Make Your Mornings a Little Less Crazy by Creating a Routine

Do you ever feel as though you’re always rushing to get the kids ready and out the door to school or a doctor’s appointment on time? I know I have and still do! I like to give myself as much time as possible before I need to be anywhere. Sometimes it’s a whole two hours just because I know something will come up.

Before creating a routine, I needed to understand the timing of everything that needs to get done so that I get my son to school on time. There’s always something they forgot, usually it’s my daughter that takes the longest. So I needed to plan accordingly.

First, write down every task or activity that you need to get done before heading out the door. Grab a notebook paper and draw a timeline that starts with when you need to get up on one end and on the other when you need to leave. Use 15 minute time increments and list all the activities that need to be accomplished. Things such as changing clothes or brushing teeth. I was inspired to do this timeline by Sharon Rowley of Mom of 6, you can read the exact post here that helped me:  https://www.momof6.com/mom-organization/how-to-organize-your-life-how-to-create-a-morning-routine/ .

I get up usually at 545 am so that I am able to allow myself  20 minutes of “Mom Time” to enjoy my coffee and breakfast. I’m also able to check a few emails before I start. Then my mornings begin at 610 am with getting my husbands’ work clothes and lunch ready. But as with life, sometimes the morning routine doesn’t always go as planned. I tried to prep things the night before but because my current day I job is from 3pm-11pm, I felt too tired and just wanted to relax a little before bed. So that routine idea was out the window!

Still, I needed to create a morning routine that would help ease my crazy mornings, I’ve come up with a few tips to help not only myself but all other moms out there!

  1. Eliminate or Limit Tasks That Take a Lot of Time in the Morning: Try to be proactive and take care of tasks that are time-consuming the night before or pick a day such as Sunday to do them. I’ve chosen Sunday as my day to prep my kids’ clothes for the week ahead. They’re all in one spot on a shelf in their closet and all we do is grab and go! When I first wake up, I get my husband clothes ironed and then focus on his lunch for the day. Once he’s set, I get the kids their breakfast and they’ll watch their cartoons while eating. I’ll grab a bite and my coffee in between.
  2. Use Lists to Your Advantage: Write out a list of things that you need on a daily basis, keep it in the bag you will be using or placed in a spot you will be able to see it such as a cork board or refrigerator. I keep a spiral notebook with me at all times, so that if I have an idea or a thought I want to remember I can quickly write it down before I forget.
  3. Leave Yourself Reminders and a Mental Checklist in Obvious Places: Leave yourself reminder notes on the fridge or cork board to give yourself a quick reminder of what you need for the day and tasks that have been or still need to be completed. Also, keep a mental checklist to make sure you have everything before heading out the door. I like to also have a dry erase board or cork board to write notes or post up sticky notes as well. 
  4. Allow Extra Time for Unexpected Events: Getting kids out the door on time can be a challenge on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes just to get them to brush their teeth in the morning. I always like to get ready at least a half hour before we need to be anywhere so that we’re not rushing. Such as when my son has karate, I get his gear prepped 20 minutes before he has to be at the dojo. If we had a dentist appointment I’ll get our stuff ready 20 minutes prior and we head out the door 45 minutes before the appointment. It’s at least a 2o minute drive from where we live to the dentist. It’s always better to leave yourself extra time to get everyone going and getting things ready so that you’re not rushing. What’s the worse that can happen except being a few minutes early!

I usually get about 5 to maybe 6 hours a night of sleep, I know I have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep so that I am able to work from home on a full-time basis.  No matter what time of schedule you come up with, keep in mind that things may not always go according to plan. I try to give myself extra time to get the kids ready if we plan on going anywhere, even a whole 2 hours if I have to. My husband probably thinks I’m a little crazy for allowing so much time but I just know that getting a 7 and 3-year-old ready can be a slow moving process.

A routine can make such a difference in your day and when I stick to it, I notice it too. If I’m not being too lazy that is!

Do you have a morning routine that you have found works for you? Please feel to share!

 

Why I Love Trello and How It’s Helping Me To Get Organized!

