Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DDIcedCoffeeToGo #CollectiveBias
Leaving my corporate insurance job and never looking back was one of the best choices I’ve made for myself. Since leaving my “real job” I am happier, I have more time to spend with my family, and I really don’t miss getting up to an alarm clock every morning. But with the scheduling freedom that working from home often provides, there are some challenges.
When I was a mother working outside of the home I didn’t have someone interrupting me at my desk to ask me for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or to read them a story. There are a lot of interruptions as a work at home mom and a lot of personal time juggling. Bringing kids to school, doctor appointments, helping with homework, bringing the cats to the vet. All of these things happen during my “work day” so I am often working much later than 5:00.
But over the years and as I’ve grown and gotten even busier, I’ve been able to adopt some time management tips that have helped to make my days run a little more smoothly.
Prioritizing tasks is most important but is something that I really struggle with. I have to remember that what I want to do isn’t always what needs to be done at that moment. So, in order to prioritize tasks more efficiently, I make three lists:
- Urgent – it is overdue, due soon, or there will be consequences if it isn’t finished in a timely manner.
- Important – it needs to be done, but it isn’t urgent.
- Not important – these are the things that I want to do, but they can wait.
I have a tendency to go off-task sometimes. Once I started putting my individual tasks into lists, I have a much better time deciding what I need to do and when.
Whether I’m using a phone app or a notebook, I make lists constantly and I usually have two versions of each one; both digital and handwritten. Most of my lists are of post ideas and promotion tasks that I have to do daily. I also use lists to shop for post supplies, personal shopping lists, and other things that I need to remember to do at home. Sometimes I feel like I need to make a list to organize my lists.
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Time management apps
While I still use a pen and paper for lists, apps are my go-to for reminders, chores for the kids, timers for myself so I stay on task, and a voice recorder for those times when I have an idea when I’m away from a pen and paper.
The two apps I use most often for work are 30/30 which is a task timer app. I set a specific amount of time to write posts, apply for opportunities, answer emails, and other work-related tasks. This way I am less apt to get off track.
I also love the Notebook app because I can see all of my lists and to-do checklists on one screen or use a photo as a note. I love this app for when I am on-the-go or away from my notebook and have an idea. Most of my best ideas are hatched while I’m in the shower or driving, so as soon as I get out of the shower or car I write myself a little note in my app.
For home, Mothershp (that is not a typo) and Chore Monster are two great apps that work together. With this, I can assign chores to my kids and enter rewards and allowances based on a points system. This way I don’t forget what the kids have done at the end of the week and I can reward them accordingly. I also use a simple reminder app so I don’t forget appointments, when a project is due, parent/teacher conferences, or to pay my credit cards. Alarmed has been my lifeline when I get busy and forgetful. I use this app almost every day.
Computer programs to work smarter
I’m all about working smarter, not harder. Now that my blog has grown, I need to promote my blog and individual posts more. This takes the biggest chunk out of my day, but I now have two programs that help shave literally hours off my day. This is now time that I can spend reading stories, drawing, and hanging out with my kids. Tailwind and RetweetChores have been life savers for me! I can automate pins and repins on Pinterest as well as reciprocal retweets.
Google Docs is also a daily go-to. I use Docs for everything from keeping track of my blog income and expenses to writing down campaign pitches. I even use it to keep my Pinterest account organized. Simply put, I wouldn’t be able to do my job without it.
Planners and notebooks
As I’ve mentioned several times, there is nothing wrong with being a little analog. Research shows that the act of writing things down makes them easier to remember. I have found this to be true. I love to open my planner and see my whole month laid out for me in a way that can’t be done with an app.
The same goes for my notebook with post ideas and any other lists I make for work or home. There is usually duplicate info in an app, but using a notebook makes everything easier to see.
Make time for me
Seriously, I’m no good to anyone if I don’t carve out a little time for myself. Whether it’s while the kids are in school or after everyone has gone to bed, it is important for me to get some Me Time every day. I usually use this time to grab a Dunkin’ Donuts® Iced Coffee, catch up the DVR, or read a book.
After running around all day with the kids or working at home, I need some time to recharge. While I am out I usually stop in at the Kum & Go® around the corner from my house for a Dunkin’ Donuts® Iced Coffee. Have you tried these yet? They are the perfect grab-and-go size and come in Original, Mocha, French Vanilla, and Espresso. Each flavor is delicious, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. They are so good and give me a little taste of New England out here in Colorado.
Kum & Go® has just about anything you would ever need to recharge during or after a long day. Since it is so close to my house and I stop in often, I have enrolled in their rewards program. I didn’t even know they had one until recently! So if you have a store close to you, be sure to sign up.