Drawing Boundaries When Working from Home
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It is easy for the lines to become blurred between work and home life when both occur under the same roof. For your sanity and your family’s happiness, draw the line and resist crossing it. Learn to set boundaries for yourself when working from home.

In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if working from home would get the respect that it deserves. Instead, there are the misconceptions that just tweak you off every time you hear them. Here are just a few:

  • Spouses that expect you to cook and clean because you are physically in the home even though you are actually working a business. So you might here things like “what do you do all day” when they know very much what you do or “well I work all day”.
  • Friends joke that you are “living the life of Reilly” because you get to lounge around all day in your sweatpants.
  • Kids don’t respect the closed door or the “office hours” and run in and out of the office constantly because you are accessible to them when you work from home.
  • Teachers look at you sideways because you are not always volunteering in the classroom since “you have so much time on your hands”.

It’s hard, but manageable if you can follow these simple steps for setting boundaries for your home business:

  • Dress for work – Get up just like the rest of your family and get dressed as you would for the office. This lets them know that you are in work mode.
  • Keep a calendar of family and business events – Everyone needs to add their activities to this calendar. Avoid scheduling family stuff during designated business hours and vice versa. If it looks like you are free when you are not, explain that it is work time.
  • Set the stage for work – Hang a sign on your door to let others know that you are busy. This sends a clear message to those who can read. For younger children, instruct sitters and older family members to handle anything that doesn’t involve threat of imminent death when you are in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
  • Be flexible – How many times have we heard this? Moms are multi-taskers of the first order. When it is important to complete a project or talk to a client, try to do so when the house is quiet. You are fighting a losing battle at 5 pm but may have a ghost of a chance to get crucial business done at 5 am. Work around your family so that they don’t feel slighted and neither does your business. But there are times when you can ask for the assistance of your family, to make them feel included whether it’s stuffing envelopes or filling boxes, it’s more cost-effective to use them then to outsource certain tasks.

From the very beginning, drawing the boundary lines is crucial. Everyone will know your expectations and will understand the validity of what you do and how important it is. Good communication is the key here.

Great Holiday Gift For Those Techy Mom Bloggers

domeo loft folio Looking for a great holiday for those “techy” mom bloggers?  Well check out my review for the Domeo Ipad Loft Folio by Fellowes.

I was asked to review this product for Domeo two years ago, and I still love this product. It is wonderful for when you want to create a portable desktop station like at (this is a recent picture I took from the Type A Parent conference this past September).  You can see how I paired it up with my Apple wireless keyboard, and it comes in handy when you are in the kitchen cooking.

redfin charger at type a

Features:

The Loft Folio is a compact and secure iPad case with stand that offers the versatility of 8 viewing angles. The Loft’s built-in stand raises your iPad closer to eye level in a desktop monitor style view of your tablet. Use the Loft as a kitchen stand for your iPad or as a monitor for your wireless keyboard. With the kickstand you can also give your iPad stability when typing no matter where you are. This iPad case fits the iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4 with Retina Display.

Check out my video review:

 

why type a parent is the first blogging conference on my 2015 calendar

It was a little over a month ago that I was in Atanta, GA attending my first .  Sure I attended the Bootcamp in Walt Disney World, which was amazing in and of itself, but I heard such fabulous things about Type A that I was so excited to be attending for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I got to my hotel I settled in.  I looked around for a place to eat for dinner.  The hotel suggested a great place Gordon Biersch right across from the hotel, and since I was a little early for dinner I pretty much had the place to myself.

 

dinner at typea dessert

 

 

 

 

That night I stopped at the VIP Reception and met some wonderful people.  Got the chance to meet Monique Johnson and Crystal Collins from DIY Mobile. Then it was time to head back for a full day of learning at the first day of Type-A Parent.

VIP reception

The morning started off with a great breakfast and networking.  I got to meet some really wonderful women.  Some I knew like Sara Broers who I met a few years prior at Bloggy Con, but stayed in touch. Then I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Susanne Young, Celeste Eatherton, and Alisha Lampley. The great thing about this group of ladies is every morning we sat together, and attended the parties at night together, even though we may have split up to attend different presentations during the day.  We felt a sisterhood, and I enjoyed their company.

Our keynote speaker was Mack Collier:

 

mack collier

 

Then we got to listen to the amazing Rachel Martin and Dan Morris from Blogging Concentrated.

rachel martin and dan morris

 

We also got to listen to some other wonderful speakers Julie Cole from Mabel Labels.

Love the panel discussions were so great to hear from fellow bloggers and to bounce questions off them:  

The one on one Vlogging session I had with Desiree Miller was so insightful.  Great opportunity to learn from the best:

So much learning and networking was taking place:   learning in progress at type a   That night I had the wonderful opportunity to join Rowland Day, CEO and Founder of Websafety at a brand dinner.  This was wonderful to speak to a brand that you want to potentially partner with.   brand dinner with rowland day from websafety why created websafety   After dinner we attended a Party.  I received a pirate mouse hat, which was perfect as it was “Talk Like A Pirate Day”. disney party   The during the day you got to meet the sponsors at their tables.  This was so wonderful to chat with them, figure out a way you can partner together or how their product can help your business and of course the freebies are always great.  Thanks Redfin for my charger.     redfin charger at type a   How can you not be excited about taking a picture with Lassie.  I can’t wait to work with this non-profit organization Save The Children.  They are doing such wonderful work keeping our children safe.   met lassie with save the children    Here is another great company that I plan to partner with. I think their product is wonderful!

