For Me, Productivity > Time Management

Time Management & Productivity |

Guys, it’s my first full week back at my job after eight crazy but wonderful weeks of maternity leave. I have to admit that I’m a little excited to be back. I enjoy my work… I enjoy the strategic side, the creative side, even the spreadsheets side. While I’ve really loved being 100% present for my three beautiful girls for two whole months, I can’t say that drinking a hot cup of coffee (in a real ceramic mug) and sitting down at my computer to write a full, uninterrupted email is something that I don’t appreciate. A lot. Marley is still by my side most of the day (I’m fortunate enough to work from home) but Taylor’s sweet college nanny is available to scoop her up for conference calls and the like.

One of my main goals, now that I’m back in the swing of things, is to explore ways to achieve a new level of calmness amidst the daily busy-ness that keeps us on our toes.

I was reading this article on time management and appreciated the insight on what time management vs productivity is to author Jordan Cohen. His motto is make time for what really matters, and he points out that it’s not about time per se, but more about what we do with that time. Essentially, our productivity.

This struck a chord and started a new internal dialogue for me because I feel as though if I really want to try and balance that great motherhood juggle, then I have to be really good at being productive in the small amounts of time that I’ve allocated to the many tasks on my plate. Not busy – no, that results in feeling drained and frazzled. Not just busy but instead productive. That, for me, is the ultimate definition of juggling.

Here are a few new approaches that I came up with that I think will help with making sure my time is productive time:

Prioritize my list – what must I get done, what would I like to do (Cohen suggests keeping a list of a few things that you really want to do, and then to go back to it frequently to figure out why you can’t do those things)

Organize my day around that list – schedule and allocate various tasks based on priority

Truly value my time for each task – be productive with what I have

Ask for help when I need it – yes!

Don’t forget to enjoy :) - this exercise for me is to create breathing room

Being productive can’t just be multi-tasking on steroids – I’m sure that, like me, most moms already pick up the living room while brushing their teeth, mop the kitchen while overseeing breakfast or update company spreadsheets/expense reports while listening in on conference calls. Being productive also means knowing when tasks can be deleted, delegated or redesigned.

New idea: let’s not manage our time by the hands on a clock, let’s measure it by what we are accomplishing (what if every company had this expectation out of their employees? Imagine work-life balance!).

Now that I’m not on maternity leave I will miss taking Liv to dance on Tuesday mornings, I will miss the flexibility to run a quick errand, I will miss Friday mommy & me with Taylor, I will miss cooking fancier dinners that require afternoon meal prep, I will miss random trips to the park.

But the grass is always greener, and soon enough I will realize there’s still time for little bits of all of the above, just without the same frequency. BIG plus – weekends will be special again! Having an extra eye for productivity during my weekdays means that I am storing up extra time for the things that matter most. And then I can put the whole productivity concept to rest (family time, pancakes, staying up too late) for a couple of days before starting again. I love that.

More ideas and musings from a working mom.

Favorite Lighting Sources

Favorite Home Modern & Mid-Century Modern Lighting Resources |

Cedar & Moss | Schoolhouse Electric | Andrew Neyer  | Ladies & Gentlemen
onefortythree | Ikea | Park Studio LA | Triple7 |  west elm | Anthropologie
Southern Lights Electric | Olde Brick Lighting | CB2 | Lamps Plus

I wish I had better progress pictures to share of our bedroom/bathroom overhaul, but really weeks 3 & 4 closely resemble week 2. The tub surround has been fabricated, the electrical and plumbing are 80% of the way there, insulation is in and some walls are being closed up, but from a picture perspective we’re still working on all of the functional details that are usually behind drywall. The progress continues though! And that’s very exciting.

On a more visual note, I’ve been knee-deep in lighting for the past week as I use my spare moments on any piece of technology to search for the best pendants and wall sconces for this space. I thought it would be fun to share a resource list of my favorite online mid-century modern/modern lighting sources (though as soon as I hit publish I’m sure I’ll realize that I’ve left some off) and I focused mostly on wall sconces since that what I’m in the market for. This took a while to put together, but I think it about covers where I head first to search (besides Pinterest, of course). I’m sure there are many more… if you have suggestions, please do tell!

PS Have you heard of AliExpress? I love to support small shops (see Etsy links above) but this swing arm wall lamp’s black and brass caught my eye (can’t beat the price). I’ve never purchased from the oversea’s eBay-meets-Alibaba-meets-Amazon site but my brother really digs it. 

PPS more on the master bathroom/bedroom remodel and our current house tour (to see what the spaces under construction looked like before).

