Being a mother is tough work on its own but when you run a business from home, it becomes more difficult to be able to balance life without dropping a few socks along the way. This month I’m beginning to put a new time management plan into action after working through the Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course by Lisa Tanner Writing and today I’m sharing my review of it.
I have been busy in business this year as the time I need for homeschooling is also increasing…and add in other commitments and I rarely feel on the ball. I know I’m not the only who doesn’t know how ‘other people’ can be so successful while we’re surrounded by stacks of paper and projects that need to be completed.
Lisa Tanner has just given birth to her ninth baby this month – and certainly if she can get her stuff together, it should be possible with only 2 children! My children aren’t in diapers anymore, and haven’t been for 6.5 years, so you’d think it’d be a snap, but somehow it almost seems that the older they get the more complicated things become.
There’s a particular quote in the course that I am striving towards:
“Move from working when the kids are sleeping to working with the kids”
That is my goal. I’m getting tired from not enough sleep from staying up late working as a virtual assistant, and I feel I’m not part of the family on the weekends when I’m secluded away working on blog posts. Something simply has to change. And never mind the housework – it’s simply impossible when there’s someone here 24 hours a day!
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is an on-line course. I’ve paid for many, many courses over the past couple of years with good intentions but never find the time to go through them as they are so time-consuming. Not so with this course; it’s not too long, and it’s broken down into short reads with small, do-able actions at the end of each lesson.
The logical way to do this course, of course, is to work your way through slowly, implementing each action as you go. However, this is not what I did on this occasion. I knew this would be a very busy month, and I found myself with a little time to spare at the start of the month (okay, if I’m honest, I should have been working on something else and was procrastinating), but I read through the whole course in three sittings. Perhaps it was also that I’ve found myself a lot recently telling the children to read through everything first before they start so they know what will be expected of them, and so this is what I did.
The main time management areas of the course are:
I made some notes as I went through of points that seemed the most relevant to me. My children are 8 and 10 so I didn’t need to concentrate on the information for 0-5s or for high schoolers, although I did read it as you never know what tidbit you might garner, but that’s not where I set my focus.
My personal time management focus
After reading through, I wanted to get started with some first priorities. These are the areas I chose, and how I’ve been progressing with them so far:
Form a personal strategy
I’m still working on this and mulling it over in my mind.
Use a new meal planner
I recently received a new meal planner so it’s a good time to put it to use, although Lisa’s yearly meal planner isn’t in our immediate future, I will be more intentional with our monthly planning.
Create a new home education schedule
I’m giving more specific tasks to the children so they know what is expected and I’m being more hands-on. We’re working on completing some unfinished projects and classes so that we can start fresh on some new subjects. The kids have a list at the start of the day and check in with me after each item so I know how they are doing and know that the work is getting done. Also working purposeful breaks into the day means the kids don’t feel like they do nothing but work.
Create a new blog schedule
I am trying to set aside a couple of specific times each day where we are all working at the kitchen table so we feel more connected. The children are each doing independent work and I’m working on social media or editing photos as those tasks are more conducive to interruptions than getting in the writing ‘zone.’ This isn’t yet happening with as much consistency as I’d like, however, when it happens with us all in one place there’s less mess around the house to clean up so it saves time, too!
My goal is to catch up on the reviews I currently have in progress and then to slow down a little and work on some ‘fun’ stuff. Ideally, I’d only blog one day a week and have a day off every week to spend relaxing with the family and not thinking I should be doing ‘other’ things.
Create an updated chore schedule
This is always a work in progress as the children grow. I’m slowly expanding the chores assigned to the children as well as working to complete mine at set times each day as well.
I am working at being more efficient; start earlier, work harder, and finish earlier for more sleep. Currently, I am not able to do my paid work during the day as my client is 11 time zones away. But working on social media and photography during the day would mean more time at night to concentrate on client work.
As you can see, there’s quite a lot to this course. Reading through the first time, I didn’t realise there was quite that much, but looking back over it again and at my notes, I will be revisiting the course for reminders and encouragement from time to time as we begin to mould our daily routines so that they feel more comfortable and achievable.
Looking back over the past month, I believe the children are accomplishing more before lunch as they’re sitting with me at the table where I can keep a better eye on them and I am available if they have a question. And with better chore scheduling I’m not running around all day long (except on Mondays and Tuesdays when it’s laundry day without a drier).
It’s strange because when I’m sitting and working on the laptop at the table with the kids there, at the end of the day I feel like I haven’t done as much because I’ve been still rather than flitting about all day cleaning up or doing other things. But I don’t think I’m further behind on other stuff than I was at the start of the month; I am clearing a backlog of blog posts and even have a pile of English work copied out for the kids for the next 6 weeks! If we continue this on for the remainder of the year we should be in a good place for January at which point I will need extra time for expanding my business, and I just might have it!
One thing that I would have liked is the ability to download and print off the course as well. I work better with paper and highlighters and margins for note-taking, and it makes it easier for me to take with me and work on while at the library or on the train and make use of those times that are hard to be productive.
One thing Lisa also recommends teaching your children to be flexible, and this is something we are quite good at as things come up. This is something that isn’t so easily taught in formal schools with strict schedules and when being taught to a test. Our children learn about real life and as business owners we know that there are ups and downs and times when the unexpected is thrown our way and we must figure out how to deal with it. Giving our children these tools – flexibility, learning about commitment, following through, seeing their parents working hard for what they have, and striving for success; these are necessary skills for real life.
Let’s continue to work towards being the best parents, home educators, and business owners we can be!
To read more reviews about Balancing Diapers and Deadlines by the Homeschool Review Crew, click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. You will find 75 honest reviews by the Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow Lisa Tanner, you can connect with her through her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.