It’s the first Friday of August (ummm how is it August already?!) which means it’s time for another round of the WAHpreneur series with Katie Heddleston and myself! Today’s post is all about online tools and tips for managing work-at-home parent life. I’ve shared my daily tips, tools, and resources that enable me to better manage my private practice as a dietitian, a blogger, and a stay at home/ work at home mom of a nine month old baby girl…with no childcare.
Time Management for the Work-at-Home Parent with No Childcare
I love the concept of time blocking (this post from Ali at Inspiralized gives a good breakdown). Obviously, as a simultaneous stay at home mom and entrepreneur, I have to take a modified approach…kind of like nap time blocking. 😉 But I do find it greatly helps the efficiency and productivity of my work-at-home parent life when I can focus on one task instead of switching back and forth and losing more precious time. What does this look like?
- Scheduling all pins on Pinterest in one chunk of time for the next week, couple weeks, etc.
- Creating graphics in Canva for everything I’m going to need for the next 1-2 weeks of content.
- Responding to all comments, social media messages, and emails in one block of time.
- Reserving daily blocks of time for clients to be available for video or phone consults.
Now, real life alert – sometimes this goes out the window. If my baby isn’t feeling well and will only sleep if I’m holding her, I’m always going to choose to hold her over editing photos during nap time. Moments like that are why I’m creating this work-at-home parent life, so I have the flexibility to be there for her when she needs me.
I have two lists: my NEED to do list and my WANT to do list. The need list is the high priority list (like invoicing a company so I can get paid). The want list includes tasks or projects that are going to be beneficial for my business, but aren’t currently an urgent priority (like updating my media kit). I know I have daily tasks (like responding to email, comments, social media messages, etc.) that I need to block out time for daily. Then I just pick one or two items off my need list to focus on completing that day. Sometimes, items from the want list get moved to the need list (like if a company asks for my media kit, I’m going to update that before sending it off).
Flexibility. This is tough, and probably a post all on its own. If you can’t tell from above, I love lists, organization, schedules, etc. But babies don’t care what’s on your list…like, at all. 😉 Starting my journeys into both business ownership and motherhood at the same time has definitely made for plenty of opportunities to embrace flexibility, to say the very least. In order to balance everything (motherhood, business, household/ adult responsibilities, self-care, etc.), I just have to be flexible.
Tools I Use and Love for My Business
I’m currently using the free version of Hootsuite, and I find it’s fine for my needs (at least for now). I mostly use it for scheduling posts on Twitter and Instagram. Now, with Instagram scheduled posts it sends a notification to your phone for when you’ve scheduled the post to appear, and you have to go in and manually publish the post to Instagram yourself. I really don’t mind this, because I prefer to be available to answer comments and engage a little when I first post something. I also find that writing the caption, no matter how short, and selecting hashtags ahead of time helps save time in the moment.
Now, I’m sure someone is going to think or say, “but wait! Isn’t that a third party platform and won’t that ‘hurt’ your engagement, growth, etc. on Instagram/ whatever platform!?” So….maybe. But here’s the deal. I don’t care. I love platforms like Instagram and Facebook for interacting with you guys and because they’re fun! I know a lot of “influencers” that have stopped having fun with social media channels and treat them like a chore because they’re so fixated on their number of followers and engagement rates. I don’t have time to spend obsessing over the latest Instagram rumors, especially when they’ll change again before I figured out what changed last time.
For me, the bottom line is that it’s another fun tool that I can use to interact with you guys and hopefully bring some value and joy to your day. I have to budget my time, so I would MUCH rather spend it helping my clients transform their relationship with food and bringing you easy, tasty, colorful recipes.
Most bloggers recognize the importance of Pinterest in driving traffic to their website. Admittedly, I’ve only recently started using Tailwind, but I’m really liking it so far. Mainly because it really helps with time blocking and productivity. I have definitely seen some growth (in terms of Pinterest followers, number of re-pins, and traffic to my site). Plus I just saw it can sync to your Google Analytics, so I’m excited to try that out! Want to try Tailwind? Here’s an affiliate link where you get your first month free and then if you sign up for the Plus program after your free month, I get a $15 credit. 🙂
I have a lot of room for improvement in the email list platform, but I’ve been working on growing my email list so I can bring you guys newsletters, special offers, exclusive recipes, and more. MailerLite isn’t quite as popular as other platforms, but I have found it really comparable to big name platforms and much more intuitive to use than other “free” platforms. (I say “free” because it’s free to use for your first 1,000 subscribers but have tiers for subscriber levels, as do all other platforms.) If you want to try MailerLite, here’s an affiliate link where if you upgrade to a paid subscription, we’ll each get a $20 credit.
