How to Maintain a Steady Work Pace

How to Maintain a Steady Work Pace

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I will lead with my clause – some days are better than others. In no way do I follow this exactly every single day. 

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With that out of the way, I do want to say that I keep myself fairly in check when it comes to deadlines and tasks. This includes what I want to do behind-the-scenes in my business and client work.

Steady Work Pace

As always, I use lists. Checklists, to-dos, bills due, errands to run, school functions, etc. are all included. I prefer to have mine in a planner because there’s something satisfying about physically marking off an item, but I also keep a digital record of client tasks. 

Next, the flow.

I use the planner to color-code all the things. If it’s for a child, each child has a specified color (because then at a glance I can usually tell if it’ll be around school hours or during). My husband gets his own color and I have a personal item color in case I have an appointment for myself. Each client has a separate color so I can see who I’ll be focusing on that day. All of this helps me to stay accountable.

Some people use block scheduling, which I love in my brain, but trying to implement actually stresses me out because of the kids being at home interrupting my idea of how the blocks should happen. It’s a spiral that makes me feel like I’m either behind or not doing a good enough job.

How to Steady Work Pace

After color-coding, I write down everything I need to get done and want to do if time allows.

What this step means for me is that if I knock off all the need to-dos, then I may choose to take a break, go on an adventure with the kiddos, or continue on to the wants. How my day has been derailed dictates the decision. I celebrate the days I check off every item on both the need and want side. Let me be clear, those days are few and far between, but I relish them like the luxury they are, for sure.

Maintain Steady Work Pace

Unexpected events will come up (like our youngest disappearing and thinking she needs to try to clean the litter box and put the litter in the kitty food dish thus resulting in an impromptu bathroom cleanup). That’s the name of the game when you work at home with children around. With all the measures in place for staying ahead of deadlines, working ahead when I can, and preparing mentally for the disturbances, I can maintain a steady work pace. 

When you fly by the seat of your pants, you can still get the job done, but items start to slip through the cracks or you have more stressful procrastination happening. 

I don’t know about you, but there’s enough stress to deal with in my day. Tracking my time for certain clients tends to hold me accountable as well. You are “on the clock” so-to-speak, so you remain focused until that particular duty is completed. 

What do you find seems to help maintain a steady work pace when put in place?

How to Maintain a Steady Work Pace
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Back to School Prep Tips

Back to School Prep Tips

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Summer draws to a close much to our chagrin. I suppose some may be overjoyed to send their tiny destroyers back to school. 

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For me, it’s bittersweet.

While the fighting drives me batty, I miss having them surrounding me, the flexibility of having the option to stop my day and go for a treat, and not having to be the chauffeur all week numerous times a day.

The oldest will be in 4th grade this year. I’m a bit in denial that the middle one starts Kindergarten next year, but was grateful to get a list of items that I could nearly count on one hand. Hooray! We knocked out his list in two shopping trips (added spontaneously to a grocery run). 

Now, everyone has their routines, special school readiness list, and maybe even traditions. This family is no different.

School Prep Tips

Here are my back to school prep tips:

Little Spurts

When I get the supply list, I look it over and see what may be cheap at the store, which may cost a bit (it seems the older they get, the more expensive every aspect of their lives gets), and which we may have leftover from the previous year. Then, I break it up a bit in the course of the weeks before school so that I budget efficiently and knock out the list without breaking the bank.

Store Together

Whenever an item is purchased for the school year, I stick them in the same bag together (or the backpack if we have that on hand). I let him pick a new backpack each year as a special start to the year with whatever his new taste is for that time. We’ve had Ninja Turtles, Skylanders, Emoji, Pug, and this year was the oh-so-favorite Fortnite. Once it arrives, all supplies and school goodies go directly in the bag so they are ready for the first day of school without worry or rushing around looking for anything missing.

School Schedule

The end of the previous school year, our daughter started preschool, which meant on those days I would be late picking up our son. To prevent tears, panic, and stress, we bought a Gizmo watch for the boy. This way, he can wear it on the days I will be late, he can contact me after school to know how late I will be, and the school doesn’t need to call me wondering if I have forgotten to pick up our child. Knowing how our schedule fits together makes this and other activities run fairly smoothly, and he can wait inside during inclement weather if necessary. 

Practice Runs

A few weeks prior to school, we have a camp that he needs to be on time to every morning. This helps us slowly ease back into the up and at ‘em days rather than the leisurely wake on your own volition times. Getting back into the routine of homework, bedtimes, earlier meals, etc. can be quite a rude awakening with an adjustment period. Starting a week or two before the first day may be a good idea. We always go to the open house to meet the new teacher and take some of the fear out of the first day jitters, too.

