Tag Archives | dream

8 Ways To Make More Time In Your Day

8 Ways To Make More Time In Your Day :: Nurturedmama.net

This is a post I wrote last year about how I made time to work toward a dream in the midst of raising an active toddler. Whether you are looking to make more time in your life for creativity, or for working on a big project, these tips are still so very applicable. I’m pulling them out of the archive to share again.

In a life filled with small children, a home to keep running and a relationship to invest in, where does a mama find time to work on a dream? Don’t despair, you can always make time when something is really important to you. Here are a few ways I found time to get to my goal of launching this blog.

1. I scheduled it.

Scheduling time to work toward an important goal is essential. When you write your dream-building time into your calendar you are making a commitment both to yourself and to your dream. When those hours are blocked off on your calendar and a conflict arises, it is so much easier to say, “I’m sorry, I’m already scheduled then.” Because you are.

Can you find one or two hours you can hold sacred each week?  It should be a time that you can keep fairly consistent week to week. If you have small children, see the next tip. 

2. I paid for it.

Writing a check to someone else to care for my child so I can go work is very motivating. I’m far less tempted to “just see what’s on Facebook” when I know how much I’m paying for my hour of screen time. I used those focused hours for tasks that needed my full, focused attention: Writing, solving tech issues, and reading up on new skills. This is my scheduled work time each week.

Can you afford a couple of hours of childcare each week for your small children? Hiring a mother’s helper to entertain kids while you work in a different room or trading childcare with another mom are affordable ways to find that space, too.

3. I made my work portable.

When my daughter was an infant I spent many hours each day nursing her. While that seemed like a great opportunity to read and research, invariably every time I needed to access a file it was on the computer or device that I did not have near me.  I signed up for DropBox and moved my commonly accessed files there. Then I started using Workflowy and Evernote for my to-do list and project notes. Now I keep almost everything in the cloud, which means I can get to whatever I was working on earlier from wherever I happen to be now, regardless of which chair I’m sitting in or if I’m even at home. I also found a Bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad, which is small enough to tuck in the diaper bag and carry along with me.

In what ways can you re-imagine your work zone?  How can you make it smaller or more portable so that it fits better into the flow of your day?

4. I lowered my expectations.

I take pride in a job well done, while staying just this side of being a perfectionist. But I can not do all that I want to do in my life, while raising a small child, unless I make peace with “good enough.”  Instead of a spotless house, I define a swept floor, clean toilets, and a wiped-down counter as good enough. A shower, some gel in wet hair and a swipe of eyeliner is good enough. Simple graphics and clean design on my blog are good enough. Writing impressions of experience of motherhood with an authentic voice is good enough for now. In some later season of my life I can do these things better, but right now I live within good enough.

I have also had to get used to less than ideal working conditions: I work while my child sleeps, sometimes in the driver’s seat of my car. I stand at the kitchen counter and write while she plays near me. I research my tech troubles late at night before I find my answers and sometimes it takes more than one night. I have lists upon lists of ideas and goals and projects in notebooks that have pages covered with scribbled toddler drawings. It is not ideal. But if I had waited for ideal, you would not be here reading this article because this blog would not exist.

In what ways do you need to lower your expectations in order to get your dream to see the light of day?

5. I found pockets of time.

When Bean was a baby I would read books while she nursed. I read a lot those first few months! Remembering that, I started looking for other pockets of time that I could claim to focus on my blog project. In my life those gaps were mostly waiting for Bean to go to sleep or waiting for her to wake up, if she fell asleep in the car. For someone with older kids those gaps might be found on the sidelines during sports practice, at the doctor’s office, or in line for school pickup.  I also looked at where I was spending time each week and dropped activities and commitments that I was no longer excited about. This is one tip to use sparingly, because your brain needs downtime, too. Don’t fill up all of your margins unless you what you are putting into those spaces is rejuvenating for you.

Where in your life can you find pockets of time that you can fill with small tasks like brainstorming, making lists or reading?

6. I relaxed my principles.

I was not going to be one of those moms who entertained my kid with an iDevice. Until I became one. It turns out there are some really well designed fun and educational games for toddlers that Bean really loves.  She also enjoys looking at photos and videos on my phone.  She gets to watch her life on replay, and I get a few minutes to finish something.

