It's no secret, I work a lot, I'm sure you do too. Whether you're a mompreneur, entrepreneur, career woman or man, we can all use tips that will make our lives easier so we can focus on what truly brings us happiness. Whether it's spending more time with your kids, your spouse, or yourself, setting yourself up for winning situations is key.
As a work at home mom, I have 2 jobs. When I'm not working on Mi Legasi, getting new products together, creating new items, putting together boxes, photoshoots, and filling orders I am designing Halloween costumes and products for independent companies at justjanny.com. You may have even seen my work at Walmart or Spirit Halloween! When I'm not busy with those 2 businesses I am mom to my 3 year old Victoria, 6 yr old dog Hope, and wife to my touring rock star husband. My hands are full!
It's not that I have more time than anyone else, I too have 24 hours in a day, I simply prioritize my time and set myself up for winning situations. Just like you, I too have great weeks and not so great weeks, but I find that the great weeks are usually purposefully planned and the not so great weeks are when I'm just going with the flow, unprepared, or when unexpected situations happen and I'm not ready with plan B. I'll share with you 12 hacks that will set you up for a winning week and will have a positive impact in your career and your family life.
When you start with a positive attitude you're setting yourself up for a win. Every morning I lay in bed and do 5 minutes of gratitude. I thank God, the universe, that higher power for a new day. I am grateful for the day ahead. I may say, "Thank you God because today will be a productive day." or "Thank you God for my patience, creativity, for working behind the doors for me." Whatever is on my radar I will put it out into the world. I also try to work out, though honestly this doesn't always happen. On the weeks when I work out 3 mornings a week I am more energized and physically feel better.
The early bird catches the productivity worm! You can be so productive before the real madness begins. On any given day during the week, depending on my workload, I am up between 5am - 7:00am. If I need to concentrate on something important I will wake up before everyone in the house and focus on that task for about an hour to an hour and a half. Many times I will forego coffee and simply get in the zone. I find that the 5-10 minutes of gratitude is enough to get me fueled without needing that morning cup of Cafecito first thing. On days when my body has had enough I'll sleep in and either ask my husband to take over morning duties or take my daughter to daycare later. It's important to listen to your body and know when you're pushing yourself too hard.
Did you know you are more likely to get things done if you write them down? Take action. I have post its all over my desk of daily reminders. If it's in front of me nagging me I will be more likely to do it. Even if I schedule it in my ICal, if it's something pressing that I need to do, I will write it on a post it and leave it up until I accomplish it. I also write down any creative ideas so I get them off my head and post them. When I'm tired of looking at those ideas for a few days, I'll ask myself, "Do I want to move forward with this?" If the answer is yes, I'll write them in my Notes app on my phone under Product Ideas, or Blog Ideas, or Quotes, etc. I keep my notes on my phone and backed up in the cloud for safe keeping. If the answer is no, I'll throw it in the garbage.
Setting aside blocks of time to focus on just one task is important for productivity. When I'm in the designing or writing mode, I silence my phone, turn off the vibrations or notifications, so I'm not bothered. I also don't check emails. Sometimes, I'll go to a local coffee shop if my office or house is a mess cause that in itself is a distraction for me. I may ask my husband to take my daughter out for a couple of hours so I'm not interrupted. You don't have to block out an entire day, you'd be surprised at how much you can get done in just 30 minutes of focused time.
Find areas where you can batch work and make your life easier. I multi task mundane tasks that don't require my devoted attention. For example, I'll exactly time how much drying time I have in the laundromat, maybe I'll do a quick grocery run while the clothes dry, squeeze in a workout, or maybe I'll run to the post office to pick up or send off packages. I hate doing dishes, so sometimes I'll wait for Victoria to go to sleep and do dishes while catching up on the latest Netflix show on my phone. While I'm packing her lunch in the morning, or making her breakfast I'll take an extra 15 minutes to chop up some vegetables, and protein, throw some spices, and throw it in the slow cooker or boil a pasta for dinner. I'll make sure to cook enough so I can freeze some for later use. Think of 2 activities you can combine together that won't hurt the integrity of the other.
