Prioritizing My Work Schedule

Working Mom: Prioritizing My Work Schedule | PepperDesignBlog.com

I wanted to share a follow up to my post on productivity because it would be easy to say that focusing on time management alone makes for an easy day… but most of you mommas know that when you’re balancing all that’s on your plate, even the the most productive gene in us does not beat out fatigue, a drag in creativity and even all of the great/annoying daily distractions that we encounter.

This is where focusing on prioritizing my work schedule has helped me in a big way.

I know (after years of getting used to the rhythm of my own work ethic and patterns), that there are certain times of the day where I am ON and when I am OFF (or getting there…). If I take a step back and prioritize my list – saving the good juice for when I really need it – then my days feel so much more energizing, happy and, I guess I’ll say it, productive. :)

7-9am: Mornings are my special time so I really try to not mess with the 7-9am hours. Work will never get done in those hours unless it is an absolute must.

9am-2pm: This is my power time! I can get so much done in this block of time that it’s crazy. This is when I must have child care, this is when I must have chill time in my little home office, this is when I must block the world out. This is when I focus on big projects, when I schedule conference calls, when I put my brain into overdrive. I prioritize this time, too – it has it’s own set of lists.

2-3pm: This is right about the time in the day that I need a pick-me-up. A cup of coffee, a quick park date with the girls, or even stopping everything for 30 minutes to make a smoothie and chat with my little ladies. Liv is done with preschool most days at 2 so it’s a natural stopping point in our day. Most of the time our morning sitter heads home at 2 or 2:30 and an afternoon second sitter (or even a mother’s helper) comes by again at 3. I sometimes like to prep dinner during this hour (I’m working on this one – I think if I can start to build this into my late lunch break I’ll make myself SO much happier come 6pm). All in all, a break in my day for kid-time is rejuvenating.

3-6pm: I know that this is my ‘coming down from the mountain’ time. I’m a little bit more tired, a little bit slower, my creativity juice is draining fast. If there’s a bag of chocolate somewhere in my home I’m in trouble (it’s 2:45 and I’m eating a reese’s peanut butter cup right now). If I line up my day correctly, this time of the day is filled with updating expense reports, invoices, checking and responding to less immediate email. I might start a blog post or edit a handful of images. I don’t schedule conference calls (unless they are overseas) during this time so it’s okay if the kids are noisy in the background.

6pm: Afternoon sitter heads home. When day light savings time is in full effect I LOVE to get out of the house (this is when living in a walkable neighborhood becomes a win-win) if I didn’t earlier at lunch for an hour for everyone to burn off some steam. Especially if I really did prep dinner at 2 or chose a crockpot meal that morning.

7-9pm: I put a show on for the girls and finish up dinner. Kevin gets home around 7:30 and we aim to eat right away. You can sum this chunk of time up as feeding and putting children to bed time :). Okay, family time. We prep, cook, eat, clean up after a meal – we discuss our day, pray for everyone in the universe five times, have mid-bite dance parties when the mood strikes (L & T, that is.) Dessert is threatened and everyone hops back into their chairs to finish their meal. PJs, teeth brushing, story time and cajoling children to their bedroom for lights out.

9-11pm: Remember when I used to be a late nighter? I used to get back to work after the kiddies went to bed but I am trying REALLY hard to not do that as of late. I might flip open the computer but it’s for light hearted stuff like blog reading and email answering. I’m even making it to bed most nights before midnight because I honestly, can’t-for-the-life-of-me keep my eyes open past 12pm. I think I need to have my thyroids checked, it’s killing my production capacity ;).

This started as an exercise on measuring my energy levels at different times of the day but quickly turned into more of A Typical Day post. :) Heyyyy brain dump…

But! What I mean to share is that I think all of us have those definitive ON and OFF moments. With this self-awareness we can (and should) give ourselves a break when our patience is running low and likewise we can push ourselves into overdrive when we’re feeling on top of the world. By grouping appropriate activities in appropriate time chunks, we are giving ourselves a better chance at making it successfully through the day with that calm assuredness that our balancing act is indeed possible and totally worth it. We are super women after all, right? (yes, yes we are.)

