How Time-Blocking Changed my Life

All of us working moms know that the after school hustle is real.  Call it witching hour, or call it whatever you like but those precious hours starting when you get home from pick up or the bus pulls away from your house, until bedtime can be a little nutty.  Especially if you are in a season of small or school aged kids.  So, I’ve found a few things that have been pretty helpful in managing the potential stress and chaos.

WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?

Ok, I’m sure you get the concept of what this is, though I’ll admit when I first heard about this concept, I binged watched every youtube video I could find.  I was enamored by the idea. 

THINK ABOUT BLOCKING OUT THE HOURS OF YOUR DAY LIKE WHEN YOU WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Yes, really!!  Remember when the bell would ring, and you would pack up your Geometry books and head off to Art? Then after the bell rang for art, you would pack up your supplies and head to English?  You get the point…

Instead of doing ONE MILLION THINGS at a time, you were laser focused during that particular block of time.

(Having trouble with this video? Try watching it here instead)

So what would it look like to block out your time as a working mom?  Well we could talk about a lot of different parts of the day right now, but…

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE AFTERNOON BLOCK

This is potentially the hardest and most freeing block of time for me personally, when I adhere to my time blocking schedule.  

I pick up my daughter from school at 3pm, and then by 4pm my son is home off the bus. I also have a 2 year old who somewhere in there is waking up from her nap.  So how does time blocking work?  I have an alarm on my phone that is set every Monday-Friday at 4pm that says “kids home/evening block”.

That alarm serves as a reminder for me to put my phone AWAY for the next 3ish hours.

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I know what you are thinking, “Wynne that is so hard! I do a lot of business during that block!” And I totally hear you, and I understand.  I’m just here to say that there’s a lot more productivity that can happen when you aren’t screaming at your kids “just one more minute” and getting so frustrated with them because they are “interrupting you”.  I know y’all get it, the struggle is real.  

What if instead of multitasking and trying to help with homework, cook dinner, be present with your spouse, play with your kids AND work at the same time…

What if you shut down the temptation to work during that block, set up a healthy boundary, and gave yourself permission to be present? 

I have found this to be extremely helpful both in my resting and my producing.  I fill myself up on kitchen dance parties, cooking dinner, and looking my kids in the eyes so once bed time rolls around, everyones tanks are full. You know what happens next right, the next alarm goes off!  

THE GOAL:

Be present wherever you are or with whatever you are working on, while still being the badass #momboss that you are.

Me/us time/work block rings and with our mind and bodies, we move onto the next block of time.  I promise that little “rest” of your mind from your work tasks onto your family will only give you the mental capacity you need to move onto your next big task or project!

NOTE:

If you want to see what the rest of my day looks like (time-blocking wise anyway), check out the photo below.

This one (and the image used above) are the actual alarm reminders I use each and every day!

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FOR EXAMPLE:

5:12am DO NOT CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL

6:00am Write

6:21am Get Camp up! You got this!!!

6:55am Bus is coming!!!!

fast forward to evening

4:00pm All Kids Home/Evening Block (i.e. PUT PHONE AWAY)

7:30pm Kids Bedtime/Me/Us Time Block

9:30pm Shut it down (phone), Read, and Sleep

TRY IT!

I can’t wait to hear your stories and see how you make this your own. 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

Beating The Working At Home Guilt

I leave for work most days the same time as my kids leave for school. They are old enough now to fix their own breakfasts and pack lunches, so our mornings flow fairly well. Okay-most days they flow. Then there are the days my 10-year-old decides to take a 45 minute shower, but I digress.

Depending on the day, I pick them up after practices and we head home for dinner, which we always do together. It is literally the only thing in parenting that I am consistent with. No matter if it is bowls of cereal or the nights where we clean out the fridge, for at least fifteen to twenty minutes every day, we speak to one another. One of the only mom hacks I have is Clean Out the Fridge Night. At least one night a week we pull out all of the leftovers, heat up the containers and I pass out forks. We stand around our kitchen island and fork fight over the last bit of spaghetti or the remaining meatloaf. It’s fun, it reduces our food waste and it cleans out our fridge.

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There you go, you now have the secret sauce to the only beneficial tip I know about raising kids.

On the other nights of the week, the rules are different.

