The Nap-time Hustle

For a little over a year now, my work day has been squished into the afternoon nap time slot.
Going from goldfish, blocks and boogers to fully focusing on branding a business is sometimes really difficult. I’m usually somewhere in between wanting to just sit on the couch in silence for the foreseeable future and feeling super stressed and overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to make happen that afternoon.

There are a few things that help me transition into a super productive work session and get the most out of the little time I have. When I remember to do them and remember that they are totally worth taking a few minutes away from just jumping straight in to work, they are always worth the time investment.

 
 
 
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TL;DR

Things I do to get in work mode during nap time

  1. Quick clean

  2. Mental reset (meditation)

  3. Coffee + water refill

  4. Set the space

  5. 15 minute daily writing practice

 
 

Helpful habits

  1. No email/limited social

  2. Goals + ‘ONE thing’

  3. Time block + track time

 

Quick clean up

As soon as I shut the door after putting June down for a nap, I do a quick clean up of the house. Our 800 sq. ft. can cause some major overwhelm if there are toys and dishes out everywhere… but because it’s small it can also be tidied pretty quickly. If I can push past the desire to just sit down “for a minute” and go ahead and pick up our main living spaces, I never regret it. 

Somewhere in between the cleaning and the calming for the next step, I have a few amazing squares of dark chocolate. I cannot overstate how much this moment is enjoyed. (Sometimes I sneak some before June goes down for a nap and you know I hide in the kitchen and keep it all to myself.)



Mental reset/meditation

Next I pop in my headphones, sit on the couch (like sit up on the each of the couch, not lounge… that’s too dangerous.) in the clean, calm space and do a 5-10 minute meditation on the Headspace app. This time used to be spent just sitting or stretching - eyes closed, not doing anything else - with a timer set for 5 minutes. I would pray or think or just listen to the silence. (That 5 minute reset was inspired by something Emily P. Freeman talked about on her podcast… sorry, I don’t remember the exact episode!) Either way, I never regret taking this 5 minutes to be still and (re)set my mind. This is the thing I skip most often because I’m itching to just get to work, but when I do take the time I always come away clearer - knowing exactly what I need to work on. I often remember things I had forgotten or come up with a great idea that saves me time later. Worth it.



Coffee, water, set the space

Then I make a cup of coffee, refill my water and head to my desk. Sometimes I literally bring my water pitcher in so I can keep working when I need more water.

My desk sits in the corner of our bedroom. This year I’ve finally made the grown up habit of making my bed and (usually) cleaning my room and, surprise surprise, it makes a huge difference in my focus while I’m working. And when I stay on top of it instead of letting things get messy, I can actually just get to work instead of having to add a ‘clean up room/desk’ step to this routine.


15 minutes of writing

The newest addition to my ‘get to work’ routine, and maybe my favorite, is my daily writing practice.

As soon as I sit down and open my laptop, I open a new note, (just in the Notes app, nothing fancy) set a timer for 15 minutes, and write. I write whatever comes out. It’s usually a mix of stream-of-consciousness style journaling, a thought download, list making, working out a problem, honest heart work, drafting emails or writing thoughts and ideas for posts. I’m actually writing this post right now during my daily writing practice. Meta.

This started because I realized that writing was something I’ve always told myself that I’m just not good at. It’s the thing that holds me up and causes a lot of self-doubt whether it’s writing an email, some marketing content, or a personal blog post. I finally decided to stop complaining to myself that I’m not good at it, and work on getting good at it.

It has been amazing. Not only does it help me get clutter out of my head before jumping into focused work, it kickstarts my creativity and I can immediately jump into creative work because I’m “warmed up”. I have also come up with great ideas and content because… well, I’m not trying. It feels like a safe space where I can be very imperfect. It turns out - that’s where magic can happen.

Then I actually get to work…

 
 

helpful habits –
to get more done with less time

 
 

Goals + ‘one thing’

The first thing I do is make sure I know what my “one thing” is for the day. The one thing that has to happen to move me closer to my big goals. A lot of the time this is the only thing that gets done so this is an important step. Sometimes I will take a minute to reorganize the other tasks on Asana in the order that I need to do them/on what day.

