Top Tips For Being Awesome and Getting Stuff Done

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Multi-tasking is one of those essential skills that every mum needs, and if you’re a work at home mum or freelancer it’s even more vital that you can juggle several things at once.

But, if you have a never ending to-do list and struggle to find enough hours in the day to get it all done, here are some hacks to maximise your productivity…

  1. Take yourself away from distractions – If the house is a mess and all you can think about is tidying up, it might be best to go and work in a coffee shop for a couple of hours. If you have to be at home, make sure you turn off the TV to avoid being distracted by daytime television.
  2. Write lists – The world can be divided into 2 types of people, those who write lists and those who don’t. As a lover of lists I can guarantee that you’ll get more done if you write down your tasks and tick them off as you go. If you’re a bit of a stationery geek you can also use it as an excuse to buy pretty pens and notepads!
  3. Prioritize – When writing your lovely lists make sure you put the most important things at the top. The worst thing you can do when you’re working for yourself is miss important deadlines that your clients are waiting for.
  4. Don’t promise too much – It’s hard not to see the pound signs when you are offered extra work but try to be realistic. If you can only fit 4 or 5 hours work around the school run, don’t take on any more. You’ll only end up stressed out at midnight when you’re tired and still trying to get everything finished.
  5. Take regular breaks – The benefit of working for yourself is that you can take breaks whenever you want (that and being able to work in your PJs!). Neckache, backache and headaches are common when using computers for long periods of time, so take advantage of the fact you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck and make sure you get up, have a stretch and make a cup of coffee every so often.
  6. Pat yourself on the back – If you manage to cross lots of tasks of your list, or finish a big project before the deadline then give yourself credit for being awesome…and maybe have a nice slice of cake as a reward!

If you have any other good tips feel free to leave them in the comments section, or tweet or facebook me via the links at the side.

 

 

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Every day’s a school day…

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We are only in our second week of school and I’m sure we still have a lot to discover, but here’s what I have learnt so far…

  1. The school car park could be a setting for the Hunger Games. Mums will get there over an hour before school starts just to get a space, they’ll park where ever their car fits, block any cars in that happen to be in the way, and then they’ll do it all over again in the afternoon!
  2. It’s cliquey. Remember at baby group where there were those groups of mums who would stick together in a little pack and not chat to anyone else? The school gates are exactly the same! Everyone is in their little group and they won’t make eye contact with you unless they know you. If you’re new to an area or school then you stand no chance.
  3. Information overload! In the first week of school we received 14 emails, 4 paper forms to fill in, and attended a parent’s “Welcome” evening. I’m not knocking communication but I’ve had to buy a family organiser just to write all the school related things in.
  4. You will have no idea what your child gets up to during the day. We get little to no information out of H when she finishes school, other than what she’s had for lunch. Any probing questions get the reply of “I can’t remember”, or even ” I don’t want to tell you”.
  5. But you’ll hear what everyone else’s kids got up to. “Billy wouldn’t sit still”. “Olivia got told off for ignoring the teacher”. “Molly wouldn’t let me play with the bricks”. Argh.
  6. You’ll feel like you spend most of your life at school. For me, driving to the school, parking, and then waiting for the gate to open takes approx 30 minutes. Do that twice a day, 5 times a week, plus add on any meetings and after school clubs – just think what you could be doing with that time!
  7. Life is one big rush. If, like me you’re a working mum, you’ll rush to get to school on time, then leg it back to the car as soon as your child is through the gate, and head off to work through the dreaded rush hour traffic. Once there you’ll spend the day checking the clock to make sure you leave in time to collect the little darling, then rush back to school to find a parking spot before the bell goes. Phew.
  8. Having a child at school makes you feel old. There’s nothing like meeting with teachers (who are clearly younger than you), dropping a little person off at the school gate, and signing parental permission forms to make you feel like a proper grown up.

But all that said, nothing makes me feel prouder than seeing my (not so) little girl skip down the path to her classroom with her book bag in the morning, and then run up to me with a big cuddle at the end of the day 🙂

If any more experienced parents amongst you have anything that us newbies need to be aware of please let us know in the comments!

All change!

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“Work/life balance” is one of those cheesy, American parenting phrases that I hate (along with “play date”, “messy play” and “baby wearing”) but it’s something that I’ve been striving to achieve for a while.

When Little H was just 8 months old she started to spend 2 days a week with her grandparents while I went back to work. By 2 years old we added 1 day at nursery to her week, and by 2.5 years old she was doing 2 days at nursery and 2 days with grandparents while we were both working. Like a lot of families it was just what we had to do to pay the mortgage and we didn’t really have any other options if we wanted to move out of our flat and into a nice family home with a little garden.

H is a very sociable child who absolutely loves spending time with her grandparents and enjoys nursery, so whilst we’d both obviously rather have been at home with her it was something that we didn’t feel too bad about doing.

Now H is starting school (sob!) and I’m beginning to resent and feel guilty about the fact that I have spent more time with my work colleagues than my own daughter over the last 3+ years. These are what everyone tells you are “the best years” and I’ve missed a big chunk of them. I know we’ll never get this time back so I desperately want to be around more for her as she embarks on the very scary journey of school.

These feelings combined with trying to fit the dreaded school run into a normal working day, led to new plans for a better “work/life balance”. As I tell my husband – you’ve always gotta have a plan!

At the start of the year, when I started to form some little plans in my head, I took on two small freelance social media clients. It was a few extra hours per week that I could fit around my 4 full days in the office, however this has grown quite quickly to more clients and I spend from approx 7pm-11pm every night of the week working. This is great, it’s extra money and I enjoy it, but I am shattered and spend more time with my laptop than my husband.

So in a couple of week’s time it’s all change. Luckily I have a good boss who I’ve worked with for over 8 years, and I’ve been able to reduce my hours in the office quite a bit to enable me to drop off and pick up H from school every single day.

I’m really excited about this as it should give us an extra 3 hours a day together – we might just sit together and watch Disney Junior for most of it but it’s a big step towards more mummy/daughter time, and I can be there to meet her at the school gates every day.

I have a feeling though that my freelance work will creep into some of this extra time so that I can get to bed a bit earlier in the evening, so another plan might be necessary…I haven’t worked out exactly what yet but I always have a plan so watch this space!