Are there any areas where you could relax a principle, whether it is letting your child watch an educational show one hour a week, or eating pre-prepared food a little more often?

7. I matched tasks to my energy level.

I am not a morning person. But I have a toddler who wakes up at 6AM, if not earlier. With that early start and a full day of keeping up with her, my brain is toast by dinner. I used to be able to work long into the night but that is no longer an option. Now my most productive times of day are late morning and early afternoon.  So I have scheduled my childcare over those windows two days a week and I do my heavy lifting tasks then.  Whenever else I find time during the day I do easy stuff – making idea lists, commenting on blogs and responding to emails, for example.

What is your most mentally productive time of day?  What can you do to clear yourself some space during that window?

Little bits of time do add up, and using that time efficiently will get you where you want to go.

How do you find extra moments in your days? Share them in comments below.

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How To Begin: 5 Steps To Get Your Project Moving

Beginning?

Photo by Fran Ulloa via Creative Commons

It can be so hard to figure out how to begin when you have a big project that you want to accomplish.

There is that old advice, “Begin at the beginning,” but what if you don’t know where the beginning is?  What if the project seems so big and overwhelming that it seems impossible? No project is impossible, really, though sometimes the end result looks a little different than you thought.

Here are five tips to get from your vision to reality (and finding the path in between).

First, know your goal

Here is what I do.  I start by looking at the future. What is my goal in approaching this project? Say I want to start a blog. What is my goal?  Do I want to earn a tidy income? Do I want to build a community of like minds? Do I want to build a platform that will help me to launch other projects, like a book? Do I just want a place to write about what’s on my mind?

For this blog, my primary goal is to build a community. Which is not to say some of those other goals aren’t also true, but that’s my primary goal right now. Knowing my goal narrows down what I need to do and to know to get there.

Once your goal is clear to you, write it down. Be specific as possible. This may seem redundant, because, hey, you know what your goal is, right? But trust me, it is so easy to drift off of that target when you get into researching and other cool ideas pop into your head. So write it down.

There is great power in making this kind of clear statement. If you are a visual person, make a vision board that illustrates your goal and hang it somewhere where you will see it often. You don’t need to state your goal publicly, but put it somewhere where you can find it, because you will need to refer to it again and again.

Commit yourself

Next, commit some time. You know best what will work with your life, but don’t expect that this will be easy. Can you get up an hour earlier in the morning? Can you book yourself for an hour or two on a weekend day?  Can you commit one evening a week to working toward your goal? Find some space [link] and mark it on your calendar.  Make an appointment with yourself and do not schedule over it!

You cannot make progress toward a goal if you don’t put time toward it.  It is one thing to say you want something, but another thing to actually get there.

Make a List

Third, make a list of what you need to do to get from where to are to your goal.  To launch my blog, my list included things like “buy a domain” and “make a list of article ideas.” Refer back to your goal statement often.  When I was working on this blog I got sidetracked for quite a while researching how to monetize a blog. But then I reminded myself that my primary goal was to build a community. I didn’t need to know all about making an income right now, so I could move on.

If your individual steps feel too big, or if you when you look at your list you say, “I don’t  know how to do that,” then make the tasks smaller. Before I could buy the domain for this blog I had to decide on a name, research if it was in use, and decide which host I wanted to use. There were three more steps that I had to take before I could remove “buy a domain” from my list.

Don’t get discouraged if your list gets longer and longer at this stage! Breaking down your list into achievable steps means you will complete them instead of feeling overwhelmed by them. For every step you finish you will be that much closer to your goal.

Get some support

Fourth, and possibly most important, enlist a cheering squad. Find someone, or several people, who will hold you accountable to your goal and cheer you on when you falter.

Be a little careful about who you pick, though. For some people your cheering squad may include a husband or parent or sibling, and for others it will definitely not include those people. Your cheering squad should be people who will be gentle with you, who will encourage you to stretch your boundaries, and who will not undermine or belittle you for struggling or feeling scared.

It is scary to take on new things, especially when they are close to your heart! Pick people to cheer you on who will be overjoyed for you when you achieve your goals.

Begin

Finally, finally, this is where you begin.

