Life is busy. Period. Whatever phase of life you are in, life can feel busy and overwhelming. We partnered with Rebecca Teaff, owner of Redstart Creative, to find out what she does to stay on top of things!
Over the last ten years I have started two businesses, become a mom, gotten two dogs and become more involved in volunteer work.
All of these roles are amazingly fulfilling to me, but juggling them can be difficult.
Friends have asked, “How do you do it?” The answer is: “As best I can.” And to be honest, many days I don’t do it well.
There is none. There’s no magic trick or answer that will help you do it perfectly. However, what I can say is I’ve learned some things throughout the years that have helped set me up for success and helped me to live this amazing, sometimes messy life, “the best I can.”
Productivity Hacks for Busy Parents.
1.) Have a to do list
Things is an amazingly powerful To-Do List app for my iPhone and computer. I add tasks all the time when they come up and then when I plan my week, I can plan time to do them. That gift card for teacher appreciation week? Send in field trip money? I can add them all and get them done in time. The best part is to add items as you remember them and push them back to days when they might actually get done.
2.) Use an electronic calendar with sharing capabilities
There are many jokes circulating around about my color coded calendar but I stand firm on it because it works! Apple’s iCal is much more than a simple calendar.
- You can color code the type of events – work, family, school etc.
- You can schedule recurring meetings for weekly to dos like laundry, meal prep, etc.
- You can easily invite family members to events and include the location.
- The alerts are a great way to remind yourself of a scheduled event.
- I love using iCal to just block off non-meeting items that happen daily, like school drop off. This keeps me from overscheduling.
- The simplest form of meal planning is adding it to your iCal.
3.) Use ALL the functions of navigation apps, even in day to day travel
Almost everyone uses Waze (including my baby-boomer parents) but it’s still worth mentioning.
- You can link Waze to your iCal on your iPhone and Waze will automatically update if you would like to start driving to your destination based upon your calendar.
- Saving Favorites is essential. Baltimore is known for its traffic and I use Waze even if I know where I’m going. Many times it has alerted me to construction or traffic and re-routed me so I can make it on time.
- I have even started using Waze for quick local trips around Towson, MD. Redstart’s office is close to Towson University and traffic patterns can change based upon when classes get out.
4.) Eliminate decision making on simple things in your life – aka simplify
Decision fatigue has been a theme in entrepreneurial conversations recently. Everyday we make thousands of decisions. Establishing a routine or planning ahead can eliminate many of them.
Plan your meals ahead of time
This does not need to be complicated; make a note on your calendar each day for a week in advance. I use a Pinterest board with super easy recipes and grab a few a week to make and reheat. We also eat the same breakfast on weekdays and I have a fast system to get it done.
Have a few go-to outfits of clothing
AKA what is your “work uniform?” What is your “weekend uniform?” For me it is a blazer, top and jeans for work, and on the weekend it is a t-shirt and jeans.
Take a look at what you do everyday and take the decision making out of it.
5.) Automate whatever you can!
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you don’t have to do it all. When you can automate a process, do it! Scheduling posts on social media, setting up processes for client intake and contact forms: it all helps!
On a personal level, you can and should also automate any of your home shopping. Whether it’s dinner, wine, clothes or diapers, it can all be automated to come to your door with little to no effort. Here are some of my favorite companies that have made my life so much easier: Amazon Prime, The Honest Company, Club W, Stitch Fix, Peapod, Grove Collaborative and Galley Foods.
Rebecca Teaff is a creative entrepreneur, problem solver and dreamer. Rebecca is the owner and founder of Redstart Creative. Redstart Creative is a branding and digital marketing company building and supporting brands for women-owned small businesses and nonprofits in the educational, environmental and family support space.
Rebecca also has a virtual franchise of a whole food nutrition company and she loves helping to spread healthy living around the world.
Rebecca has a passion for helping change-makers that matches her passion for running a business. Over the past ten years Rebecca has been involved in multiple volunteer roles including – Marketing Chair for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Maryland Chapter and National Association of Women Business Owners – Baltimore Chapter, as well as receiving Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award in 2014 and 2018.
Natalie Mangrum is the founder and CEO of Maryland Teacher Tutors. She is a reading specialist with a bachelors in elementary education and masters in education. As a parent to two young adults, and prior teacher, Natalie knows all too well the benefits of one-on-one tutoring and coaching for students. Her mission is to ensure that every aspect of MTT is done in a spirit of excellence! She enjoys alleviating the concerns of parents so they can breathe easy knowing their children are in good hands!