{organizing with style} Multitasking Tips that Create More Time For the Fun Things

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Apollo Box. As always, all opinions and text are 100% my own and I only recommend products to you that I use myself and truly love.

I get asked all the time how I manage to do everything. First of all... I don't! Not even close! That would imply that my house is always clean, the laundry is always done, and that I'm never writing blog posts at 2 a.m. to meet deadlines. None of those things are true. In fact, if you listen closely, you can probably hear my husband laughing from there!

I do manage to pack a lot into my days, and I've picked up a few tricks over the years that allow me to spend as much time as possible playing with the kids and working on decor and DIY projects, while still generally keeping the house running. And I've even found ways to keep up with things that are really important to me, like my book club, despite not having enough hours in the day to actually read books. 



Multi-tasking is the key. But I don't mean the kind of multi-tasking where your splitting you're attention between two important matters and not doing either of them well. I'm just talking about a few simple tricks that allow me to balance the things I enjoy with the chores I don't. I'll share three of my best multitasking tips with you, as well as one that's a bit more of a work in progress, shall we say.


TIP #1: SORT MAIL & COUPONS WHILE CHATTING ON THE PHONE

I talk to my mom on the phone almost every day, and when my husband is doing a show {he's an actor in addition to his full time career}, I often talk to him while he drives to and from theaters near and far. I love these chats, and wouldn't trade them for anything, but since hours in the day are limited, I like to also use this time to check a few mundane tasks off my to-do list.

As much as I enjoy organizing, being organized doesn't really come naturally to me. Especially when it comes to mail and paperwork. It's very easy for me to simply pile it up and promise myself I'll deal with it later {I'm a master procrastinator}.

A few years ago, I created a new filing system for our kitchen counter, but keeping up the system requires that I actually sort all the incoming paper at least a few times a week. Since this is a task that I too often put off, I've started tackling it each time I'm on the phone. 

Sorting mail and coupons

Sorting the mail, recycling all the junk, and placing important papers and bills in the appropriate files on the counter seems to get done so much faster when I'm deep in conversation, and is a very simple task that I can do without being distracted.

The other quick task I like to check off my list while taking on the phone is adding new coupons to the small, expandable file that I carry in my purse, and purging all those that have expired.


TIP #2: NEVER LEAVE A ROOM EMPTY HANDED

Our home is spread over four floors, with three very long flights of stairs. I could spend all day going up and down the stairs getting things and putting them away, but then I'd get nothing else done. After living in this house for eight years, I've learned to be more judicious about my stair climbing. 

Throughout the day, I try to never leave a room empty handed. For example, any time I leave the kitchen, I first scan the room and scoop up any books and toys that the kids have left lying around. But rather than immediately making a trip upstairs to put books away in their bedroom, and another trip to the basement for toys that belong in the playroom, I instead place the items in a basket on the appropriate set of stairs. 

Never leave a room empty handed

Then when I have a real need to go upstairs or down, I can simply grab that basket and take it with me, quickly putting everything away. This saves me from wasting time running up and down the stairs every few minutes, allowing me more time to play with the kids rather than just cleaning up after them.

TIP #3: LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS WHILE DOING CHORES

Book club is my one guaranteed girls night each month and it always promises good food and good wine with good friends. But more than that, I love that all these girls really read the books and there's always intelligent discussion. Nonetheless, I can't think of the last time I read a book. 

After my boys were born, it became so hard to find a quiet minute to sit down with a book. I used to read in bed, but now that's when I catch up on editing photos and writing project tutorials for the blog. Instead, I started listening to audio books while doing chores. 

Sure I miss holding a book and turning pages, but audio books have been the only thing that allows me to stay an active member of my book club, and as an added bonus, I've discovered that I dread folding laundry a little less when I'm deep in the plot of a great story.

I use an app on my phone to listen to books, but the speaker on my phone isn't loud enough. One of my favorite times to listen to books is while doing the dishes and cooking dinner, but I was constantly picking up my phone with wet or food covered hands to move it around the kitchen because I couldn't hear the book if I wasn't right next to my phone. And I had to pause and rewind anytime I turned on the faucet or ran the microwave, because the sound drowned out the book.

For a while now, I've been searching a good, wireless speaker that I could use for amplifying my audio books. I wanted one to primarily use in the kitchen, but that could also be easily moved around the house with me when doing chores in other rooms. I am so stoked to have discovered the Divoom AuraBox from Apollo Box, because it is the perfect speaker for my book-listening needs, and has so many bonus features that make it functional and whole lot of fun!

