Working from home with kids is not easy for me. Working at home before I had kids wasn’t easy for me – but I love all the flexibility it gives me and for my family the pros outweigh the cons. But it’s hard! I’ve never been great with time management and get easily distracted – throw 2 toddlers into the mix and it’s that much more challenging. Usually my business is on the slower side in the summer but I’ve had multiple small projects pop up along with a few larger ones I’m working on so things have felt busy. I’m also determined to take some time off later this month and in order to make that happen I knew I needed to make a few changes to my work schedule.
I started listening to a lot of podcasts and reading many articles I had pinned over the years on the topic of productivity. This episode of Goal Digger really resonated with me. I also have known for the last few months I need to shift my focus and energy from Instagram onto other areas of my business. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent aimlessly scrolling, feeling bad about myself and wondering why I can’t achieve the same success as my peers on this platform. It’s not benefiting me in any way in fact it’s actually been hurting my business to NOT focus on the areas I can control! I haven’t felt so accomplished or proud of myself after a work week in a long time. When you don’t have MUCH time to work a day you really have to make the most of it. So what changes have I made? A few!!
My biggest takeaway from that Goal Digger podcast. Instead of getting lost on Instagram as SOON as I wake up – I set limits throughout the day for times to check in, respond to DMs, engage a little instead of just having the app open non-stop. If I’m not working on creating content, writing blog posts, or shooting imagery thoughtfully to use on social media I’m really not doing anything to grow my business. Having this thought in the back of my head M-F has really helped shift my perspective on what needs to get done. Which leads me to my next shift…..
Over the years I’ve gone back in forth with different apps and programs to create to-do lists but I always come back to good old fashioned paper and pen. This has been immensely helpful in keeping me on track. I make one giant list of everything I need to get done – from making personal doctor’s appointments and laundry to scheduling Facebook posts and completing client work. I put everything possible on this list because there’s nothing like the satisfaction of crossing something off! I keep this running list around all week – usually out on the counter upstairs where I am most of the time so I can see it. Then I make smaller, more manageable lists for each week and day with the few things I absolutely need to figure out a way to get done. And I don’t go to bed until they are done.
Remember that golden rule that your inbox IS NOT YOUR TO DO LIST (thanks Jenna, yes I’m on a Goal Digger kick). For years I used to work under the pretense that I would log into Gmail, tick through my emails and subsequently cross off to-dos. I would literally spend hours a day in Gmail working this way and unable to really cross much off from my to-do list besides “responding to email”. Now, email is my last priority. Yes – I take days to respond to people but at the end of the day I know I’m accomplishing more this way. I don’t check email on my phone for the most part – I try to check in a few times a day. I don’t have it open when I’m working on a task as to not get distracted. I flag important emails I want to respond to and try to make time at night for this task when I’m tired and don’t have the energy to focus on writing blog posts. I highly suggest setting times for email (and social media) and sticking to it for a week – you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes.
I don’t really have the opportunity for too much block scheduling with my childcare set-up right now but I try to do it whenever I can. I also try to do all my hardest tasks in the morning, saving the more mundane ones for when I’m tired after I’ve finished getting the girls to bed (searching for products to include in shopping roundups, responding to those pesky emails, scheduling out Facebook and working on Pinterest are usually my evening tasks).
For a while I was getting up at 5am – though I’m not getting up that early right now I’ve come to realize that from 5-9am is my golden time to accomplish quite a bit – even when the girls are home. They will pretty much entertain themselves until 8am. This is also the time I like to get out Busy Boxes. Then if I give them breakfast I can fit in a little more work while they eat. Crossing off some major to-do’s in the morning allows me to be much less stressed and more present with my girls during the rest of the day. From 9-1pm is time with them, for an outing or activities and then nap time from 1-3 is my second block of the day to really focus and finish those important tasks. Combined I can get in 6 hours a work a day if I’m focused and organized! Wasting time scrolling through Instagram does NOT count!
And… you can check out this post with all the tools I use for my blogger career here!