This post is sponsored by Walmart!
As a busy mom of 4, a business owner, and someone who has to parent alone for long stretches, summer can be brutal!
When I’m with my kids, I feel guilty that work isn’t getting done. Not only am I letting myself down, but the countless people who work for me, and the business suffers.
But when I’m at work, I feel the same guilt about not being with my kids. What if I miss something? Did they notice my absence? Is it going to reveal itself 10 years down the road as the cause for countless money spent on therapy and commitment issues?
I joke, but these are serious things I think about! haha – it’s hard to shake that feeling that somewhere, somehow, I’m letting someone down. And let’s be real, I would chuck it all in the garbage for a day with my kids!
But luckily, I don’t have to make that choice. While I don’t believe that “balance” is achievable, working mom life is doable, and at times, even extremely rewarding, with the right habits in place.
I can’t claim to be a master, but I have come up with a few ways to find my personal version of balance as a working mom who is also a full-time stay at home mom. Here are my top 5 ways to be productive on the go!
5 ways to be more productive
1) Let Go of the Guilt
You can’t have a productive day if I’m wallowing in self-doubt and guilt. I don’t dwell on how I’m not with my kid or not with my business. I instead think about my role and how being a present mom and a working mom benefit my family. Braun is always saying PMA (positive mental attitude). And I’ve really tried to apply that to my parenting and work life. I’ve really focused on how I can be efficient in both worlds. But that requires being able to come to terms with choices and focus on the priorities that are in the moment.
I wrote a bit about this last week but I really do apply the rule of 5: “If it isn’t going to matter in 5 years don’t waste 5 minutes on it.” I completely accept that there will be good and bad days. And my biggest takeaway is my kids will learn hard work and see their mom creating as well as being an active presence in their life. 2 lessons I can’t create any other way!
2) Keep a Calendar
I’ve spoken about this a few times before and I absolutely believe in keeping a calendar. I live with too many other humans, who all have different demands on their time. You probably do too. A calendar is a necessary tool for us to be able to make sure we’re not missing out on the important stuff in life and keeps us from committing to things we don’t have time for.
I make sure I put items into it as soon as they are decided on or finalized. And I make sure I’ve got all that information on my phone. At a quick glance, I can see if I need backup (babysitter) or if I can take a call on the go. I’ve prioritized my life so my family comes first, business second, everything else third. And I schedule things according to how they fit in my priority scale. A dance recital or baseball game is going to trump a business call but luckily, those hardly ever happen at the same time. But if there is a clash, I make sure I have the right tools with me to handle both – which leads me to my next point!
3) Make sure You Have The Right Tools To Get Both Jobs Done
There are a few things I never leave home without:
This is like a mobile office – I’ve got everything I need to get stuff done! I can easily work on my tablet or computer while my girls are waiting for their turn to dance at a recital, or I can sit in the parking lot at baseball practice and get out a few emails. I can even sit under an umbrella at the pool and watch my kids swim while I catch up on work. And I wanted to show you guys some inexpensive alternatives for some of the things I am always talking about!
Walmart recently launched MOTILE, its private label premium tech brand available exclusively at Walmart.com. This is my first experience with a tech accessory brand that offers high quality, super cute accessories that are designed to help me be more efficient. Their purses/backpacks have built-in chargers for your phone and tablet so you never run out of juice, you have a serious pocket layout that keeps you organized, and all of them have a sleeve that easily fits my computer AND my tablet.
They also have a really fantastic cord/plug/battery organizer (you know how much I love mine) and I’m seriously so happy a tech company hired designers that know how to design tech stuff that women will actually want to carry and use! I think this entire line is a great inexpensive and high-quality brand for ladies who launch!
UPGRADE YOUR TECH ACCESSORIES
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4) find work-friendly play spots
Gotta get work done but your kids desperately need to burn off energy (for your sake and theirs)? There are hoards of places that are ideal for working and playing. Public libraries and some parks are even getting in on the Wifi game. But if you don’t have access to free Wifi, your smartphone may be able to help you out. If you have a smartphone and a mobile data plan, you should be able to create a mobile WiFi hotspot to share your connection with your other devices. I have found that having access to wifi on the go has been so helpful in getting work done!
The reason time blocking works so well starts with a simple, tragic fact: we are all slaves to our calendars (yes, the very one I talked about setting up 3 tips ago). We are addicts. “Send me an invite,” we say, “so I don’t forget.” My life and that of my family is managed by the alerts from my calendar app. My wrist, pocket, and laptop all remind me where I should be and what I should be doing at all points throughout the day. What kid has to go where, when orthodontist appointments are, and even play dates with other families.
At its core, time blocking is just scheduling your to-do list against your calendar. You block off the time you’ll be working on a specific thing ahead of time, and then during that time, you work on the thing.
If it’s Monday and I’ve got something I need to have done by Thursday, but I still want to be able to have an active family and summer schedule, I will set aside a specific amount of time from Monday to Thursday to get it done instead of pulling an all-day marathon on Wednesday to meet my deadline. I try to do this with kid’s projects, church callings, and anything else that has a set deadline. It also balances the urgent with the important.
I know that my kids are going to be up and active around 8 or 9 in the morning. This gives me the opportunity to block out time for the gym, an hour of emails, an hour of texts, and writing. Time blocking also allows me to set aside time for photo shoots – especially when I’ve got to coordinate the entire family for one! This is easily one of my most utilized methods for being the most productive during the summer!
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There are a few more things that make my summers productive but these are my absolute go-tos! You can start by implementing 1 or all 5 – whatever works best for you! I’d love to hear your tips as well!