Best time management tools for busy moms.

As a busy mom, how do you manage your time to make sure you cover everything in a day? These time management tools and apps might come in handy for you.

As a mom, your time is practically fully occupied the moment you wake up in the morning. There are kids to take care of, spouse to take care of, breakfast to prepare, house to clean, lunch, dinner…you get the picture.
You barely have enough time to catch a breath. It gets worse when you are working from home. The disruptions and distractions alone can drive you crazy. It takes a lot of effort to get some work done, with kids running a ring of chaos around you. Nevertheless, some supermoms still do it with so much ease that you would think they were born to do this. What’s their secret? Time management. If you manage your time well, you can have an easy life as a busy mom. You may even have some time for yourself! To manage life easily as a busy mom, here are some tools and apps to help you get started.


Calendar tool


Every mom always keeps track of the dates for so several reasons. Every other member of the family expects mom to know the date all the time. In managing time, having a calendar tool/app does much more than tell your kids the day on a whim. It helps you synchronize your days and plan everything the right way. For instance, the CalenGoo application contains to-do lists and allows you to integrate everything with your emails and contacts. You never have to worry about forgetting ever again.



Task management application



There is an application called Toodledo that is multifunctional, allowing you to organize your life easily. There is so much you can do with this application. For instance, you can create custom listings, write short notes and track your daily habits. It also gives you the capacity to collaborate with your friends and family about the milestones you set to accomplish and how you are doing it.

Meal planners


Since you are busy working from home, you might not have enough time to keep researching the kind of meals you want to cook with your family. That is where a meal planner app comes in. It saves you the time to research what to cook by giving you numerous different options. The good thing is that most of the meals in the planner are nutritionally correct with balanced diets and recipes on how to prepare them. You will be able to find a meal to cook and get going within a very short period.

An application such as Yummly contains an assortment of meals in various cuisines across the world. With over 1 million choices, you can never lack something to prepare with your family.

We also love Hello Fresh! We used them for my entire pregnancy and for the first 3 months after. It was cut and dry – meaning here are 4 meals, which one do you want tonight? haha It helped us just know what our options were and we really enjoyed making them together!


Planners


How do you plan your life as a busy mom? How do you keep track of everything happening around you and still get work done? A planner comes to help you plan practically everything in your life. You can schedule meetings, keep track of something you want to do and check off stuff as you hit these milestones.

The good thing about an event planner is that it offers you the capacity to create prompts on different tasks. This ensures that you will never find yourself missing something just because you forgot. And because you can easily sync with emails and other applications, you get notifications when the event is due. A good event planner you can use as a busy mom is mylifeorganized.


Communication tools


When working from home, you will need tools to communicate with your team members and to stay on top of things. There are numerous free communication tools you can use online. The choice of the tool to use depends on the capacity of the tool and your internet connection.


For instance, some communication tools (especially the ones that allow video calls) demand that you have a very good and stable internet connection to operate optimally. The tool you choose should be reliable and can allow you to seamlessly sync with other members and other projects.
A tool like Slack does much more than just being a communication tool. It’s sort of a corroborative tool where you get to work together as a team on a project. Here, you can communicate and share links and material related to the project you are handling. This makes it effortless to collaborate and manage a lot of the project’s aspect as a team, albeit working remotely.


File saving and sharing tools


How do you normally send large files that your email cannot accommodate? If you are using Gmail, Google provides the option of sharing files using Google drive. However, if the recipient does not have a Gmail account, they might be restricted to ‘view’ status only. If you are sending (or receiving a large number of files), you might need to use a tool designed specifically for that purpose.


Dropbox is an amazing tool for this purpose. You can save a lot of files and share them easily with your colleagues. If your colleagues have registered accounts on Dropbox as well, they can be able to work collaboratively on these files without the need to download them.


Time and productivity tracking tools


Although many companies are coming up with their system of managing and tracking what their employees are doing remotely, some tools have proven to be quite effective in this regard. A tool like Toggl, for instance, does a great job of analyzing and offering you an overview of how you have been spending your time in a day.


When using Toggl, you create a project and milestones for this project. Then once you start working, you start the timer on Toggl. At the end of the day, you can be able to download reports and find out how you have been spending your time during that day. The app keeps track of how you spend your time. If you integrate the app with other software, you get added features, such as automated sending of invoices based on the reports you generate.

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How to understand the signs of burnout when working from home and how to contain them.

How to understand the signs of burnout when working from home and how to contain them

People who work from home also experience several challenges and burnout is the most common one. The feeling of total exhaustion- mentally, emotionally and physically– when working from home is real. During these moments, your motivation will be absent. Productivity levels drop to the floor as well. Most times, many of us experience these burnout feeling without even realizing we are going through a moment of stress and possible depression. The good thing is that it is fairly easy to contain a burnout when working from home. This article shows you how to understand these burnout signs and how you can easily contain them and increase your productivity levels.

Signs of burnout when working from home

As noted here, when you find yourself experiencing deep emotional, physical and mental drain when working from home, chances are that you could be experiencing burnout. What are the signs to look out for here?

Behavioral changes

Your behavior changes drastically when the exhaustion settles in. Most people start loathing taking care of their responsibilities – work-related and family-related responsibilities. The thought of just waking up in the morning to do chores is depressing. You tend to withdraw from these responsibilities or procrastinate as much as you can. I know I personally get super irritable when I feel overwhelmed.

Isolation is one of the biggest challenges among people who work from home. When you are forced to stay at home in an unstructured environment, you may not be able to function optimally and this may lead you into burnout.