 

Life can be a bit crazy, especially when you still have a day job, family and at the same time working on your side hustle. It can be a bit overwhelming and tasks may often be forgotten.  For me, I need to write things down as soon as I think about it or I will forget. I’m also a visual person and I like to see at a glance what tasks need to be done. Just like the saying goes “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” rings true for me.

Recently, I converted from my Daytime Planner to a Composition Book that I customize and tweak as I need to. In addition to that, I like to organize my tasks and appointments online as well. I use Google Calendars but in addition to that, I began to use Trello. Trello is an online tool that helps to organize your projects into boards. It tells you what’s being worked on and who’s working on it and also the stage the project is at.

One of the things I like about Trello is that its sort of an online notepad. I can draft a schedule and easily move tasks around as I need to. At first, I didn’t quite understand Trello so I searched on the web for more information and also took a training in The Savvy Tech Lab. Both have helped me to understand how to use Trello more.

Enter Trello

Trello is a task management software that uses the Kanban System to help you organize projects that you are working on. Kanban is a productivity system developed by Toyota to keep productions levels high, it actually means billboard or signboard.  Trello is well known for its sticky note type filled whiteboard.

Each individual sticky note is a representation of different tasks within a project such as your daily or weekly task list. I am able to see all inner “guts” of any project I’m currently working on in one place or page. It’s also possible to have multiple pages if necessary, such as in my case.

It’s flexible so that you’re able to easily organize projects or to do lists, it’s even easy to share with others. You make a board and add your lists to the board, add cards to the lists that contain the actual to do item. Each card can have members, due dates, attached files, as well as checklists.

I like to make lists of things I need to or hope to accomplish in a day or week. I would normally write things down in my notebook or planner of a task or a reminder to myself.  With Trello, I have my personal section where I have started doing a Daily To Do List. Everything that I can think of that needs to get done will go in the To Do List. Next, I have a card for tasks that take 10 minutes or less, 30 minutes or less, 1 hour or less, and lastly a card for tasks that will take more than an hour to complete.

I can drag items from the Daily To Do List to the card where I think it will fit best in. If I feel a task will take only 10 minutes to complete, that’s where I will drag and drop it. If I have 30 minutes to spare I can quickly look at what’s on my cards and complete that task.

I like to keep everything in one place if possible, it can get frustrating to look in different places for things that need to be done. Because I have my freelance hustle and a full-time job I am still in need of using separate google calendars but I can track tasks for both in Trello.

It’s still a work in progress but for the time being, it seems to be working, with planners costing up to $75 or more this free task management system could completely replace them. Only time will tell.

How about we all get organized together!

 

 

How To Remain Positive When Life is Throwing You An Armful of Curveballs

Recently, my family and I have been going through a rough patch. I let our electric bill slide and now it’s putting us at risk of being evicted. For the first two days, I was really depressed and had a difficult time getting myself to get up. I just wanted to sleep and I was shutting down mentally.

What really brought me out of my funk was my son Tanis, and a conversation I had with a dear friend. Tanis was patient and kind because he knew even at a young age that his mom needed him. I have to say I have an awesome kid! Soon after I met up with a friend briefly who was going through a few things herself. It was so nice just to talk and be in the company of a wonderful person. She made me realize that I need to get my head out from my behind and do what the heck I need to do.

You Can’t Hide From Yourself

As a mom, you can’t hide from yourself because you have a family to think about. They need you as much as you need them. I’ve also been writing emails to myself anytime I feel down and it’s been helping to get things out. I’ve come to understand that I’m the one constant presence in my life and the importance of being in charge of me. One way to do that is to notice how I react emotionally when my thoughts begin to generate and how my emotions show up in my body when I do. For instance, does my emotions show up in an erect posture position, do I have a smile on my face or a clenched jaw.

What You Can Do to Think Positively

When I’m feeling good, I’m focusing on those positive thoughts and trying to keep the negative ones away. It’s hard sometimes and when it is I send an email out or even say a prayer. I’m not a religious person but I find that saying a prayer helps me to feel positive and another way to release all that bad energy.

