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5 Tips to Make Parenting Easier using IFTTT: Guest Blogger Whitney Hutten

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5 Tips to Make Parenting Easier Using IFTTT | Whitney Hutten | Chaos & Kiddos
A special treat for you today!! When I wrote IFTTT – Yup, How I applied the Super App to my Purposeful Parenting, I was thrilled to connect with business pro, Whitney Hutten, who is totally in the know about the application and has rocked it in her everyday life. She’s here with us today sharing more about how this super cool program can streamline your busy day and give you some peace of mind. Welcome Whitney and a million thanks for sharing such useful info with us! I can’t wait to take the IFTTT app to the next level in my own life! — Katy
5 Tips to Make Parenting Easier using IFTTT - Using the Application to Streamline your Life
Last week, we looked at how to use “If This Than That” statements to motivate your kids and make parenting easier.  
But, do you ever secretly wish for an assistant that would bring you coffee, a newspaper, and tell you everything that’s on your agenda for the day?  Maybe write your to-do list for you and send an email?  The IFTTT app can’t bring you the coffee (yet!), but it can do everything else and more.  
Let me show you how I tamed my daily life, getting more time for my family and business.  
Opening the IFTTT app, can initially be daunting.  You can link over 60 web services in a myriad of combinations.  These combinations are called “recipes”.
How many recipes can you make?  Do that math!  It’s insane!
In order to get started making recipes (and not get overwhelmed), let’s get very strategic … thinking about what you do every day.  
  1. Do you check the weather, send a text, leave a voicemail, write a to-do, back up photos, read the news online?  What are the small things you are do constantly?  These are great tasks to automate.
  2. Next, think about how you like receiving and organizing information.  Do you like emails, texts, calls, to-do list, Evernote?  Maybe how you receive it depends on where you are in your day.  
As you build your recipes, you will want to think about the best way to “digest” the info at the time you want it.  The whole point is to make life easier for you.
Here 5 cool (& easy) recipes to get started with.
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I love my Weather.com app, but it can be slow to load on my phone.  This recipe sends me a text at 7pm every night and then again at 6:15am to let me know what the weather will be doing so I can adequately prepare the family for the day.  
  • Other ideas for Weather: You can also this recipe up to let you know if there is a severe weather alert issued, or maybe even just to remind you (your kiddo or spouse) to bring an umbrella tomorrow because it is going to rain.

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You can set up this handy recipe a number of ways.  You can set it up that when you “star” an email in your Gmail account it creates a “to do” on your iPhone iOS reminders.  Or, if you subscribe to “Inbox Zero”, have the event triggered when you move an email to a “To-Do” label in Gmail to get it out of your inbox.
  • Other ideas for Gmail: You can also set it up to delegate to someone else by labeling the email “Honey-Do” and then it pops up on your spouse’s iOS reminders (sneaky I know!).  Or have IFTTT back up all of your Gmail attachments to your Google Docs drive.
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Do you search Craigslist for items regularly?  You can even set up a search in Craigslist and have the results sent right to your Gmail or SMS text message. You can even set up a search and send it to your spouse.  And go have a cup of coffee.
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This recipe is so handy! Ever lost or damaged your phone?  You can set up IFTTT so it will automatically backup your iPhone pictures to my Dropbox (or Google Docs, or Box).  Now you can organize and share your personal photos automatically with family (via Dropbox), push them to Shutterfly to print, or share photos with a virtual assistant for business projects…hmmm…
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If you’re more of a talker than a writer, than this one is for you.  First, set up an IFTTT phone number.  Now anyone can leave a message at this number and this recipe will send you a dictation of the voicemail (that actually isn’t bad).  The crazy part, you can use it to make an errand list on the run, take notes and send to colleagues, or even get a first draft of a blog post going.  
After setting up this recipe, it finally dawned on me just how powerful IFTTT is as an application, but also how it can be used to build a system for life and business.  So how could I leverage this little app to automate different parts of my business, especially the processes that drain me of the most time and energy?  I share how I did just that here.
There are so many ways to use this amazing service, you can even send a loved one a text when you reach your destination (seriously!).  
So how will you use it to make your life easier?  Create a recipe and share below!
Whitney, author of the upcoming book “Make Shi(f)t Happen: 7 Steps to Jumpstarting Your Business”, helps entrepreneurs build a solid foundation and system to get more clients. She is a wife, mom, & business strategist. Grab the FREE guide to kickstart your business growth.