While these act as a starter pack (get my drift there <<—- and there? Ha) for your back to school prep, the best suggestion I have is simply to take it a day at a time and do what works for you and yours. Toss in some fun while you tackle the to-dos! 

What are your going back to school musts?

Back to School Prep Tips
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If you have a little in diapers but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!

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3 Tips for More Ease at Home and Productivity in Your Biz

3 Tips for More Ease at Home and Productivity in Your Biz

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With three children, schedules are like a religious practice in our home. 

Let me tell you something, once in a while I throw caution to the wind and try to wing it or fly by the seat of my pants. I’d say I’m only successful at this about 60% of the time. Not really that great of odds when I have so much to stay on top of and bits start falling through the cracks.

That leads to stress and scrambling to catch back up with the never-ending list.

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To avoid that mess, here are my 3 tips for maintaining your schedule for more ease at home and productivity in your biz:

Calendar/Planner

More Ease and Productivity

Use one. Or many. It’ll make a world of difference. Whether you choose to go the digital route or old school pen and paper, each time I try to rely on my memory, I’m reminded that there’s only so much space in there before it pushes out information deemed not important (even if it IS important). The need for a planner or calendar to hold your to-dos in one place will be something you hear from me often.

Priorities

If you have designated work time (which you should), reduce your distractions and do your best to stick to your list. My dad tends to call me frequently and at random times. A choice must be made whether to answer knowing he’ll talk for at least a half an hour, or let it go to voicemail and answer the next time he calls or give him a call back later (most of the time, he calls again before I get the chance to return the first). Yes, I would rather go have coffee with a friend, but duties must be tended to prior to the fun. BUT schedule those lunch dates in, too. They’re just as critical.

Musts VS Wants

3 Tips for More Ease and Productivity

Similar to the previous tip, when I write down my list of tasks, I include and separate into what I must complete and what I want to get done if time allows. What this does is sets me up a failsafe. If I am running behind, or an item takes longer than expected, I have a list I can then push back a day or two and not be upset. As long as I get the list of musts done (this often even means breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the kids), then I can pat myself on the back once. Or two or three times.

Trust me, there are plenty more ways to maintain a schedule. However, if you employ these 3 tips, you’re well on your way to a much more productive week. I invite you to give it a go and report back with your results. Also, some days will be better than others, so bear that in mind. 

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3 Tips for More Ease at Home and Productivity in Your Biz

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And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)

If you have a little in diapers but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!

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Organizing Your Goals with Priorities

Organizing Your Goals with Priorities

Something that follows time management well is organization. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Knowing what you want to accomplish as an overall goal works as a great start. Once you establish that goal, then what? You need to figure out what steps to take to reach that result.

What better way to do that than to figure out your priorities and get a realistic timeline set?

Here’s where I also interject that your initial reaction of a timeline may not be as realistic as you want it to be. If you are juggling being the primary caretaker, business owner, doing a majority of that work yourself, client work, and other elements that may be on your plate, then put some real thought into the time that it might take to complete each checkpoint.

organizing goals

Where do you start?

By prioritizing information. Simple, right?

Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. You should pull out and list your responsibilities. Between you and that end line you want to cross, what stands in your way? Perhaps you have a handful of activities, errands, appointments you need to make space for. Then, client work that must be done by this deadline or that. Next, you have the networking and regular business tasks to knock-out. FINALLY, you have the availability to carve out moments for the other pieces in order to actually shimmy your way to that overall goal.

Do you see how your initial excited timeline could need a little fine-tuning and adjusting? We are wired for instant gratification and one or two months seems like a long time until you start actually laying out the logistics. So, plan accordingly and be prepared if you have to push back and be open to change once those personal deadlines are in place.

With these tips, you’re sure to achieve that organization:

Family Duties

Start by listing out what you have to do for your kids, yourself, your pets, your husband, any other family or friends you are helping out. Once you have these set, you won’t forget and if these are non-negotiables, then you are better prepared for dealing with your schedule. And, for me, this is the most important part of my days.

