A Working Mom

Not so long ago I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids. If you asked me, I said something like “maybe someday but not anytime soon.”

All of that has changed, of course. Now I am a mom to a wonderful little boy. He’s smiley, curious, strong, and easy going. He sleeps through the night most of the time, he goes back and forth between a bottle and nursing like a pro, and he’s eating solids without issue. He’s starting to sit unassisted and getting up on all fours to rock it out in that pre-crawling motion. Oh, and he has Down Syndrome. It was a bit of a shock at first, I’ll admit. But he is all we know and he is ours just the way he is.

I’m fortunate to have a job where I work from home. So far, 9 months into his life outside my body, I’ve managed to keep up my full-time job responsibilities and have him with me every day. It isn’t easy.

There are times I wish I could do things differently. But bills persist and although my heart leaps at the idea of being a stay-at-home mom who takes on freelance contract work by choice (and can step away from a full-time commitment), I am a working mom; both in the traditional sense of the word work and in the mom-role of work.

Here’s how I stay sane:

  1. To-do lists are my friend.
  2. Snuggles and kisses are the best inspiration.
  3. Singing a nursery rhyme or playing with my boy on the floor help me step away from the mundane of the work day.
  4. Working efficiently is key.
  5. Remember the “why” – Why am I on the computer right now? A paycheck. But there’s a bonus to my paycheck … my boy is just a few feet away playing with toys. I can talk to him, babble at him, sing with him, snuggle him, simply see him.

Being a mom is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. He makes me a better person. I’m more understanding and patient. I’ve learned to adjust on the fly and come up with creative solutions. All of which make me better at my paying job, too.

Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Work Day

After a half decade in the “real world” and college life prior to this, I’ve learned a few things about managing my time. Through it all, I know with absolute certainty that I thrive in a flexible work environment where creativity is part of my everyday and I am free to accomplish the tasks at hand in my own way. Like Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do.” I meet my deadlines EVERY SINGLE TIME. How? By getting the most out of my work day.

  1. Focus all of your attention on your tasks for short chunks of time. No one can work a straight 8-hours and produce greatness. Life just doesn’t jive like that. For me, I’ve found that splitting up my day into 1-2 hour focus segments with a 15-20 minute brain break (e.g., play with my son, let the dog out, unload the dishwasher, make a fresh cup of tea) is ideal. Any more than that and my productivity level drops exponentially. Why? Busyness. See tip #2.
  2. Work with intention, not busyness. Being busy is not the same thing as getting sh*! done. I look at my to-do list first thing every morning and prioritize. I set my intentions and I discipline myself to accomplish my task list. Now, I’m human so busyness does creep into my work once in a while … when it does I notice and it really weighs me down. Busyness is all that extra stuff that somehow seeps into how you are trying to accomplish your task list. For example, if I have a Trending article to research and I start poking around on the Web, find something interesting, click, find something else, click, notice someone to follow on Twitter, click, see a neat post, click … off task and busy. See what I mean? Train yourself to catch the busyness cycle in the beginning so it doesn’t tie up your focus time.
  3. Getting started is the hardest part. This is so true! Have you ever just sat and stared at your computer screen willing something to inspire you to touch a letter key? The goal here is to just get started. Tap that M, and tap it again. It doesn’t matter if your first go is crap, it matters that you got your mind in the mix and you’re focused. I know this helps me at least once a week, if not more.
  4. Take time to think. Reflect. Ponder. Consider. React. Ask yourself: What went really well today? What didn’t I get to? What stopped me? What should or could I add? In all that we do, we need to take time to reflect. Yes, we’re working to provide a good or service for others, but we also need to understand how our work makes us feel. It’s only when we know how we feel about our accomplishments that we can really make the most out of our future work days.

There you have it. My top four tips for getting the most out of your work day. When I’m focused, intentional, and in the groove, I feel unstoppable.

Website Content

There’s a sweet spot when it comes to website content. Too much is overwhelming and too little is disappointing, both of which make your customers and future customers look elsewhere.

Strong website content is specific, clear, concise, and focused. If someone clicks on a service tab for instance and ends up at a page describing your staff, your services, and your top products, you’ll likely lose ’em and quick.

It’s best if that service tab focuses on your services. Novel idea, right? Provide the name of each service and a brief description. Don’t get too wordy. Don’t be too salesy. And with any content you put up on your website, remember your brand, your brand voice, and your audience. Cater to their curiosities and their needs in those summaries and descriptions. And please, oh please, keep the content relevant and up-to-date. There’s nothing worse than visiting a website that has a whole page or two dedicated to a product or service that is no longer available or doesn’t represent what is actually available in the here and now.

Top Tip: You could write your website content yourself, heaven knows you know your products and services better than anyone else. But, odds are you’ve got your hand and head in 100 different places. Why add to your to-do list when there’s someone out there who can take an idea, research it, summarize it, and write it for you?

Let me know when you’re ready to pass the baton.

Quotes that Inspire Me

I acknowledge that I am not where I am today simply because of the choices I’ve made. Every experience I’ve had, every person I’ve met, every relationship I’ve grown and some I’ve lost, every word I’ve read … it’s all brought me to now. I am the result of my experiences. We all are.

“Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe it can achieve” ~Napolian Hill

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” ~Steve Jobs

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” ~Les Brown

“Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” ~Malala Yousafzai

 

Blogging For Businesses

What is business blogging? It’s a marketing tactic! Blogging gets your business more online visibility and is the perfect place to give your customers insight into your work and brand.

A business blog is a marketing channel (just like social media, direct mail, or email marketing) that helps your business grow.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why would I need a business blog?
  • What content do I need on my blog?
  • Why does the content I post matter?
  • What does brand voice have to do with it?
  • Where’s the value in a business blog?

The answers to all of these questions: 

  1. A business blog helps drive traffic to your website.
  2. A business blog helps convert that traffic into leads.
  3. A business blog helps establish authority and credibility.

Convinced? I can help you boost your current business blog or start and maintain something new. I’ll put together a content marketing plan, define relevant and up-to-date topics, do the research, spend the time writing, and handover a final product you will feel proud to post. Contact me for more info.