Work From Home Mom, Tip #22: Take Advantage of Nap Time

Work from home tips: Take advantage of naptime by HighleyDesigned, Mommy blogger and social media marketer

Ah… the sound of… quiet. As a mom to a little one this is a rare treat! My six month old can’t speak words yet but she has certainly found her voice.

I’ve learned that instead of stressing when it seems like the morning has been chaotic, sometimes it’s best to simply put work aside and make my baby girl #1 for a while. Maybe that’s an impromptu walk or reading some books – whatever keeps her happy. When work seems overwhelming it’s important to realize how lucky I am to be able to stay at home and have those little moments with Reagan.

Working from home requires serious time management. I don’t plan my day by the hour, I plan it by what Reagan is up to and how long things will keep her busy. The bouncer and the walker are usually good for a half hour so I can get some Facebook posts scheduled. A bottle might last for 10 minutes which is perfect for switching laundry over or vacuuming the living area. Do any moms actually have a set schedule? I am amazed at those who do! Don’t get me wrong, I know Reagan has a routine at this point – she eats twice before we start our day, again after her nap, she usually poops somewhere in the middle etc. and that’s good enough for me.

When nap time finally rolls around, I take full advantage of however long that may be. I try saving all of my tedious work for nap time – any writing, blogging, phone calls or post planning. Things that can be interrupted like designing new graphics or checking email can be done anytime. Nap time is for the important stuff.

I keep a serious to-do list and I try to prioritize things into categories.¬†Things are either urgent / not urgent, or important / not important. The goal is to stay in the urgent and important categories and not to get stuck working on not urgent, not important items. For example, checking email feels urgent but it’s not – it’s important. Something urgent can be done first, like making a phone call or tackling something else that has an approaching deadline.

Some days nap time is cut short and as frustrating as it can be, I’ve learned to appreciate the time I get with my little one, because there will always be time for work.

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Work From Home Mom, Tip #21: Get Outside

 

Getting Outside for a Walk

Tip #21 – Make time to get outside

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you’re working on or to feel bogged down with laundry, dirty dishes, a fussy baby etc. There are days I feel overwhelmed and realize I’ve hardly accomplished anything on my to-do list and I just need a “reset” so I can clear my head and focus. On days like those¬† (and today was one of them) it’s so helpful to get outside and take a mental break.

Not only is the fresh air good for you, but studies show Vitamin D can also be a mood booster. I know this is true for me, especially this time of year when it’s getting dark by 5 pm. If I don’t have time for a walk I’ll check the mail and play fetch with our 100 lb labradoodle for a few minutes – he loves the attention and I love the way a little time spent outdoors can help me clear my thoughts and refocus on writing or design, whatever it is I’m working on.

If you’re struggling to build a routine or stay motivated working from home, try getting outside on a daily basis and see how much better you feel – and how much more focused you can be. It’s worth it!

-Rachel

10 Tips for Working from Home (with a Baby)

working from home

1. Create a schedule
When I first began working from home I had only a few clients and could get most of my writing done at the beginning of the week leaving me with a few “free” days for running errands etc. That is no longer the case so a schedule has become essential. My schedule doesn’t dictate what time of day I work on things, but it does tell me what needs to be done each day. Mondays – Pinterest, Tuesdays – Blogging, etc.

2. Make a to-do list
I keep a simple Excel sheet with a list of my clients, what needs to be done and when. I date everything when it comes to social media management so that I remember when I last worked on something and when those social media accounts will need to be worked on again. Being able to schedule posts ahead of time is a huge advantage but I try not to go more than two weeks out because a lot can change during that time and I always want posts to be relevant. For additional items like “Buy dog food” or “Pick up dry cleaning” I use the app Evernote. It’s FREE and a great way to remember things. It syncs between my phone and laptop so no matter what I’m working on I have access to my latest notes or reminders.

3. Plan ahead
I like to stay at least one week ahead when it comes to content creation – this way if something comes up it’s not the end of the world. When you work from home it feels like you have all the time in the world to complete tasks but at the end of the day with a fussy baby there are moments I find myself saying “What did I do today??” If you know your little one is acting fussier than usual, plan ahead and get an extra hour of work done when he or she goes to bed, so that if you lose time the next day it’s okay. I also make sure to keep Dr. appointments, meetings and anything else on the same calendar so that I can plan around things and be prepared.

