What do apps, family crisis, and mom guilt have in common?
They are all part of today’s first (but not last) “Your Questions Answered” episode. I decided to change things up this week with a little Q & A from my community. I’ve collected your questions from Instagram related to time management, productivity and mindset. I truly believe that if one person speaks up with a question, chances are there are several other people out there feeling the same way or asking the same question. So hopefully we can answer some of your questions today even if it wasn’t a question you submitted.
First up, Jen @mcraedesign.nc asks…
“Is there an app to schedule stories on Instagram? I’d love a link of time-saving apps too.”
Thank you for that question Jen…and yes, I definitely have some apps that help save time and make you more productive. Before I share those, as I suggest with many things you might add into your routine, make sure you are super clear on WHY you are making this change. It doesn’t have to take weeks of journaling and meditating, but just think for a few minutes about the purpose behind adding this app to your phone or daily routine.
And the reason I suggest this pause is to make sure you aren’t just adding to add. Is this app or new routine going to help you manage your time better or feel more productive at the end of the day? If so, it is definitely worth that time and the effort you will put into utilizing the app. If not, it may be better to refine a system you already have in place. That said, here are some apps that save me time or help me work more productively.
- Time on Apps – Both Android and Apple offer a way for you to see how much screen time you are using. When I started checking my screen time, I was floored. I honestly didn’t think I was wasting that much time a day mindlessly scrolling. But alas, numbers don’t lie. In addition to seeing how much time you spend staring at your screen, you can actually set limits on certain apps within your phone or tablet settings. Once you’ve used up the time for the day, it will not allow you to open that app again until the following day. While not apps per se, I found these tools so helpful in providing a check on my screen time, which in turn led to me reallocating that time to family or work priorities.
- Focus To-Do – This app helps with the Pomodoro technique…which in a nutshell is working in bursts of 25 minutes with a short 5-minute break. This app times the Pomodoros for you and allows you to adjust your work and break time as needed. For me, this is helpful because if I look at my timer and it says I have 15 minutes left I think “ok, I can keep this up for 15 more minutes”.
- Instacart – My next app for saving you time is Instacart. Or any sort of grocery ordering app or service, really. I didn’t start using it until we were under quarantine. But I don’t think I will ever go back to traditional grocery shopping.
As mom business owners, our home life and work-life are so intertwined. So anything we can do to alleviate stress or save time in either arena is helpful. I love that these apps save my previous purchases so I can easily order items I have in the past. I love that I don’t get distracted browsing the aisles. And I love that I can be spending time with my boys or working with clients while someone else gathers my goodies. I know I was late to the grocery delivery or click-and-pick-up game, but if you are looking to save time you should definitely try it.
- Evernote – Next is Evernote. I think of Evernote as the corkboard of apps. It’s a great way to collect all those snippets, lists, ideas that pop into your head, or articles you see on the internet. Then you can easily refer back to them when you want to. And I love that you can use it on your computer AND your phone.
One way I use this to save time is by writing my captions for Instagram on Evernote. Then I copy and past them on my post on my phone. I can bust out a caption much quicker on my laptop and even copy-paste snippets of blog posts or emails I’ve written more easily. I can bank the captions for the posts I am planning for the week. That way I ready to post easily throughout the week.
- Scheduling Instagram Stories – And speaking of posting to Instagram, Jen’s first question was about apps to schedule Instagram stories. And the answer is “yes”. And “no”. Yes, there are apps that allow you to plan your stories content. And decide when it would be best to schedule. And the no is that nearly all platforms will post your stories directly. Most operate by allowing you to create the content through their app. Then they’ll send you a notification when it’s time to post.
I personally have tried both Planoly and Tailwind for scheduling stories. I found that when I received my posting notifications, I was still tweaking and posting them myself. So I didn’t feel like it actually saved me much time. But if the idea of batching a weeks worth of content and scheduling notifications to remind you when to post helps you stay consistent, serve your community, and grow your business without adding unnecessary steps to your marketing plan. 100% do it.
