Avoid Work at Home Burnout - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Avoid Work at Home Burnout

Anyone else feel on the edge of work at home burnout the last couple weeks???

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Last week, I had a trifecta of crazy. I was readjusting after going out of town for the weekend. My son needed help prepping for his 3rd grade test after not having a real teacher since March. And then this little election we had here in the United States. 😬

Let’s just say I was on the stress struggle bus. But luckily, and thanks to the help of fantastic coaches helping me create systems to deal with life when it feels overwhelming, I made it through. And I want to help you identify and conquer your overwhelm too.

That is why today I’m sharing strategies to identify when you are heading towards maximum capacity so you can identify your stress and stop burnout before it starts.

If you can learn the signals your mind and body start to send when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or burned out, you can create solutions in advance to help. Bonus points if you share those solutions with your spouse, friend, coach or other support so they can also identify when you’re heading for trouble and lend their help.

If you’re anything like me, my previous max capacity cycle runs something like a car with a wobbly wheel….At first, the car just shakes a bit, I might not even notice it all the time. But instead of stopping to fix it (which would be pretty easy at this point), I just keep pushing. And as the shaking gets worse, I continue to say “if I can just get to this destination” or “if I can just drive this far I’ll fix it then”. So I push forward, maybe even driving faster, trying to out drive the eventual damage. And then BAM! Blown tire. Or the wheel falls off. Or some other bad tire-related problem with your car. I didn’t listen when the triggers started and look where that got me.

When you start to identify your triggers or know what your mind and body need to recover, you create a plan of action for those times when you know you’re going to be stretched to your limits.

Work at Home Burnout and Your Brain

You might be thinking “burnout is just part of the process” or “how can working less actually help me”. Sounds crazy, right? But hear me out…That stress you think is normal is damaging your brain.

As you near your burnout, your body produces excess amounts of the hormone cortisol. This affects the part of the brain that creates new brain cells and keeps them healthy. And that excess cortisol can affect decision making, working memory and control of impulsive behavior. Hello, stress eating, anyone??? And while stress is making it harder to think, make decisions, or control your urge to raid the peanut butter cups in your kid’s Halloween basket, it is also reducing the levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin which maker you feel happier. No wonder stress is so stressful!!!

But there is hope…By recognizing the signs of burnout before it’s too late, you can create a plan that will stop that flow of cortisol, save your dopamine levels, and help you continue to problem solve with the best of them.

Incorporating stress relievers on a regular basis can not only stave off the major meltdowns, but it can help you in your day to day functions. You’ll feel better and less on edge when you incorporate some form of self-care into your daily routine like exercising, meditating, or reading for yourself. You’ll notice more of an even keel rather than major swings in mood, productivity, and stress levels.

And let’s face it…everyone is better when mom is better. Your family benefits because you can be present with them without stressing over little things. Your clients appreciate your clear, focused efforts.

Signs of Work at Home Burnout

Let’s start by identifying some of the basic signs or triggers of burnout. And you may hear this list and think, “well, that just sounds like mom life to me.” And that is because mom life IS incredibly stressful. We are regularly on the verge of burnout with all the balls we are trying to juggle. That is why it is so important to recognize the signs and start to develop solutions before the burnout starts. So, signs of burnout include feeling:

  1. Forgetful
  2. Short Tempered
  3. Tired
  4. Unmotivated

Like I said. Pretty much every mom on the planet just said. Um, so I’m heading for burnout then. But we have spent so long ignoring the signs or saying “that’s just motherhood” that we have normalized the damaging stress. But the good news is, now that we know how it might look or feel, we can brainstorm ways to stop work at home burnout before it starts…

How to Stop Work at Home Burnout Before It Starts

  1. Prioritize – Moms notoriously like to do it all. In fact, it can feel like a competition at times. But if you truly want to prevent those damaging burnout episodes, you need to practice prioritizing. Start to evaluate the activities and tasks you have and whether they fit your values or fall into the truly “urgent” or “important” category. If you aren’t sure which tasks are truly priorities, check out my episode “How to Choose Your Priority Tasks”.
  2. Create Boundaries – Again, moms are notorious “yes” women. We love to help and make people happy. We feel the need to ask how high when I clients say “jump now”. Setting effective boundaries around when we work, what our schedule capacity is, and learning to say “no” when there just isn’t time helps us create boundaries to protect our stress levels. Need more tips on setting boundaries? Check out my episode “Why You Need to Set Work Boundaries”.
  3. Recognize Your Triggers – What do you do when you are approaching burnout? Or does it seem to come at certain times during the year? The holidays for example…so many activities, wanting to do all the things but it is also the end of the year for your business and you need to plan for the following year or for Q1. And you need to wrap up Q4 of 2020. I am literally feeling stressed just thinking about it. When you can learn to recognize that overwhelming feeling, you can start to problem solve in advance how to prevent it. Do you need to cut back on unnecessary holiday activities? Or need to hire help for end of the year wrap up in your business? Do you need to take a full day off from all things digital once a week to focus on your family and refill your cup? Recognize your triggers and problem solve how you’ll fight them in advance.
  4. Schedule Non-Negotiable Time for What Makes You Happy – This is super important for all those moms who put the needs of literally everyone else first. It goes hand in hand with the boundaries thing. You deserve time to take care of you, do something that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be alone time. I can totally be family time. Or a date night. Make time for the activities that make you happy. Get it on the schedule. Make it non-negotiable. Do not let outside commitments keep you from your happy place.
  5. Incorporate Self-Care Tiny Tasks into Every Day – Over the years, I feel like self-care has become the realm of spa days or massages. And those are totally and completely self-care activities. And if you can incorporate them into your regular routine, by all means, mama, do so! But there are also small acts of self-care you can do in your home that cost virtually nothing and take no time at all. For ideas, click here to check out my “10 Free, 10-Minute Self Care Ideas for Moms”. Find a tiny pocket of time just for you as often as you can to help keep your cup topped off. And stave off that burnout dragon.

