5 Tips to Get More Done in a Day

Life with kids is certainly an adventure - and one that usually doesn't go according to plan :)

This year I stepped out of my 5th grade classroom to stay home with my new little bundle of joy, Hudson. This little cutie just turned 5 months old!

Now I thought that once I stayed home, I'd have oodles of time to devote to blogging and my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Because babies always just play happily on the floor while Mommy works on the computer, right?
Oh boy, was I naive! :)

Now, I am very blessed - Hudson is a happy and consistent napper. And when he's up, he's pretty good at entertaining himself - most of the time.

As I look at my days and the way I spend my time, most of my hours are consumed with keeping the little man alive and happy, trying to keep up with the housework, and sneaking in a nap here and there. However, I love the creative outlet that TpT provides (plus the cha-chings don't hurt either!) and try to prioritize my time so that I can get products posted frequently. 

How do I do that with an infant? Glad you asked!
Here are my 5 tips for getting more done in a day:

Try to plan out the tasks you want to tackle. That way, you have a plan of attack - plus who doesn't love crossing things off that you've accomplished?
Anyone else do this?

I have this blogging/TpT planner from Erin @ Lovin' Lit - and it's awesome! 
 Each Sunday I sit down and plan my blogging & TpT goals for the following week:
Yes, it's color-coordinated :) *nerd alert*
 Here's another blog post where I've shared how I keep the rest of my life organized:
Ever gotten lost in a really good book?
Ever looked up from creating a rock-star TpT product and realized that 3 hours have gone by?
While there may be times when you get on a roll and can spend hours on one thing, usually it's best to  limit yourself so you can be held accountable for your time.
Setting a timer keeps you focused on the task at hand - and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in 7 minutes when you're racing against the clock. 
In 7 minutes I can unload and reload the dishwasher.
In 7 minutes I can whip out a product cover and insert my Terms of Use/Credit page.
In 7 minutes I can schedule three Facebook posts and pin 2 images.
You get the idea...
Now if the thought of early mornings makes you want to puke, skip down to number 4.
If not, keep reading :)
I am a naturally cheerful morning person and usually get a lot done before the sun rises. I find that's my best time for uninterrupted computer time - before my baby boy wakes up and clamors for my full attention. Waking up early can help set the tone for your day as it gives you some alone time before the kids wake up and the pressures of the day hit full-force. 
For you night owls - more power to ya. 
This little teacher is plum-tuckered out before 10pm.
Reading online articles and checking social media may be a fun way to stay connected with the world outside your home - but it can also be a real time-sucker. When I sit down to work on a TpT product or a blog post I set a timer and then work diligently not to log on to Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc. until I'm finished with the task at hand. Sometimes I think I'm strong enough to *pop* on Pinterest for a few seconds - but sure enough, too often I am sucked into the dark hole and don't resurface for half an hour.
Lastly, you need to keep your goals realistic and build grace into your daily schedule. Didn't get everything accomplished on your to-do list? Maybe it's time to realistically prioritize what needs to get done. Don't bite off more than you can chew - and don't be afraid to draw a big arrow from one of today's tasks to tomorrow (or the next day). 

Life with little ones rarely goes as planned - enjoy each sticky moment with them and remember: the to-do list will always be there. Take advantage of the time you can be productive - but also be willing to shut the computer screen, sit on the floor, and drive little toy cars all around your living room carpet. 

After all, is there any more important job?

The Poet's Secret: New Romantic Suspense Novel

Hello faithful readers!

I have been MIA recently as I've taken a much-needed break from blogging as our family traveled from WA to NY for some family vacation. It was an awesome trip, filled with family bonding, good food, and some relaxation time - but it's good to be back, sharing with you on this little piece of blogosphere.

And what better way to come back than with a book review?
The Poet’s Secret by Kenneth Zak
In The Poet’s Secret, Elia Aloundra, a young lit student, sees the reclusive poet Cameron Beck recite a poem at a campus pub before he vanishes—for a second time. Ten years earlier, Beck had dropped from the public eye leaving only an acclaimed collection of odes to an anonymous muse and a decade of speculation over his disappearance.

Elia sets off in search of Beck, longing to know the man whose words have moved her so, hoping perhaps the ghost poet will unveil the secret to eternal love. What she doesn’t know is that as her quest begins, Beck is perched atop a cliff on a remote Caribbean island and about to attempt suicide. As Elia faces off with Beck’s protective circle on the exotic island hideaway, the same island where decades earlier a Spanish shipwreck entombing mystical Aztec relics was found, she finds herself swept up in the mystery of the muse. What Elia cannot fathom is that Beck’s secret will change both their lives forever.

Author Kenneth Zak conceived of The Poet’s Secret in a taverna on the island of Crete. At the time, he was on a three-year sabbatical—an adult “time out,” recovering from a life that had left him feeling hollow. For months he wrote, swam with sea turtles in the Aegean Sea and disappeared into the remote, antiquated Greek village of Avdou. He dedicated himself to “living in the present,” and says, “So many miracles happened during those months. I experienced a cleansing, a healing and an awakening, and I began to perceive light and water and imagery and words and the people around me like never before.”

Ken eventually returned to California, and then traveled to Bali, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia and South America, following the sea and surf with laptop in hand and continuing to write. As an avid surfer and free diver, Ken’s life “has always been about the water. On so many occasions water has saved me, water has healed me, and water has reset my compass when I have been spinning in some uncontrollable vortex. So for me, my life and my love seem to be tied to returning to the great aquatic source, again and again, maybe just to fill the chasm that still exists in me, and maybe to some degree still exists in all of us.”

The Poet’s Secret explores this great aquatic connection, spinning a suspenseful tale of passion, heartbreak, healing, life and love. Each chapter of The Poet’s Secret begins with a short poem, causing the reader to slow down and contemplate —to be present in the moment—before continuing on the narrative journey. 

Here's the book trailer:
Sounds good, doesn't it? An eery, suspenseful, romantic story - sign me up! :)

Here are what critics are saying:
"More than just a good read. This is a book to savor." -Kim Fay, Edgar Award Finalist author of The Map of Lost Memories 

"Golden Heart Finalist" -Romance Writers of America (romantic suspense)

"A beautifully crafted gem of a story." -Dirk Cussler, best selling co-author of Dirk Pitt adventure novels with Clive Cussler

"A richly detailed novel suffused with exotic mystery and romance." -Judy Reeves, writing provocateur and author of Wild Women, Wild Voices

You can purchase the book on Amazon or from Barnes & Noble:

Read about the author, Kenneth Zak, on his website www.kenethzak.com 
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