Tag Archives: Productivity

Nap Schedule for Work at home mom

Schedules: The WAHM’s Secret Weapon #2 for Sanity & Productivity

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Ariel Kostrna

I absolutely love helping people grow! One of the best ways I can do that is by sharing things that I've found helpful, in any area of life.
Ariel Kostrna
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Work at Home moms have a unique set of challenges. We’ve covered why and how to be a WAHM first, then last time we talked about the importance of being able to give 100% to both your work and your baby, in turn. Today we’ll tackle my favorite method (and the only method I’ve found that’s actually worked!) for being able to do that. As a stay-at-home mom, it can feel impossible to find a consistent time to give work 100%. The key is…

Secret Weapon #2: Start Scheduling

I know a lot of people don’t like the “s” word. But scheduling is an absolute life-saver for the WAHM. When used correctly, schedules foster calm and order while reducing chaos and stress. The important thing to determine when creating a schedule is how rigid you want it to be. Trying to keep a strict to-the-minute schedule will likely only add to your stress instead of lessening it—especially when we’re working with babies, who are by nature unpredictable. So loose is a key word here.

As soon as your baby is three months old, their sleep begins to stabilize.* At this point, not only can they fall asleep by themselves, but they actually begin to enjoy structure as well. Babies thrive on the stability of a routine, so the bonus of having a schedule is that your baby may enjoy it just as much as you! I can’t recommend creating and implementing a nap schedule more highly. It has made a world of difference in this mom’s life.

Nap Schedule for Work at home mom

There are a lot of great resources to learn more about nap schedules, but the most important thing is to find the perfect waketime for your baby (the time between each nap). Use a list like this one as a starting point, and you’ll soon discover what your baby’s ideal waketime length is. Then you can create your nap schedule around that. (As your baby grows, this waketime will continue to stretch every one or two months. So your schedule will shift, but the following principle remains the same.)

When your baby sleeps, work! It will be tempting to start cleaning the house or tackling the dishes. Resist the urge! You can do housework while baby plays next to you or hangs out in a pack, so it’s a waste to use this totally quiet, uninterrupted time for those tasks. Put your phone down, dive into your work and get some quality focus time in. I’ve found I am actually even more productive in less time since becoming a mom—those quiet nap periods are so precious and limited that I become doubly focused!

Now, for some WAHMs, this will be enough work time in a day. But keep in mind you should always schedule in some downtime, so just because your baby theoretically sleeps 3 hours in any given day doesn’t mean you will clock in exactly 3 hours. Sometimes, too, it’s important to take 15 or 20 minutes as soon as baby falls asleep to take some well-deserved R&R! (I do this once a day at the beginning of Alan’s last nap, and it is much needed!) So if you can’t get all your work in done in those few hours, it’s time to take a look at my “bonus” secret weapons.

I hope this post has given you a little insight on why I love scheduling so much. There are a lot of resources to find out more about baby sleep and scheduling, but the most important thing is to find out what works for you. Experiment and remember that no two babies are alike.


*Before three months of age, it’s more difficult to get consistency, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get work done. At this stage they often sleep best on Mom, so get a carrier or wrap and wear that baby while you work! This might be a nice time to invest in a stand-up desk so you can stand and bounce while you’re at the computer…

4 Awesome Productivity Journals

Here at AVA, we love the digital world! Our task management, communications and file storage is all online. While we do believe digital is the way to go, we recognize not everything has to be virtual. Goal-setting is a great example of something where paper might just be more motivating! While there are a multitude of apps to help you reach goals and become more productive, having a physical journal works better for a lot of people. So we’re here today to show you some productivity journals that are just plain awesome.

1 – SELF Journal

This journal is not for the faint of heart. With a double page spread for every day (includes space to block time and jot your top 3 to-dos, wins, and gratitude for the day), this journal makes sure you take this goal seriously! I’ve also heard rumors that with the purchase of the journal, you get access to the private motivational Facebook group BestSelf Alliance. This journal is also unique in that it is based on the 13-week planning method.

Learn more about the SELF Journal here.


2 – Day Designer 

This journal is a little more condensed than the SELF journal, with one day per page. It includes much of the same: time blocking, Top 3 To-Do, gratitude). Unlike the SELF journal, the Day Designer is dated, which may be a con for some. What it does have that the SELF doesn’t is a huge variety of colors and styles!


Learn more about the Day Designer here.


3 – Intelligence Change’s Productivity Planner

This planner from Intelligence Change is a nice combination of features from the first two planners we’ve mentioned. It has a one day per page layout, but is also undated.This planner has more of a focus on time tracking, and uses the Pomodoro technique. We like the inspirational quotes too!productivity-planner

Learn more about the Productivity Planner here.


4 – Freedom Journal

This journal is your daily guide for accomplishing a goal in 100 days. It has less space for time blocking and more for tackling the mental roadblocks to your goal. Each two page spread has morning planning on the right, and nightly review questions on the left. It also has quarterly reviews – and access to a private Facebook page as well!


Learn more about the Freedom Journal here.


Do you have a journal or planner you use to accomplish your goals? Or maybe it’s an app? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Ways to Master Your Morning

Your morning sets the tone for your entire day. If your morning is rushed and harried, your day will follow suit. If it’s planned out and smooth, your day will be as well. That’s why I think having some sort of morning routine is so important!

These are a few of my favorite ways to start the day. They’re simple things you can do to prepare yourself for a healthy, productive workday.

  1. Be Grateful. I’ll admit it’s so easy to wake up yelling at the alarm clock. But you will be amazed at the difference you’ll feel if you pick just one thing to express thankfulness for. A grateful attitude shifts the feeling of our entire day, which is why this is number one!
  2. Drink water. Don’t skip this one! 75% of Americans are dehydrated. (Yikes!) So before you do anything else grab the cup by your bedside and chug a whole glassful of the life-giving liquid.
  3. Do some gentle stretches. You probably don’t have time for a full-blown yoga session, but there are some easy stretches you can do from your bed that will help wake up your muscles. Here’s a a set of 5 gentle stretches.
  4. Make a to-do list. This is a great thing to do while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew. While you’re still calm and haven’t jumped into the day, write down your Top 3 important tasks. If you start work before you make a goal, you’ll be left feeling like you haven’t accomplished much.
  5. Meditate. Clearing your mind before the day has all sorts of positive benefits! It can be just 5 or 10 minutes. Try Calm’s free meditations. They have both guided and unguided sessions.
  6. Eat Breakfast. I know it’s going out of style, but nutritionists have confirmed it is healthier to eat a small, healthy breakfast. Yogurt and granola, eggs, a smoothie – give your body a little fuel to start the day.

Now some people will say, “Wow, how in the world would I have time for all this?” And to that I would say… maybe you need to consider getting up just 20 or 30 minutes earlier. Less rush in the morning always feels better. Check out this awesome podcast by The Productivity Show. It’s filled with tips for making it easier to wake up early (and still getting enough sleep). I found it very helpful!

Now it’s time for you to share.  What do you do to start your morning off on the right foot? Let me know in the comments!