Tag Archives: working mother

Six Ways to Reward Yourself as a Telecommuter this Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Reward and recognition are necessary to keep most of us motivated. When you work in an office, you can see and feel more of this from your peers and your management. When you work from home, this may be reduced.

I’ve learned to create rewards that are meaningful for me when I finish an important task, project, or presentation. I do need to continue to work on this, since I finish one task and move on to the next without a break sometimes.

Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:

  1. Lunch with a Friend:This one is always on the top of my list, because I get to connect with other adults face-to-face. By catching up with a friend, I can get updates on the community, like what to expect when school starts, which teachers are coming back, etc. I learn a lot about community happenings during these lunches.
  2. Movies:This is my favorite “alone time” activity. I enjoy going to the movies alone and immersing myself in something that makes me laugh or feel good. Going with others adds pressure to have a conversation, and sometimes you just want to keep to yourself.
  3. Window Shopping:I shop online due to convenience, but I also enjoy going to local stores. That way, I learn what the fashion trends are and what not to wear. If you work from home, dressing up is not a priority, so going out to shop helps me to keep up.
  4. Walk with a Friend:I like one-on-one conversations better than multiway interactions, so I plan to meet with a friend for a walk to talk. This may seem simple, but if you work 9-5 from home, getting out of the house for any reason is a huge accomplishment!
  5. Hiking or Rock Climbing: I go to the local community center and rock climb. It helps me stay fit and gives me great pleasure—which is a reward for me!
  6. Bath:A bath sounds so basic, but for a working mother, taking a quiet bath is huge! Taking a 20-minute bath without being called to fix something or hearing something breaking in the background is better than a trip to the Caribbean for me!

Most of the time, I plan these events in advance. Just having that anticipation encourages me to finish my task on time and keeps me excited.

Share your ideas about rewarding yourself by sending a note to info@telecommuterstalk.com.

Be a Mindful Telecommuter This Year

The definition of mindfulness: 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; for example, 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

We need to be mindful in every aspect of our lives. Based on research done by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness is good for our overall health. When working remotely, it is easy to get distracted by personal phone calls or the laundry, etc. To overcome such interruptions, here are some suggestions for being as mindful as you can be:

Focus on one thing at a time: When you are on a teleconference, just be on the call. Do not check e-mail or surf the web simultaneously. Staying focused is hard, but if you step away, you don’t have anything to distract you. Have a designated area or a chair where you can go while you are on the call. Close your eyes, if it helps you to stay focused.

Plan your day: Don’t jump right into e-mails or social media. Instead, take at least 20-30 minutes to plan your day and set your priorities. Pick 2-3 big items you need to address that day, and add them to your calendar. I have this time for planning set on my calendar every day, and it works well for me.

Use your calendar: If you need to work on a presentation or document, put it on your calendar so that your teammates and manager know that you are busy and will not respond to e-mails right away. Close your e-mail and chat applications while you work on the document. I usually create a better document when I spend dedicated time on a task.

Take breaks: I’m still working on this one myself! Either set up an appointment on your calendar or an alarm on your phone for a break, and take it when the time arrives. Take it for you, and not to start laundry or clean. Do what relaxes you—read a book in 15 minutes, enjoy an article, go for a short walk, or call a friend for 10 minutes.

Breathe: Do this especially if you are working on a timeline or dealing with a difficult co-worker. Put things in perspective and move on. I know this is easier said than done, but practice makes perfect. Breathing does reduce stress and helps you calm down. Here is a one-minute exercise that can help.

Exercise: This used to be last on my list, but now it is one of the first things I do. It gets me going, and this jump-start helps me to keep moving and working for the rest of the day. Direct sunlight and fresh air are invigorating, and you will carry that energy with you all day.

Shutdown: This includes your computers, cell phones, and any similar devices after your work hours. I have my work phone set to turn off at 6 pm. Unplugging helps me stay focused on after-work activities and obligations.

A great resource I use to stay mindful is https://www.mindful.org.
A great article about ways to be mindful from Happify

Do you have any recommendations for books or websites on mindfulness?

How I Am Staying Organized This School Year As a Telecommuting Mother

At the beginning of the school year, I wrote about the challenge of keeping things organized during the school year and as promised here is an update to that article on what we are doing to keep us ahead of the clutter this year. This is where we are three months into school:

Clean monthly: We have started taking the time to organize all the papers, especially tests. All tests, assignments, and quizzes go into a folder. Each folder has a separator per subject. When it is time to study for a test, we bring out the folder and spend time studying instead of looking for the papers. Huge win!

Get the right organizing tools: I bought all the supplies I needed when we went school shopping. The advantage of buying in bulk and having everything ready before school was in full swing has helped me in the long run.

Scan and store: I have been able to file away a lot of pictures and artwork, but this will need a few more months. I did find a useful app to store memories called Keepy, and am planning on using it soon.

Schedule It: Having this on our list has also helped us—it is a reminder, and soon it will become a habit!

Reduce Paper: I address announcements papers ASAP when they get home from school and sports activities. Read it, schedule it, and trash it. Go digital when possible which is a great way to go paperless.

If you have any suggestions, please send them my way: info@telecommuterstalk.com

5 Ways to Stay Organized This School Year As A Telecommuting Mother

I usually write about challenges while working remotely and share tips on remote work. Today I want to talk about the challenges of keeping the house organized with all the paper you get from school. I spend six hours cleaning just two rooms in the house, and it had a years’ worth of school paperwork—which amounted to ten bags of trash and a few dead trees. I know I could have been more organized and kept things in order during the school year but like most working mothers I was busy working, doing pick-up, drop off and after school activities, etc.

I spend six hours cleaning just two rooms in the house, and it had a years’ worth of school paperwork—which amounted to ten bags of trash and a few dead trees. I know I could have been more organized and kept things in order during the school year but like most working mothers I was busy working, doing pick-up, drop off and after school activities, etc.

Spending six hours for a whole year is not too bad but am I teaching the kids to stay more organized and keep the clutter under control? Maybe not. So here are a few things I am planning to do differently next school year:

  1. Clean monthly: I started with clean weekly, but it is not realistic for my family so decided on once a month. We have a set schedule when we do homework on the weekends and right after homework we will spend an hour getting things organized.
  2. Get the right organizing tools: I am planning on having a binder for each child with a separator for each subject. At the end of the month or week, they will place all the work into the binder. Keeping binders will help us keep track of what they need to study for the next test, and once the school year is complete, we could just take the binder and trash the papers instead of dealing with piles and piles of paper after the year ended.
  3. Scan and store: When I have downtime I will scan awards etc. and store them electronically—save space and the memories. For artwork, I like to keep the real thing, so I plan on getting a laminator and putting the work into a binder. There are some cool apps that will help with saving memories like Keepy.
  4. Schedule it: We will add this to our monthly chore list and keep track. Adding the task to our list will help the kids to stay organized and in control of all the paperwork.
  5. Opt out: I don’t think our schools have this option yet, but I would like to opt out of receiving all communication via paper and just use e-mail for all notifications. I will save a lot of time and the environment.

I will keep you posted on how we are doing. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way: info@telecommuterstalk.com