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!

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama
Demaris Young - 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Demaris Young – 5 Questions with a Mom Entrepreneur

Meet online boutique owner Demaris Young…

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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 Entreprenuer” 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?




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

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama
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!

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 or focusing on finishing one task at a time before moving on to the next. It 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.

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!

Set Yourself Up for A Productive Day - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day

Where does a productive day begin?

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Looking to level up, make more money, and succeed more than you currently are? You must have a plan for a productive day. Winging it will only get you so far. Throwing spaghetti at the wall will burn you out, especially when you are just starting a business.

Taking time to plan productively will help you focus on the projects that will move the needle and contribute to your big picture goals. And when you focus your time on what moves the needle, you see growth even with limited work time.

Can you commit to spending time each week and each day to review your tasks and see how they align with your goals? Can you spend some time creating quarterly and yearly goals for your products and marketing? If you can block this time for planning into your schedule and create a daily task list that aligns with your planning, you will see this growth.

So often we just have a long list of to-do’s that don’t have a purpose for our overall goal. We are posting every day on social media, pitching to podcasts or blogs, sending emails to our lists, creating opt-ins for our website…we are doing all the to-dos. But my question for you is how do these tasks align with your overall goals? How will they help you sell your products or services? Are you just “to-doing” to “to-do” or is it focused with a purpose?

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

I’ve been where a lot of you are. Doing the things you think you are supposed to do because this guru said “follow this plan to grow your social media” or this one said “be sure to email your list 3 times a week”. You are doing the things. And you might be feeling a little frustrated, burnt out, and wondering when all this work is going to turn into dollars.

Taking the time to apply the 4 steps we will talk about will help you focus your actions…the showing up on social media, the emailing the clients, the guest appearance pitches….so that the time and effort you are putting into tasks results in business success. Or perhaps you’ll see the efforts are better spent in another area that will actually help you meet your goals.

You’ll start each quarter, each quarter, and each day with tasks that move your needle versus just randomly spinning your wheels with no clear plan for your efforts. And when you can make your tasks work towards your goals, you will work less and get further.

And that focused work pointing to your priority offer means less time working and more time for family.

How to Plan For a Productive Day, Week, & Quarter

If feel like I’ve made a pretty good case for taking a bit of time to work on your business as we head in to Q4, but where do you start? Here are 4 steps you can take to set yourself up for a productive day and beyond…

  1. Set Your Intentions…Brain dump, create a vision board, write in your journal, create a spreadsheet. Whatever you can do to get super clear on what you want. I like to start with my overall goals then whittle them down into weekly and daily goals. Get super clear on what you want to do and the steps it takes to get you there. Those steps that get you where you want to go are your priority tasks…which is what we are talking about next.
  2. Set Your Priority Tasks…When you look at your overall goals or intentions for the quarter, what needs to be done first? Which actions have positive effects or negative consequences on your financial goals if you complete or ignore them?
  3. Set Your To-Do List…Once we have set our intentions and set our priorities, we need to set our to-do list. Get these tasks on to your schedule. These are the actions that will actually move your business forward, create more income, and grow your community. Get these to-do’s to-done first. Make sure you are super clear on the tasks you need to complete in order to reach your overall goal for the quarter.
  4. Set Time to Work…Some of your priority tasks on your to-do list may be ongoing like posting on social media or sending that email newsletter. Some might be one-off like creating an opt-in that leads to the product you are selling. No matter what it is, you need to set aside time on your schedule to get it done. Don’t just assume that the time will magically appear in your day. Or that you can do these tasks that may not be as exciting or interesting to you AFTER you’ve done the stuff you like. Get the priority tasks from your to-do list on your schedule and do them first. That way, if you don’t get anything else done, the most important tasks that help you grow your business and increase your revenue are done.

There you go…4 steps to effectively plan for your most productive day and beyond…set your intentions, set your priority tasks, set your to-do list and set your time to work.

Your action step today is to start your Q4 planning if you have not already done so. Brain dump or journal what your goals are for the quarter, then start breaking those goals down as we talked about today. Decide those priority tasks that align with what you want to make, who you need to reach, and what you need to do. Break those tasks into manageable daily and weekly items on your to-do list then schedule the time to work. Reaching your goals will feel much less daunting when you do this. And you will feel much less scattered and unfocused when you’re clear about your priority tasks.

