5 ways to improve work-life balance for work at home moms

5 ways to improve work-life balance for work at home moms

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5 ways to improve work-life balance for work at home moms

Working from home may sound like a dream, but housework, children, and spouses can quickly cause distractions that are impossible to ignore. For many moms, working from home helps them to avoid childcare costs and allows them to spend more time with their children. Unfortunately, sticking to a solid 9 – 5 working day and striking a work-life balance presents a tough challenge. Improve your work-life balance by following our tips for work at home moms.

Create an office space

Having a space that’s separated from the rest of the house can help to stop you from getting distracted by other household tasks and put you in the right frame of mind for work. Set up your office space with a good desk, supportive chair and a high-speed internet connection to ensure that you have the right tools to let you concentrate on your work.

3605107785_5f1f291f91-1Break up your time

Working from home with young children? Break up your time into little 30 minute chunks and set your children a task to complete during that time. This could mean coloring in a picture, tidying up their toys or watching their favorite videos on YouTube. Set an egg timer and use this time to focus wholly on your own tasks without distraction.

Introduce a morning routine

Make the most of the time that your kids are still in bed by getting up early and starting your day before them. That way, you’ll have a few precious hours to get a head start on work before you need to wake your children up and get them ready for the day. Additionally, introducing a morning routine that includes getting up early, showering and getting dressed for work. There’s no need for a full suit and heels, but getting out of your pajamas and into work clothes will make you more productive.

Commit to time for yourself

Schedule in time for yourself in your diary and stick to it. Commit to allowing yourself time every day to unwind for half an hour or so. Download a fitness app and do a workout, have a cup of tea and read a book or do some gentle stretching. Doing something that’s just for you will allow you to cool down from your day and prepare for your evening.

Continue to be flexible

As a work from home mom, you’ll find that your schedule needs to remain flexible. As your child grows and changes, they’ll need varying levels of attention and care. On top of that, parenting often throws up unforeseen circumstances like doctor’s appointments and dentist check-ups that require you to be flexible. Make the most of the routine when you can stick to it, but don’t get stressed out on the days when you can’t.

 

The most important thing about being a work from home mom is to allow yourself to make mistakes and adjustments based on what works for you. Every day isn’t going to be perfect, so cut yourself a little slack!

 

Image by Ian Barbour and A Girl With Tea used under CC license

About the author:

Samantha is an English instructor who is known for her unmatched passion for teaching.  In addition to an remarkable grasp of the English language, her grammatical expertise as well as creativity and writing prowess made her one the most sought after instructors in her home city.  Now, Samantha brings you thought-provoking articles that elicit deep thinking and analysis.

 Rhetoric Public Speaking by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck – Review

Rhetoric Public Speaking by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck – Review



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What we love…

Various options for narrative formation.

What we’d love to see…

Ability to choose/skip topics or make your own, option to record speeches for review, a junior version of the app.

Summary

A public speaking board game that presents lots of possibilities in practicing expressive language and narratives. Particularly useful for older children or adult clients in speech therapy.

Our Rating

Rhetoric Public Speaking Game is an app developed by the creators of Rhetoric-The Public Speaking Game (John Zimmer and Florian Mueck). The original board game was released in 2012 and was a huge success. It was made to help those with a desire to increase public speaking skills. The creators have now released an app that reflects the benefits of the board game. The purpose of this review will be to write about how this app can be used by Speech Language Pathologists in therapy.

When I first looked at the app, my impression was that this is for much older players. The description was more about how to prepare for debates and public speaking engagements. As I explored and played through, I realized that there are many ways to adapt it for practicing expressive language and narratives. The app needs to be monitored and set up by an adult, which is actually a good thing, as it encourages interactions between the clinician and the student.

Game play itself is relatively easy. The game can be played by 2 to 8 people at a time. A great feature is that the game supports multiple different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Catalan; with more languages to come). Default time is set to a minimum of 1 minute, but can be adjusted to 2 minutes. There are 2 styles to the game, competitive or not. In the competitive mode, the other players are the ones that determine the score. In therapy, this can be useful in teaching the kids how to give constructive criticism and even compliments.

Opening the app results in a black home page with no illustrations. 3 options are there: Rules, Play and About. Of course, it is really important to read the rules before even trying to play. If you go straight to play option, you will be lost. The rule section is long and somewhat complicated, as it explains each space on the game board. Right from this page, I knew that I would need to create a cheat sheet to have handy during play.

The game begins with an “audience” waiting to hear speeches. Each speaker has a marker, poised at the “entrance”. The players roll a dice, move to a space on the board, on which they are asked to participate in a speech task according to 4 categories – Topic, Challenge, Question, Reflection. The game continues until a player exits the “stage”.

When your marker lands on Topic, you pick a card that gives you the topic of your speech. Then you need to create your narrative to include one of 6 fields or tasks: Tell a story, Use a quote, Evoke the Senses, Draw an Analogy, Use Humor, Call to Action. Each of these is explained in the rules section (hence, the cheat sheet). If your marker stops at Challenge, you have to respond to that specific challenge (e.g. You are the host of a TV game show. Introduce the other players as the contestants).

