It was our great philosopher in a bowler hat, Boy George, who said it best when he sang: Time won’t give me time. It’s one of those hard truths working mothers (hell, all mothers!) know too well.
And for us WAHMs … listen. The juggle is real.
I recently wrote a “y’all, there’s a better way” post for Cool Mom Tech offering up eight simple, smart tips to help work-at-home parents up productivity and get more done in less time. I’m talking legit, actionable tips that you could start using this. very. minute. Many of these tips were things that I knew were effective, but that I somehow — in the breathless swirl of deadline-juggling, tightrope-walking and other circus dark arts — stopped doing. (For ex., feeding myself properly and on time; turning off notifications.)
But then there were some newer ideas that made perfect sense to me, and I incorporated imeejetly, like this super smart one I picked up from book marketing whiz Tim Grahl called the 80-20 Rule:
Carve out 90 minutes from your busy workday — or 20 percent of an eight-hour day — to devote it to the most important tasks on your work To-Do list. So even if you squander the other 80 percent of the day on the Twittuh or mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest, you can still bank on those 90 minutes to focus on your top goals or priorities and get something important done that makes you feel satisfied at the end of the day.
I mean, come on. Brilliance, right?
However, even with my new and improved plan to be all, “It’s handle,” with my writing and editing deadlines, I somehow still felt like I was working triage with my vampire-like To Do list. I was still waking up tired, moving through the day with this spilling-over plate and trying to be a present, focused mother to my 6-year-old son. tl;dr… it was all tew damn much — still!
I kept researching, looking for ways that I could feel like I had a better handle on the day/my life. Then I decided to go old school with this. I took out paper and pencil (not pen, because there will be erasin’) and literally mapped out a schedule for myself — when I would wake up, what time I’d go running, eat brekkie, shower, write undisturbed, read books, mess with social media, etc. I even plotted out when I would stretch (something that was falling to the wayside too often), and what time would be Lights-Out so I could grab at least 7.5 hours of sleep.
Uh, you’re not an android, Blades. I know, I know. Some might think this level of detailed scheduling is a tad extra. But it’s what I needed to get into a groove, plant the seeds for a habit. And, you know what? It’s working. I’m one week into my new schedule and I’m feeling rested, prepared and focused. Sure, I haven’t watched any of my shows on the telly, but that’s why Al Gore created DVRs, yes? The point is, I feel more in control of my time and how it’s spent.
I’m going to see if I can keep it going and really make this stick. Remember, Beyoncé did tell us all — back when she was writing forewords for vegan diet books — that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. (Oh, who needs authentic scientific support for this? It’s Bey, people! :-| )
Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist who writes about motherhood, identity and culture. Her second novel, THE THUNDER BENEATH US (Kensington), will be published November 2016.
This post was originally published on BlogHer.com
This month, man. What the hell? Where did it all go?
Here we are staring November — and basically the end of 2015 — right in the face. It kind of feels like the only salve for this whiplash we’re all experiencing from Earth’s rapid revolutions is a giveaway, right? Right.
In fact, let’s make it a double-deal, yes? Absolutely, yes!
Part 1: The beautifully restored 25th Anniversary edition of Edward Scissorhands Blu-ray. (Also: How is this moving 25 years old already??!)
Part 2: A slightly more modern coming-of-age story — Paper Towns, based on the YA novel by YA master John Green.
And to walk away with both of these Blu-ray sets all you have to do is tell me one thing (that’s not Thanksgiving) that you’re looking forward to in November. That’s it.
The randomly selected winner will be announced November 6!
“There’s a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.”– Malala Yousafzai
Back in the summer, I was invited to an advanced screening of the new documentary He Named Me Malala, about the 18-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The message in the film is strong: Use your voice. Speak out against injustice. Stand up for change.
And do it now.
I’ve long been fascinated by Malala’s extraordinary story and moved by her fight for girls’ education and empowerment around the world. So going into the film, I was prepared to be inspired. What I didn’t expect, though, was to find out how funny and charming Malala is! The documentary does an excellent job of going beyond her lofty platform and showing Malala as a person. A really sweet, sparkling, big-hearted young woman moving through a complicated world with focus and compassion.
After seeing the movie and talking with some of the good folks at the Malala Fund, I happily signed up to be an Ambassador for #HeNamedMeMalala.
It’s a movement I’m proud to be a part of, and I look forward to working with this group — long after the film has left theaters — to continue turning my compassion into action.
Here’s the official trailer:
The film opens this weekend in 400 theaters in the U.S., and I’m telling you, it’s a must-see. Take your kids*, especially. Let them see how one voice can roar and rattle that which is crooked, corrupt and unjust.
And to help parents start conversations with kids, the Malala Fund has put together a helpful Parent Discussion Guide.
(*Parents should note that the film is rated PG-13: There’s nothing graphic, per se, in the film, but there are definitely disturbing images and themes around about the violence.)
Three years ago today, a friend and I decided to start the #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge. The rules around it were simple: Write for at least 30 minutes without stopping to edit or second-guess. Just spill it out on the page. It could be for your blog, an essay, your novel — doesn’t matter. The point is: you write, consistently! And you do this every day for 30 days. (We use October 31st as a spare tire, in case you miss a day during the month).
I’ve continued the #30WriteNow challenge each year, sharing writing prompts every morning on Twitter, should you need a little help getting those story juices flowing.
Today’s prompt: VACANT.
All right, so who’s down to do this? Well, if you are, get to it. Write!
With fall officially here and freshness in the air, it feels like the right time for a giveaway, yes? (The correct answer is only ever yes.)
Have you been watching the new fall TV shows? I know. There’s so much damn television on these days, will we ever really feel caught up? Some of the shows are good, but there are plenty that are a lot less, uh, good.
One show that had a solid debut and came back strong for its second season this year is ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. The quick “what’s it about”…
Eddie Huang, a 12-year-old hip-hop head and jokester, moves with his family from D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando where his dad, Louis, tries to get rich or die tryin’ (shouts, Fiddy!) in the steakhouse biz. It’s set in the ’90s, which has baked-in jokes on its own, and the rest of the family — especially the mom, Jessica — bring the funny.
So … Fresh Off the Boat‘s Season 1 DVD is out and up for grabs right here!
All you have to do is share which TV shows you’re most hyped about seeing — either new or returning — with a quick line about why, and you’re in the running to win this free DVD box set, which includes a gag reel.
The winner will be announced October 15th!