Here’s the rabbit trail of where this ‘one thing’ came from, if you’re interested:
First, I read listened to an interview with author of Essentialism on Allie Casazza’s podcast and then bought the book; loved it so much - it changed the way I will think about prioritizing my time forever. Then, I listened to an interview with one of the authors of The ONE Thing on Amy Porterfield’s podcast and knew I’d found the next step I was looking for. They talked about practical steps to figure out the one thing you should do next that will be the best thing you can do with that time. I’m working on reading that book now, but the worksheets they have on their website are amazingly helpful. This resource, “My Purpose”, was incredible.


No email/limited social

Then I check my email. Like all of these things, I’m not perfect at keeping my own rule, but I try to make this the first time I check email all day. It’s really the first time I’m able to send a clear and well thought out response back anyway. When I check it earlier in the day, it usually just causes unnecessary stress and takes my attention away from my time with June.

For social media… ugh.
This is kind of a side-note but I’ve yet to find a great system/solution for this but here’s where I’m at right now.
There are a lot of things I love about it. I love feeling connected to the friends and family we live so far away from; I love finding new people/brands; I love creating content and sharing June’s cuteness.
But, I rarely leave a scrolling session feeling more inspired/energized/clear. I usually snap out of it after going into a zombie trance and realize that June has been asking me something and I didn’t even hear her, or 20 minutes have gone by that felt like 2. And 20 minutes is a lot of time when you only have a few hours to get important work done!
For months I’ve been trying to figure out a good time to dedicate to social media and then commit to only spend that time, but I’ve honestly not found a time that couldn’t be better spent doing something else. So for now, I just don’t get on social media that much. (When I say social media, I really mean Instagram.) I use scheduling tools to plan posts outside of the app (I use both of the apps Planoly and Later) and have a limit set for 30 minutes and my phone locks the Instagram app after I’ve spent that amount of time in the app. (Here’s how to set that up on your iPhone!)

Time block/track time

The last thing that is hugely helpful to me for getting things done with a small amount of time, and cut down on that feeling of total overwhelm when a huge amount of work is looming, is planning out blocks of time and tracking how I’m spending my time.
The plan time blocks, I open my Google Calendar and literally create events for the blocks of time I know I’ll be able to work during the week and fill them with the most important task that I need to get done during that time. Being able to visualize how my work is in fact going to get done eases a lot of stress.
Then, when I’m actually working, I use Toggl to track my time! This adds a level of focus and accountability so I’m aware of what I’m doing instead of going down an internet rabbit trail and snapping out of it when June wakes up and work time is over! It is also helpful for the obvious reason of being able to know how long projects take so I can more accurately price my work in the future. Right now we’re using it to track the time we (Sarah + I) spend in ‘the test kitchen’ for The Business Bar creating all of the Brand and Website Mixes for our new online shop so we can make sure we’re splitting up the work evenly, and so we can make decisions about pricing and whether or not the test was successful and we should make it an official part of our business!

Those no nap days

June is 3 1/2 years old and still takes naps pretty consistently which I’m incredibly grateful for. On the days she doesn’t fall asleep or wakes up really early and I really need to get some work done, I try to get her to play by herself for a while. I pull out an activity box (just a box of toys) for her to play with, set her up with some art supplies, or turn on a tv show. I am not above letting the screen babysit for a little while when needed… which let’s be honest, is often. Ha!

 
working while the kid naps
 

I hope something in my routine inspires you and helps you get more important work done in a short time!
You’re a total boss and you’ve got this.

JB

Monthly Journal: January 2019

A lot of months go by and I think “Where the heck did all the time go!? Did I accomplish anything!?” Not January. Which is probably common and the real challenge is making the momentum last through the rest of the year. This month we made so many awesome changes that feel sustainable, (I might regret publishing that sentence in a few months) made so much progress setting and working towards goals and took a vacation. I’m so excited to document this month if only to motivate myself later this year!

 
 

Jan
2019

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#Unclutterlikeamother

Go through everything we own” was an actual line item on my to-do list (and it was typed on my goals for Jan. in my Dec. recap post so it was legit.) and it actually happen thanks to 1. having done it already, before we moved 2. living in less than 800 sq. ft. and 3. Allie Cazzasa.