It makes it hard to focus when I’m feeling negative and thinking a new thought helps me to think clearly and perform tasks. I repeat a positive mantra such as “It will be ok”  or “ I can do it” over and over until the thought has passed. I may say another mantra depending on what my mind is saying to me.

Our thoughts and the things we say can have all that we need to turn a bad mood into a good mood, change how we’re feeling and thinking. Just like anything else it takes time and training to make any sort of change. I know sometimes I still fail but I have this desire to keep myself thinking positive and to push forward.

If you let negative thoughts to overpower your mind you will be stuck right where you are. I didn’t believe in positive thinking and how it could change my mood. I was feeling very angry, bitter and just unhappy. It stemmed a lot from our current situation but I realize that I’ve closed myself off mentally from positive thoughts and just being open. I am in charge of myself and will only take good feelings with me.

I’m Back! Or Just Getting A Real Start!

 

It’s Nice to Be Back!

Over the last few months, I’ve been really trying to get a move on or actually a real start to working on my blog. There are so many blog posts, YouTube Videos, Facebook groups, you name it that gives you so much information on getting started. I knew from a long time ago that I wanted to work from home, especially after being fired back in March. Something that I did not see coming but sort of expected it. That’s another story for another time.

I’ve also done a little more dabbling as a Virtual Assistant and writing Blog Posts for clients. Recently, I completed a training on Pinterest Management and working on another training involving work as a Pinterest VA Manager. I am really enjoying Pinterest and once I get a full grasp on it I will be able to do it in my sleep. This is just one avenue that I can add to my services as a virtual assistant.

Cat K Wilson will be a place where I will share tips on things that I learned regarding mom stuff, parenting, work at home and anything else that is interesting and has helped me in some way. Hopefully, what I learned with help other moms out there who may have been just as clueless as I have and still am! Learning and training are wonderful but at some point, you need to just do. Part of my issue has been my mindset and confidence, I know I can do it but then there’s that little voice that tells me it’s scary and you’re not ready yet. I’ve found some really great motivational sites such as Lewis Howes and a wonderful local Maui girl with an inspiration site that has really resonated with me.

It’s Time to Hustle! Hustle!

 

 

 

Ever Considered Working as Personal Concierge?

So many of us moms are looking to either pursue a career from home or to just to add to the household financially while still carrying on their daily mom duties.  Just like the age-old question of what came first the chicken or the egg, we find ourselves asking but what kind of business should I start?

You may want to consider a career as a personal concierge or a personal assistant. You are able to work from home while helping those who have so much to do but not enough time for completing a task. There are people out there willing to pay someone good money to get things done.

You don’t need to have any special skills, training or a large start up capital but you will need to maintain a professional and organized demeanor.

As a personal concierge, you will assist busy people with tasks such as:

  • Booking airline travel
  • Bookkeeping
  • Confirming and arranging appointments
  • Running errands, mailing out parcels, waiting in line
  • Picking out and purchasing gifts
  • Party Planning
  • Meal Prep
  • Walking the dog
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Managing Repairs
  • House sitting
  • Dropping off and then picking up items from the dry cleaner

But How Do You Get Started?

  1. Have a Business Plan: You don’t need a formal business plan as it is highly unlikely that you will be taking out a loan to get your business started. You’ll want to include in your plan things such as the services you will offer, what you will be charging and how you will accept payment, marketing, bookkeeping and financial needs of the business.
  2. Structure of Your Business: As a personal concierge you’ll most likely be working by yourself, so you will probably choose self-proprietor as your business structure. But should you choose to take on a partner, be sure to provide yourself with extra legal protection such as filing for a Partnership, Limited Liability Corporation or as a S Corporation. Each structure has it’s own pros and cons, an attorney or accountant can help you determine which is the best for your needs.
  3. Registering Your Business: If you decide to use another name other than your own, you will need to apply for a DBA (Doing Business As). Before registering you will want to research and make sure that name is not already being used.
  4. Financial: Open a separate account from your personal one and be sure to track all business sales and expenses. You will want to determine how you will be accepting payments and what accounting software to use. A lot of small businesses use Paypal to accept credit cards, it widely known and accepted. You can keep tracking of your business accounting by using software or online programs such as Freshbooks, Wave or GoDaddy Bookkeeping.
  5.  Website: WordPress is used by many bloggers and freelancers as their online presence. You can set up WordPress through a hosting site such as BlueHost.
  6. Business Communications: Aside from having a separate bank account from your personal, you may want to consider a separate phone number and email for your new concierge venture.
  7. Marketing Your Business: You can set up profiles for your business on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote yourself. You can also use Buffer to set up postings to go out at certain times and days. Have business cards and flyers to promote your business, family and friends can also be a big help. Take a little time everyday to promote.