You cannot fill from an empty cup, mama. If you want to avoid max capacity, pre-plan how you will deal when you feel stress coming. Brainstorm a list of what triggers your stressful feelings then pre-plan a solution for how you will recognize and release them. For instance, if you say “I feel stressed when I have a work deadline the weekend after my kid’s basketball tournament”. The solution may be to finish or complete a large percentage of the project before the weekend. Or to delegate some of the tasks so all you have to do is assemble and edit come Monday.

Maybe you’re saying “I feel stressful during the holidays because we are running around so much and never get a chance to sit and enjoy.” The solution maybe you will limit functions to one per week. Or maybe push some celebrations into January when everyone’s social calendars have cleared a bit.

There is a solution. I promise.

And if you are struggling to see it, I’m here to help. Feel free to drop a comment below or reach out in the DMs on social media @businesssavvymama. This is a huge issue for us mom entrepreneurs. I know it personally. I’ve lived it many a time. And I am passionate about helping other mom entrepreneurs see the way through.


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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Amy Banocy - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Amy Banocy – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet Entrepreneur-Speaker-Bestselling Author Amy Banocy…

I meet Amy through the Boss-Moms community on Facebook. Even through social media, I was drawn to her enthusiasm and positivity. And I think you will be, too!

If you’ve ever wondered if happiness a choice, Amy Banocy says, “YES!” And she has the professional success and personal story to prove it. Positive, relatable and authentic, she doesn’t just view life as a glass half full; she sees it as overflowing with abundance. She has worked hard to cultivate a happiness mindset, rejecting the toxic work environments of her past, and choosing instead to seek out business opportunities that allowed her to support and uplift others. Emotional Intelligence informs Amy’s work as a bestselling author and successful entrepreneur. She’s proof that our thoughts and feelings create our beliefs; our beliefs create actions; and our actions lead to outcomes. This Happiness Guru is on a mission to help women ignite their passion, cultivate a happiness mindset and live in abundance.

Amy has 3 boys, ages 7, 12, and 2 months shy of 16! They definitely keep her busy! Since Covid, their activities have changed, but prior to, it was basketball, hockey, ice skating, and baseball for the boys. One of their favorite things to do as a family is to play board games, with favorites being Sorry, Uno and Trouble. Personally, Amy enjoys yoga, meditation, reading, running and walking.

Check out more “5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur” weekly chats here…

You can listen to my conversation with Amy Banocy at the link above. Or get an overview below.

1. What do you do in your business and why did you choose it?

I currently have 2 business focuses, as a leader with a direct selling company and as a facilitator and teacher of my Ignite Your Passion community. 9 years ago, I was working in corporate marketing and I entered the world of entrepreneurship, as a consultant with a direct sales company, because I wanted a way out of my toxic work situation. I also wanted to be in an environment that aligned with my values and positive mindset. In 8 months, I was able to leave that toxic job. In 2 years, I hit the top 2% of the company and at 6 years, promoted again to the top 1%. I now lead a team of about 500 amazing entrepreneurs and love helping them grow their businesses.

This growth and success came at a price though, when I found myself suffering with chronic pain and fatigue about 6 years ago, which led me down a health and wellness journey. I made changes to diet, physical & mental health, self-care, and re-prioritizing my life. In doing so, I became such a happier, healthier person, for me, my team and my family. I have always had a passion for empowering women and realized that so many women around me were experiencing the same fatigue and burnout I’d dealt with and that I could help them. Now, I help hundreds of women, through teaching, speaking and writing in my IYP community and in for other organizations. I believe that happiness is a choice and that the choices we make every hour of each day, will determine our happiness factor. It completely fires me up when someone tells me that they implemented strategies I gave them and improved their life. That, is why I do what I do!

2. What is your greatest strength when it comes to running your business? 

Motivating and leading

3. What is the area of entrepreneurship where you could grow the most? 

Taking ideas from the idea stage, to concept, to launch, faster than I do now.

4. If you were to start your business over today, what piece of advice or lesson learned would you emphasize to yourself? 

Don’t ever forget why you started your business and always prioritize self care!