 

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Organizational Tips

Top 10 Family Safety Tips from @GetReadyNowPack

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Family Safety Tips

Life as a busy working mom is more than hectic! The best way to combat the crazy and chaos is to do our best to prepare in advance whenever possible. Emergency preparedness is one area we often skimp in, leaving us stressed and scrambling when disaster strikes (sometimes even by our own doing!). Our friends at Get Ready Now have a few simple routines, habits and family safety tips that will keep us in control when life strikes back.

Family Safety Tips

Regular Car Check Ups

We’ll admit, guilty as charged! We often overlook the basic maintenance that keeps our car running and in tip top shape. Then, when our car decides to bite back with a little reminder about how much we’ve been neglecting it, we’re stuck in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. If you have trouble remembering to give your car some much needed love, be sure to download our Google calendar reminder list!

Keep Your Phone Fully Charged

Oops…guilty as charged again! We hate hunting down our phone chargers and have a really bad habit of tossing our phones under our pillows instead of plugging it in at night, which usually means it’s teetering near death right when we want to make an important call the next day. Invest the few dollars to keep phone chargers handy. One in the kitchen, one in the office, one in the bedroom, one in the car. Do your best to stay charged up so you have some mileage on your phone’s battery when you need it!

Stay Tuned to Weather and Disaster Warnings

We all have our phones within reach around the clock, so be sure to sign up for phone alerts or download your favorite weather app to stay in the know and be ready to move and take action when regional warnings are issued!

Have an Evacuation Plan in Place

This is a big one. Whether it’s talking about your family plan to exit the house in the event of a fire or learning your local evacuation routes and shelter locations, take time to sit down with your family and make sure everyone, young and old, understands exactly what you’ll do, where, when and how should you need to evacuate your home for any reason. This can feel like a scary conversation, especially for little ones, so we often avoid it and then reality is much, much scarier when emergency strikes and we are not prepared. Bite the bullet, map out your routes and practice it as a family!

family safety tips

Know How You’ll Reconnect With People Who Matter

If your phone died right now, would you know how to reach the most important people in your life? Yup, us too. Busted. Memorization not your thing? Make sure you store contact information safely in a few different places so you can reach out to friends and family in the event of an emergency from wherever you are. When it comes to evacuation and fire escapes, set up family meeting points where you will all head should you get physically separated. Plan for the worst case scenario!

Learn What to Do if You’re Caught Away From Home

This is more about having a plan A…through double ZZ. Emergencies breed fear and fear breeds panic, so our best defense is a good offense. Spend some time thinking through the different scenarios that might result in your being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be, unable to get somewhere you do what to be. What will you do? Where will you go? Confronting your fears, establishing plans and considering your options will empower you to act with clarity and purpose when life goes awry.

Have an Emergency Kit (or Ten) and Know How to Use Them

An emergency preparedness kit is only helpful if you know where it is, can easily get to it, know what’s in it and how to use it. Thankfully, our friends at Get Ready Now can help us there. They have vehicle packs, grab and go packs and have thought about everything you’ll need in an emergency from start to finish. Their bags are waterproof (win), clear (double win) and the supplies inside are good for 5 years (triple win!). Their website has complete lists and even videos detailing exactly what is in your pack and why it’s important. Use the code FREESHIP for free shipping! Woot! Woot!

Don’t Forget to Plan for Your Pets

Many of us overlook preparing in advance for what will happen with our pets in an emergency. We adore these beloved family members and can hit a wall of panic when disaster strikes and we realize we have not accounted for their needs along with our own. Make sure your emergency kits have extra pet food and include your pet care in evacuation planning and practice.