The breakout sessions were great.  I learned so much from all of them.  So much information to take back and start implementing.

As I headed back to my room to decompress and get ready for tonight’s party. I decided to share a picture of the Must-Haves I bring to a conference:

must haves for conference

Must Haves for Blogging Conferences:

1) Plently of Business Cards
2) Tablet, Ipad or computer
3) Wireless mouse as you will be doing a lot of typing whether it’s tweeting, instagramming or taking notes
4) Nametag
5) Portable charger
6) Gum/mints
7) Planner
8) Essential oils (definite)

But we had one more party to attend, and that was the 90’s party.  These ladies and yes men know how to have fun after a day filled with learning and networking.

So I got on my 90’s Clueless costume and went down with my fellow Type-A Parent bloggers to have fun.

ready for the 90s party at type a

 

time to party at type a

We ended this wonderful conference with an amazing speaker, one that I truly connected with, Thom Singer. What he talked about was networking isn’t a digital thing. When you go to a conference you can’t always have your face in your phone or even with your family. I retweeted the following tweet from a fellow blogger because is exactly what he was talking about:

 

Here is another quote.

Basically what he is saying is get back to writing thank you notes instead of texting or emails. 2014 is the year of the handwritten note.

handwritten note

What a way to end an amazing conference.  Here is the tweet that I ended with:

 

Then a quick tweet to Kelby Hartson Carr the Chief Executive Officer of Type-A Parent:

So enclosing you can see why the Type-A Parent Conference in Atlanta, GA is already on my calendar for 2015. Ticket is purchased and hotel is booked. You will definitely not want to miss this next year, register at Type-A Parent Conference.

typeacon14 This will be my first time attending the Type A Parent conference in Atlanta, GA.  I have heard such wonderful things about this conference.

I have attended a few blogging conferences in the past like BlogHer, BloggyCon, Type-A Bootcamp in Walt Disney World to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road”.

So Why Do I Attend Blogging Conferences?

Each one of them seem to provide a different perspective on blogging and running a business as a blogger.  I am really excited about attending the presentation from Denene Millner entitled “Refining Your Voice – How To Write That People Can’t Stop Reading” and “How To Make Your Small Blog A Big Deal”.  Seeing I did a #DisneySide party, I can’t wait to attend the #DisneySide Welcome Reception

During this three day event, you have the opportunity to meet new bloggers, share ideas, partner on new ventures and reconnect with some or your blogging friends you have connected with at other conferences.  Blogging conferences also allow you the ability to connect with brands during expo hours, if you are looking to partner with brands to work with them in the future.  So I definitely advise bringing a lot of business cards, as these events are truly a great networking opportunity.

However, some of the best time is during the social hours like the reception, Taste and Share Party, lunches and dinners.  You can really have a lot of fun getting to meet new people, so I would strongly suggest attending them.  I only wished I was able to attend the Frozen party they had at the Type-A Bootcamp in Walt Disney World it looked awesome.

Blogging conferences have opened up so many doors for me from a blogging perspective.  I have the wonderful opportunity to partner with amazing bloggers on projects, but also works with some awesome brands.

So Want To Be A Part Of The Fun?

Mark your calendars for September 18-20th and join me in Atlanta for Type-A Conference! You can use the discount code BLOGPARTNER (affiliate link) and save 25% off your ticket if you register in the next 24 hours.

This is the first post of a series of posts about email for entrepreneurs

How often do you check your email? Every hour? Every few minutes? Or is it every time that little “unread” number pops up?

If you suffer from email overload, that little number can make you crazy – and plenty unproductive as well. But a little discipline and a good plan can help you tame your email and regain some of your sanity to boot.

Better Email Settings for a More Productive Work Day

First, do you really need to check your email every five minutes? That’s the default setting for a lot of email clients, but that kind of instant receipt is almost always unnecessary. A better idea is to set your email client to only grab email on demand, meaning if you don’t ask for your emails to be downloaded it won’t happen.

If you can’t (or won’t) rely on manual downloading of emails, at least turn off the “unread” notification or for me I turned off the sound for new email notification. That way you won’t be tempted to rush off to read every email that comes in, even when you’re up to your eyeballs in a project.  mail-icon-117-messages

Ideally, you want to limit checking of emails to three times per day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and at the end of the day. But here’s the thing – you have to “process” those emails at the same time. You can’t let them sit around to answer later, or that defeats the whole purpose.

A Systematic Approach to Email Processing

What do you do when you open your email client? If you’re like most people, you browse the subjects, open the most interesting ones first, make a decision about what needs to happen with it, then move on to the next.