Hi, I’m Lindsey and I’m obsessed with Canva! It makes designing everything you need super easy. I use Canva to design all of the images on my site, including pinnable images and graphics, for business cards, my media kit, handouts, post cards, and more. I love it. There’s a really nice free version, and then there’s also a professional/ paid version that allows you to save templates (like if you have a go-to template for your Pinterest images), colors (so you don’t have to remember the hex code for your signature color), fonts, styles, and more. If you find yourself using a lot of stock images, there are free photos and illustrations you can use (many more on the paid version, which can be more than worth it alone, right there!).
I love all things Google, but wanted to showcase a few things I use daily:
- Google Analytics: I use it for tracking everything. You can track users, traffic, demographics, conversions, referral source/ acquisition of traffic to your site, pages that people visit, the flow of how users navigate your site before exiting, etc.
- Gmail: I’ve been using gmail since it was in invitation-only beta, and I love it. I’m super comfortable and efficient with it and love a lot of the other features I can use with it. I set up my firstname.lastname@example.org email to be forwarded to my gmail account and I can send emails from that same email address through the gmail account, as well. I still get to use my beloved gmail and I also get to use an email with my domain.
- Google Search Consule: relatively new to this, but you can submit a site map (basically can help with traffic to your site) and see what search inquiries are leading people to your site.
- Google AdWords: newer to this as well, but it’s an incredibly valuable tool that you can use to bring (paid) targeted traffic to your site. I use this for ads for my private practice and I can create parameters so basically, if there is someone who is looking for what I have to offer, I can try to help them find me.
- Google Calendar: Love love love! I live off my Google Calendar. We have a synced family calendar, so we can all know family appointments/ pediatrician appointments for the baby, I use it for my editorial calendar for planning content, I have it synced to an awesome Google Calendar of food holidays someone put together, it’s synced to my phone, and I also have it synced to Acuity, so if I’m unavailable for an upcoming pediatrician appointment for my daughter, that time will automatically be blocked off in Acuity so prospective clients won’t be able to book their free clarity call during that time. Once you get it set up to work for you, it can really streamline your life.
Need help or have questions about how to use Analytics, AdWords, SEO, etc? You have got to talk to my friend Glenneth – she is an amazing pro and incredibly helpful at this!
Tools I Use for my Private Practice as a Dietitian
I use the Acuity Scheduler on my Free Call page for prospective clients to book their complimentary consult to learn more about my program. I love it because it syncs to my Google Calendar (#obsessed) and also because I can include a brief survey for prospective clients to complete when scheduling their free call to help determine that we’ll be a great fit. If you want to try Acuity Scheduler for yourself, here’s my affiliate link!
If you’re a registered dietitian looking into telehealth, I really love doxy.me for secure, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing. They have a tier that is completely free and it’s awesome. Seriously…I’m amazed how this can be free. I love the waiting room feature, especially, so I can see when someone has logged on and is ready to go for our appointment!
Electronic Health Records System
Okay….so I don’t really have one I that I’m in love with to share with you yet. I’ve been trialing Healthie, which is great and very all-inclusive (they have their own HIPAA-compliant telehealth video conferencing system). I’m also trialing other systems, like Kalix and Simple Practice. Basically…do what works for you (and I’ll come back and update once I found one I’m committing to!)
So there you have it! Tools and tips that help me manage daily work-at-home parent life. Quite a long list, but I seriously use all of these things weekly, if not daily. If you’re an entrepreneur or a work at home parent, I would LOVE to hear how you make it work! Please share all of your tools, tricks, and tips in the comments – we all need to help each other out a bit, right? Happy parenting & happy entrepreneur-ing! 😉