There are no cell phones allowed at the table, usually the TV is turned off unless it is something we all are pressed to watch together and we get to discuss our individual days.

And then we disband.

The kids head off to shower, lay out their clothes and projects for the next day and finalize homework. And  I open my laptop. Monday through Friday, this our routine.

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Now some days are different and at least once a week we go out to eat because I have forgotten to meal plan appropriately. Those are the dinners we actually have more interactions across the table from one another, mainly because I have trapped them into a booth to talk.

Then there are other days where practice is cancelled or my work load is not pressing and we play games or watch movies.

But at this stage of parenting a teen and pre-teen, our weekends are for fun and our weeks are for getting through.

I would like to tell you that only have a brief moment with my children each day depresses me. However, it is all we can do with the lives we are leading and the time we spend is good. They are active and have homework and I almost always have a daily project to finish or a court date to prepare for the following day.

I have a no work on Saturday rule. Not for any other reason than soccer for both kids is almost entirely year round and Saturdays are game days. We are bustling from field to field, cities to varying States and I couldn’t work even if I had to. It also is an entire day that my kids know is devoted to them. You have to find a pattern that works for you, your business and your family.

The worst advice I’ve ever been given in business is that you have to have a work life balance.

There is no such thing.

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Sometimes, your business requires your family to make sacrifices. And then at other times, the laptops are closed and business can wait. The ebb and flow of that will change depending on your schedule, your family’s obligations and the needs of your business.

You cannot beat yourself up for the nights that you miss family game night doing expense reports. Because there will be days that you can move everything around to make it to your 3rd grader’s science project presentation. Giving yourself the freedom to know that a balancing act is not feasible, will free up space in your head and heat to think of something other than guilt.

You love your job…or maybe you need the income from it. And you most certainly love your kids. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s GREAT! The most important thing to remember though is wherever you are, be all there. When you’re home, make sure you’re looking into you family’s eyeballs. Ask the questions, be the encouragement.

And when you’re at work, remind yourself not only how grateful you are to have one, but also what an incredible blessing it is that your children are taken care of while you’re hustling. Whether they’re at school, with a nanny, or daycare…they’re learning so much about playing with others, independence, seeing mom work hard, and thrive in a multitude of ways… all because you have given them the opportunity to.

Mom Guilt? Push it away and pass out those forks.

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

Living a Decluttered Life

Have you ever thought to yourself: “ I am spending so much time managing all the stuff in my home!” ? If you’re a busy #momboss, then chances are you have.  From rising early for work, packing lunches, running carpool, hosting gatherings, and a multitude of other commitments...

Chances are pretty high that there’s a ball being dropped somewhere. 

After years of feeling depleted because I was constantly spinning my wheels, I have come to believe that this is a vicious cycle holding women back from truly living their passions and going for their goals.

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We are often just flat-out tired and on top of that, our spaces are full of clutter and stuff to manage so it’s nearly impossible to rest.

Because we’re managing stuff ad nauseam, we’re often left without enough time to pour into what we really want to do!!!  Soooooo what if I told you there was a better way? What if I said there was a way that did not include you frantically “organizing” your home every weekend or day off?  What if I told you that it was possible for you to walk into your home and feel peace? 

If you are anything like me, you’re raising your hand right about now.  

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Let me just take a minute to remind us all of this truth: people are of more value than stuff! Yeah, I realize we all know this, but I bring it up simply because though we’d be hard-pressed to admit it out loud, our lives often tell a different story (cringe). We’re often SO emotionally-tied to our stuff that we “hoard” the things that have strong memories tied to them (I’m looking at you LBD from wedding season, 2007).

But there is so much power in sorting through the clutter and selling/donating/giving away the things that don’t serve us anymore!  In-turn, this process creates space for everything in our homes to have both function and purpose!!! This process of decluttering allows us to see what we really have, giving us ample opportunity to actually USE our things!! Something truly magical happens when everything we own has a place to belong. 

Doesn’t that sound lovely? 

I am a living testimony that IT IS POSSIBLE.

Let me encourage you with this: 

A few months ago I posted this photo on my Instagram feed:

So what do you say, Mom Boss?  Are you ready to clear the clutter in your physical space to clear the clutter in your MIND?  I promise, promise, PROMISE you will feel lighter and more freed-up to do the things you were called and purposed to do!  

Let’s get after it! 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.