Valentine Gift Idea for my son’s class

Ok so I know Valentine’s Day was last weekend but I wanted to post the treats my son shared with his class. He handed them all out on his own since myself and my husband were unable to be there. I was so bummed I had to work but proud that he was a big boy!

I love trying to be fun and creative in coming up with ideas whenever my son has a class party or friends birthday. I find it fun and I simply enjoy it. I originally planned to use the idea of bubble blowers and lollipops that I saw in a pin on Pinterest called “You Blow Me Away by Sheena of “Little LDS Ideas”. A few days prior I picked up lollipop treats to give to his classmates and I found that it was lacking something. I wanted to add more to it.

tropical-bubble-bottles~34_1916                     lifesaver lollipop

 

I decided to do my own version of what Sheena had created, it was just what I was looking for. Since I already had the lollipops, all I needed were the bubble blowers and some kind of bag to put them in. I thought maybe Ziploc bags would work, simple and affordable. I went to Target because I was hoping they would have what I needed, and I didn’t really want to go to Walmart too. I wasn’t able to find everything I needed for the Bubble Valentine treat bag, so I  had to come up with a different game plan. With the foundation laid in place I was able to quickly come up with an alternative treat bag.

I found cheap treat bags,  little m&m bags, stickers for boys and girls, pencils…score! It was cute, simple and best of affordable. I spent at least $25 total on the goodie bags, not bad I would say and I got to help my son with something fun to give his classmates…..take a look at the final product!

tw vday class gift

It was also quick and fun to do, my daughter kept trying to eat the m&ms so I had to move fast! In the end my son was able to hand out something to his friends.

 

 

 

Let’s Get Organized! 5 Tips to a more organized you

Lifes more fun when you're organized

 

 

Who doesn’t feel the need to bring a little bit of organization to their life of perhaps disorganization. As I begin this journey to becoming a freelance writer, I feel the urge to be more organized. Besides, I think it will help me from going insane! I tend to write notes in random places and toss items in the nearest spot.  Things don’t really have a home and have a habit of just ending up somewhere.

Keep thing simple!

Don’t overthink and make the process more complicated, find a system that works and keep it simple!

Choosing your task or to do list

First start by choosing an easy to use task list or to do list that you can work with. Whether it’s an app that can sync with your phone or a simple sheet of paper, choose a method that works for you and stick with it. I like to be able to have access to my list, whether it’s home or while I’m out and about. I have a Tasks N To Do List app on my phone which also syncs with my google calendar, here I can add any task and check them off as I go. The app allows me to keep up with my schedules as well as my family’s, since I’m the coordinator for us all. I also use a sheet of paper that is split into 3 main sections: Today (must be done today!), Notes and a To Do Sections (a place to write things that must be done but not necessarily right away). In my Today section I have that split into 3 smaller sections: Me (things for me personally), CatKWilson (my blog), and Kids (especially since my oldest is now in Kindergarten). I carry this list with me everywhere I go so that I can add to it at any time. At home I have a dry erase calendar to write important notes or events, each family member has their own color marker. I thought of having a board where I use post it notes to write our tasks but it felt like a little too much and I’m trying to keep it organized and simple.