5. What is your best advice for balancing business and home life or creating intentional family time? 

I don’t know that it’s so much about balance, because that to me implies a 1:1 ratio, or equal sides. To me, it’s about prioritizing what is important, at that time or season. In my experience, there will always be times when you need to focus more on work and others when you can step back a bit. Identify those seasons and then time manage and create your schedule accordingly.

Where can we find you on online or on social media?

Facebook

Ignite Your Passion Community

Instagram

LinkedIn


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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Teach Kids About Time Management - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

6 Tips to Teach Kids About Time Management

Wondering where to start when teaching kids time management skills?

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The idea of kids and time management was suggested by one of the Instagram followers. She said “I need tips to help my middle schooler with time management. How does one introduce such a topic. Since we are a few months into the school year, this seems relevant.”

I couldn’t agree more. Especially in light of the current school year. Many moms and mom entrepreneurs are juggling time to teach their kids with all the other balls they’ve got in the air.

Plus, the schools do a great job of sneakily setting up routines and structure, providing accountability, using due dates…you know, all those time management strategies. And they do it without presenting it like “we are going to learn time management now, kids.” But many of us don’t have that structure to fall back on. And that is exactly why we are going to talk about it today.

Teaching time management to kids of any age helps them learn the value of time and how to use it best. The sooner your kids learn this skill, the sooner they can start to hone it and make it work for them.

No matter how old you kids may be, you can start to introduce the concepts of the passage of time. Of using a schedule and creating a structure to your day. And choosing priority tasks. If you can start working with your kids on just the basics on a regular basis, you will start to see their ability to manage time improve…and you might see some improvement for yourself as well.

Because here’s a little secret…You do not have to be the sole scheduler in your family. Your kids have the ability and capacity follow their own routine or even schedule their own events depending on their age. You might be worried that they’ll do it wrong or something will get missed, so you just do it yourself. But will you always be there to make sure they’ve scheduled everything in their planner once they leave your house? Or that they’ve plotted plenty of time to complete a massive work project due? Better to practice on tasks or events of lesser importance…The sooner you introduce the concepts of managing time to kids, the more time they will have to develop the skills before you aren’t around to do it for them.

Now, you might be thinking “kids are too young to learn time management”. Or “they don’t really need to manage their time if they’ve got me”. Or “they’ll just figure it out later”. But like a whole host of “adulting skills” like balancing a checkbook, doing laundry, or keeping a plant alive…it won’t just magically happen when they move from your home to their own abode. It can take some time to develop those skills. And the sooner you start to teach them, the better.

For tips for getting kids to entertain themselves, click here to check out my
Independence Skills for Independent Kids system.

When your kids learn time management skills, they develop self-discipline. And self-discipline has been shown in multiple studies to have a greater impact on academic success that IQ! Not to mention the overall benefits of learning to prioritize tasks. Or giving yourself time to complete projects. And just learning to respect time, both yours and other peoples.

Another benefit when your kids start to develop their own time management skills…you’ll find pockets in your day for you. For instance, a while back we started teaching our boys a bedtime routine. We encouraged them to create a routine that included brushing their teeth, getting water, going to bathroom, and so on. It also included a short wind-down play time with a timer. And it took us a bit of time to figure out our flow…but now my kids put themselves to bed AND I’ve bought myself back at least an hour in the evening. And my guys are 7 and 9. And this, my mama friends, is a major benefit of teaching your children about time management, structure, and routine.

Your kids benefit by learning a crucial life skill. Their teachers benefit because your child understands timelines and due date. And the importance of getting the important and urgent homework done first. And you benefit by gaining back time you making sure they complete the tasks on the schedule you created.

Tips to Teach Kids Time Management

I promise, every kid and adult has the capacity to learn these skills. And like I said earlier, the sooner the better. Because like in all things from riding a bike to multiplication tables to using a planner, practice makes better. And here’s where you start…

Start Early – As early as you can. Even preschool age kids can learn the basic ideas of the passage of time. Or how to follow a routine. Or why we do tasks in a certain order. If your kids are older, start by slowly introducing the idea of routine and schedule. Maybe start a Sunday review or the week ahead. Or allow them to write their activities and tasks due on the calendar themselves. This starts to develop that connection between I have “x” amount of time to do “x” amount of things.

Help Kids “See” Time – And speaking of that connection, my second tip is to show your kids time. We’ve gotten away from analog clocks and “seeing” time. And we might forget how hard it is to understand the concept. When your kids can see the passage of time on the hands of the clock, in an hourglass timer, or even as a kitchen timer ticks away, it helps to cement the idea that time is a limited resource. Especially if your kids are young, saying “10 minutes” is the same as “2 hours”. But if you indicate when the clock moves from the 2 to the 4, it develops the awareness of time.

Give Them a Calendar – And along with learning awareness of the passage of time, it is so important to empower your older kids to schedule it for themselves. This is where that self-discipline we talked about earlier becomes key. Teaching your kids to create calendar events for homework, projects, commitments, rehearsals, games, and social events helps them understand where they need to physically be. And also how they need to adjust to complete priorities. It will resonate much more with your child if they see that they have a project due on Monday. And they know they have basketball tournament all weekend. So they need to make time earlier in the week to start the project. As opposed to you knowing that all of this is due and nagging them to start because they will be tired on Sunday. And not have the energy to finish.

