7 Easy Tips On How To Efficiently Use Your Time When Cleaning

What is that saying? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I never really understood that, but when I’m cleaning I guess that is how I efficiently get things done, one bite at a time. A clean and organized house does wonders for your mind and attitude. But we’re busy right ladies? So, here is a little trick that I use so I don’t become overwhelmed… I use a timer, a regular old kitchen timer to pace myself and to figure out how long it actually takes to clean a specific room and or area. 
For example, my living room for the most part stays decent, so when I need to do some dusting, sweeping and sprucing up, I set my timer for 10 minutes and get to work. When I do this I’m less likely to bunny trail off into another room leaving a bunch of unfinished rooms. The timer also helps me to determine the amount of   time it takes to clean a room, so I can plan my week out more efficiently. Kids also love timers and I strongly encourage making a chores a game for them by setting the timer and daring them to beat the clock. 
Here are a few suggestions I have for efficient cleaning:
1. Pick out a kitchen timer if you don’t already have one. You can get one at the Dollar Store or get a cute vintage one like the one above from www.thinkgeek.com . Set the timer for each room for the amount of time you think it takes and make a mental note of what rooms need more attention and will take more of your time. Also if you can stick to the allotted time you give yourself.

2. Start cleaning the easiest room first. Quickly finishing a room gives you a boost of confidence and is a motivator to go to the next room.

3.Stay focused on the room you are cleaning. Hopping around will only frustrate you. 
4. Take a break in between rooms. When I get tired I get cranky and then I’m done. If I take a break after one or two rooms I’m more likely to have the energy to go on. 
5. Make a list at some point during the week of the chores you want to finish, so you can cross them off your list without forgetting.
6. Before you go into a room, make a mental note of everything you need to clean that room.
7.Make the most out of every minute and don’t put off what can be done today.

Ten Lessons I Learned About Working At Home!

Working at home… I had this grand notion of sipping coffee in the morning in my jammies while answering emails and being completely stress free because I wasn’t catching the metro into DC. Yeah right! Granted I am super duper grateful to be working at home. As a mom and especially a single mom it does make my life and Anya’s life a heck of a lot easier, but working at home isn’t always easy. There is an accountability that you have to produce that is much higher virtually than when your in the office. I for one, want my company to be confident that when I’m at home I am working just as hard as if I would be in the office for 8 hours. I think for this reason, I find myself working even harder and being more strict with myself. However, I’ve found that for this telecommuting option to work I need to have balance, organization, and have a plan So here are a few things I’ve learned.

Don’t STAY in your PAJAMAS!! I never thought I would be one of those stay at home working moms that would lounge in her PJs while clicking away at the keyboard.. But I AM! Listen, this is such a bad idea. It started innocently with me having early morning meetings and then answering a snowball of emails and then sending a ton of emails (seriously like 1087 to be exact) then making a ton of calls. Next thing I knew it was 4pm and I’m in my coffee stained nightgown. SO NOT GOOD. So if you are working from home… GET DRESSED! You will feel better believe me. Now that school is starting I think the getting dressed part will be easier, since I don’t want to mortify my daughter as I drop her off in my Pjs. Not to mention not getting dressed and sitting in front of a computer all day looking like something the cat dragged in does nothing for your self esteem.  Take a shower, get dressed, do your hair, you’ll feel better!

Don’t Skip Lunch or Breaks Ever! You need a break and if you don’t take one you will quickly burn out. You also need to eat and not munch. Make sure you eat breakfast and lunch. Take the hour and make yourself a healthy lunch full of energy fueled foods. Try big salads with veggies and add some protein and don’t forget hydration is key along with a good multi-vitamin. It is tempting to snack all day or to forget to drink water. Don’t do this! Have some pre-ready snacks available that are healthy and steer away from junk food. Also keep a big bottle of water nearby to swig at throughout the day. If you work through your lunches and breaks you’ll find yourself exhausted by the end of the day.

Utilize Your Breaks. What’s the point of working at home if you can’t get a few things done right? If you get breaks, throw in a  load of laundry, tidy up the bathroom, make the beds, get the dishes out for dinner, polish the furniture in one room, pay bills, anything you can do in 15 minutes take advantage of getting it done. This will make for a less stressful week.

Get Outside! Okay you can easily get cabin fever from being inside all day. Even if you work away from the home getting fresh air is a good idea. After you eat lunch go for a walk or eat lunch on the porch. I try to eat breakfast on the porch to get a little sunshine. If there is work you can do outside, by all means do it and take in the outdoors. It can be motivating and refreshing!

