How to boost productivity by managing your time

Motherhood is a very demanding and time scheduled job. From meals that needs to be made and served at specific timings, to routine house chores that may not seem that important but imagine ignoring your laundry for a month. Not only will it smell but one of your family members would throw a tantrum for not being able to wear their favourite shirt for a month. While buying clothes can be an option but is it economical?

That’s why your productivity each day is very important. You may be at home all day but that’s your office and you got to make that butt moving! Here are some helpful tips that hopefully can help you manage your time wisely:

1.Put your phone in another room

As much as our phone appear to be part of our body, it isn’t. Yes, there’s so much important things in it but let me remind you you’re at your safe place, your home. It wouldn’t hurt if you put it in aside a bit far from you or if possible in the other room so you can give your whole focus on what you’re doing. You can still hear it if someone calls you, so stop making the excuse of emergencies.

How many times have you tried cooking a 30 minute meal but took you more than an hour to do while multitasking watching Youtube videos. The dish needs to simmer…I’ll watch for a while. And without you noticing, 20 minutes have passed instead of a 10 minute simmer. Now your kids are jumping around the living room, crying and hungry. You get irritated easily cause you yourself are hungry. Oh man! This ain’t just a scenario I’m making up…this is me 2 years ago!

Luckily, I’ve learned to be more mindful of my actions.

2. Take regular breaks

While others may think that this is just a waste of time, taking breaks actually helps you be more productive. Giving your body and mind a break for a few minutes helps it have a great start again and make you motivated to move forward.

At times, you might not notice that you’ve been just wasting time doing over and over a task that not only frustrates you but also not help you move towards your goal. By learning to be conscious and be aware of this, you can take a short break and come back with a clear mind. The solution to your problem might be in front of you all along, you’re just too aggravated to notice earlier.

3. Do the hardest task firsts

Your motivation and that feeling of being inspired is always at its peak when you start your day. So why not tackle all those hard tasks in your to-do list first. Not only will you have a fresh and clear mind but also all the energy you’ll need to accomplish it.

Those easy ones can be done after and since its that easy, even if your motivation wears out, you’ll still be able to do it.

4. Work smarter, not harder

This tip is applicable to every kind of career, profession, and gender. Learning the wisdom of being able to accomplish your task with the same quality outcome while doing it half the time you used to is total win!

Always find ways to make your job easier for you. Whether it be with a use of a better technique, different product, new technology, or even asking for advice from people. If that is what it takes to save you time to accomplish a task without compromising the quality of outturn, then that’s the wisest thing to do.

5. Remove distractions

When we say distractions, we tend to think of our phone when in reality it isn’t just it. When you try to accomplish a task, anything around you that doesn’t add value for you to finish it is a distraction.

Learn to set a specific time and find a place where you can have an hour or two to finish what you are eager to do. You’ll be surprised that it only takes 30 minutes in a coffeeshop by yourself to do a content rather than do it at home juggling doing work and kids having their screen time.

6. Have a dedicated workspace

Having a dedicated workspace at home may seem only for people who can afford to have more space at home before the Pandemic. Now that it’s been 2 years since Covid has been brought chaos to world, I’m pretty sure every household big or small has made ways to have one. Whether it be a part of your dining area or kitchen or bedroom.

It doesn’t matter where it is actually as long as you feel comfortable and be able to concentrate doing your task.

7. Focus on one thing at a time

Mother’s swear of finishing more with multitasking but unless you’ll be doing two-task partnered with a machine, don’t do it. Doing laundry plus another task is a great idea. All you have to do is throw your laundry on the machine, press a button and leave it then you’ll have your whole self and focus to do another task. It’s only after some time that you’ll need to come back but by then, laundry is done. That’s multitasking. Great smelling clothes and another task done without any disruption. A win-win!

Mother’s swear of finishing more with multitasking but unless you’ll be doing two-task partnered with a machine, don’t do it. Doing laundry plus another task is a great idea. All you have to do is throw your laundry on the machine, press a button and leave it then you’ll have your whole self and focus to do another task. It’s only after some time that you’ll need to come back but by then, laundry is done. That’s multitasking. Great smelling clothes and another task done without any disruption. A win-win!

Cooking while cleaning the house where you’re required to both be physically present isn’t a good idea though. Not only do you add more risk burning your lunch but also there’s a high chance of you bringing bacteria on your food. Cleaning your hands every now and then may seems a great idea until you realise how time consuming it is and how much water you waste washing every 5 minutes.

Why not whisk a quick meal then after focus on cleaning the house. Sounds like a great idea, right?