Still feels overwhelming to plan a productive day or quarter? Join me for my new one-on-one virtual intensives to take you from stress to success. I know as a mom entrepreneur you are already filled to the max. You don’t have time for another online course or book to read then figuring out how you can make it all work for you. You need to make the most of your planning time.

That’s why in just 2 hours we will work 1-on-1 to create an easy-to-follow, tailor-made system that helps you work productively and know exactly what steps you need to take reach your goals. And these one-on-ones are not solely for creating your quarterly goals. I can help you create a made to order routine for any area of your home and business to meet the unique needs of your work and family.

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

Set Work Boundaries - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

Why You Need to Set Work Boundaries

Who out there struggles to set work boundaries?

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I can’t you see you and you can’t see me but I am raising my hand. And I bet you are too. As moms, I feel part of our struggle comes from our caring hearts. We want to help everyone, we want to do all the things. But in the end, when we run ourselves ragged trying to do all things because we haven’t created good boundaries, we end up stressed, overwhelmed, and with no time for ourselves. Sound like you? This is why we need to set work boundaries.

This episode was inspired by a chat with one of the members of the Business Savvy Mama community. She told me “I feel like when I make a phone call or am dealing with a client request that requires a bit more texting, my kids are drawn to me like a moth to a flame. They will be peacefully playing with each other and the second I take a call or pick up the phone they are hanging on my legs. Then I get short tempered and irritated with them.”

Yep, been there. How about you?

That is precisely why we are talking boundaries today. Setting clear boundaries improves your work-home life. It helps you work more productively and get more done. Clearly communicating your boundaries creates a respect for your time and activities in both your work life with clients and home life with your family. And it can reduce stress around working because your boundaries help you work with less interruptions.

Can you identify your limits? Clearly communicate your boundaries and expectations?  Can you invest in keeping those boundaries in place? Then you too can enjoy the benefits of setting boundaries.

The method we’ll talk about today differs from what you’ve tried in the past because often, we try to establish boundaries from a point of frustration or anger. Yep, been there too! We let the interruptions or additional tasks or constant calls outside work hours go until it boils over and we explode. And sometimes we let go on our family who had nothing to do with the overstepping client. That is why we are going to establish our boundaries from a place of calm.

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

So, where are we now? We know we need to work, we need to get stuff done, but we are also stuck in a cycle of “start a task, get interrupted or get frustrated or distracted and unfocused.” We let ourselves take on more than we can reasonably accomplish which eats into our family time or time off. We don’t shut off which allows clients to take advantage of our off-work hours. This is why we need those boundaries.

Setting boundaries now helps you accomplish those urgent and important tasks and get done what needs to get done. Usually quicker and better. And you’ll feel less frustrated and stressed on a regular basis. You’ll have work time, family time, home time and, dare I say it, self-time clearly established.

And setting clear boundaries creates clear expectations for your clients and your family. Your client won’t expect an email response at 10pm because you’ve told them you don’t work past 5pm. You children understand that when the door is shut, mommy is working on something that needs her attention but when that door opens, she’s all yours.

Steps to Set Work Boundaries

I completely understand if the idea of setting boundaries feels intimidating or that you’re afraid to not be available to everyone everywhere at all times. But trust me when I tell you, the sooner you shut it off and create a clear line between your work and home life, the sooner you’ll feel the weight of that struggle to balance it all lift. And here is where you start…

  1. Identify Your Limits…Notice how you react when you feel particularly stressed or overwhelmed. For me, I feel like I have to go to the bathroom a lot. But seriously, what is happening when you feel that physical or emotional stress creep in? Is it deadlines? Social media? Answering emails? Too much on your to-do list? When you identify the trigger, you can put a boundary in place to prevent stress. Stress over deadlines? Break task in to smaller chunks so the last day isn’t overwhelming. Social media? Put a limit on the time you spend scrolling. Email? Set an autoresponder saying you’ll get back tomorrow. To do list? Delete or delegate tasks that don’t need your attention. Identify the trigger, develop a response.
  2. Give Yourself Permission to Set Boundaries…We often feel if we work from home that we have to be always available to our kids. I am here today to tell you that is simply not true. Your job at home is as important as anyone’s job that is outside the home. You are allowed to set boundaries that say “I am working, I need space and concentration unless it’s an emergency.” If this is one of your triggers, refer to step one. Do you need child care? To work when your spouse is home? An outside the home workspace to create an actual boundary? You have permission to work in a focused, productive way. Repeat that over and over until it sinks in. I have permission to work in a focused, productive way.
  3. Have a conversation…When you’ve identified your triggers and solutions and given yourself permission, be sure to let the other people in on your boundaries. Have a calm, clear conversation with your spouse, kids, co-workers, boss, or clients about what your boundaries are, why they are important, where you need help maintaining them, and how it can benefit them. Because a focused, productive, accomplished, and happy mama shows up better for everyone. Right?