Listen to audio books while cooking dinner

My goal was to find a speaker that would be loud enough, while still maintaining good sound quality, so that I could leave it in one place on the counter but hear it as I moved around the kitchen - in and out of the pantry, chopping vegetables, cooking at the stove, washing dishes - without missing any of my book or having to stop and rewind constantly. Not only does the AuraBox meet this requirement, the sound is so great that it actually caught the ear of my musician husband who was super impressed!

Of course, I immediately wanted to test it out, so I loaded up a favorite book, connected my phone to the AuraBox via Bluetooth, and enjoyed listening while cooking dinner.  

Multitask by listen to audio books while doing chores

The front of the AuraBox is covered in 100 LED lights, and the app has more than 70 pre-set, static images that you can choose from and customize. I chose a picture of a speaker to display on the screen when listening to books, but changed the colors to blue and teal {my favorites}. In addition to the pre-set designs, you can also use the AuraBox as an LED Drawing Board to create your own images, and can even create custom animations to play on the screen.

Keep up with book club by listening to books while cooking

But like I said, the AuraBox is more than just a speaker. You can display the time or temperature on the screen, it can serve as an alarm clock, and it can even be used as a speaker phone. When you receive a call on your phone while it is connected to the AuraBox by Bluetooth, you'll hear the ring through the AuraBox speaker and the screen will light up with a phone symbol. You can answer the phone by simply pressing the play button on the top of the box. Just like that, my multitasking while talking on the phone just got a whole lot easier as well. 

AuraBox notifications on LED screen

An image of a red phone on the screen alerts you if you've missed a call, and various social media symbols also appear on the screen to notify you when you receive a new message {you can control which notifications you receive via the AuraBox app}.

I love discovering new products that make it easier for me to be more productive, and this cool tool is both functional and fun. I can move it around the house {it only weighs 5.3 ounces} to listen to books while doing laundry or even while getting ready for an evening out. But we can also use it when we are entertaining. Our house doesn't have a very open floor plan, so it's hard to hear music from one room to the next. Now when we have a dinner party, the music can easily move with us from the living room to the dining room, and even out to the patio on nice nights.

My husband cooked dinner for the family the other night and loved listening to sports talk radio while he worked. Talk about a way to make my guy happy! And even though I'm normally the artsy one in the family who likes to doodle and draw, the added tech element has him intrigued. While dinner was cooking in the oven, he started using the app to draw his own light designs, and he ended up creating a cool animation {yes, I know, we in Colorado are almost as proud of our flag as those Texans}...


Now it's just a matter of time until our boys discover this and want to start creating their own drawings and animations as well! 

If you've got an audio book fan, a music lover, an artist, or a techie on your shopping list, the Divoom AuraBox might be the perfect gift this holiday season. It's sold by Apollo Box, which is a platform of "creative and fancy products" designed to help people discover the coolest stuff in the world {and come on, who doesn't love creative and fancy?!}. Best of all, all the products available for purchase online via Apollo Box are offered with exclusive member-only discounts and free shipping. Following the Apollo Box Facebook page is another fun way to learn about really unique new products. I've already spotted a couple of other things that would make great Christmas gifts.


TIP #4: DON'T LET SOCIAL MEDIA TURN YOU INTO A COUCH POTATO

This spring, I got a fitness tracker for my birthday, and quickly realized that I don't move as much during the day as I should. I feel like I'm on the go all day every day, but my step count says otherwise. I've started paying closer to attention to my habits, and realized that even when I'm busy doing something active, I tend to sit down when I reply to emails and social media comments.

I've been making a conscious effort to get up and move while responding to emails and messages on my phone. Right now, that mostly looks like me pacing around the kitchen and living room, but my goals is to get back to a regular schedule of using my elliptical machine each morning while dedicating that exercise time to catching up on emails and social media. My hope is that this will then allow me to set my phone aside while I play with the kids and accomplish other things during the middle of the day. 

Don't let social media turn you into a couch potato

Like I said, this one is a work in progress... I've already gotten better about moving around more while working on social media for the blog, but I want to take it a "step" further. I know that a lot of people add work surfaces to their treadmills, so I'm hoping it will be equally feasible for me to work while using my elliptical machine. For those of you who like to work while working out, do you have any tips for me?

Four tips for multitasking moms

I'd also love for you to share your best multitasking advice. What else could I be doing to be more efficient in my day, while still giving important tasks and family time the attention they deserve?

*Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

No comments :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...