Don’t Overschedule – This instance exemplifies my next tip with is to avoid overscheduling. It is much easier for a child to keep up with a jam packed schedule when they’ve got you as a personal assistant. You shuffle them from place to place and stay on top of what they have due when. But the reality is, that sort of scheduled life is nearly impossible without that assistance. You are giving them a false sense of what is possible in their 24 hours in the day. Not to mention, the added stress of no down time. Choose the favorite, best, or most important activities and tasks and get them on the schedule…that they are making themselves, of course.

Create a Routine – Once you’ve chosen your priority activities and written them on the calendar, you will see a pattern emerge. A structure or routine, if you will. Which is my fifth tip…lean into routines for regularly scheduled activities. Routine helps with decision fatigue. And to offload some of the daily stress because in some capacity, you know what to expect. If Tuesdays are busy because you go straight from school to tennis, be sure to create a routine of packing your dinner. If you always have spelling tests on Friday, make a routine to practice on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday while you’re cleaning the dinner dishes. Look for places you can repeat regular tasks to save space on your schedule. And save your brain power for other decisions.

Learn to Prioritize – And my final tip to teach your kids about time management is to learn to prioritize. Which comes as a shock to pretty much no one. But I hope that you are seeing a pattern emerging…Whether it’s teaching your kids or setting up your morning routine for yourself, it is so important to learn which tasks fit your values. And which tasks are important. And which ones have consequences.

As I was reading the studies linking self-discipline and academic success, researchers found that those who succeed focused on the tasks that make a impact. They knew what was urgent and important and did that first. And while using the Eisenhower Time Matrix we talked about last week feels a bit extreme for your 2nd grader, you can teach them that it is important to study for a test (urgent). Or finish their chores (important). And to complete those tasks before they play video games (not urgent and not important). Practice makes better.

And if you or you kids struggle with deciding what’s important and urgent, be sure to pick up your free Priority Recipe. It’s a step-by-step guide to decide what to do. And what not to do now. You can grab it HERE.


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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Nicole Simonin - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

Nicole Simonin – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet Health and Fitness Coach Nicole Simonin of Shape it Up…

Subscribe & Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | YouTube

Nicole and I met 3 years ago during a crazy YouTube VEDA (Video Every Day in August) challenge. That crazy ride bonded us. And we’ve stayed connected ever since. 🤪

Since 2006, Nicole has been helping women lose weight for the last time. She is an ACE Personal Trainer, ACE Health Coach, host of Shape It Up Over 40 podcast, founder of Shape It Up, LLC, author of “The No Fuss, No Mess Shape It Up Cookbook”, licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and former professional ballet dancer. Nicole has been featured in Rachel Ray in Season, Bicycling Magazine, Real Simple, MSN and recently at the TEDx Cape May event.

Nicole is the mom to a teenage son and daughter and a dog named Trixie. Her incredibly busy life includes lots of soccer, basketball, school, and fencing.

Check out more “5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur” weekly chats here…

You can listen to my conversation with Nicole Simonin at the link above. Or get an overview below.

1. What do you do in your business and why did you choose it?

I’m a Health and Fitness Coach – I’ve always found how the human body works to be fascinating. Really interested in fitness, nutrition and mindset. Initially I choose it bc it was a way for me to interact with adults as my kids grew up and I love helping women feel comfortable in their own skin.

2. What is your greatest strength when it comes to running your business? 

I am very creative and I like to like huge leaps….if it doesn’t scare me then I am doing something wrong.

Nicole Simonin - Shape It Up - 5 Questions with a Mom Entprereneur

3. What is the area of entrepreneurship where you could grow the most? 

I think overall I have my biz skill down. Now it’s time to add gasoline to the fire and level up.

4. If you were to start your business over today, what piece of advice or lesson learned would you emphasize to yourself? 

Find a great coach and jump in

5. What is your best advice for balancing business and home life or creating intentional family time? 

A calendar. Schedule in free time. Block out my days and do a task in the time I have given it.

Where can we find you on social media?

Shape It Up Website

Apple Podcast Link

LinkedIn

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube – Shape It Up with Nicole

Pinterest

Twitter


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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Demaris Young - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Demaris Young – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet online boutique owner Demaris Young…

Subscribe & Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | YouTube

Demaris juggles her 9-5 work in IT in St Louis, Missouri with her passion for finding unique and trendy clothes for boys. She has 19-year-old daughter and 5-year-old twin boys.

She started Kids B.A.L (Beyond All Limitations) in June of 2020. Inspired by her love for children, it was her passion to provide her twin boys with unique and stylish clothes that drove her to start this business. Her main goal is to inspire boys to dress to impress so that they feel cool, confident, and present.

Check out more “5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur” weekly chats here…

You can listen to my conversation with Demaris Young at the link above. Or get an overview below.