Your action step for today is to start a limit log. Brainstorm any of those triggers that cause you anxiety in your work and home life. Keep it somewhere you can reference when those stressors creep in. Once you’ve established the stress, figure out how you can put a boundary in place to protect your mind, stress levels, mood, and productivity. And remember to repeat to yourself on a regular basis “I have permission to work in a focused, productive way.”

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

How to Adapt When Your Schedule Changes - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Adapt When Your Schedule Changes

Tis the season to adapt to your new schedule…

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Want to feel more flexible and less stress while trying to adapt to schedule changes? Let’s start out a piece of sage advice from the philosopher Heraclitus…

“Change is the only Constant in Life”

And I think all of us moms would definitely agree with this. Ever play that baby shower game where they ask you to put down your best piece of parenting advice? I usually write down “As soon as you’ve figured something out, it changes.” Am I wrong?

From sleep schedules and growth spurts to summer schedule versus school schedule, our parenting lives are in constant flux. And sometimes it is much easier to deal with those changes than others. And with the recent start of school and pending change of season, I want to help you as you adapt your family’s schedule.

Creating a routine or plan around your schedule changes helps make the unknown more familiar. If you ever feel overwhelmed because you just finally find a rhythm and then “poof” it changes. Sometimes temporarily. Sometimes permanently. And sometimes, like in the case of 2020, it starts out as temporary then morphs into a more permanent feeling change. 😬Today’s tips help you create a plan or develop a mindset that adapts better to going with the flow.

Can you reframe the changes and make sure your priorities are complete? Then you will feel less overwhelmed and more in control, even when so much is up in the air.

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

Previously, you might have dealt with schedule changes by making drastic cuts to things like self-care. Or burning the candle at both ends to try to marry your past schedule which felt comfortable and your current schedule which feels coo-coo.

These changes feel stressful and overwhelming because our brains literally like comfort. They like routine. They like same. And right now our brains are like “whoa, whoa, whoa…what happened? I really liked what we were doing before. Let’s go back to that.” It makes the changes feel worse then they actually are.

But a subtle shift in our reaction to the change and continuing to focus on priority tasks for our business, family, and selves will help lessen the overall stress of schedule changes. And, dare I say, even help us find enjoyment in some of the new activities we are adding.

The tips we will talk about today help you create space in your schedule for unexpected changes. And enjoy the nothing when you don’t need to use that time. Even if your schedule isn’t packed all day, you will feel accomplished because those urgent and important tasks are complete.

You’re family will love this because there won’t need to walk on eggshells if there’s a sudden change. You’ll be more adaptable and less stressed in those situations. And if you feel less stressed, they feel less stress.

Action Steps to Adapt to Schedule Changes

You might be thinking less stress and more adaptiveness sounds great Christy, but where do I even start??? Here are 4 actions your can take to help adapt to schedule changes more quickly and with less stress:

  • Know Your Priorities…It may feel like I’m a broken record on priorities right now, but that is because finding clarity in your priority tasks is so key to juggling work and home life. So often when we feel like we’re overworked or our schedule is too packed, we are wasting time on activities and tasks that don’t move us forward.

For even more on choosing your priorities, check out my episode“ How to Choose Your Priority Tasks”.