When you land on Question, any player can ask you a question about anything and you have to structure your answer based on the result of your spin on the Wheel of Structure. Structures like ‘Good, Better, Best’; ‘Bad, Worse, Worst’; ‘Past, Present, Future’; ‘One, Two, Three’ and ‘Pros and Cons’ help you organize your thoughts and deliver an impressive speech. One last area is Reflection, where you can choose to talk about anything within the time limit.

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Once the game starts, it is pretty intuitive, with the speaker just having to tap a card to bring you to the next “task”. Card selection is random, so you never know what will pop up. Subjects range from appropriate for younger kids, to rather older in nature (speak about something in the room to deliver your own eulogy). It would be nice to be able to customize the cards for the target population. Once you are ready to speak, the timer is revealed and when speech is completed you tap the check mark to end your turn. Play continues with the next speaker.

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As you can see, once you are familiar with the different spaces on the board and the different tasks, the app can actually be a lot of fun. In therapy, I would delay the actual speaking part to help the student create a visual BrainFrame or use components of other narrative programs (SKILLS, SGM) to help organize thoughts and create a narrative. I would also limit the tasks that they can choose from, to make it more appropriate for the clients playing the game. An option that I would change to help with this idea, is to allow the speaker to use a field more than once. Recording the students while speaking would also be a great asset to therapy. The clinician can go back and review the elements of the narrative that were covered or missed.

Getting students to actually use expressive language in a structured activity is a difficult task at the best of times. The chance to incorporate this skill into a board game is an excellent addition to treatment. Students react well to electronics and the somewhat competitive board game nature of Rhetoric. There is also no real “judgements” made about the speech which is great.

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I can also see the validity of working with adult aphasia clients that have been in therapy for a while. They too would probably like the game nature of this app. I would think the stress level of having to create narratives will be lessened by having topics and structures presented to them. If possible, recording the narrative to go back and review would be great as well.

There are a lot of things I like about this app (if used with the right demographics). The different language options is for sure a really big plus. The multiple player setup is great for group sessions. The simple design of the board game makes it easy to play and allows the clients to move ahead towards the finish quickly. There are multiple different options for narrative formation. The non-competitive version of the game allows for excellent client feedback and gives the clinician lots of opportunities for direct teaching of narrative formation.

What I would like to see is the ability to choose the topics for the speeches or even to make your own. Another option is for the developers to make a junior version. That would be awesome!!!! I would like to be able to skip a card if it doesn’t seem appropriate. The developers have mentioned that more languages and specific theme topics are coming soon so then maybe then it will be easier to choose. I would also like to see an option to record the speeches to review later.

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Rhetoric Public Speaking Game

Rhetoric Public Speaking Game Rhetoric Public Speaking Game by John Zimmer
Category: Games, Education, Educational, Board
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 85.86 MB

$6.99USD

 

 

Lisa is a Speech Language Pathologist who has been working in an inclusive school system for over 32 years. She works with children that have issues in all areas of speech and language. She loves her work and is always looking for ways to integrate technology.
 Project Life by Becky Higgins LLC – Review

Project Life by Becky Higgins LLC – Review



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What we love…

easy to use photo collage and scrapbooking app that has helped me share more photos with my family

What we’d love to see…

ability to save  photos to iCloud, a subscription or bulk purchase for the kits or a premium version that includes all content

Summary

This is my “go to” digital scrapbooking app that allows me to free my photos from my iPhone.  I love how fast and easy it is to do up the pages and share them with my family.

Our Rating

Project LifeI am a self confessed photo-a-holic – and until I started using Project Life – all of those photos lived on my iPad or iPhone destined to stay in the memory forever.  I would pull off a few photos here or there to demonstrate my photo skills, but sadly many were relegated to be taken and never seen again!  Enter, Project Life by Becky Higgins the app that brought my photos to life!  I have two kids and love to take photos of them as they change and grow, as many moms do.  Unfortunately, even with my best intentions they would get stuck on my iPhone or iPad never to be seen again.  Several months ago a friend of mine, who is a big scrapbook lover told me I HAD TO TRY THIS APP!  I downloaded this digital scrapbooking app and within a week – I was hooked.  My family and friends love all of the photos I am sharing and best of all – I don’t need to worry about the backlog of photos at the end of the year when I’m trying to do my photo book.  My current year photo book is almost done!  I don’t have to worry about pulling out lots of scrapbook supplies that I will need to put away when I am done – instead I can focus on my photos and trying to make them look nice to share with family and friends.  We even have done school homework using Project Life – my son had to do a study of the wind as part of his science homework – we took a bunch of photos, scrapped them into the app and within 10 minutes of completing the photos had the story told and ready to share with his teacher!

