Wednesday, January 2, 2019

15 Habits That Have Made Me A More Positive And Productive Work At Home Dog Mom

I have no shame in admitting that I despise the first few weeks of the new year. It's more notably known as the "New Year, New Me" time of year. A lot of people make New Year's Resolutions. They set the bar too high. They are under the impression that there will be this miraculous transformation between December 31st and January 1st.

In no way, shape, or form am I knocking anyone's determination to make changes in their life to improve their physical, mental, or emotional state. I've made a lot of successful changes in my life and I'll be the first to admit, it's no easy feat. It's grueling. Exhausting. And it will test every ounce of your being.

On the other end of the stick, I have made New Year's Resolutions that had me convinced I would wake up on January 1st with the ability to conquer the world as well as my bad habits simply because it was the first day of a new year.

That didn't exactly happen.

What I've learned over the years is that it doesn't matter what day of the week it is. What month it is. How far you are into the year.

It's never too late to live. Learn. Become wiser. Make changes. Adjust your focus. Shift. Shimmy shake. Speak up. Take a stance.

Sure, I've learned quite a bit over the years, but 2018 stood out as being the year of shifts and change for so many reasons. It's also the reason why I will be making more changes this year and doing things a bit different.

1. Stop making a weekly schedule. As a Work at Home Dog Mom, I've learned that making a weekly schedule is absolutely useless. Nothing ever goes as planned. That's fine. I'm flexible. What needs to be done during a day's time will get done. Or, at the very least, the most important stuff.

2. Adhere to Lisa's schedule. In 2018, I finally broke free of the 3rd shift schedule that I had been on for about 4 years. It wasn't easy. I almost gave up. But, I'm finally there. We go to bed early and we rise and shine between 3:30 - 4:00 a.m.

The transition was not easy. Even now, I struggle. However, as our family got bigger and when Lisa was promoted into management in 2017, working 3rd shift did not serve in the best interest of our family for a slew of reasons. That's when I began the transition.

It was a joint effort. Prior to the transition, Lisa and the kids would go to bed anywhere between 9 and 10 p.m. That was too late especially because I go to bed later than Lisa does. Plus, Lisa wasn't getting enough sleep.

In the here and now, I tuck Lisa and the kids into bed around 8 p.m. I stay up until about 10 p.m. During those 2 hours, I finish up my day and start a blog column for the following day. I'm usually asleep by 11-ish.

At times, I want to stay up later to finish a blog column or work on a DIY Dog Mom Project, but I've learned to put a halt on that. I function at my best when I get 4-5 hours of sleep.

3. Move. Even if it's dancing in the kitchen, helping with yard work, or escaping the confines of our home for a few hours. I've learned to take advantage of every opportunity to move my body. It energizes me throughout the day.

4. Keep organized. As a Work At Home Dog Mom, our home is my workspace. It doesn't matter what room I'm working in. It's pertinent that every room be clean and organized. I maintain that on a daily basis. I have to in order to be productive and focused. Clutter and counters that need to be wiped, amid a myriad of other stuff, is a distraction for me.

5. Take a daily vitamin. We notice a huge difference when we take them. We also notice a huge difference when we forget to take them for a couple of days. It's important that our bodies get those vitamins and minerals so we can feel at our best day after day.

6. Ignore the tech multiple times throughout the day. We both have phones. There is a laptop on the kitchen table. A Chrome Book in the living room. Two laptops in our home office. A tablet that floats from room to room. However. There are multiple times a day, especially during the weekends,  when we don't pay attention to the rings and dings and alerts and ring tones.

7. Eat dinner at the table.  Lisa and I eat dinner at the table. It's our time to connect during the week. We chat about work, the kids, life, etc. We vent about our frustrations. Lisa tells me about her work day and I tell her about mine. This has brought us a lot closer and more aware of what the other is dealing with on a day to day basis.

On the weekends, we play card games or Backgammon or Yahtzee while eating dinner. Those tend to be our unconventional date nights.

8. Spend more time on the floor. Our kids love it when I sit on the floor periodically throughout the day. They get excited. They all rush to where I am. This is my time to genuinely connect with our kids. I'm on the floor. With them. No tech. They love it.

9. Always have a camera on hand. I've made it a habit to leave my camera on the kitchen counter or table. That way, I can capture those moments without having to quietly sneak to our home office first to grab the camera. I also have the camera on my phone which is usually in a centralized location in our home.

10. Take the time to extend gratitude and compliments. I published a blog column about this yesterday. You can read about that here. What I didn't mention is that extending gratitude, doling out compliments, and using our manners is something that happens in our home as well. A lot.

I always thank Lisa for working hard for her family and doing the things she does around the house to help me out or make our home inside and out look even more spectacular. She's the hardest worker I know and we never go without.

In return, Lisa thanks me for what I do here at home as a Work at Home Dog Mom. She's always thanking me for her hot breakfasts, well packed lunches, the homemade dinners I make every night, the housework I do, etc.

11. Ignore the misconceptions. When I tell people I'm a Work at Home Dog Mom, they automatically assume I spend my days sipping wine, polishing my nails, playing with "our dogs" and that I have all this free time available. For some reason, people think that if you don't work outside of the home, you're not actually working.

What they don't realize is that being a Work at Home Dog Mom is a 24/7 job. I don't get days off. I don't get vacations. I'm on the go from the time I wake up (3:30 a.m.) until I fall asleep (around 11 p.m.).

During the hours that I'm awake, I'm busting ass. Work stuff. Dog Mom stuff. Projects. Housework. Meal prep. Baking. Cooking. Etc.

12. Spend a little time during the day doing something that makes me feel beautiful. Some days I'm extremely busy. Making myself feel beautiful may only involve applying a coat of lip gloss or polishing my nails. Other days, I may take an extra long hot shower and condition my hair really well. On very rare occasions, I might take a selfie.

Taking a little time each day to do this has been hard for me. It's one of those things that I could easily put at the bottom of my to-do list. But, I've learned not to. It's a struggle some days, but I'm getting there.

13. Be in the moment. For me, being in the moment consists of putting the world outside of our home on mute. Aside from Lisa's occasional work calls, there is no reason for us to answer texts or calls or check our multitude of other tech devices when they sound off. Sometimes, we need those moments of peace and quiet.

14. Stay focused. Sometimes that's hard. There are a lot of distractions outside of our home that effect inside of our home. Because of that, staying focused can be challenging. I've learned to work around distractions, however, sometimes they get the best of me. Sometimes my teeth hurt from grinding them. Other times, well...there's always wine.

15. Be real. I don't glorify what I do for a living. Being a Work at Home Dog Mom sucks sometimes. It's not easy. At times, it gets rather lonely. And a lot of times, when I talk about my work day to others, they look at me like, "You have it easy..."

At the end of the day, I will always keep it real. Being a Work at Home Dog Mom is one of the best jobs ever. I may not dress in fashionable clothing or wear makeup or have my hair done or have manicured finger and toe nails, but what I do for a living is rather great.

I wouldn't change a thing...

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