  • And speaking of trimming your to-dos, my second action to adapt when you schedule changes is to build in margin. You need buffer space in your schedule. You need space for errors or unexpected activities. What happens when you’re running and blocked out from sun up to sundown? There is no space for traffic. Or a sick kid. Or a computer crash and whatever else trips up your daily schedule. Leave a space in your day for the unexpected. If you don’t use it, great! I’m sure that is something you can fill it with.
  • If you find that building margin into your schedule is nearly impossible, you need to use your no more often. Moms love to say yes…many times because it feels like we are letting people down when we say no. Don’t say yes if it is not something you feel truly impassioned about. Don’t say yes if it is something you are only doing because your feel guilty about saying no. And don’t say yes if you would normally say yes too but you don’t actually have space in your schedule. Just say no. I give you permission. And if you can’t just say no, say “I’m sorry but I just can’t right now. Our schedule is just too booked. But feel free to ask me again later.”
  • And finally, learning to say no and build margin will free you up for more time for yourself. Often we had just figured out how to make time for ourselves and everything changed. How frustrating! It’s because we make a bad habit of scheduling time for ourselves AFTER we’ve figured out a schedule for the family. And when there’s a change, that mommy me time tends to be first out. Start building that time for you into your daily routine now and make it a non-negotiable when schedules change. Then your brain will still feel that comfort. And it will be less likely to create stress resisting the changes your need to make.

Today’s action step to help you adapt to schedule changes is to build a daily or weekly schedule. Focus on your priority tasks. See where you can build in margin and time for yourself. If it feels like you can’t do either, it’s time to start using your no. And pick up Your Priority Recipe to figure out your priority tasks here.

Your Priority Receipe - Business Savvy Mama

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

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama
Choose Your Priority Tasks - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Choose Your Priority Tasks

Struggling to choose your priority tasks?

I want to help you define your urgent and important tasks. The tasks that will help you feel more accomplished. The tasks that will move your business forward or keep our household running smoothly.

Can you spend more time choosing your tasks based on what needs to be done? Planning for what will move you forward? Then you will see more growth and feel more productive.  Taking the time to schedule and follow through with your priority tasks ensures the urgent and important tasks are complete. Which leaves plenty of time for the fun stuff.

Because so often, we like to lead with the fun stuff. Or we aren’t quite sure what is a priority. So we expend a lot of energy in a lot of different places. This leaves us with very little energy for those tasks that truly will make an impact. Maybe we’re task switching so often that we lose track of what we were working on. Or what was important.  

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

I was chatting with some of the members of my Early Morning Moms Facebook group about this last week. See if any of this resonates with you… Jessi said “Its the juggle struggle. Making the work, home, school stuff all work together.”  Sarah said “the kids priorities bleed all over my work needs. Maybe it’s boundaries, but they need to succeed at their tasks like schooling”. And Katie said “I think for me it’s just a matter of prioritizing and not get distracted. Focusing on that one thing instead of putting out small fires all day” Any of that sound familiar?

Regularly establishing your priority tasks and creating a specific time to work on them alleviates the stress and overwhelm of trying to juggle all the things. You can work on those urgent and important actions at times your family doesn’t need your attention. Then those truly important, time sensitive, required, impactful, or money related tasks are complete. Plus you free up your mental bandwidth to help your family or for your less urgent and important tasks.

Steps to Choose Your Priority Tasks

And that is why we are going to chat Your Priority Recipe today. These are all the ingredients you will need to create an effective schedule of your priority tasks. Now you can complete what you need to do while having time and brainpower left for your family…And other tasks of lesser importance. To make it even easier for you, I’ve created a free worksheet with all these steps. You can download your copy by clicking the link below.

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama

First, you need to create your to-do list. I like to combine my work and home tasks into one. But if you’d like to keep it separate, you can create two separate lists and then run them both through these steps.

Next, assign a 1 or a 2 to the tasks on your list. Tasks that are 1’s must be done. Get them on your schedule or make time to complete them today. Tasks that are 2’s can wait until the 1’s are complete or another day. And if you aren’t sure if a task would qualify as a 1…I got you.

A few weeks back we talked about how to TRIM your to-do list. This is pivotal in helping you decide if your tasks are 1s or 2s. Here are the questions to ask to determine your #1 tasks:

  • 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?

If you answered “yes” to any of those question, that task is a 1. Place it on your schedule.

Finally, schedule all those urgent important tasks that are 1s. And when you are scheduling, if you know a particular task will require focus, quiet, or extra brain power, try to schedule them when you can get focus, quiet or extra brainpower. This feeds into that juggle struggle both Sarah and Jessi referred to earlier where they feel pulled between helping their kids with their school work and getting their work done. Get up early and knock out your priority tasks. If you have a spouse or care giver in your home, try to work on your priority tasks when they are around so your kids can have their questions answered.