Stay in the Know and Sharpen Up on Your Emergency Skills

Are you CPR certified? Do you know how to safely perform the Heimlich Maneuver? Do you know how to start a fire outdoors? Consider signing up for a local safety or survival skills course. When disaster strikes, our knowledge base fuels our ability to stay calm and act effectively, which can save crucial time in an emergency or even save somebody’s life!

No Cheating! Check Those Smoke Detector Batteries Regularly

Admit it. We’ve all done it. It starts beeping, out of love to let us know that something’s up and it’s not in prime shape to save our lives. And we beat it to death with a stick, rip out the batteries, and cuddle back up in bed. And then leave it. And then leave it. And then leave it some more. NO MORE. Get those batteries in, set calendar reminders to test all smoke detectors regularly and keep your family safe, starting in your home, today.

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Use the code FREESHIP for Free Shipping on Your Order!

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Organizational Tips

24 Super Awesome Articles for Busy Working Moms

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24 Super Awesome Articles

You may have noticed a bit of feast or famine over here at Chaos & Kiddos. Why? Because we’ve been sharing the love all over! Yup, that’s right. When we’re not here actively posting, it’s usually because we have the great honor to share our voice on other platforms. We thought you might like to keep up with where we’ve been! So…check out these 24 super awesome articles for busy working moms. Enjoy!

Parenting

Need a little parenting pick me up? Look no further! Grab a cup of coffee and kick back for a good read. Pick up a few tips and tricks, and give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing an AWESOME job.

Am I Chipping Away at the Foundation of My Children’s Success?

Why You Need a Family Mission Statement

Want to Teach Children? Get a Family Pet

10 Tips to Get Better Photos of Your Children

Potty Training: How to Graduate from Rewards to Real Life

It Takes a Village: Today’s Isolated Mom

Working Moms

Tell the truth…We bet you’re working too hard! It’s ok. We all do. Let’s band together and give ourselves permission for a little TLC, a whole lot more community and the opportunity to thrive professionally and personally, being our best selves for those we love most.

Working Moms Get a “Free to Grow” Permission Slip from Sprout

The One Question You Should Be Asking Yourself Every Day

How I Finally Realized Being a Workaholic Wasn’t a Good Thing

Redefining Success as a Suddenly Single Working Mom

How to Combat the Working Mom Woes

Professional Opportunities for The Stay-at-Home Mom

Tips for the Working Mom: How to Excel in Both Worlds

Small Business

Our very favorite!! Sharing the tips and tricks to help your business grow, the creative ideas that are making big waves in the entrepreneurial and those little reminders that get you back on track as a motivated, focused small business owner.

Meet the U.S. Company that Beat France to the Email Ban Idea

How to Maintain a Healthy Business Partnership

The Evolution of the Social Media Management Model

With This Tweet, I Thee Wed: How to “Put a Ring on It” and Transform Your Followers Into Brand Advocates

Why I Left Corporate America

Get More Instagram Followers and Grow Your Business

The Fountain of Youth: A Childhood Lesson in Healthy Competition

The Enlightened Entrepreneur: The Best Ways to Achieve Real Success

Health and Wellness

Last, but certainly not least, the most important part. Staying healthy and being well. The journey towards balance is just that…a journey. Join us as we walk together towards a more meaningful, enriched life.

Why You Need to Renegotiate the Contracts in Your Life

Baby Steps to Balance: The Journey Towards a Better Life Begins With Your Very First Step

The Top 10 Cheerleaders You Need to Survive Your Divorce

How to Set Boundaries That Balance Your Life


Do you have any super awesome articles for busy working moms? Share them below in the comments! Let’s face it, time is a hot commodity around here, and most of us don’t have time to blog hop! So…if you’ve done us the great honor by taking time out of your busy day to stop here, then THANK YOU! From the bottom of our hearts. And if you have a resource to share, please do so! Any opportunity we have to connect a resource with a need, whether it’s our information or not, is a big win for us, and for YOU!

And that’s why we’re here. For you. XOXO

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5 Tips for Time Management

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Time Management

Let’s face it. Being a working mom can be pretty crazy sometimes. How are you supposed to fit all of your activities into one 24 hour period, and manage to get 8 hours of sleep every night?