This is a serious waste of time because you end up opening, reading, and making decisions about the same emails again and again, every time you look at your inbox. There’s a better way.

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”
recommends a triage approach to email that leaves your inbox empty every time you look at it. Here’s how it works.

For every email you open, immediately decide if it requires action or not. If not, either file it (if it contains information you might need later) or trash it. If the email requires action – whether it’s a to-do item for a project or simply needs an answer – you have three choices: do it now, do it later, or get someone else to do it.

If it’s going to take just a couple of minutes (i.e. you just need to write a two line response), then do it and trash the email. If it will take longer than that, add it to your to-do list for later, then trash the email. If you want someone else to do it, forward it to them.

No matter which choice you made, the email does not stay in your inbox. It’s either filed, done, or added to a to-do list (yours or someone else’s).

Do that for each email you receive, every time you open your inbox, and you’ll never again have to face the clutter of an overflowing inbox.

Will it take some time and discipline to build that habit? You bet, but the result – no more stressing over emails, and no more wasted time searching for an email you’ve read before but failed to act on – is well worth the time it will take to re-train your brain about email.

Comment below if this process worked for you?

6 Tips To Being Confident And Setting Your Goals!

How many times in a day do you find yourself asking yourself “Where did the time go?” Let’s face it, we could all use a little help achieving our goals and improving our productivity. The key to doing this is to figure out what you want and make a list of your priorities.
With the fast-paced lifestyle we all lead, it’s no wonder you can’t find any time for yourself or to do the things that are important to you. You seem to spend all day doing for others, that at the end of the day, you have no energy or time left in the day to do anything for yourself.

  set goals

 

Tip #1: Ask Yourself What Do I Want To Accomplish?

Whether it is today, next month or this year. You need to set a goal. A long-term goal is essential, but also include steps you need to achieve that goal. This way, you not only have small goals to help monitor your progress and motivate yourself with your achievements, but you also have a built-in way of knowing that you’ve thought in depth about what you’re doing and are acting wisely. These small goals will also keep you on track in reaching your bigger goal.

Tip #2: Now Create Your “To Do” List To Reach Your Goals

Once you have your steps, turn them into to-do lists. It may helpful to have not only daily lists, but weekly and monthly ones as well.

Another trick that might be helpful when prioritizing your goals is create a list of activities you do daily, committees and/or organizations you are currently active and participate in. Compare that list with your “to do” list for reaching these goals and decide if there are activities that can be eliminated to make more time for you to reach your goals! You may find things that can be delegated to a Virtual Assistant or maybe even your children.

Tip #3: Stick To It

Once you’ve set your priorities and made your to do lists, you need to stick with it. Sure, if things change, you may need to do some tweaking here and there, but you put a lot of thought into your lists and you need to trust your own judgment. If you keep backtracking and re-prioritizing, you’re never going to get anything done.

For most of us, it is generally easiest to make a list and then pick and choose which things we’d like to do off the list. The problem with this is that something you like doing more may not be as urgent, and the more important items will be put off until the last minute when you absolutely have to get them done.

A better way to look at your list, is pick the one thing that you’re dreading doing. Sure, it might take you a while to get it done, but once you do, you’ll not only be less likely to procrastinate, you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment and momentum to get through the rest of your work.

Tip #4: Be Realistic About Your Time

A key part of time management is being realistic. Many people think that if they set lofty goals, they’ll get that extra push from the perceived time crunch and actually meet them. The truth is, if you set unrealistic goals, you’re rarely going to meet them. If you continue to not meet your goals, you’re going to become discouraged and actually lower productivity and work quality.

One of the most important steps in time management is taking responsibility for your actions and how you manage what you do during your days. When we fail to meet a deadline, many of us blame it on other things, like a distracting co-worker or a great show that was on TV. This leads us to believe there is nothing we can do about meeting deadlines, which just isn’t true. You need to own your own time. If you don’t meet a deadline, figure out what you did wrong and what you can do better next time to fix it.

With a little effort and a lot of conviction, you can stick with your plans and achieve your goals.

Tip #5: Learn To Say “No”

I know sometimes it’s just easier to say “yes” to all the requests, but if you want to reach your goals the most important things is you are going to learn to have to say “no”. Set boundaries when needed to help you stay on track in what you need to get done to meet your goals.

Tip #6: Keep Your Goals Visible

goals_deadline Whether you create a vision board, have a hand written list or use a cork board, keep your goals visible to you that you can read daily.

What is a vision board?  A vision board is a collage of pictures, phrases, words or items that represent you and your goals.  Vision boards are for inspiration; think of it as a vision of the future.  These goals can be long-term or short-term.  By seeing these images on a daily basis, you will keep the motivation to reach for those goals and dreams.

I have also created a vision board on Pinterest if this may help you get started.  Check it out:

Follow SpecialMoms A Business Club for Mom Entrepreneurs’s board Vision Board on Pinterest.

Do you have a vision board? Will you be creating your vision board today?