A New Daybed for the Girls’ Room

Last I left you in the girls’ room we had a toddler bed and crib for Liv and Taylor.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery |

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

They served the space pretty well size-wise and were perfect for a 3-year-old Liv and a 1-year-old Taylor.

I was really loving the room in all of its pink glory. It was in a good place and I thought we could leave it for a bit. But then as Liv began to approach her fourth birthday, she began to complain that her bed was too small (and I said ‘no way! you’re about 3 feet tall’), and then she began to crawl out of her bed and into ours, and then she promised that if we upgraded the size of her bed she’d stay put at night. And I said ‘deal’.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

For the record, Liv is tall but she’s definitely not too tall for a toddler bed. She may have occasionally ended up on the floor next to her bed but that’s because she’s a bed squirmer.

Also for the record, she LOVES her twin big girl bed.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

Bringing it into the room was totally worth it.

When I first started playing with the idea of putting a twin bed into the girls’ room, the entire space felt too small, too cramped. Eventually we will be squeezing three little girls into this room though so I better get used to tighter quarters :). In the end, the bed setup that felt most open was a sideways twin bed up against the starry wall.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

This way the twin bed didn’t jut out into the room – even having the crib (which has taken the place of the toddler bed) up against the wall like a T has taken some getting used to. It doesn’t feel as though there’s as much play space in this room, the rug is not quite as open and empty! but that’s okay because I’ve always thought of their room as ‘the sleeping zone’ and our living room more as ‘the play zone’.

Girls' Room - New Crib Layout & Monitor |

Back to that daybed. My budget was limited and really all I wanted was a basic birch frame. I searched the internet high and low – I looked everywhere. In the end there was not a twin bed without a headboard and with a basic frame in sight for under $200. I knew Ikea must have an answer for me and when I came across the FJELLSE twin bed, I took the plunge and purchased.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

It was easy enough to modify into a basic frame, we simply cut off the headboard with a handsaw.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

The frame is simple and clean, it matches the crib and the frame of the flamingo print pretty spot on.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

(I’m exploring storage options in this space, you can see my plastic tubs tucked under the bed. It’s time to get really creative in the storage department.)

An Ikea twin bedframe (despite the different European sizes of so many of the rest of their products) actually fits a US twin mattress (I had heard rumors that it didn’t). The folks over at Tuft & Needle reached out to me with perfect timing while we were going through this entire transitional phase in the nursery and when they offered a mattress for Liv’s new bed I took them up on their offer.

Tuft & Needle crafts comfortable, quality mattresses at a fair price. That’s their one mission – to take the middleman out of the sale and manufacture mattresses directly for consumer purchase which greatly reduces the overall cost.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed - Tuft & Needle |

They are made to order in the USA out of a breathable, supportive foam. I LOVE that the company makes a point to connect closely with customers and even continually tweaks their products based on consumer feedback and needs. I also love that they offer 5″ and 10″ mattresses, I was purposefully looking for a low-profile mattress.

Our new mattress is incredibly comfortable! Seriously, I am very particular about these things. As is Kevin, who puts the girls down to bed every night and falls asleep mid story every. single. evening. He loves that foam mattress more than our own (tear).

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

I wanted to keep the bed all around kid-friendly, so it made sense to stack the daybed with just a bunch of comfy pillows. I pulled these from all over the house and didn’t buy a single new one, which was sort of refreshing. I might have a little bit of a throw pillow obsession…

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

The pillows make it easy making the bed as well. We basically smooth out the white comforter and toss them on the bed, done. You know, it’s easy after I have cajoled some bed making out of a 4-year-old.

The girls were dying for me to finish up my little photography session. The minute I said finished!, they scooted up onto that bed to play.

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

Girls' Room - A Modern Pink Nursery | A New Daybed |

Good thing it’s so easy to make the bed.

What ages did you move your little ones to the next sized bed? It’s funny because already Taylor prefers sleeping next to sissy in the twin bed vs her own crib. I’m very tempted to have the girls share a bed for as long as possible when Marley moves into the room. It’s not crazy to have two in a twin, right? I can’t imagine them loving anything more.

This post was sponsored by Tuft & Needle, a company that I support and one that I hope you’ll check out. I really can’t say enough about our experience with the company and with our mattress. 

A note: Tuft & Needle is an e-commerce start up behind the #1 rated mattress on Amazon. Their mattresses are high quality but at a much lower pricepoint than traditional mattress players (a 1000% markup is typical). Tuft & Needle’s point of difference is that the customer is really at the center of their business.

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