1. What do you do in your business and why did you choose it?

I own a boys’ online children’s boutique. I choose it because I got frustrated about going shopping and not seeing a variety and/ or unique boys’ clothes. My friends were having the same issue.

2. What is your greatest strength when it comes to running your business? 

Faith. Having faith that it will work. I have gotten a few people to say it won’t work.

3. What is the area of entrepreneurship where you could grow the most?

I would say expanding my customer base. And marketing.

4. If you were to start your business over today, what piece of advice or lesson learned would you emphasize to yourself?

Social media is important and come up with a strong marketing plan before your start your business.

5. What is your best advice for balancing business and home life or creating intentional family time?

Set small goals weekly. Communication to your spouse and kids.

Where can we find you on social media?

Website

Facebook

Instagram


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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What Not to Do - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Decide What NOT to Do

Do you know what not to-do when it comes to your to-do’s?

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Last week I spent time with some amazing entrepreneurs during a virtual retreat. We discussed productivity with family around. And there was a bit of a discussion around permission of what NOT to do.

As a mom entrepreneur juggling all kinds of balls, it is SO important to distinguish between what is a priority and what is not. And also that you permit yourself to let some things go. To either delete them completely. Or delegate them to someone else. Or delay them until you have time or actually need to complete them.

By ranking the items on your to-do list, you stop giving equal weight to tasks that aren’t truly important. And you will find yourself feeling less overwhelmed or pulled to do so much.

The Greeting Card Test

Back in my professional organizing days, clients would often struggle to determine the items that were truly meaningful, had an impact, or were worth keeping. I developed what I called the “Greeting Card Test”.

Say you have a stack of greeting cards from your child’s first birthday party. Some of the cards contain beautifully written, personal messages from Great Grandma Annette. And others simply say “Bob and Jane”. And you can’t even remember who Bob and Jane are. By keeping all the cards in the stack, you diminish the value of the truly special ones. If you had to rank that cards on a scale of 1-10, you would probably rank Great Grandmas Annette’s card a “10”. And random Bob and Jane’s card a “1”. Yet, by keeping all those cards without discarding the ones that aren’t truly important, you devalue all the cards. Everything is of equal importance. And if everything is a 10, nothing is a 10. The same applies to the tasks on your to-do list.

Can you evaluate the tasks on your to-do list? Learn to separate what is necessary and important from what can wait or go away? Then you will effectively manage your time and use it more productively

Up until now, you might have just looked at your to-do list tasks with equal weight. Or you do the things you like to do first to start crossing items off. You know, just to complete something.

But you also may feel unproductive, unsuccessful, or unprofitable. The tasks you choose to spend your time on could be responsible. You are working. And working hard. You actually work a lot. But are you working on the right things?

By developing skills to evaluate and prioritize your tasks, you’ll develop confidence in what projects need your immediate attention. And you’ll develop the skill to ask for help for tasks that others can complete for you.

When you start to write an effective to-do list, your personal list may start to shrink while actually accomplishing more. Who wouldn’t prefer 7 focused, productive tasks in day to 14 with some spilling over into the next day because you don’t have the stamina to get it all done.

Learning to delegate tasks that don’t need your expertise helps you finish your work day on time. It helps you share the responsibilities at home and feel less resentment over the perception you need to do it all. And when you know you’ve focused on the urgent and important rather than what not to do, you can confidently close up shop at the end of the day. You can show up present for your family knowing you’ve completed the tasks that will have a positive effect on your business or home life. Instead of saying “just one more thing” or letting your mind wander during family time because you’re didn’t get something done.

How to Decide What Not To Do

But where do you even start evaluating all the things that need done to determine where it fits?

Let’s start with a quick overview of the 4 D’s of Time Management. When it comes to tasks you should Do It, Delegate It, Defer or Delay It, or Delete or Drop It. But how do you decide what needs you to “Do It” and what fits into the other “D’s” aka what NOT to do. I love to run tasks through my TRIM Your To-Do List Flowchart which asks

  • Is it time-sensitive or has an approaching due date coming soon?
  • Is it required, meaning it is necessary for your work or home life or there will be a consequence?
  • Will it make an impact positively or negatively on your work, home, family, or health?
  • Is it money related? As in it will help you make money or will affect your financial health if it’s not completed?
TRIM Your To-Do List Flowchart - Business Savvy Mama

Grab your FREE Priority Recipe download along with a printable copy of this TRIM Your To-Do List Flowchart by clicking here.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions and it requires your specific expertise to finish, it falls into the “Do It” category.

For instance, writing a guest blog post that is due on Friday is time-sensitive, require, will make a positive impact on your business, and requires your specific expertise.

If you answered “yes” but someone else could help you out, it falls into Delegate It. For instance, you need to pay your household bills which qualify as time-sensitive, required, and money-related. BUT your spouse is perfectly capable of signing into the accounts to make sure they get paid. You’ve just never asked for help.