When business is booming, it's a great feeling, but it can also get overwhelming fast. Get help, because no matter how much you want to, you can't do everything and do it well. Hire a sitter so you can have a date night, hire a cleaning service to clean the house, drop off your laundry, order in for the week, or hire an assistant to help you with emails, orders, or social media. You can't do it all and if you do you will have burnout. I know! I've been there many times and I've also hired cleaning services, meal deliveries, and assistants. Yes, I get a lot done but I'm still human.
When you give you receive. When you show up for people people will show up for you. When you support people, people will support you. Support people because you want to help them on their journey not for what's in it for you. Join a support group and see how you can help others. I'm a part of an Instagram/Photo/Blog Group (below with a few members). As an amateur photographer, I help others by taking high quality Instagram pictures for them and they reciprocate. We do it for free because we want to help each other grow. I'm also a part of Latinas in Business Group that helps empower and support Latina women in the tri state area. We support each other, exchange ideas, possibly services, etc. When you help other's grow, they will help you grow too.
When you surround yourself with negative people it rubs off. My mom always said, "Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres." Tell me who you walk with and I will tell you who you are. This is so true. When you surround yourself with people you admire preferably that can motivate and push you you will be in a winning mindset. You don't necessarily need people who agree with your every word, either. People that ask you questions, give you creative criticism, share their thoughts and opinions with your best interest in mind will propel you. They will make you look at situations differently and open you up to see what you can be capable of achieving. But you have to get out of your house to meet them if you want to build true relationships.
When you create a habit of listening to positive and empowering people it will change your thinking, especially on those days when you think you can't. I listen to many podcasts but some of my favorites are, Affirmation Pod - Affirmations and Positive Self Talk For Happiness, Confidence, and Change, Supermamas, Goal Digger Podcast - Marketing, Social Media, Creative Entrepreneurship Don't like podcasts? How about audio books? Now you can find most books available on audio from amazon to audible.com, I am sure you can find something to inspire you!
When you are working too much your family will let you know, so before it gets to that, make sure you carve time out for them. They are supporting your dreams so make them a priority. I carve out my time in the morning and evening. Every morning, Victoria and I have snuggle time. We'll either lay in bed or on the couch for a few minutes and simply snuggle. She'll share with me her dreams I'll share with her mine and we'll talk. I treasure these few moments. I also close office from the time I pick her up (3:30-5:30pm), until she goes to bed (9:00-9:30pm). This is family time and can include anything from long walks, reading, music, crafts, puzzles, playing outside, whatever the mood is. I try to devote no more than 15-30 minutes to cooking, this is where the extra 15 minutes in the morning comes handy. When my husband is in town, we take full advantage, and do family outings on weekends, date nights or simple movie nights at home. If I have a lot of work I'll either work late, sometimes into the morning hours or wake up extra early. Set clear boundaries of family vs work time.
My midday break comes in the form of walking my dog, Hope at 2:30pm. We take a 15-20 minute walk, I get some fresh air, and either do affirmations or I'll call my mama and catch up. It's a much needed mental break and a good pick me up. If I'm stuck on something many times I will get inspired on our walk. If I'm feeling extra tired I'll take an exact 20 minute nap just to relax my eyes and that's enough for a pick me up as well.
If I can take a late Yoga class like at 9:00pm it's amazing. It helps me relax my body and mind, especially on stressful days. If I can't take a class, I'll take a hot shower or bath to relax. I end my day with prayer and gratitude. I reflect on my day, my actions, my words, and try to simply let go of any negative thoughts. I am a true believer that we are our biggest champions or blockers. Be your biggest champion, take it one cafecito at a time, you can do this, trust that you can and it will follow.
What about you? Do you have helpful tips for other career oriented parents? Share what you do! Believe me, we could all use the help!
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Want to know the scary truth about working Latina moms? Why the workplace doesn't support working moms? Take a further look at the new Working Mama blog and the stats for working moms. Being a mom is hard, that in itself is enough for a full-time job, but for many it's simply not enough, despite the stats. Many moms take time off work after they have children. Sometimes, they return to their jobs and other times they decide to stay home with their kids. Every situation is different and every mom has her own story...