Business Emergency Plans
Our next question is from Stephanie @mammahustle asks…
“What do you do when you are dealing with a family crisis but also need to work on your business?”
This question is so good and so timely. Like, how many of us have dealt with some sort of family crisis this year…Whether it’s someone in your house gets sick. Or your kids are suddenly home for school. Or someone in your extended family has an emergency. And these crises or emergencies are always looming. How can you possibly prepare for them?
Creating a plan to work on your business when there is a family crisis boils down to 3 steps.
- Know your priorities…What absolutely must be completed because it is time-sensitive or consequential.
- Eliminate unnecessary tasks…If it will not have immediate and devasting effects on your business, let it go until you can resume full effort.
- Delegate…Are there tasks you can delegate out for the time that need to go away? Are there household tasks like cooking or cleaning you can hire out to give you time to work so you can then tend to the crisis?
And if your emergency requires you to drop everything for a bit of time, it will be ok. Dedicating your time and energy to the priority of tending to your family is better than spreading yourself too thin. The stress of juggling too many balls, especially during times of crisis, can have lasting impacts on your mental and physical health. It takes a bit of trust but believe your community and your clients will be ready when you return.
Battling Mom Guilt While Trying to Work
And finally, I have a question from Deena @iamconfidentlyme. Deena asks…
“How do you deal with mom guilt when you’re working all day and don’t have as much time to engage/play with your kid(s)?”
Thank you Deena for this question. And I am 100% sure you are not the only one dealing with mom guilt gremlins. Let me start by saying mom guilt is all in our heads. It is a product of something or someone somewhere telling us that in order to be a good mom we need to act a certain way or buy a certain thing or spend every waking minute in direct eye contact.
The truth is, there are lots of different mom styles producing lots of amazing kids out there. Some moms only see their kids for a few hours in the morning and evening, and they are great moms. Some moms stay home but need to maintain the house. So even though they are within close proximity to there child all day, every day they aren’t in constant contact. And they are great moms. Moms who take time for themselves are great moms. Moms who spend all day with their kids are great moms. There is no 100% effective great mom formula.
That said, I encourage you to explore the root of the guilt…Is it unrealistic expectations or false depictions of what “working mom life” looks like? Worry about how your decisions will impact your child’s future? Trying to be a mom of all trades but master of none? So often our worries and guilt are rooted in a story our mind is telling us about what a good mom looks like and that we are not doing it right.
The only true story is that all moms experience some form of guilt…whether it’s from working or spending time on themselves or letting a baby cry or having another child. When you find yourself struggling with this work guilt, get to the root of what makes you feel that way. Ask yourself what is it that I am doing that is causing me to feel guilty right now? Then follow up with does my child know I love them? Am I setting a good example? Do I make time for my child? If you can answer yes, tell that mom guilt “buh-bye”.
This is a huge discussion and I know I just barely scratched the surface with that but I dive super deep into how to teach your kids to entertain themselves and the mindset around teaching your kids the important life skill of independence in my Independent Skills for Independent Kids course.
Thanks to Jen, Stephanie, and Deena for your questions. And if you’ve got a question about time management, productivity, or working mom mindset, be sure to follow me on IG @businesssavvymama so you can submit your question for my next “Your Questions Answered” episode.
Family Fun Tip
This week’s family fun tip is inspired by the recent landing of Perseverance aka “Percy” on the surface of Mars. If you’ve got kiddos that love space, you need to check out NASA’s Space Place. You can find fun family games, crafts, and activities like Scavenger Hunts and Coloring Pages along with using Oreos to learn the phases of the moon or a fan to see the layers of the Earth’s crust. You can find all this intergalactic goodness by visiting https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/.
And if you’ve got an out-of-this-world idea you’d like to share with other mama’s out there looking for family fun, be sure to hit me up on Instagram @businesssavvymama. Just tag me or DM with your ideas to share. And if you haven’t yet joined my Free Monthly Family Fun Bucket List community, you can do so by clicking below. Each month you’ll receive a worksheet for you take suggestions from your family and schedule time together to make sure your family gets done every month.