Or maybe you’ve been working on revamping your website but it isn’t really necessary. There isn’t a deadline. You are not required to do it. Your current website is converting you just don’t like the way it looks. And there wouldn’t be an immediate impact to your financial health if you kept working on it (except maybe it was taking you away from actual money making tasks). This would be an example of a task you would Delay or Defer until it became necessary or you found yourself with time to spare. Which I don’t know about you, but if I found myself with extra time, I don’t know that I’d want to spend it revamping my website.

And finally, if you answered no to all these questions…the task is not time sensitive, required, positively or negatively impact your life, and not money related…you need to Delete or Drop it. Your time is just too precious to waste. End of story.

I promise, the more you practice, the easier it will get to discern those important tasks you should do from the ones you delegate, delay or delete. And to make it even easier, you receive the TRIM Your To-Do List Flowchart as part of Your Priority Recipe, my free download with all the ingredients you need to focus on the tasks that matter and let go of those that don’t so you can spend more time doing what you love with who you love.  Click here to grab your FREE Priority Recipe today!


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

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Kass Fogle - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Kass Fogle – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet Business Operations Strategy Consultant Kass Fogle…

Subscribe & Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | YouTube

I met Kass through the amazing Small Business Moms community (which if you aren’t a part of it, you should be!) She juggles a lot with her kids, 9-5 job in HR, and her business. Oh, and she writes books too!

Kass Fogle is the CEO of Vim & Vigor Business Operations Consulting and podcast host of The One Burning Question Microcast.  As a consultant, she helps small businesses build strategic plans that help increase revenue and reduce stress. She also provides consultation in project management and human resources, along with keynote speaking on a variety of business and leadership topics.

Along with being the breadwinner since before her kids were born, Kass has relocated, been the resounding football mom, and managed lots of heartaches. Now her kids are 20 and 17 and the issues are different. She’s been married 20+ years.

Check out more “5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur” weekly chats here…

You can listen to my conversation with Kass Fogel at the link above. Or get an overview below.

1. What do you do in your business and why did you choose it? 

My mission: We partner with solo- and expert-preneurs to build a strategic plan, and identify the goals and projects necessary to increase revenue, promote growth, create efficiencies, and improve visibility, so business owners and leaders can focus on the creative, technical, and visionary side of their business. I chose this because I needed to do something drastically different. Big. Better for me without being egotistical and selfish. I went through Pat Flynn’s Smart from Scratch program and felt like I’d come home.

2. What is your greatest strength when it comes to running your business? 

Clarity. Planning. Organization. Nailing the back office operations for small business owners.

Kass Fogle - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur
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3. What is the area entrepreneurship where you could grow the most? 

From a development standpoint, financial. I will hire this out all day long.

4. If you were to start your business over today, what piece of advice or lesson learned would you emphasize to yourself? 

I do not have to invest and learn all things in one week. We’ve created such a sense of urgency in our society that we feel we will miss out on millions of dollars if we don’t launch RIGHT NOW.

5. What is your best advice for balancing business and home life or creating intentional family time? 

Set your boundaries and stick to them. Your battle plans have to include those you spend time with. You can only operate on caffeine and vigor for so long. Have a plan and execute it with emotional intelligence.

Where can we find you online?

Vim & Vigor Business Operations Consulting 

The One Burning Question Microcast

Instagram

Facebook


Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama
Multi-task or uni-task - Business Savvy Mama

To Multi-Task or Uni-Task? Which Works Better?

Do you multi-task or uni-task?

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Did you know the word “multi-task” didn’t even exist before 1965? That’s because it was developed to describe the functions of a computer, originally meaning “the use of a single CPU for the simultaneous processing of two or more jobs.” We are built to uni-task.

Over the years, as the value of overworking to prove your worth caught on with employers, the word multi-task became a badge of honor. Only, our brains are not set up to run like a CPU. In fact, studies have shown too much multi-tasking can lead to a decrease in gray matter in the brain affecting memory, attention span, and even leading to anxiety or depression.

But since society pushes and values multi-tasking, we forgot how to focus and uni-task. The truth is what we call “multi-tasking” is not actually doing more than one task at a time. It is switching from task to task. And every time we switch, we lose a little productive time, focus, and extra energy.

Experiments published in 2001, Joshua Rubinstein, PhD, Jeffrey Evans, PhD, and David Meyer, PhD, found that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time. And there is a lot of research supporting the idea that task switching not only increases the amount of time a task takes AND decreases the quality of work output.

But how in the world do we to complete our to-do list with uni-tasking when multi-tasking is what we know. Today I’m going to dive into how to uni-task and give some examples where multi-tasking could be used… but heads up, it’s not going to be when you’re working.

Uni-tasking is focusing on finishing one task at a time before moving on to the next. This allows you to finish a task or project quicker and typically with less error and higher quality of work.

If you can limit your distractions, schedule focused time to work in a quiet space, and tell those around you of the time and space you need, you too can successfully uni-task.

And this may feel super weird because for so long multi-tasking has been a shiny gold star. Something we brag about doing. Or expected of us as employees, team members, and parents.