4. Take advantage of nap time
This is a big one. I will make sure to save my most challenging work for nap time. I try to do things like vacuuming, folding laundry and household chores when baby is awake because it doesn’t matter if I’m interrupted a million times, but when it comes to writing, design or content planning – nap time it is!

5. Be willing to be flexible
I recently read the quote “Perfectionism is the enemy of Hustle.” I think this is perfect for remembering to stay flexible. When you have a baby toddling around nothing is ever going to be perfect and this has taken me a while to learn. I am seriously OCD when it comes to my home and keeping things tidy but at the end of the day that doesn’t get things done.

6. Schedule phone calls
When you have a baby the worst thing that can happen is an unexpected phone call during nap time or a door bell ring followed by incessant barking and chaos from your 100lb dog. (Maybe that’s just in our household haha) Regardless, nothing can mess up your day like an unexpected 30 minute conversation when you could have done a bunch of other more important things during that time. I ask all of my clients to email first and if they need to talk on the phone that’s fine but I schedule my calls in advance so 1. I can be prepared and 2. It doesn’t mess up nap time and 3. It doesn’t interfere with my other work.

7. Plan time to check and respond to emails.
Email can be a major time-sucker. Unless it’s urgent I don’t open it right away – this way it remains highlighted so I know I need to come back to it. I try to check and respond in the morning and again later in the day. As much as I want to be available to my clients, email can become a serious interruption to other work. I find I can write a better response when it’s not rushed and I’m not doing other things so setting a time for email checking and responding has proven valuable.

8. Designate a work space
I love that working from home means I can work wherever, but I like some stability so when I sit down I know, “okay, it’s work time.” We have an “office” but I hate it. It’s secluded and baby girl has no room to play. I have commandeered the breakfast bar in the kitchen as my work space instead – there’s ample space for me to spread out papers, drink my coffee and plenty of outlets for chargers. Plus I can put baby Kline in her walker or jumper and let her go to town, all within watching distance. Having a work space is great – even my dog knows when I’m sitting here I’m not to be bothered.

9. Limit distractions
Okay, we all have our lazy work from home days when we catch up on our favorite shows or watch the Today Show for an hour but when it comes down to it I cannot do my best work with the TV on. Even catchy music can get distracting for me so I limit myself to a few classical Pandora stations for some welcome background noise. I highly recommend “Piano Guys” radio to anyone that loves music – it’s all instrumental versions of your favorite songs so it’s fun but not distracting. I’ve also learned to successfully tune out Disney radio but sometimes when Frozen comes on I just have to belt out “Let it go!” for the world to hear. (baby girl thinks I’m a great singer!)

10. Enjoy your little ones while you can!
The best part of working from home is getting to spend time with your little one (s) so do it! They may be your biggest inspiration when it comes to your next creative assignment and when I’m stressed nothing is better than some quiet time nursing my baby girl. Don’t forget why you’re working from home to begin with. “Work” can always wait or you can catch up on something when the kids are in bed.

What are your top tips for working from home with kids? I’d love to hear them!

– Rachel

A Little Pinspiration

I’ve tried a lot of Pinterest ideas and usually my attempts at being cute and crafty result in an epic fail… but this time a cousin of mine sent me a photography idea so I thought, why not? I’ve been saving for a professional camera so I’ve been getting all the practice I can get lately, and it also helps that there’s a lot of cute babies in my family to take pictures of right now.

My baby, Reagan, was a honeymoon baby so I thought this idea was absolutely perfect for her. It took a lot of calming and re-swaddling go get her to fall asleep just the way I needed her to but the results were worth it!

Here is the shot that took at least 40 minutes to get.

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It’s crazy how fast they grow, so I might be a little picture happy lately but I’m beyond happy to capture every moment I can of my baby girl.

-Rachel

Not Too Shabby – My First Amateur Photography Attempts

I’ve always loved taking product photos for my clients but recently I began practicing my photography skills on just about anyone that will allow me to take their picture. My sister asked me to take some baby pictures of my nephew, Clark, so I of course agreed. Not only do I love babies but I was excited for the chance to practice my shooting and editing skills. Now I know I’m far from being an expert, but I was really happy with how the pictures turned out so I thought I’d share my favorites. I’ve found a local printer but I would love to know from the other amateur photographers out there, who do you use for your printing services? I know there’s a lot of big names out there but I was skeptical of ordering a bunch of prints online and I want to get my sister the best deal possible. I’d love your feedback!

~ Rachel

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