Home Needs

In my case, any bills I must pay or cleaning that has to be done should be listed. If that means making dinner or getting groceries, doing a load of laundry or asking my children to get their chores (and what chores those are because they’ll get amnesia the moment I request their assistance), then that item gets written. The instant I write it, I can recall it later but it no longer takes up space in my immediate memory. So, I have freed that up, don’t worry about it, and can move on to other todos.

goals with priorities

Business/Client Tasks

I have a weekly blog to format, schedule, sometimes write still, create images for, etc. Client work varies, but certain responsibilities are done regularly and I can schedule those into the specific days and, in some cases, even the specific times I tend to complete them. Controlling what I can means I rarely miss a deadline and if an emergency arises, I have the capacity to move my list around to accommodate. This measure helps prevent stress and shows me any open slots.

Additions

With my other priorities taken care of, I see where I can insert other needs or wants. Whether that means coffee with a friend, ice cream with the kids, or outlining an opt-in I want to create. Preparing ahead allows me to plot and plan for releases, promotions, and gives me a course to follow so I can see where my launch may land. And my timeline may be longer than someone else’s, but at least I won’t disappoint myself or let myself and others down by blowing past whatever date I may have mentioned.

Your priorities may look different than mine, and they may even shift back and forth for what takes the forefront at various points. The fact of the matter is that you need to have your priorities in place in order to organize your goals in a conducive manner.

How do you go about organizing your goals with priorities? Does it look similar or do you approach in a completely separate way? Share with me!

Organizing your goals with priorities

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And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)

If you have a little in diapers but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!

If you’d like to work with me, find out how! To see your words in my blog, contact me today for a guest spot!

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How to Manage Time When Working From Home

How to Manage Time When Working From Home

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Bouncing here and there and everywhere…

Anyone remember the Gummi Bears? That would be where that lovely intro came from. I feel it’s very fitting for parenting, though. Wouldn’t you agree?

No Rest for the Weary

No one prepares you for the truly busy days once your children start school and begin activities. Birthday parties, sleepovers (if you allow those), baseball, swimming lessons, choir concerts, dance recitals, art showcases, carnivals, fundraisers, sports/activity pictures, volunteering (my husband likes to call some of these opportunities as being voluntold), different school schedules for different ages, early releases, after-school science classes, book fairs, camps, doctors appointments, and the list seriously goes on and on.

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Rose-Colored Glasses

I always thought the older (and thus more independent), the more time I’d have for my dreams and goals. As a single mom, I was able to earn an associate’s degree with some late nights and determination. For the most part, I pursue regardless of what my life looks like. However, nothing short of time travel could have fully set me up for what it would take to succeed while parenting.

Once I removed the rose-colored glasses and faced reality, I am in awe of the women in my life who have paved the road before me. The strength and capabilities while extremely exhausted truly amaze me. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of men out there who fill the role well, but I speak from experience and, fellas, I sure don’t have experience of the male perspective. Sorry, not sorry. <3

What To Do, What To Do

As a virtual assistant and mommy, I need to keep track of personal schedules, client schedules, client tasks, business tasks, and any changes that come up in each given day. Some days I knock it out of the park, and other days I completely strike out. (Do you like that baseball analogy?) What helps me the most, I’ve said before, is my planner — when I use it. I go through weeks where I simply don’t find the time to use it fully, but I also notice those are the weeks I have the most obstacles.

Something about writing out everything I need and want to do is almost cathartic and relieves some of my stress surrounding the chaos of how to manage time.

Besides my beloved planner, which helps me throughout all of the rest of these tips, here are my “secrets” on how to manage time when working from home.

Support System

Manage Time; Takes a Village

Numero uno. I have some incredible friends and family that I can call and ask for help when I need it. We have crossover times for practices and the like that would be VERY hectic if it weren’t for others helping me shuttle the kids to and fro. This does NOT go one way. If you are asked to help, and have the capability, why not? You show that you are willing to step up and give them a hand so when you need a leg up, they will likely be more inclined to assist if they have a clear space in their schedule, too. Golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. It honestly takes a village, and that goes both ways.

It’s important to note that you need to actually reach out and ASK for help, though. Without verbalizing that, you can be sure most will not intuitively know that you need support. It’s a great piece of the puzzle for helping you manage time.

Needs VS Wants

Another aspect my planner helps me sort out are my needs and my wants. I have certain revolving tasks I have pretty much down pat for checking off. For all the other bits and pieces to fit in, I have to organize and be a smidgen more diligent about. If I have something due by Wednesday, then it goes on my Monday list as a want to get done. That way, if I have the capacity to get it accomplished, YAY I’m ahead a little. If something comes up and I need to move my schedule around, guess what? I can bump it to Tuesday and know that all will be well and no one will be disappointed. My head tells me to knock it out Monday, so I don’t tend to procrastinate unless it’s necessary to push it back; but the space is there to do so.