And you might be freaking out a little thinking “wait, there is no way I can tackle everything on my to-do list without multi-tasking.” But remember…what you think is getting more done while task switching is actually causing you to lose time in between each switch. And those seconds and minutes add up. And the time it may take you to finish all those tasks may total more minutes or hours than it would if you knocked them out one by one.

As you re-train your brain to focus on just one task at a time, you’ll notice the time it takes you to complete tasks will be less. And the quality of your work output will increase.

On a daily basis, you will feel less anxiety from task switching. And a sense of accomplishment that the task is off your to-do list. You won’t need to bump it to tomorrow because it isn’t complete or you need to make corrections.

And taking less time to complete tasks and having less anxiety with your work makes for a happier home life. And more present mommy after work is done.

How to Uni-task instead of Multi-tasking

Ready to jump onboard the uni-tasking train??? Here’s how to start…

First, schedule specific times to work when you can focus on your priority tasks. This could be waking up early like I do to get my focused work in before my kids wake up. Or it could be when you have a spouse or sitter available to entertain your kids while you work. It could be an hour before the kids wake up and an hour after they go to bed. Just schedule that time when it can be quiet and you can focus.

Next, speaking of quiet and focus, try to limit as many distractions as you can. Turn off your phone notifications. Shut down your email. Turn off the TV. Shut the door. Whatever you have to do to get into a focused zone. Distractions also come in the way of clutter on your desk. Clear your work area so the pile of papers to file or unopened mail don’t pull your focus.

Finally, know the priority tasks you will work on during your focused work time. You can take time the night before to jot down a to-do list. Or have a printable list of ongoing tasks you do on the same days every week.

Give a listen to last week’s episode about the Pomodoro Technique to help you work in short, focused bursts. I have roughly 2 hours every my focused work…Which is (4) 25-minute Pomodoros with a 5-minute break between each. It is kind of amazing how much work you can do when you hunker down for 25 focused minutes.

Oh, and before I forget. There are certain circumstances when multi-tasking is less likely to affect your productivity. Save it for things like listening to a podcast while cooking dinner. Or watching TV while folding laundry. Listening to a book on tape while running. I’ll even do something like posting on social media while I’m waiting for my kids to finish their work. I use my focused time in the morning to write a great caption. Then all I have to do is copy/paste/post. Which is much less focused work while I’ve got my teaching hat on.

To start developing your uni-tasking skills, block out specific focused work time in your schedule tomorrow. It might be 30 minutes. It might be 4 hours (lucky you!) Regardless of the amount of time you have on your schedule, make sure you can work uninterrupted by family or co-workers. Turn off or put away any distractions that could pull your focus. And have a plan for the priority tasks you’d like to complete during your focused work time.

Christen Schneider - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Christen Schneider – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet Digital Marketing Specialist Christen Schneider…

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I met my fellow Ohio based mom entrepreneurs this past January at the I Heart My Life conference in San Diego. I love that I went 2, 200 miles to meet a new business buddy that lives 2 hours away and grew up just miles from where I live now. Gotta love fate. 🤣

Christen helps coaches and creative businesses like you finally get the email marketing and sales funnel you want, to reach clients you love, all in the time you actually have. She believes that if you tell the right stories to the right people at the right time, you can have a huge impact.  It’s all about knowing how to tap into how our brains learn. She was a teacher in a past job life, and it’s her purpose to show as many good business owners, leaders, and change-makers as possible how to teach people to care and build a movement that sticks.

Christen lives near Cleveland, Ohio with her three sons, a husband who she sees all day long (and still think it’s awesome 🙂 ), and a ridiculously stubborn but cute beagle. Her boys like all things space, coloring, building, games, dinosaurs, and super heroes. They also spend a lot of time outside.

Check out more “5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur” weekly chats here…

You can listen to my conversation with Christen Schneider at the link above. Or get an overview below.

1. What do you do in your business and why did you choose it?

I help creative and service-based businesses get the email marketing and sales funnels they want to reach clients they love, all in the time they actually have. I actually fell in love with marketing and all the writing and tech that goes with it on accident. When I started my original business in 2012, I was a wedding dress designer! I collected a crew of other indie designers around me, ran a show in NYC for 4 years, opened a bridal store for non-traditional brides, and in the course of all of that, found myself teaching other business owners how to do their marketing too. I’m a past teacher and I have always loved tech and writing, so this is the perfect spot for me! I officially closed all wedding related businesses 2 years ago and I’ve loved it.

2. What is your greatest strength when it comes to running your business?

I am never at a loss for ideas to try or potential solutions. I also can explain those to other people very well!

Christen Schneider - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

3. What is the area of entrepreneurship where you could grow the most? 

Systems. Not the techie kinds, those I get. But the daily get-things-done-consistently-and-logically kind of systems that let you be a CEO instead of a scattered creative.

4. If you were to start your business over today, what piece of advice or lesson learned would you emphasize to yourself?

Track your financials. Also, if you pivot, let your former audience decide for themselves if they want to follow you or stop. Your pivot might involve more of your former audience than you think it does.