I saw an ad on Instagram for her 30 day challenge - and that should be enough right there… I saw the ad. I stopped scrolling. I screenshot the ad for the marketing inspiration because it made me see it and then signed up for her newsletter for more inspiration… and then totally bought in! I did the challenge and it was amazing (I didn’t think we’d have that much to get rid of… and then took a car load to Goodwill) but I also binged her podcast and fell in love with her and everything she shares. She’s open and honest and real about motherhood. She believes that we are called to abundant life and that goes for mamas in the madness of raising a kid (or 6) too. I am on board with that! Clearly she made an impact because she gets an entire section in this post. Go stalk her at alliecasazza.com

 
 
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We got a couple more days with Chris before he went back to work after the holiday break which was the best. On January 1st we tried out a new tradition idea – ice skating. Great in theory but poor Chris basically held June up the entire time as she wobbled around like a newborn deer. He took the entire load because let’s be honest, I was just as wobbly as June. Maybe we’ll try again next year!? Ha!

The tried and true park date was much more successful.

 
 
 

Routine Tweaks

The break gave me the mental space to think about things we could improve at home in the way that I’m constantly thinking about better ways to do things for work. Ideas sudden came to me for a few things I had just written off as problems that would just have to solve themselves eventually!

One example:
For as long as I can remember, June had “not been hungry” at meal times - especially dinner - and then starving at bedtime. I thought we tried everything, but then we tried what now seems so obvious - having a set dinner time. Dinner now starts at 6 and ends at 7! June takes her plate to the kitchen and that seems to help her understand that the time for eating is ovaaaaaa. There have been significantly fewer crying sessions at bedtime. Praise!!

I also finally have a morning routine that I’ve stuck to and look forward to so much that I actually want get out of bed before 6am for it. Praise again.

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“school”

June started schooooool!
Yup, feeling the feelings all over again just typing that. It’s not even real school! It’s only three hours a week. Like total. But it has been so awesome for her to be around other kids and start to get used to the idea. And I get three extra hours of work time a week! So good. So good.

We also applied to an actual preschool that would be every weekday for 4 hours and we’re crossing our fingers and toes that we get in for Fall or earlier!!

 
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secret-no-more

For the past few months I’ve been mentioning a collaborative project I’ve been spending a lot of time working on for The Business Bar and now I have something to show you! We’re working on semi-custom brand identity and website mixes for people wanting to start a new venture and have a vision, but need something to get them started so they can launch with a strong brand! If you’re interested, you can sign up to be a Taste Tester and be the first to check out the new products!

This offering, created with my girl Sarah, will be in our Test Kitchen - where we test out new ideas that we think our people need and if we’re right we’ll make them part of the business for the long term!

My goal was to get my website refreshed to share the new offering and get the site back up before our vacation and, after stripping it down to the essentials, (there are sooo many things left on my list, as always) I got it done! The night before we left, naturally.

Cha-cha-check it out!

 
 
 

Denver vacay

At the end of January, Chris and I went on a vacation that we planned just a few weeks before! His bosses told him to take some time off because he’s been working so hard. (What!? Amazing. Especially after a lot of non-awesome work situations.) We talked through our list of cities that we’d like to visit and landed on a place we could find adventure but also plenty of rest – Denver.

June got to go to camp grandparents and had the time of her life. She was not excited to go back home... ha!

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We woke up at 3:30am to catch our flight.

We both had uh… moments that we blamed on the lack of sleep. The worst being me leaving my phone on the train. Thankfully we were able to get it back!

Our first afternoon was spent napping. 3.5 glorious hours. That is a parents’ luxury vacation!

On our second day we explored Red Rocks and got our first taste of how much the altitude would effect us.

It was beautiful and the affects were real.

We expected snow on our third day but we woke up to snoooow! It was exactly as everyone described to us – fluffy and light and just really amazing.

 
 
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We rented a Jeep and drove to Breckenridge to go skiing/snowboarding! We took a while to get there and only got in a couple of hours but it was totally worth it and probably for the best… I was exhausted and cold and out of breath the whole time. Ha! I legit thought I might get sick on the way home but felt completely fine by the time we got back to Denver. The altitude sickness is no joke!

