. Feeling helpless as a mom was an understatement.
I put out apologies and worked late to make sure all boxes were checked. Talk about hell.
In the midst of it all last week, something magical did happen. OCTOBER. I love Octobers for many reason. It’s my birthday month. It’s boot season. The weather in Texas is amazing. FALL Y’ALL. It’s just the greatest month to me.
I have a 6:15 wake up time to get kids up and out the door to the bus. Between the first bus and second, I have a 45 minute window of time that I have found to be MY TIME. I don’t get much ME time now a days, but for the last several days – using this gap of time to just walk has been the best therapy to finding my zen. We’ve been out in the country for almost 2 months now and you guys, we have trees! Walking amongst the trees with my dogs on a country road with neighbors that wave and temperatures in the 70’s – it’s the perfect that I need in my crazy life.
Women of Faith
This past weekend I attended the Women of Faith LOVED Dallas event. I have worked with this company for over 12 years (over the last 18 years of my life.) It’s their farewell tour. I had the opportunity to watch the event in Oklahoma City. This weekend, we had a little mini-reunion of former Women of Faith employees. There were at least 30 of us. There were faces from the past that I will never forget, that I was afraid I would never see. It was so surreal, special and tear worthy.
My mentor for many years, Mary Graham spoke such sweet words over us – reminding us of the impact we have by being apart of this 20 year old movement.
Some days my full-time job is hard. It’s stressful, demanding and some days it requires me to work around the clock. But this weekend I was reminded why I went back. There really is something special about working for a bigger purpose.
*Bonus fact* We were trending on Twitter with #WOFLovedTour – I know, I’m a nerd but that made this geek’s heart happy.
Being a Mom is Hard
Being a mom is hard. Accepting that you can’t do it all is a must. Find your zen amongst the chaos. Believe me, you will appreciate it.
It’s been a while since I have had to travel for work. My last full-time job, I had to travel often. It was hell. I had 3 kids at the time, 1 was a newborn. I am so glad I don’t have to relive those days.
While I don’t forsee myself having to travel too often (praise Jesus,) I will be traveling some. Last week I headed to San Francisco for Forward with Ford, in a few weeks it will be Oklahoma City.
If you are a working mom who will be traveling, here are a few tips that I hope will help.
1. Plan Ahead
With 4 kids, I know whenever I leave to go out of town he is going to be taking on extra stress. I try to minimize that as much as possible. I layout clothes for the entire week, putting them in labeled baggies for each day. The kids have to wear different outfits since they are in camp so this helps. I make sure that there are easy to cook meals readily available. I also pre-make any kid lunches to simplify the week.
2. Double Check Your Kids’ Schedules
I totally goofed last week. I forgot the boys had an extra swim day and didn’t pack a swim suit. Thankfully my husband was working from home and only 5 minutes from school. It was a good reminder to double check school calendars and schedules before leaving.
3. Set?an Alarm to Call the Kids
Another goof on my part last week… I was in California, totally different time zone. The first night we had an event that went late. I tried calling the kids to say good night at 9pm, well it was 11pm there time and asleep.
I made sure to set an alarm to remember to call them each night. We do try to Skype bedtime routines when possible. It makes the time away a little less painful.
4. Try to Enjoy Yourself
I admit, I have this problem of not wanting to leave my kids. I love them, and DO enjoy time away from them but as I mentioned, 4 kids is a lot. I know when I leave it is someone else who has to take on the stress and responsibility that I typically do.
If you are going to travel, taking time to enjoy the “me time” is critical. Worrying about your kids every minute isn’t healthy or productive. Use the trip to do something for yourself that you typically can’t do. Make the best of it!
5. Bring Home a Souvenir
Maybe it was a bad habit to start, but it’s worth the effort because I know that it’s hard for the kids to adjust when I’m away. Every time I head home from a trip, I bring them a little something (and I always buy a Starbucks mug from each city I’m in.)
This doesn’t have to be much, i’ve brought home candy bars before. It’s just a simple reminder for them to know that I am thinking about them while I am gone.
Kids and Separation Disorder
I will mention this since I’ve gone thru this with multiple kids. When I return from trips, I’ve had kids upset with me and in their sadness have stopped talking to me or clung to their dad – refusing to show me affection. It was AWFUL, and has happened several times.
This feeling the kids were going thru did go away. It took a few days with giving that child extra attention. This is definitely the most sucky part of being a traveling working mom.
You Can Do This Mom!
I know traveling and working is hard and I’m so thankful my trips are few in comparison to some.?You can do this, mom. Plan, enjoy and remember the kids a little something and all will be fine.
I did something I never thought I would do, I accepted a full-time job offer and am back at work.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I left my job of over 11 years. It was time, our family needed me at home and various freelance opportunities were offered right as I was considering leaving. It was a no-brainer and for the last several years, I have been content working as a consultant.
A few months back, I was offered an opportunity to work with a team of previous co-workers. I didn’t know how I could make the situation worked, but as God would have it – somehow everything that needed to be untangled, worked itself out and in a matter of weeks my days of being at home with the kids to heading back into an office happened.
Returning to Work Full Time After Being Home With the Kids
I am 2 months into the job, it’s taken me a while to get my feet grounded. I think I am finally there. It’s been a bit wild trying to adjust, so I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned on this journey of starting back to work full-time after being home with kids.
1. Transition is Hard
I am a lover of change. Without change, there’s no growth so change – I embrace. It’s one thing for me to embrace change – the thing is I have 4?others that I am responsible for. And those 4 – yeah, not so hip to change.
On top of me going back to work – we put the house on the market and made the decision for our kids to go back to school, rather than homeschool. Change is in the air people.
The good news is, kids are resilient and while these are big changes, they aren’t necessarily bad changed
2. Getting Dressed is Fun
My previous at home gig was great, and my uniform – yoga pants. I love me some yoga pants but it feels great to actually put on mascara again. Plus, did I mention my work is right next to the DryBar?
3. Commuting Sucks
My commute, after taking the kids in the morning is around an hour each way. AN HOUR. I die. I will never be friends with traffic. Dallas traffic is terrible. I am trying to make the best of it listening to audiobooks along the way. I’m currently listening to: Love Does by Bob Goff. Awesome stuff.
What I am thankful for is not having to go to the office every day. My schedules allow me 3 days at home and 2 days in the office. Working from home was a requirement for me to return to a full-time position.
4. Childcare is Outrageous
Four kids in childcare is a joke. It’s summer, our oldest is 12 and while we could leave her home alone every now and then – we are selling the house and having her here with random people just isn’t something we are down with.
Thankfully we have 3 kids in one daycare and then my daughter goes to church camp. The positive is when you have 3 kids in a daycare (at least our’s) – we get a really great discount. Please note that was totally sarcastic. The cost of daycare is painful.
5. Schedules and Planning Make Things Easier
I am a total type B. I am spontaneous, not a planner and schedules are my enemy. Well, as much as I loathe planning – it’s a necessity when herding 4 kids. Laundry is done on Sunday nights, as well as packing lunches for the week. It’s all painful but the few times I have tried to wing it, the family felt the hit and chaos set in.
If you are contemplating going back to work full-time, know you can do it! It will take work, sacrifice and total teamwork with your partner.
Are You Contemplating Going Back to Work Full-Time?