Create Boundaries. Just because mom is working at home doesn’t mean she has time to play Candyland. If your kids are home for part of the day, explain that mom has to work and people are depending on her. Let them know that you have a job to do. If you have a meeting or conference call, put a little sign on your door letting the kiddos know now is not the time to ask what you thought of the, “Good Luck Charlie,” episode from the previous evening. Kids aren’t the only ones you have to create boundaries with, sometimes you have to create boundaries with friends on when is an appropriate time to call or visit.

Create a Designated Work Area. This is so important. I have a den that I use as my office. It has 2 windows with plenty of natural light, a desk, comfy chair and a door I can shut when I need privacy. Working in a designated area also motivated me to get the job done, more so compared to if I were sitting in my bed. Make your space comfortable, functional and keep it stocked with the supplies you need. Let the kids now this is not a playroom.

Be Organized. Organize your schedule and have it in full view. Without organization it is easy to get sidetracked. You are now managing your job and home responsibilities at home so make it flow for you. Get a chart or calendar  that shows the day’s activities including work and home. Create a calendar and sync it with your phone. Set alerts so you know when a meeting is coming up or if your kid’s ballet class is in 20 minutes. I found myself getting so immersed in work that I forgot about things I had to do around the house or thinking I had time to do it because I worked at home and that simply wasn’t true. Get on a schedule and stick to it!

Get Creative. Find a way to make telecommuting work to your family’s advantage. If you want to be finished with your work day by the time your kids get home, ask your boss if you can work early hours. However, don’t work 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and be so exhausted from the early morning schedule that you’re crabby and can’t enjoy your time with your kids. Find a schedule that is conducive to you getting the most out of your workday while spending time with your family. Really consider and evaluate what works for you and manage your time accordingly.

Be Clear About Expectations. If you want to be successful and keep your virtual position, be clear on your job’s expectations. This means maintaining close contact with your coworkers and supervisors. Let colleagues know you’re available, be aware of what you’re expected to produce, agree on the hours you work and keep the communication flowing. If you are going to be away for extended time let others know how long. Working at home requires trust and accountability make sure your boss knows they can count on you.

Make Your Life Easier. Take advantage of what working at home allows you to accomplish! Count your blessings that you can  pick up your kids from school at 3:15 instead of 6:00, go ahead and prepare a fun snack for them, maintain your home, and find joy in the flexibility this opportunity offers you and most of all be grateful!

One last important lesson- KNOW WHEN TO QUIT. Don’t keep working quit at your appointed time. I’ve found myself working way after hours and that isn’t balance. Know when to disconnect from the phone and the computer for yourself and your kids!

Working at home is a privilege and a blessing! Enjoy it!

Yes Jesus Can!

Well, ladies I have had one amazing week. It all started on Saturday. I went to a Lady’s Inspiration Day at my church with my friend Christina. The moment we entered I was overflowing with emotion. The theme was, “Nothing is Impossible.” The theme was built around Mark 9 and the healing of the boy possessed with the evil spirit. The father explains to Jesus that the boy has had the evil spirit since childhood and it has caused him great distress. He says to Jesus,  “But if you can do anything take pity on us and help us. Jesus replies, “If you can?”Everything is possible for him who believes.” I had to laugh at this when I thought of Jesus saying this, he probably wanted to say, “Man don’t you know who I AM!” Isn’t that what we do though? We say, “well Jesus if you can, please let me get that job, if you can please heal me, if you can help me get that loan.” When it has never been about if Jesus can it is about if we believe in him and have faith! Everything is possible not just what looks possible to our human eye. The Inspiration Ladies Day did just that it inspired me! It reminded me to ask myself the question, “Don’t you know who Jesus is?” He is the author the creator of life… my life! My Father has it all planned out. He knew when I would stumble and he knew when I would give my life over to Christ. Can I tell you how happy I am to be a Child of GOD! When I was driving home after the Ladie’s Day I felt exhausted but in that beautiful, serene peaceful way. I find myself in tears just thinking about how God has worked in my life to show me his infinite power and goodness.

I wrote before about my desire to work at home or at least have a flexible schedule and working close to home. Well, I had an interview a little while back, that interview turned into four interviews and finally I was offered the job! It seemed picture perfect! I had flexible hours and was in walking distance. Problem was the total package wasn’t something I felt comfortable in accepting. So I had to turn it down. At first I was incredibly disappointed. I thought God, why did you put this in front of my face and make it almost everything I needed and take it away. After about a day, I wrote the woman I interviewed with and told her I couldn’t accept the offer. It was too bad I really saw this position as a career and was extremely excited. But, after some prayer I let it go. Then I received an offer that surpassed everything I was even asking for! Again Jesus reminded me through him ALL WAS POSSIBLE! In two weeks I start my new job. Not only is it in walking distance from my house, I can create my own hours and will telecommute once a week, and I’m am so excited about the mission of the organization that I can hardly wait to start. The job is also kid friendly! If there is a day Anya has off and I don’t I can either telecommute or bring her to the office! TELL ME GOD DOESN’T HEAR OUR PRAYERS! He created a package for me that I didn’t even ask for!