Ps. If you happen to be going to Breck and need ski rentals: We rented our gear at Blue River Sports. They were super kind, had the best prices, and worked quickly so we could get as much mountain time as possible. Highly rec!

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♪ On our forth day in Denver ♫ …we got bro tats! We haven’t taken good pictures yet so sorry for the teaser.

 
 

Our last day was spent wondering around the city. Our flight was late that night which made for a weird but wonderful day. We had already done everything on our list and explored the neighborhoods we wanted to so we just took our time and enjoyed the last bit of vacay before heading back home.

 
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His + hers.

 
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Getting back into a groove after time away is always really hard for me. This time was a little bit better because we scheduled things to get out of the house and be with other humans. Ha! Duh, right?

I think this is an example of my enneagram 9-ness coming out. I have a strong 1 wing which I think makes me a little obsessed with productivity, but I can swing to the other extreme and take a long time to become motivated and fully “awake” again after a time of slowing down. Learning this about myself really helped me be more aware of what was happening and why so I could actively make decisions to change it!

 
 

I missed my little bug a lot. She did an incredible job getting back into our routine at home… and didn’t tell me I was boring compared to Grandma which I would not have blamed her for. Haha!

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PLANS/GOALS/HOPES FOR February

  • Keep our new routines going; document them and share them here; but don’t get all JB/perfectionistic about them.

  • Speaking of sharing here, share more here is a big goal. I have a giant list of things I want to write about.

  • Get back to a healthy place with food. For the first time since doing Whole30 in October, I’m feeling out of control with cravings (specifically sugar) and I’m not into it, man.

  • Finish all products in the Test Kitchen and get feedback from a few people before opening the digital doors!

  • Enjoy time at home with my people before the madness of March arrives. I’m traveling almost all month!


 
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Cheers to newness and making things happen and rest.

– JB

Monthly Journal: December 2018

December! So much happy, so much merry, so much busy.

 
 
 
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Dec
2018

 
 
 

We got our first Christmas tree (!) and did a few more simple Christmas decorations to help make it feel cozy and Christmas-y in our little home.

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Since we had a Christmas tree I actually wrapped gifts before Christmas Eve - for the added cozy-ness of course. I knew I’d forget what we got June so I took pictures of everything as I wrapped and it really helped when I was wondering if we “needed” to get any more gifts. (Oh wow, so spoiled.)

 

Book: Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by the most talented designer and letterer, Jessica Hische.

 
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We only did lights, a star and some DIY fruit garland on the tree (because wow, the whole decor things adds up) and I actually loved it so much, I might do again next year instead of buying ornaments.

After stringing the second garland of cranberries, we left the house and I turned on our Roomba (and felt real great about myself for remembering) and he (yes, our robot vacuum is a dude and his name is Ross) destroyed the garland that I left on the floor and tracked cranberry guts all over the living room. Bah-humbug.

 
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We visited family in Sparks twice in December! The first visit was a pre-Christmas celebration because Chris’ sister was also in town!

 
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My birthday happened and I celebrated with my favorite things –

A trip to Target for some strolling and a giant free coffee; an entire afternoon blocked off for journaling and reflecting on the year; and a night out with Chris starting with ice cream, then dinner, then a champagne toast… err, chambong.

 
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Back to Sparks for Christmas!

We started what I think will be a great new tradition: skiing on Christmas Eve.

June did all the Christmas crafts with Grandma and made all the Christmas treats.

We lounged and ate and played and did all the jolly things you do.

 
 
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All the gifts, and a daddy in the background putting the toys with 8697 pieces and no batteries together.

 
 
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Back home for a few days with just our little family before Chris went back to work. We spent a lot of time resting and reflecting and planning for the next year.

We celebrated the new year with champs and the toddler version of bubbly, the Netflix countdown, and bed at 9pm. Glorious.

 

PLANS/GOALS/HOPES FOR January

  • Go through everything we own and purge anything we don’t need/actually use

  • Make serious progress on my collaborative project for The Business Bar and open it up to a few testers

  • June is starting “school”! And we’re applying for “real” preschool!
    (Sub-goal: set intentions for how I will use this time!)


 
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Here’s to more magic in 2019.

– JB