Clarity on what is a must do versus what work (yes, even dishes) can wait is vital. I would either never sleep or not accomplish much if I did housework and client work every single day. I tend to do most of my cleaning on weekends with spot treatments here and there during the week. You’ll get a basic rhythm going, and although it will be disrupted from time to time, you’ll settle back into it again. I find comfort in that fact when the busy overtakes everything.

Grace

Grace: Manage Time
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Grant yourself some grace. I have memory lapses now and again. Recently, I forgot about my son having a piece in the art gala… well, let me clarify. His piece in the art gala didn’t slip my mind, but the date of the art gala did. We had an illness, I onboarded a new client, getting a list rolling of what needed to happen for a rebrand and new website, etc. My brain got a little overloaded and out the date of the art gala went. Guess what? I didn’t write it in my planner. My mistake. But, it won’t be the last art gala and it wasn’t a soul crushing blow to my son because we’ve been to many other important nights. Also, sometimes, you just can’t be everywhere. You must learn to say, “sorry, can’t make that.” and not feel super guilty about it. Priorities sit alongside grace. Choose your priorities and let grace be on your side to feel good about them.

Your Turn

Take these tips on how to manage time, use what you like, add in whatever may be missing for you, and get your sh*t done. 😉 What works best for me may not work best for you. A big part of my day is spent playing and talking to my girls while I’m working on one project or another. Heck, both of my daughters have a keyboard they can type on so they are “working” alongside their mama. Or we set them up with painting or playing in “centers” of sorts where I have a kitchen area, an area with blocks, an area with books, scratch paper, dolls, cars, etc. They can freely move from one to the other and we either clean up as we go or they help pick up before we have lunch, etc. You do what you can when you can, and keep doing what you do.

If you think you may have an interest in becoming a virtual assistant, I’d love to chat and see if we’re a good fit to work together. I help women elevate their lives by building a business that incorporates their children so they can experience true fulfillment in all of their roles. Click here to book a discovery call with me.

I’d love to hear what makes your life easier when accomplishing your to-dos. Share below how you manage time.

How to Manage Time When Working From Home
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And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)

If you have a little in diapers but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!

Please, remember to sign up to my email list so you never miss anything flawsome around here!

If you’d like to work with me, find out how! To see your words in my blog, contact me today for a guest spot!

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How to Choose a Rug for Your Child’s Room

How to Choose a Rug for Your Child’s Room

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Today, we’re stepping into a different topic for your kiddos. I’m all about stepping into your parenting fully, embracing the flaws, and helping your children learn in new ways you may not have thought of before. My guest today, Carly, shares her expertise on choosing a rug for your child’s room.

If you need an area rug of some sort, then the choices out there are endless. Having a little leg up on narrowing down the options proves very valuable…

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Choosing a rug can be a headache that you do not need if you are a parent. However, if you have an idea of what you are looking for, and have some help, then it can really be fun, an experience you can share with your child and your family. So, below we will give you some tips on what to look out for when you are choosing a rug for your child’s room.

First of all, what material do you want?

We would suggest a material that will not be too tough on your kid’s skin. This may be all the more important if your dear child has sensitive skin or if they have just started crawling, as you do not want your rug to chafe their skin. As well as this, you will want a material that is not too prone to causing allergies. We would recommend wool for these purposes.

Next, think of color and durability.

You will definitely need something that is washable (it will get dirty!), and you may want to choose something in a darker color. For better or worse, children do make a mess, and a rug that is cleanable and that will not show too many stains is probably a good choice. Wool again is a good choice, as is it washable, but you could always also go for polypropylene.

Finally, the educational possibilities.

Many rugs are now available that can be used as part of your child’s play. For example, there are rugs that can be used as games and puzzle board, and you can also choose a rug that depicts your son or daughter’s favourite cartoon or film character.

Don’t let choosing a rug for your child’s room gives you a headache. Use the tips above and you will surely make the right choice. To find out more about choosing a rug, see the infographic below from our partners at LandofRugs.com

child's room rug
How to choose a rug for your child's room

Carly Evans is part of the content & community team at LandofRugs.com. Carly is obsessed with interior design trends and how new technology influences design.

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Please, remember to sign up to my email list so you never miss anything flawsome around here!

And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)

If you have a little in diapers but aren’t sure which brand may fit the best for their little tush, feel free to try a mixed selection with the Diaper Dabbler!

If you’d like to work with me, find out how! To see your words in my blog, contact me today for a guest spot!

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