I want to tell all of you that whatever it is in your life that you don’t think can happen because it seems impossible, stop that stinking thinking and put your trust and faith in God. He wants the best for you and if it is in his will, he is going to make it happen. Be faithful my sweet sisters and know that God hears you, he created you and he loves you. There are always going to be bumps in the road, but know that if you believe those bumps can be driven out of your life just like that evil spirit was driven out of the boy. Take the words, ‘if you can,’ out of your vocabulary when you’re speaking to Jesus and be confident in his absolute power in your life. There is nothing God can’t accomplish in you. So tonight go to bed knowing that JESUS CAN.

The Joy of Nesting

I yearn to be home. I love lying in my bed, curling up on my favorite chair in the living room, hosting dinner parties in my dining room, and creating a haven for my daughter and myself. I’m in the mood to nest, and it isn’t a passing fancy. I find such solace in being home surrounded by everything I love, whether it is old black and white pictures of my grandma, books, or comfy throws. Home is the place I come to unwind and shut out the craziness of the outside world. I think that is why I so desperately want to find a job that will allow me to work at home fulltime because of my desire to be home, especially with my daughter.

My space is sacred and I try to keep it as calm, loving, and welcoming as possible. I love how my home holds memories, and I love creating them. I get such joy when Anya expresses to me how much she loves being home, there really is no place she would rather be, unless she was swimming in a pool of chocolate LOL. But, in all seriousness I think she feels safe, relaxed and loved in our home and as a mom I’m so happy I can provide her with that. I’ve realized that the little touches make the biggest difference. It isn’t the fine china that makes a home it is all the love you put into it. It is the respect you have for your home, the small things you do to make it homey, the smells, the sounds, it is everything you create it to be. I finally understand why my grandmother spent so much time cooking, cleaning and making her home a home for her family, it was a her gift to us. So this weekend I plan to nest away and enjoy home sweet home. Happy Nesting!

Looking for A Virtual Position? Check out this Christian Website


Source is MAG

 MAG (Miles Advisory Group)-Church Outsourcing is a site I came across through the Co-Founder, Shannon Miles via Twitter. The concept of MAG is to assist churches in delivery of services through outsourcing. They have positions available for:

  • Virtual Executive Assistants
  • Executive Pastors
  • Bookeeping, Audit and Payroll Services
  • IT Services
  • Virtual Group Pastors

If you’re looking for some part time or full time work that can be done remotely, check out MAG. I applied and received a response rather quickly. This is a great way to earn some money while working to assist a church. Check out the site for a more in depth description of the positions available. http://milesadvisorygroup.com/services/

Can Single Moms Work at Home?


I can say without hesitation one of my biggest challenges as a single mom is working outside of the home. I want to work, I like to work, but I’d rather be working in my home than in an office. Surviving on one income is difficult and especially if you reside in an area where the cost of living is high. Most telecommuting jobs don’t pay a salary that covers rent, a car payment, food, clothes, school, etc. I like my job and I’m fortunate to be able to work at home when Anya or myself is sick. I’m not sure if that option would be available to me fulltime. I prefer to work home for a few reasons.

1. Money– I spend close to $40.00 a week riding the metro to work, if I drove it would be $18 a day for parking! I’m spending $160.00 a month to get to work. Add in costs for aftercare in the fall.
2. Time- I leave work around 4:45 I pick up Anya and we normally get home around 5:45 or 6:00, I get to spend around 3- 3 1/2 hours with her until bed time. Not much time considering there are 24 hours in a day!
3. Quality of Life– Working at home affords me time to work on multiple things and get more accomplished in my day, which gives me more time to pursue writing and to spend with Anya.

Clearly, I want to be a stay at home mom because I want more time with my daughter and I don’t want her to spend most of her day in school and aftercare. Every mom is different and being a stay at home mom is a personal decision, but I’m curious to know if any of you are stay at home moms and how did you negotiate it? What are your thoughts on working at home and as single moms can we make it happen and how?

My goal is to find a job that I can work at home on a full time basis. During my quest I’ll post any information, links, or insights that I discover. Please share yours with me! I’d love to read your thoughts on this topic.