And also remember, setting boundaries to get your work done is perfectly ok. If your child’s assignment isn’t on an approaching deadline but your work task is, explain that you will answer their question or give them the help they need in a minute, but right now you need the time and space to complete your work. I’m not saying it will work like magic the first time. But we are all working out this new normal of work/school/home life. Keep your kids in the loop. Explain your need for time to work. Establish a time when you will be available. In time, this communication allows you get your priority tasks done. And assures your kids you will be able to answer their questions at a time in the near future.

Want an action step to start chosing your priorities? Run your to-do list through the priority recipe…assign a 1 or 2 to each task and get those #1 tasks on your schedule. And if you still aren’t sure if it’s a priority, run it through the TRIM your to-do list flowchart. You can pick up “Your Priority Recipe” and the “TRIM Your To-Do List Flowchart” here.

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

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama
Use Jealousy for Good - Business Savvy Mama Podcast

How to Use Your Jealousy for Good

How do you react to jealousy?

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We’ve talked gratitude, we’ve talked abundance versus scarcity, and now let’s talk jealousy. Oh yeah. I know we have all had those gut punch feelings when we see another mom succeeding in business. Or in life. Or in having Pinterest worthy home or Instagram-able vacation.

This mindset strategy will help you flip the script on those gut punches and use that jealousy to boost you up rather than hold you back. It may take a few tries and a bit of practice to undo the inborn feelings of defeat, shame, or wanting to throw in the towel because “why both if she’s already done it.” But if you are willing to take a breath, evaluate your feelings, then use that energy as motivation to propel you forward rather than holding you back, you too can conquer your jealousy and use it for good.

Before, you might find yourself lying in bed after a social media scroll having rage-y thoughts about “why does she get to do all this”. Or “I would be so much better than she is if I was doing that”. Or “there’s no way her life is actually like that…she’s such a fake.” But have you taken a minute to analyze why you are reacting the way you are? Could it be…jealousy???

And you may be thinking “that’s not jealousy, I’m just tired of everyone faking it on social media.” But, real talk, why do you even care if there wasn’t the smallest part of you that deep down wanted a piece of that life? Wanted the chance to see if you were the mom in that picture, would you feel happier, more fulfilled, or think life was more enjoyable?

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

You can have that Pinterest perfect, Instagram worthy, relationship, family, business, home, and life if you stop whining and start working. The only things different between you and Insta-mom is that she learned to harness the power of her envy and jealousy to propel her forward before you. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time.

When you start focusing on what you can have and what you can achieve versus what you don’t have and haven’t achieved, your mood is better, your work is more focused, and your drive is engaged. As much as it might feel good to bash another women’s progress to make yourself feel better in the moment, in the end, the only person who loses is you…because she loses nothing when you’re jealous of her.

And as with so many mindset victories, when you use your jealousy for good, you show up more positive, you’re work is more focused, and most often, you’ll make more money. And let’s face it…everyone in your house appreciates when you make more money.

Flip the Script on Jealousy

So how do we stop letting jealousy tell us we need to quit. That we aren’t good enough. That we will never get where we want to be.

And how do we start using that feeling in our belly to motivate us? To be the driving force that says “if she can do it, I can do it, too!” To examine what we’ve been doing and figure out where we can invest more, become more efficient, or delete what might be holding us back.

First…recognize the feeling.

Second…identify the root of the reaction.

Third…rephrase the jealousy.

As an example…you’re scrolling Facebook and you see a friend from high school on an amazing Disney vacation. You immediately recognize a wave of jealousy that you can’t/haven’t taken your family on an amazing Disney vacation. You identify that your feel jealous because you feel like you cannot afford a vacation. Then you rephrase the jealous reaction to a motivation to research Disney vacations, start a savings account, and work towards taking your family for a  similar experience. Recognize, Identify, Rephrase. It takes some practice, but I think you can do it.

Now is the time to stop wallowing because you don’t have her life. Start using your jealousy as a motivator. Remember, we all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé. We can all work hard, build an empire, and have an amazing butt if we put the effort in. Or we can just sit and be jealous from afar.

Want to take action on your jealousy today? Write down something you’ve found yourself jealous of recently. Then follow the 3 steps…you’ve recognized the feeling, now identify why you’re jealous. Then rephrase the jealousy as a motivation. I’d love to hear how you’re reframing your jealousy. Comment below and let me know how you’ve flipped your script.

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

Family Fun Bucket List - Business Savvy Mama