Show up to your scheduled time.  Pick and item off your list and complete it.  Pick another item and complete that. I love to keep the finished tasks where I can see them, either just crossing items off as I go or making a separate “Achievements” list (sometimes known as a “ta-dah!” list). Leave yourself a trail to see how far you have come for those days when it feels like you have been working on this for so long and the goal still feels so far off.

So you have begun. Congratulations! Keeping yourself going through the middle of a long project is a whole other post that I will be sharing with you soon. But you have done the most important part. You have taken the first step.

What project you are working on?  Do you know what your goal is?  Share it with me in a comment or send me an email!

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7 Ways I Made Time To Launch With A Toddler, And How You Can Make Time For Your Dream, Too

You will never find time for anything

 

Photo by dougbelshaw via Creative Commons

Recently I wrote about the importance of having – and working toward – a dream.  But in a life filled with small children, a home to keep running and a relationship to invest in, where does a mama find time to work on a dream? Don’t despair, you can always make time when something is really important to you. Here are a few ways I found some time last year to get to my goal of launching this blog.

1. I scheduled it.

Scheduling time to work toward an important goal is essential. When you write your dream-building time into your calendar you are making a commitment both to yourself and to your dream. When those hours are blocked off on your calendar and a conflict arises, it is so much easier to say, “I’m sorry, I’m already scheduled then.” Because you are.

Can you find one or two hours you can hold sacred each week?  It should be a time that you can keep fairly consistent week to week. If you have small children, see the next tip. 

2. I paid for it.

Writing a check to someone else to care for my child so I can go work is very motivating. I’m far less tempted to “just see what’s on Facebook” when I know how much I’m paying for my hour of screen time. I used those focused hours for tasks that needed my full, focused attention: Writing, solving tech issues, and reading up on new skills. This is my scheduled work time each week.

Can you afford a couple of hours of childcare each week for your small children? Hiring a mother’s helper to entertain kids while you work in a different room or trading childcare with another mom are affordable ways to find that space, too.

3. I made my work portable.

When my daughter was an infant I spent many hours each day nursing her. While that seemed like a great opportunity to read and research, invariably every time I needed to access a file it was on the computer or device that I did not have near me.  I signed up for DropBox and moved my commonly accessed files there. Then I started using Workflowy and Evernote for my to-do list and project notes. Now I keep almost everything in the cloud, which means I can get to whatever I was working on earlier from wherever I happen to be now, regardless of which chair I’m sitting in or whether I’m even at home. I also found a Bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad, which is small enough to tuck in the diaper bag and carry along with me.

In what ways can you re-imagine your work zone?  How can you make it smaller or more portable so that it fits better into the flow of your day?

4. I lowered my expectations.

I take pride in a job well done, while staying just this side of being a perfectionist. But I can not do all that I want to do in my life, while raising a small child, unless I make peace with “good enough.”  Instead of a spotless house, a swept floor, clean toilets, and a wiped-down counter is good enough. A shower, some gel in wet hair and a swipe of eyeliner is good enough. Simple graphics and clean design on my blog are good enough. Writing impressions of experience of motherhood with an authentic voice is good enough for now. In some later season of my life I can do these things better, but right now I live within good enough.

I have also had to get used to less than ideal working conditions: I work while my child sleeps, sometimes in the driver’s seat of my car. I stand at the kitchen counter and write while she plays near me. I research my tech troubles late at night before I find my answers and sometimes it takes more than one night. I have lists upon lists of ideas and goals and projects in notebooks that have pages covered with scribbled toddler drawings. It is not ideal. But if I had waited for ideal, you would not be here reading this article because this blog would not exist.

In what ways do you need to lower your expectations in order to get your dream to see the light of day?

5. I found pockets of time.

After I started using time spent nursing my daughter to read, I started looking for other pockets of time that I could claim back for myself. In my life those gaps were mostly waiting for Bean to go to sleep or waiting for her to wake up, if she fell asleep in the car. For someone with older kids those gaps might be found on the sidelines during sports practice, at the doctor’s office, or in line for school pickup.  I also looked at where I was spending time each week and dropped activities and commitments that I was no longer excited about. This is one tip to use sparingly, because your brain needs downtime and your kids need your undivided attention sometimes.

Where in your life can you find pockets of time that you can fill with small tasks like brainstorming, making lists or reading?

