By Lara Galloway, author Moms Mean Business: A Guide for Creating a Successful Business and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur

If you—like I do—sometimes feel that you’re only barely managing to juggle motherhood and all the ins and outs of running a business, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you spend your time.  No matter how much I plan for it and expect it, getting back to school in the Fall always leaves me exhausted and flustered. I’m stressed out with all the deadlines that come with school programs and field trips and with the logistical nightmare of carpooling three kids to all their after school events. Add to that the renewed energy and ambition for my business that shows up for me at the end of summer, and I struggle to figure out how to get it all done. I give myself a week or two to figure out our new schedules, and then I get down to business and back to owning my time. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting things done. 

1.  Get a routine.  Now I understand that there are those of you who will balk at the idea of a formalized routine.  But hear me out.  While it’s totally not necessary to plan your day in strict, 15-minute increments, a regular schedule of sorts will support the flexibility you value in your life, allowing you time to work on and in your business, as well as time for household chores and family events.  Start by creating a loose schedule—morning, lunchtime, afternoon, dinnertime, evening—for Monday through Friday, blocking off office hours and your regularly scheduled daily activities, like packing lunches, getting kids off to school, and so on. Knowing when you have time set aside to do certain tasks will help you get them done without stressing out all the time.

2.  Break down your office hours into manageable chunks.  This one is simple, and you can block off time by just observing your habits.  Is there a particular time you tend to work on the computer?  How about returning emails or phone calls?  Schedule time to work on your business—marketing and the things that cause your business to grow—and in your business—actual, billable hours of production or face-to-face client time. 

3.  Make appointments for yourself.  You would never stand up a client with an appointment.  Why not show yourself that same respect?  Need to work on your website redesign?  Make an appointment! How about Tuesday from 9-11am? Have a business proposal due?  Set a time for yourself to work on it.  Give importance to the things you want to accomplish by putting that time and date on the calendar, and then showing up for that appointment. 

4.  Schedule downtime.  Yes, productivity is important.  Yes, as mom entrepreneurs, it seems that 24 hours is never enough.  But taking care of yourself is a priority, and it needs to be planned for!  Try alternating tasks that require mental focus with good-for-you breaks—a walk around the block, a healthy snack, a phone conversation with a friend—whatever relaxes and recharges you.  You may be surprised at how productivity soars when you’re fresh and energized. 

These are a few tips that I use to manage my time as a busy mompreneur.  All of this will help you round out a really ideal schedule for you, adding up to more time to get things done in a way that makes you feel productive and purposeful—not overwhelmed. 

Which of these tips can you implement today to help you get control of your time? 

What other tips would you include that keep you focused and productive? 

Lara Galloway is an author, speaker, business coach and host of the Mom Biz Solutions Show podcast. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run businesses that honor their priorities and make them successful and happy. Her book, Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur, published by Career Press, offers inspiration, advice, and a healthy dose of how-to. She is frequently interviewed for her expertise on work/life balance, starting and running a successful small business, marketing your business on Social Media, and creatively managing your time by Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Crain’s, The Chicago Tribune, and More Magazine. Her extensive online influence and unique approach to coaching mompreneurs to success have led to her being named one of “30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” and one of the “100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter.” When she’s not working, she’s wrangling her three kids with her husband, drinking good wine or micro-brewed beer, and baking something with lots of calories since food is her love language. She loves living in Michigan, especially when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. Learn more and connect with her at LaraGalloway.com.

By Monika Labbé

Are there times during the day when you seem to lose focus and productivity goes out the window? Me too. As a entrepreneurs, I feel that we get so easily distracted because we have so much on our plates, that we must have something wrong with us. My latest thing is forgetting what I was doing in the middle of doing it. Has that ever happened to you?

My belief is that these thing happen to us because we have not created a daily routine that promotes efficiency and allows us to really “get stuff done”.

Mental fatigue is a real struggle, as real as any physical fatigue. When we do the same things the same way hoping to get different results we are in effect setting ourselves up for failure.

All day long we are faced with choices, decisions we have to make about this or that. The more choices we make the more fatigued our brain becomes. We seem to be happier overall when we have less choices to make.

One of the routines that could help take some of those choices away is having a regular work outfit. Just having a simple few outfits on hangers ready to go each morning automatically frees you from making a decision about what to wear.

Next, streamline your meals. For me, it’s dinner that’s hardest. Every Sunday I roast enough veggies for the week. Simple, olive oil, salt & pepper and at 425 for 15 minutes and it is really a huge time saver. I’ll then roast a few chicken breasts, and then any other meat I want to eat that week for variety. Once it cools I put it in the fridge then all I have to do is just warm up dinner when I am hungry. There are also great things like Prepdish and Instacart that will make your meal planning and shopping a snap.

The key to creating a strong daily routine is to limit the amount of trivial choice on a given day, in order to maximize your energy for more important decisions. Great daily routine provide the framework not just for your day or week but for a month or a year and that saves you a lot of thinking.

Determine what time of day you are at your most productive and then guard that time. Mark your calendar off for those hours and use that time to get things done, and not trivial things like making appointments or social calls.

Recognize when your brain starts to wonder and then schedule a 10 minute mental break that does not mean sitting in the same place doing the same task. Get up, eat something or go outside for a short walk. Don’t feel like you have to do all three, just do one but be intentional about it.

Are you a person that works out, needs quiet time or journals? Schedule these things last into your day after determining when you are most productive. They will provide you will natural breaks in your day. They are also transitional tasks and will help you segue from one thing to another.