Emotional changes

Self-doubt starts creeping in when working from home. No matter how good you are, there will always be a moment when you doubt yourself and your capabilities when working at home. It’s called imposter syndrome. It makes you feel like a fraud- Like you are not worth what you say you are. This makes you lose all motivation to work from home and this lack of motivation overshadows what you have already accomplished in the past. Then the feeling of helplessness starts to creep in. You start thinking that there is no way around it.

Physical signs and changes

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling more tired than you were when you went to bed the previous night? And no, we are not talking about poor sleeping habits here. Our brain is synchronized to communicate with our bodies. When you have no motivation or liking for what you are waking up to do, the brain sends some sort of a message and your body reacts, making you feel fatigued even before you get down to work. Many people who work from home complain of headaches now and then, especially during the moments when they are feeling overwhelmed with their work.

You start eating poorly and doing little or no exercise. You lack the physical energy to do most of the things you know you are supposed to do. There is simply no drive. Your body does not want to respond to your wishes. When this goes on for long, it is not surprising to find people falling ill more often. Stress leads to your immune system not being on POINT. You may have been working in a burnout bubble for so long without even realizing it.

How to contain these burnout signs

When you find yourself experiencing any of the signs or changes noted above, you need to look at your environment keenly. Your source of burnout is lurking there, somewhere. Some of the common sources of burnouts when working from home include work-related challenges, family issues, and socially-charged challenges.

Tackling work-related challenges

These could be many and diverse, depending on where you work and the kind of work you do. A common challenge here is the feeling that you have no control over what you do. When working from home, the expectation is that you deliver a certain milestone within a certain deadline. Your boss is not there to supervise you or pressure you into working. Unfortunately for most people who work from home, their bosses expect them to be on their beck and call all the time. 

Since you also want to be with your family, the pressure from your work will start mounting. To avoid this, have a conversation with your boss and designate certain working hours. You can dedicate these hours to work and unplug when the time is over. Use the rest of the time to be with your family.

I personally try to set standard hours for myself – some days it works and others it does BUT it’s drastically helped me feel more in control of my schedule and how I manage my time. I am also trying to wake up in the morning before the baby and the “work” day starts so I can have my “me time” with a cup of tea and just think about what I’d like to do today. You could also take that time to go for a morning walk or exercise!

Tackling family-related challenges

If you are a woman, a lot is waiting on your to-do list on any given day. Your family has to eat, your house requires your attention, there are clothes to launder and so much to do around the house. And your boss is also awaiting your input. How do you juggle between all these activities?

Those who have an understanding spouse or family members have it easier than others. They get help. Those who are not so lucky will always be feeling overwhelmed. They dread waking up in the morning when they think of the kind of chores that await them. To solve this you can wake up early before your work day, you could designate certain days to handle certain tasks, hire a helper or talk with your family members. Let them understand that your work is also important and they should help you when you feel overwhelmed.

Carl and I make a schedule, when we’re able to switch on and off with the baby, when we are busy the other person jumps in as best as possible to help. Especially since we are both working from home while juggling a 7 month old! We also schedule in our date nights at home and which nights we just wanna do our own thing. It’s helped a lot – we don’t argue and its helped our communication a lot.

Tackling socially-generated challenges

Working from home can get lonely and isolated. The only real people you come into contact with are your family members. Sometimes the lack of human contact and social togetherness can be a limiting factor. You might need to see and talk to actual people to wade off these isolation feelings.

I find having happy hours with my friends via FaceTime or even having “family” get togethers has really helped me not feel so alone in the times we’re currently in. (Knee deep in Coronavirus) Thankfully we have this technology to help us not seem so far apart.

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Tips for Shutting Down at the End of the Day While Working From Home

When you’re working from home it can sometimes be incredibly challenging to turn off your work brain and get back into home mode. That is why I’ve put together a list of tips to help you shut off at the end of the day while working from home.

Change Your Clothes

One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself turn your work brain off at the end of the day and move into at home mode is to change your clothes. What’s that you say, you’ve been working in your PJs? While that may feel great for your body it is actually doing harm to your mind. You don’t have to put on a tie or do makeup if you don’t want to, but for some people, it makes all the difference! Taking those work clothes off at the end of your workday will help you differentiate between the two times of day, home and work.

Have a Set Time for Your Work Day to End

You might think that because you’re working from home this means you can get up in the middle of the day and do laundry or take out the trash. But you should be treating your work time as though it were time you’re not at home. This means no household chores during work time and no work during home time. Have a set time for your workday to begin and end each day. I recommend keeping the same hours you would at work. So if you have a 9-5 office job, work 9-5 at home.

Turn on Do Not Disturb

At the end of the day turn on your do not disturb settings for Slack and any other tools your office uses. Don’t let your coworkers bother you after hours because they may not be following the rules for having set working hours and they’ll end up dragging you into something in your off time. Limit the opportunities for work to creep back into your life. I turn this on every day at 5pm. It’s helped me stop working on time. I also recommend (if you can) leaving your phone in the other room and enjoy your evening.

Close the Office Door for the Day

At the end of the day close your home office’s door and don’t go back into the room until work starts the following day. If this isn’t possible, maybe because you’re working from your bedroom or living room then pack away your laptop and phone in your work bag. Doing this creates a clear barrier between work and home. If you do end up wanting to use your home office again make sure that you spend some time away from the room making dinner or spending time chatting with family. This will give your brain time to transition away from work so the next time you go into the room you’re not thinking about work anymore and you can instead focus on playing a game or whatever else it was you were going to do.

Develop an Evening Routine

Finally, you should develop an evening routine that works for you and your family. This begins by having a set time for work to end, turning on your do not disturb, then packing away work for the night in whatever way works for you. What you do after that is entirely up to you. But try to make it the same every workday. 

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