5. What is your best advice for balancing business and home life or creating intentional family time?

I sort my stuff into “need quiet” and “can get done in the living room”. That makes a huge difference in maximizing my work time without holing up for 9 hours a day. Also, it’s ok to set your own version of balance and productivity. My family likes to chill together in the morning, so I typically start my work around 10 instead of super early. It works for us!

Where can we find you on social media? 

Coffee Break Marketing

ChristenSchneider.com

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

Pomodoro Technique - Business Savvy Mama

Why Mom Entrepreneurs Need the Pomodoro Technique

Have you heard of the “Pomodoro Technique”?

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One of the biggest excuses I hear in my community and in other communities of mom entrepreneurs is “I don’t have enough time”. I use the word excuse here is because that’s what this is. A justification your brain is making saying you have too much to do and can’t possibly do more. Or make this business a success. Or add anything else to your plate. But when it comes down to it, it may not be that you don’t have time. It may be that you need to use your time better. That’s why we are talking the Pomodoro technique today.

This time management technique was developed in the early 1990’s by Francisco Cirrilo (Chi-reelo). It is named “pomodoro” because Cirrolo used a kitchen timer that looked like a tomato to time his work sessions. In short, the technique involves: Choosing a task.  Setting the timer or Pomodoro to 25 minutes. Work on the task until the timer rings. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK). Every 4 sessions or Pomodoros take a longer break

Ok…so now we know what it is, let’s dive into WHY it works so well for mom entrepreneurs.

The Pomodoro technique helps train your brain to work in short focused bursts on one particular task. And what mom doesn’t need to work in short focused bursts. It also helps you learn to break up extended periods of time into shorter periods with a specific goal. You are much less likely to get distracted and wander over to social media if you know you are working to complete a task in 25 minutes rather than having 2 hours to complete a list of random tasks.

If you can commit to short, focused bursts of time to work on your priority tasks, you will start to develop the skills to complete more in less time AND uni-task. You literally need a focused to-do list and some sort of timer to make this work for you.

For tips for getting kids to entertain themselves, click here to check out my
Independence Skills for Independent Kids system.

Previously, you might have thought of task and time independently. I have a to-do list. I will work on the to-do list for X amount of time. What the pomodoro technique does is assign a task to a short, focused burst of time.

Now you’re saying “I am going to work on replying to emails for the next 25 minutes”. “I am going to file these papers for the next 25 minutes”. “I am going to clean out the pantry for the next 25 minutes”. What comes into play as we assign a specific task to a specific time period is Parkinson’s Law. It states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. If you give yourself a lot of time to do something, it will take a lot of time. If you give yourself a specific amount of time complete a task, you will get more done in less time.

You might be thinking “that is totally me! If I’m on a deadline, I work so much better. Or if I know someone needs it, I do it.”

I am TOTALLY the same way.

That is how the Pomodoro technique can help you with everyday tasks to move you forward. Get it done. Or get a chunk out of the way. Take a break. Get more done. Take a break. Rinse and repeat. You actually get more done because you are working in focused chunks applying Parkinson’s law to those chunks of time.

And as you start to train your brain to work in the short, focused segments, you’ll notice you complete more in less time. As I mentioned in my episode “Limit Distractions to Increase Productivity”, a 2014 study at George Mason University found that quality and time of work significantly increased with the participants were interrupted. And interruptions are less likely during 25 minutes of focused work than you are during a 2-3 hours span.

And if you’re a mom entrepreneur like me trying to juggle kids home and working, those 25 minute segments work great. It is almost exactly one kid shows length. Try this if you need some focused work time while the kids are around: Set up Rescue Bots. Set your timer. Check in when it goes off. Then back for another pomodoro.

Using the Pomodoro Technique

Here is how you can start incorporating the Pomodoro Technique into your daily work routine. Break your to-do tasks down into small chunks. For instance, you probably can’t plan all your social media content for an entire month in 25 minutes. But you could research quotes you want to use. You might not be able to write an entire blog post. But you could research your SEO title, outline your post, and gather your affiliate links. The more you work in defined chunks of time, the better you will get at determining if it can fit into one segment.

If you’re “in the zone”, keep going. Have an uninterrupted expanse of time where you can do some great deep work and stay focused? By all means do it. You don’t HAVE to take breaks. Or you can use the Pomodoro technique for those times when you know you need to work in shorter segments.

Remember time management is a skill. The Pomodoro technique trains your brain to work in short, energetic bursts to complete tasks quickly and in a focused manner. Like training for anything or developing any skill, it is going to take a bit of time and practice…Both in staying focused and figuring out how much you can actually accomplish in your pomodoros.

Ready to uplevel your time management and complete tons of work in short, productive bursts? Start with your to-do list. See what tasks or part of a task you can complete in roughly 25 minutes. Then plot out 4 pomodoros or segments of 25 minutes. Be sure to take those five-minute breaks in between to stretch, go to the bathroom, get some coffee or water. But come right back for the next pomodoro. And remember…after those 4 pomodoros, you get a longer 20-30 minute break. So work hard and stay focused. Your break will be here before you know it.


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!