Another way to stay organized is by taking your BIG goals, breaking those goals into categories and then breaking them down into small tasks. If you do this once, you can have a monthly standing task that you can then break down into a weekly and daily task. For example, if you know you have to re-do your website, you can break it down into what needs to happen next. You will need a new headshot, you may or may not want to add video, you will need new copy, and possibly graphics or just new photos of your products. Then when you break it down you will plan when you will take that photo, write that copy etc. and by the end of the month you have put a plan in place and or even gotten closer to your goal.

Rely on project management software to guide you like Evernote, Trello or Basecamp. This will help you focus on what projects you need to tackle that week or that day. Checking emails at only set times of the day help remove distractions and helps you stay on focus.

Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller

If you’re a mom who works from home, there can be times when the stresses and strains can really start to get you down. More often than not, it can seem as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. If your children are at home with you during the day it can sometimes feel as though you are almost being torn in two.

As pressure builds, you may begin experiencing physical symptoms such as aches and pains. Or you may simply feel exhausted. If this happens then you may want to consider natural techniques, such as acupuncture, to help. You can speak to experts, such as Alban Acupuncture & Herbs Clinic, to see how acupuncture can help you. It may be useful to understand what acupuncture actually is, and how it can be a benefit. 

How does acupuncture work?

You can spend time reading about the art of acupuncture, but understanding the basics is a great first step. The most important thing to remember about acupuncture is that it’s completely natural, so you don’t risk getting the same side effects as you could get from pharmaceuticals. Acupuncture works by restoring balance to your body. Here are some simple facts about how acupuncture can help you, as a busy working mum.

  • Acupuncture stimulates certain points in the channels which run through your body.
  • The qi, or energy, in your body needs to be able to flow freely through these channels without any problems; acupuncture helps facilitate this process.
  • The affects of acupuncture vary based on areas of in the body where it’s applied. 
  • There is evidence to suggest that acupuncture works in conjunction with the body’s own natural healing.

Why is acupuncture a good idea?

If you receive treatment from a licensed professional, acupuncture is a completely safe way of improving your health; it is also relaxing. Many people worry that having needles inserted into their body will be painful, but acupuncture needles cause just a slight prick at first, followed by a possible tight feeling. After this, treatment usually causes a feeling of great relaxation. 

Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other treatments to achieve the required effect. These treatments can include the warming of needles and pressure points by the burning of ai ye (mugwort), close by. 

One of the greatest benefits of acupuncture is that it can be used to treat a whole range of ailments, including:

  • Chronic pain in all areas of the body.
  • Different types of headache.
  • Women’s health issues.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Stress and anxiety.

If you’re a mom working at home then it’s possible you could be suffering from any of these problems. Dealing with work and your family requires a lot of energy and is a lot easier if you feel healthy. If you are not feeling as well as you should, then a trip to an acupuncture specialist could be just what you need. 

By Prerna Malik

So, you’ve taken the plunge and set up a blog.

Woohoo!

However, how are you going to make that blog stand out in the millions and zillions of blogs out there in the blogosphere?

How will you make readers return and refer your blog to their friends and family members?

How will you hold the attention span of a reader online who probably has a gazillion windows open and people around him asking questions as well?

Ooh and what about getting readers who do land on your blog to take action to either stay connected with you by signing up to your list or adding to your revenue by buying from you?

Yeah… I know… Sorry to be the party pooper at your “I-now-have-a- blog” party but someone’s gotta tell you that the setting up is actually the easy part. It’s the getting readers and engagement bit that needs you to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

On that note, here are 5 of my best and highly effective, known-to-work tips to amp up the power of your business blog:

  1. Have A Design to Delight

Yes, we live in a content-driven world where visual appeal rocks. Think, Pinterest and Instagram.

So, start by ensuring that your blog design reflects your branding but is clean and clutter-free. Get rid of any ugly badges that don’t tell a reader about you or what you do. Remove unnecessary widgets from the sidebar.

Tone down the colors and use a coordinated palette.

Design is key so unless, your superpower is web designing, I’d recommend getting your blog designed by a professional so that it looks awesome and invites readers to stop awhile and read what you have to say.

2. Stir Up A Sizzling Strategy

Design is important but really, content is what sets you apart.

Your blog, like your business itself, must have a strategy in place.

Create an editorial calendar {grab a free one here!} and draft a content strategy that ties in with your other online marketing efforts.

Create content that your readers are looking for and for that it is vital that you know your them inside out. What are their challenges, hopes, dreams, desires? Tailor your content around these themes and then, most importantly, remember point #3.

3. Stand Out by Being Awesomely Authentic

While it may be tempting to follow the A-listers and the influencers, remember that being fake will NEVER get you anywhere.

Readers, even online, can spot pretense a mile away and will never want to return to your blog.

Instead, learn from the pros but always, always be YOU.

Let your blogging voice reflect your vision, your ideals and values. Make your blog brilliant by letting your genuine desire to help your readers shine through in all your posts.

4. Create a Community

Right from day 1, treat your blog like a community.

A community of readers who’re eager to learn about you, what you do and how you’ll be helping them.

Respond to comments, engage in discussions, connect with readers on other social networking platforms.

Blogs often fall by the wayside because of a lack of engagement.

Bottomline: Readers don’t want to be talked at, they want to talk ‘with’ you.

5. Add Value to Your Readers’ Lives

Finally, and most importantly, the best way to make your blog really stand out from the crowd of blogs out there is by adding immense VALUE to your readers’ lives.

Each time you write a post or create your monthly content calendar, review your strategy and see if you’re helping to improve the lives of your readers.

Your blog must aim to make life easier, better, simpler, saner, happier, nicer for your readers. 

Prerna Malik is the gourmet content and community management chef at Content Bistro. Along with her team, she serves up sizzling hot social media, SEO and copywriting solutions to time-starved entrepreneurs. Dig into her FREE social media strategy guide to get a taste of what’s in store for you!