<Sidebar: 8 hours of sleep. Every night. Wouldn’t that be nice?>

How can we keep our time properly managed in this crazy, beautiful life we live?

The internet is filled with posts about time management and how you can achieve better time management skills. Those posts are great! I’m sure they have helped loads of working women achieve balance among chaos. Instead of compiling a list of 50+ time management tips, I figured it would be beneficial to condense my most successful time management practices into 5 easy to implement tips that every mom can benefit from!

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Start Organized, Stay Organized

Keeping track of your time is more than keeping an eye on the clock. Time management starts with an organized mind. A great way to keep an organized mind is to keep track of your schedule, to-dos and other objectives with a daily schedule. You can choose to use an electronic calendar, or use a traditional pen and paper method, or even a combination of the two.

Personally, I like to use Google Calendar. Google Calendar allows me to keep order amongst chaos in so many different ways. Check out this post on 10 different ways you can use Google Calendar.

Be sure to keep your workspace organized as well. An organized work space allows the mind to stay organized by focusing on achieving your daily goals without dwelling on the clutter around you.

Say No, & Mean It

As loving and caring women, we want to provide assistance to everyone and anyone. And every once in awhile that is okay! But filling your schedule with too many appointments, too many distractions, and too many favors can be a real bummer for managing your time. Especially for things that come up at the last minute.

Recognize that it is okay to say No to something that will not benefit you or your family. It is also important to embrace the fact that saying No doesn’t mean that you do not care about others, or that you feel that your objectives are more important. It simply means that you have taken the time to evaluate the cost to benefit ratio, and have found that it might not be in your family’s best interest to add one more thing to your plate. If you have trouble saying No, be sure to check out Embracing When and How To Say No.

Create A Distraction Free Zone

Distractions are the main cause of poor time management. Distractions can be spontaneous (phone calls from a client, your toddler pouring the dog water all over the floor [again], etc), or self-induced (procrastination). A distraction free zone can help you to focus on the task at hand, and benefit from the increased productivity that will result.

In order to create a distraction free zone, start by identifying your most productive space in your home; the space where you feel like you get the most done. This could be your office, your kitchen, your porch, anywhere that you feel productive. Make this space more productive by taking steps to eliminate physical and electronic distractions.

Be sure to let your family know where your distraction free zone is, and let them know it is important to you that you remain distraction free when you are in this space (unless it is an emergency). Turn off electronic distractions by keep your phone turned off when you are in your distraction free zone. Also, be sure to turn off desktop notifications that are potentially distracting (emails, calendar reminders, and social media notifications).

If you need a little extra help staying off of social media while you are working, check out the variety of apps that will curb your social media enthusiasm, including SelfControl for Apple products, and KeepMeOut.com for all platforms.

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Identify Time-Vacuums In Your Life

Time-vacuums are things in your life that suck time like a Dyson sucks spilled cheerios. Time-vacuums can including meetings, social media, work tasks, and people. Yes, certain people can be a HUGE time suck for you, and can wreak havoc on your time management abilities.

By identifying these time-vacuums, you will be better equipped to keep your time-vacuums at bay, or even eliminate them completely from your life. By managing your time-vacuums, you’ll be able to keep your distraction free zone free and clear of any impending black holes that will devour your time.

Schedule Family Time & You Time

Probably the most important aspect of time management is being able to schedule time for yourself and time for your family. Be sure to schedule a little bit of detox time for yourself every day, even if it’s only 15-30 minutes of exercise, a cat nap, catching up on the latest episode of your favorite show, or stepping out to your favorite salon to get your nails touched up. You are an amazing woman, and you deserve a little bit of time to unwind!

Family running on beach holding hands smiling
Scheduling time with your family is so important to better time management. View your family time as a reward for working hard and kicking butt! Your family loves you, and they are proud of you! Keeping up with family traditions and making time to show your love and appreciation for your kids, your spouse, and other important people in your life allows you to practice an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude for your family. Gratitude for your friends. Gratitude for your beautiful life.

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