January 9, 2019

2019 word for the year: essential

Filed under: Small Business,Time Management — lidia @ 9:00 am

2019 word for the year: essential

For the last 5 years, I’ve chosen a word for the year to set the tone and stay focused. Last year’s word was STREAMLINE. I wanted to streamline and simplify my life, so that I could be more productive and feel less rushed.

So, how did I do? I successfully streamlined my digital and social media marketing by focusing on the outlets that make the most impact for me (email, LinkedIn and Facebook) and using Buffer to schedule my posts. I also streamlined my time tracking and invoicing by using the Harvest app.

My word for 2019 is ESSENTIAL. After reading the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, I was inspired to examine my business processes and habits so that I can focus on what is most essential to reaching my goals. My creative brain likes to jump from task to task, so my hope is that this will help me stay focused and be more productive in my somewhat limited time.

I’ve kicked off this year putting essentialism into practice by doing a manual setup on my new phone, adding apps as I need them, rather than copying over all the clutter from my old phone.

As McKeown advises in his book, “Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.” Hear, hear.

January 4, 2017

2017 word for the year: priorities

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

word for the year_priorities

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the upcoming year. 2016’s word was REGROUP. In 2015, my second child arrived 7 weeks early (requiring a 3-week hospital stay) so my priorities understandably shifted to my new baby. Once I was back to work, I felt that I needed to regroup and focus on my business again. I also joined an accountability group and used my word regroup to guide my goals progress.

I like to choose a word that applies both to my personal and work life, so this year’s word is PRIORITIES. My creative brain tends to jump from project to project as inspiration strikes. Now that my work hours are dictated by my kids’ schedules, setting strict priorities and staying on task each day is crucial.

I also want to set my priorities at home, for example making after-school time more focused on my kiddos (my 15-month old literally cries when I open my laptop and try to finish up work!)

What is your word for 2017?

August 19, 2015

Winding down…

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Time Management — lidia @ 2:47 pm
chicago summer skies

Chicago summer skies…

Back-to-school photos are all over my Facebook feed (and probably yours too). Though I’m a bit out of the “back to school” loop (my little one is only 4 years old), I am starting to feel like things are “winding down” as summer nears to an end—and I start to plan and prepare for my upcoming maternity leave.

How am I winding down?

I’m wrapping up client projects, kicking off new projects (that will hopefully be completed by the time my leave starts in October!), doing last-minute prospect follow-up, and clearing the clutter in my office.

There is something about a new season—whether it’s back-to-school or fall—that creates the inspiration to wrap thing up and start fresh.

READ MORE: Are you a fellow expecting mom preparing for maternity leave? Read my tips for preparing your business for baby on the HOW Design Creative Freelancer Blog.

How are you winding down to prepare for a new season?

July 15, 2015

4 tips for being less productive

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Time Management — lidia @ 4:46 pm

4 tips for being less productive

I follow many small business blogs and they frequently share tips for productivity. But lately I’ve been thinking of ditching the spreadsheets, time maps and to-do lists, and trying to be less productive.

I read a great article by Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune about the “misspent summers” of our youth and how kids are overscheduled nowadays. I say adults are overscheduled too. We try to pack productivity into every minute of the day (the pressure’s especially on if you’re a working parent).

My son had summer break from daycare recently and while it was a bit hectic coordinating family work schedules, I thoroughly enjoyed a few unscheduled—and unproductive—days with him. It not only let me rest my work brain, but opened me up to new ideas.

For myself, switching out of work mode is hard—I need something to force me out of my routine. Since I was feeling too immersed in work lately, my son’s summer break—and the opportunity to unschedule myself—came at the perfect time.

4 tips for being less productive:

  1. Take a day off in the middle of the week (if you have kids, hit the playground with them!)
  2. Meet a friend for a leisurely coffee
  3. Take an afternoon yoga class
  4. Read a magazine or book (instead of a small business article)

So, how about you? Can you use some free, unscheduled time to let your creativity flow?