And because, after all, there are plenty of big priorities outside of work that need our full attention (and energy), too.

Liv Dancing | PepperDesignBlog.com

PS more thoughts from a working mom, including a note on what it means to feel balanced and what I think a full-time working/full-time mom schedule might look like.

Everyday Stuff.

March and April have been busy months for us. Easter brought with it egg hunts galore plus the baptism of little Marlowe.

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

And who doesn’t need a custom ice sculpture (which very quickly became a bloody mary bar that you wouldn’t believe) to celebrate their big morning?

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv is playing soccer on Saturdays (I still can’t believe it – that’s quintessential older kid mom status, I no longer have just babies!).

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

And we’ve already begun Mother’s Day gifts (that were spurred on randomly by some scavenger hunting – can you guess?).

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Marley went to her first baseball game (go Padres!):

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

And it still just about the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

My little dramatist doesn’t ever fail me with her intrigue.

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff | March & April 2015 | PepperDesignBlog.com

This one will for sure be our firecracker.

How is your week going? Hope that you enjoy a beautiful weekend wherever you are and with whatever your plans are!

PS more of the everyday.

Master Bath/Bedroom: Week 8

I wanted to share an update on our master bathroom renovation with you today. Guys, I know I say it every week, but this space is coming together in an amazing way. We had a few roadblocks in the month of March (mostly time issues) but we are back on track in April thanks to a friend and a brand new burst of motivation to finish by the middle of May. May is just around the corner, and watching this space evolve every day (and knowing what we’ve planned for it) is just awesome. I’ve never been so thrilled to see a space transform in such a drastic way. I hope that you will love what I envision!

Week 1:

Master Bath/Bedroom Demo Day 1 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Week 2:

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Week 7:

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 7 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Week 8:

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 8 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Sorry for the slightly awkward skewing that’s going on in these panoramics, but hopefully it helps to paint a picture of what is happening in more detail.

Timing-wise, Kevin was able to take the month of February off from his job in architecture to demo the room and rough in many of the behind-the-wall functional necessities in a bathroom (plumbing, insulation, etc). He worked hard – as in (almost) 30 days straight, 10/hours a day hard. When March arrived he was back at his day job and was only able to dedicate his weekends to the project. We accomplished a lot in April but now suddenly everything felt as if it were coming to a halt (burn out + time constraints), we were wondering if we had better get ready for a looong remodel process.

With perfect timing though, a close friend of ours (who also happens to be a contractor) became available for a month between projects and we counted our lucky stars. Hey, David!

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 8 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Now Kevin contributes his time on the weekends, and David takes over during the week. It means that the budget for our bathroom project has gone up, but given the option between a 3 month renovation and a 9 month renovation, I’d say the spent savings will be well worth it.

Significant changes during week 8 of the bathroom/bedroom craziness include sealing up the window wall with Hardibacker (check out that handsome new window!). Hardibacker is cement tile board and is a bit like drywall but it’s built to sustain moisture and you can bond tile right to it.  This wall will become part shower wall and part bathtub wall, so moisture indeed.

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 8 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our new french doors are in (we went with Andersen because this exterior wall is also shared by our kitchen with Andersen sliding doors), the pine will eventually be painted a bright white:

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 8 | PepperDesignBlog.com

We debated for a long while whether or not to add french doors here and finally Kev agreed that access to the outside would make this space feel much larger. I really think that it will (and the bedroom half of this room is really very tiny).

Other updates: most of the bedroom walls have been finished with a coat of plaster. After drywall has been hung, plaster helps to hide the joints between sheets of drywall on the wall so that they disappear and you’re left with a smooth finish. We have an expert plaster friend/sub who has been helping out with this portion of the project as well, it can be tricky and time consuming! Shawn is meticulous and quite the perfectionist – just what I love.

The last and final major update is that the subfloor for the bathroom is in – you can see it in almost all of the pictures above and it’s just waiting for that radiant heating system (that I mentioned here) and tile!

Week 9 should bring a lot of excellent updates to share, stay tuned.

PS if you want to start from the beginning of this remodel project, head over here. A quick jump to the inspiration for this bathroom, and what the bedroom looked like before the sledgehammers came out. 

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