A White Binder

I’ve decided to use a two white binders, one as my personal and one as our family command central binder. In my binder I have sections for my daily, weekly and monthly tasks that need to be completed. I also have a section to write any notes or reminders that I need to know or remember later.  I have a simple calendar that I use so that I can say the days and months of the year to help with future  planning, this information gets transferred to my wall calendar. At first I was going to have just one binder but I needed a take with me binder where I can put my daily tasks.  It seems crazy to have to but in my weird mind it works! I also keep it clutter free of any unnecessary paper so that it says light weight and I can easily carry it along. Our family binder holds important papers for each of us, contacts, household chores.

A Place for everything

Spend at least 15 minutes everyday putting away items or papers in their appropriate homes, even if it’s just sorting the day’s laundry. Keep your things in their correct homes will help keep your life organized. Make your storage spaces easily accessible for the items that you will need constant access to and labeled these spaces accordingly. Start by choosing one particular area of your home and organize it. Group together items that are loose or scattered throughout your home, find or make a home for these items.  For instance, keep homework materials such as pencils or erasers together in a pencil box or drawer. Items that are rarely used can be stored out of sight but close by.

Write Everything Down

Here’s also where my white binder comes in handy, in my notes section I can write down any important notes that I will need for later. I find it’s always helpful to have a notes section in one place. In the past I’d write notes on post its and stick them in random places in my calendar. Don’t make life more crazy by trying to remember everything in your head, make it easier by writing down even the smallest task.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/36521962026@N01/92240723″>Life’s More Fun When You’re Organized</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Beginning the Journey…

FINDING WHERE I NEED TO BE….

Aloha and welcome to My Journey to Paradise!  My name is Cat, I’m a thirty-something wife and mother living on the beautiful of Maui, Hawaii!

The beginning….

I’m constantly multi-tasking with mommy and wife duties, work and just life in general, so much that when I’m not so crazy busy I feel a little lost!  I’ve always dreamed of being able to work from home and be free of the typical day job.  Within the last two years I faced almost being laid off twice, the first time I was pregnant with my daughter and feeling stressed with the unknown.  Then not a year later the same thing happened again but thankfully I was once again able to transfer to a different location within the company.  But that unknown as like a trigger switch to get on the ball about securing my future on my own.  Things never really got off the ground due to my own procrastination and just really not knowing where to start.  With my oldest entering kindergarten in the fall and my little girl growing up fast, it really started to hit me that I wanted to be present in their daily lives and not watch them grow up from afar.  For my last job, I lived over 20 miles away and would have to leave almost two hours before my shift so that I wouldn’t run into traffic delays.  One day my son told me “mommy don’t go to work, stay with me”, that about broke my heart. I decided I needed to make a change and the first thing I did was accept a job that was closer to home, I didn’t want to work for another employer but at the time it was the best decision I could have made for my family.  

Making Changes…

In addition to changing job location, I decided I needed to figure out a way to secure our lives financially and not to rely solely on a job. I’ve gone through many different networking marketing ideas, business ideas, work at home ideas and the best one that seemed to fit was becoming a freelance writer.  I needed something where I could do as a side hustle and wouldn’t required getting a second job. I realize that even being a freelance writer would require sacrifices I felt it was one I could still be there for my kids.

One of the hardest things for me in deciding to become a freelance writer was settling on one niche and discovering what I was most passionate about.  I have an interest in many different things so it’s taking me time to figure out what it is.  I’m still learning and growing to find that niche and I want to share this with everyone.  I didn’t want that to be the reason I didn’t get started.  Not doing anything wouldn’t get me anywhere.  Writing this post I already feel confident that I will get to where I need to be.  I’ve decided to try Gina Horkey’s  30 Days or Less To Freelance Writing Success  to put me on the right path.  

IN CONCLUSION…

This blog will serve as my platform as I share my journey to strive to create a better future or my paradise through freelance writing with tips and techniques that I learn along the way with others.  Having a great job and career is a wonderful thing but not something that you can soley depend on these days.  

I’m concerned that I have no idea what I’m doing and that it’ll be an epic fail but I would rather try and fail than not try at all.  If I want things to change I need to make changes and have the strength to make it happen.  I haven’t quite figured out what my niche is but through this blog and journey I will discover what my purpose is.  It may be a confused mess but through hard work it will all make sense.