April 30, 2015

Z is for zzzzzzz…

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

Z is for zzzzzzz

The last word for my A to Z Challenge was actually my husband‘s idea. I thought it was perfectly appropriate for moms in business because “zzzzzzzs” are a common topic of conversation. Whether it’s our own lack of sleep (an early-rising child, late-night work) or our child’s sleeping habits (or lack thereof), we always seem to be talking about sleep.

What most working moms can usually agree upon is that we don’t put a high enough priority on sleep. I know I’m guilty of staying up late reading a book—and getting much-needed “me time”—when I should be sleeping. But sleep is what recharges your body and makes it easier to tackle the next day.

So, I’m officially declaring to shut off my iPad library app earlier each night (or better yet, start reading when the battery is low so my end time is imposed!)

How do you make sure you get enough zzzzzzzs each night?

And that’s a wrap on the A to Z Challenge!

Wow, one month of daily blogging wasn’t so hard after all. Thank you to A to Z Challenge community for presenting this opportunity to better my blogging skills. And thanks to my readers for following me on this journey and participating in the discussion.

Click here to catch up on the entire “A to Z of being a mom in business” blog series.

April 20, 2015

Q is for quickly

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

Q is for quickly

Why does it seem like time speeds up once become a mother? Not only do you notice it as your tiny baby grows into an active, chatty toddler. But all of the sudden, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your work done. (And don’t even get me reminiscing about pre-kids lazy, loungy weekends…)

Sometimes, I feel like my day is in hyper-drive, yet I still can’t manage to check everything off my to-do list. One thing I try to do each day is prioritize tasks, focusing on imminent deadlines first (I use sticky notes for this purpose).

I also spend some time each evening getting “in the moment” by reading from one of my meditation/reflection books (this one by Melody Beattie and this one by Ardath Rodale are current faves). If I can squeeze in a short yoga/breathing session, even better.

How do you slow down when you’re moving too quickly?

April 16, 2015

N is for no

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

N is for noN is for no

If there’s one thing toddlers are good at, it’s saying “no.” Business owners, not so much. I know I’m guilty of taking on too many responsibilities or overbooking myself. And as a mom in business, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you don’t have enough time for your child. If my 3-year old was presented with something he didn’t really want to do, he would simply say “no!” I’m going to start following his lead.

Is there something you should say “no” to today?

April 9, 2015

H is for habits

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

H is for habitsH is for habits

Or should I say, changing habits. Once you have a child, you quickly realize that everything in your life has changed. You can no longer follow the schedule you used to have—which means changing your habits in both work and home life. I will say this was an interesting adjustment for me as I was accustomed to putting a lot of hours into my business, along with a very free-flowing schedule. Now, I often work around daycare drop-offs/pickups and other obligations that don’t allow me to work late. But you know what, that’s a good thing…

How have you changed your work habits since kids came along?

April 7, 2015

F is for Friday

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

F is for FridayF is for Friday

Or should I say, “Friday Afternoon Marketing.” Years ago, I started a tradition of setting aside specific time on Fridays for marketing my business. After having a child and realizing my time had become more limited, “Friday Afternoon Marketing” evolved into “10-Minute Marketing” (follow along with that blog series here). But the concept is still the same: setting aside dedicated time to focus on marketing.

When do you set aside time to focus on marketing?

April 6, 2015

E is for energy

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 1:36 pm

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

E is for energyE is for energy

Energy can be a tricky thing for the mom in business—especially for moms of babies. It can be tough to keep your energy levels up when you are sleep-deprived or dealing with other parenting stresses. I find one of the keys to keeping energy levels somewhat stable is to keep a close eye on your schedule. Overbooking yourself is a sure way to kill your energy.  Sometimes, you just have to say “no” to events or projects that are not beneficial to your business.

What can you cut out of your schedule this week?

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