6. I relaxed my principles.

I was not going to be one of those moms who entertained my kid with an iDevice. Until I became one. It turns out there are some really well designed fun and educational games for toddlers that Bean really loves.  She also enjoys looking at photos and videos on my phone.  She gets to watch her life on replay, and I get a few minutes to finish something.

Are there any areas where you could relax a principle, whether it is letting your child watch an educational show one hour a week, or eating pre-prepared food a little more often?

7. I matched tasks to my energy level.

I am not a morning person. But I have a toddler who wakes up at 6AM, if not earlier. With that early start and a full day of keeping up with her, my brain is toast by dinner. I used to be able to work long into the night but that is no longer an option. Now my most productive times of day are late morning and early afternoon.  So I have scheduled my childcare over those windows two days a week and I do my heavy lifting tasks then.  Whenever else I find time during the day I do easy stuff – making idea lists, commenting on blogs and responding to emails, for example.

What is your most mentally productive time of day?  What can you do to clear yourself some space during that window?

Little bits of time do add up, and using that time efficiently will get you where you want to go. I have more posts planned on how to plan out a project and how to be super efficient!  If you haven’t already, sign up for the mailing list to get notified of new posts to this blog.

 

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Dreaming for My Daughter

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Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product after clicking through a link I will make a small income from the sale, at no additional cost to you. This income helps to support this blog. Thank you!

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France

I strongly believe that all women, especially mothers, should make room in their lives to dream. Dream about who they want to be in the world, what they want to accomplish, where they want to go with their lives. Dream about what they want to learn and what they want to see. And then take steps toward those dreams, even if they are teeny tiny ones over a long period of time.

I have heard so many mothers say things like, “Oh, I’ll do that when my kids are grown,” whether *that* is writing that book she has brewing in her heart, or going back to school, or starting a business.  Even smaller dreams get set aside, like learning to knit or how to draw. As if we don’t have the right to pursue our dreams when we have kids.  As if even by dreaming we are taking something away from our children.

Recently I read Tara Sophia Mohr‘s interview with Whitney Johnson, author of the book Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream . I was fascinated to hear that the inspiration for Whitney’s book was her own conversations with women and girls who were basically telling her, “I don’t believe it is my privilege to dream,” and her wondering, in response, “What is happening here?”  She talked about how little girls are socialized from a very young age that dreaming is selfish.  That dreaming requires resources: our time, our attention, our money, our energy – that should be spent on others, not on ourselves.

No wonder we say things like, “…when my kids are grown.”

But what if we held the idea of dreaming differently?  What if by seeing us dream, our children learn how to dream themselves?  Isn’t that something we want them to learn? What if by setting an example of how to dream, how to work toward something we feel passionately about, how to budget our resources of time, attention and energy, our children learn those skills, too?

I’m raising a daughter, and I want her to believe it is her birthright to dream.  I don’t want her to put off her dreams for her partner, for her children, for later. I want her to dream all the time.  Dream about things that may or may not happen and create a whole constellation of dreams from which she can navigate her life.

Finding time to dream isn’t my struggle. I have lots of dreams, big and small.  I dream about places in the world I still want to visit, and paintings I want to make and books I want to read and to write.  I dream about getting another college degree and moving to a different state and workshops I want to teach and careers I want to launch.  For the last year, launching this blog has been one of my dreams. My struggle is not dreaming, but finding the courage and time to move toward any of them.

It is hard, when parenting a toddler, to find enough consecutive minutes to learn new skills.  It took me nine months of reading and trial and error to get this blog to look the way I wanted it and then another month of wavering between excitement and fear that no one cared what I had to say anyway to get the first post written and published. It took putting off loads of laundry and sometimes shorting my sleep and often leaving the kitchen floor unswept.  It took letting my daughter spend more time watching DVDs than I would prefer, while I sat next to her on the couch with my laptop and tried to debug code. It will be an ongoing effort to find space in my life to write these posts. It will take an investment in childcare and a few less evenings spent watching movies with my man. But because it is important to me, I’m finding that space.

This is what I want my daughter to learn from me: Trust that your dreams are valuable. Have a vision. Make room for it in the life you have right now. Make your dreams happen.

What are you dreaming about right now?  What keeps you from taking steps toward your dream?  What one step will you take toward your dream today?

* Note: This post contains affiliate links.

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