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First you pick a layout in the app – you can either do a collage or a scrapbook page.  The collage pages are either 4×6 or 6×8.  From there, you add in and position your photos with the pinch and zoom method and then you can fill in the empty boxes using the added digital scrapbook packs.  It’s really easy and quick to do a page, and you can “tell the story” in a moment with your photos instead of leaving them to tell the story.  Photo pages can be exported in 8×8 or 12×12 which are perfect for Shutterfly or other photo books.  The collages can be exported and inserted into your pages as well.  The app includes a few pre-designed templates (more can be purchased) as well as designer cards which you can insert into the collages.   It’s easy and fast to import your photos which you can easily move around within the app if you don’t like the placement and the pages in progress can be saved if you can’t finish them at that moment in time.  Pages can be shared via social media like Facebook, Twitter, email and text as well as saved to the camera roll on your device for use in other apps.

My pictures are now free!  Now, I take photos and can scrap them on the go while waiting in a car line, if I have a few minutes of downtime and I share them with my family more regularly.  I love how easy it is to make pages and put them into my photo book which will eliminate the end of the year scramble for me.  I also find that I’m sharing my photos more regularly with others rather than letting them sit on my iPhone never to be seen again.  I like to use Project Life in conjunction with Tinybeans which allows you to easily upload photos on a day by day basis to share with family and friends.

In terms of improvements, I wish that there was either a subscription based model to purchase the “kits” or a “bulk” purchase method.  When I first downloaded the app, I downloaded several kits as well as formats and spent about $15 in in-app purchases, for me because I use the app frequently it was worth it.  I’d love to see a “premium” version of the app that includes all of the kits and is updated regularly.  I also wish there was an easier way to sync finished pages across devices, you can use Dropbox, but I’d love to see iCloud included in a future update.

This is my “go to” digital scrapbooking app.  I love how easily I can take photos and convert them from a “stuck on my iPhone” to sharing them with family and friends at a moment in time.  It’s easy to use and makes much less mess than traditional scrapbooking and the best part is that my pictures are now able to be seen by everyone rather than just hidden on my iPhone or camera!  Win – Win! There are in-app purchases and no parental gate since this is an app designed for parents – as always I encourage you to switch off in-app purchases in your device via the settings.



Project Life Project Life by Becky Higgins LLC

Price: $2.99 USD

Imagine scrapbooking without scissors or adhesive or tools … or without having to print photos! Never before has scrapbooking been so easy, so fast, or so available in the palm of your hand! The Project.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Sortly – Moving, Organizing & Inventory by My Things App Inc. – Review

Sortly – Moving, Organizing & Inventory by My Things App Inc. – Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

simple, easy to use app that helps you get organized in a fast easy way

What we’d love to see…

“pre-set” with typical items in a home to allow for on the fly start rather than having snap pictures and go

Summary

Easy to use inventory app which helps you keep track of your high value belongings, warranty information as well as prepare for a move.  Perfect for a busy mom!

Our Rating

recommended

Sortly is an app for iOS which allows you to organize your life using your iOS device to document your inventory, personal belongings room by room as well as use photos, create QR tags and more.  Using the app you can make a home inventory, take photos and keep track of any collectible items, organize for your upcoming move and for small business owners keep track of your physical inventory.

We have moved six times since we have been married – and I really wish I had known about this app during our many moves including one where our items went into storage for six weeks.  It certainly would have made the packing and unpacking process easier since we re-used our boxes a couple of times and items ended up in the wrong room, wrong floor and sometimes just in the wrong place entirely.  I also used it to write down information about my kitchen appliances including the serial number, warranty information and any repair work that had been completed.  I could take a photo of the repair order and keep it in my app for future reference.  You could also use it to catalog a book collection

One of my favorite things about the app was the ability to create a home inventory using my iPad and taking photos of the items at the same time which meant if something was stolen, I had a photo that was easily accessible on my iPad.  The app allows you to backup to the cloud (200 for the free version, unlimited for the paid version) as well as print QR labels, and export your data into PDF.  I can especially see the PDF being helpful during a move, because that way you have an inventory and can figure out quickly which boxes need to be opened first upon the move.   I also liked the “tagging” feature which allowed me to create and search on tags within the app.  I also used it to keep an inventory of baby supplies at home including my supply of diapers, wipes, shoe sizes, clothing sizes so that if I happened to come upon a good deal for an item I knew immediately what vital measurements were for my children.  The video function was perfect for my high value items so I could demonstrate the item and provide a bit more history/background on it just in case I needed it for an insurance inventory.  I also found it helpful when my refrigerator failed and I needed to pull up the warranty information recently which was very easy with the app.

In terms of enhancements to the app – I’d like to see a “pre-set” which would help with the home inventory or moving checklist which contains items that you usually have in your home like a desk, washer/dryer, etc.  That way you could snap photos of your items using your iOS device and begin the inventory quickly on the fly rather than trying to create it as you went which would automate it a bit.

Overall, this app would be great for a small business, someone who was moving or even someone who needed to do a home inventory.  The free version of the app will give you a great “test drive” and then if you find it useful you can upgrade it to the full version for more features and the ability to print as well as backup to the cloud.  I know that it was a huge help finding warranty information and if I ever have to move again, I will be using it to keep track of my items ahead of time!

Sortly - Moving, Organizing & Inventory
Sortly - Moving, Organizing & Inventory
by My Things App Inc.

Category: Productivity, Lifestyle
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 67.77 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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