8.Plan your day the night before

Last but not the least, plan your day the night before. Not only does it helps waking up much easier knowing that your day have already a direction/path to follow but it also helps you not to forget the things you need to accomplish.

Having more time to remember your tasks is very helpful.

Hope these useful tips help make your life a bit easier. While there’s no easy thing in life, you can only be better. That’s what I always tell my daughters.

How about you? What words of wisdom do you tell your kids often?

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xoxo,

TheMommyWithAGoal

Absolutely 5 IKEA items everyone’s dollar is worth buying

Doesn’t a trip to IKEA excites you? Who wouldn’t?! It’s a warehouse full of dreamy rooms wherein somehow everyone’s cup of tea is ticked off, no matter what gender or occupation you have. There’s always something you’ll want to put on that cart and bring home.

Truly, if you’re starting a home, IKEA is a place to pick out affordable stuff to fill you house and make it a home. Not everyone though is getting a new place though but still feel the need to go for an IKEA run. If you’re like the majority of the people who comes to get just a chair and comes out with an overflowing recyclable blue bag with much things you discover you don’t really need when you get home, then that’s a problem.

Not only do you spend money on things you don’t really need which can hurt your finances but you fill your home with junk that you don’t necessarily need. Not judging here, I also do the same at times! This blog isn’t to shame ourselves but help make better decision before our next trip to IKEA. Here’s a list of things worth buying from IKEA, things that you can use often at home and still let you go for that once in a while trip to feed your eyes with IKEA goodness!

Resealable bags

photo from IKEA website

I know most people are finding ways to live with sustainable items around their homes. Let’s just say this is my/our family’s attempt to help mother earth too…by reusing plastic.=)

I’ve always been a fan of these resealable bags as not only is the price a steal! C’mon! Where can you get 50 pcs of good quality bags you can use over and over. With a box containing 2 sizes, 25 big bags which I usually use as freezer bags (yes, they do work great as freezer bags) and 25 small bags which I usually use as a sandwich bag or snack bag for the kids whenever we go out. It’s just so handy and small that I keep it back in my bag for next adventure’s usage.

Tea Towels

photo from IKEA website

If you’re not aware, we live in Asia, specifically Singapore. It may be one of the first world countries having a dishwasher in every household is still far from happening. Perhaps because having a helper is also part of the culture here so why have a dishwasher (machine) do the dishes when there’s someone who can do it.

Anyways, drying dishes minutes after it has been washed (let the water drip out first) then put back in the cupboard has been one of the tasks I share with my sisters. Doing this every after meal especially after dinner brings back lots of memories. Me and my sisters talking about nonsense things siblings do and passing dried plates and the other putting it neatly in the cupboard. haha.

Now that I have my own family, I’m still drying dishes for now since my daughters are still too young hold wet plates and we might just end up having more broken plates in a month than dried ones. These tea towels are my go-to as they are absorbent, light, easy to dry afterwards. Basically everything I need for a drying towel just as what my mom let us use when I was still young.

Batteries

photo from IKEA website

As you might have noticed, we’re a frugal living family. We’re always on a look-out for things that we use often and can get it for a good price. So for our family who have kids and lots of toys that has batteries, finding this is a gem. These batteries does a great job and surprisingly lasts longer than expected.

Dinnerware

photo from IKEA website

If you’re looking for a decent dinnerware set but don’t have the budget to splurge for some Corelle yet, IKEA got you covered. The Oftast collection comes in different sizes from a 11cm rice bowl, 15cm bowl, 19cm side plate, 20cm deep plate and a 25cm plate which is at $0.90 each. There’s also a 23cm serving bowl which is at $1.90 each.

What I love about this is that it is sold individually. You won’t be compelled to pay for a bunch of plates that you won’t be using anyways because there isn’t much people in your household. You can buy (and pay) only the ones you need.

Aside from being budget friendly, I can assure you that its quality isn’t that bad either. We’ve had a couple of slipping mishaps and most of the time doesn’t make a chip on any of it. (crossing fingers now that our plates won’t give up on us)

Cookware set

photo from IKEA website

This cookware set I think is one of the most bought item in IKEA especially for people who just had a new place. Whether newlyweds or newly migrated, this budget friendly cookware everyone’s go-to. Not only because of its cheap price but it has every pot you need for everyday cooking (minus the frying pan). It’s quality can last for quite sometime too.

So there you have it, 5 items you shouldn’t miss when you visit IKEA. The first 3 items are what I usually buy whenever we go to IKEA (every 3 months or so) and the last 2 items are just a must-haves. All of them are of good price and quality that i’ve been personally using for in our household.

If you feel hungry in the middle of your window shopping, make sure to visit the IKEA restaurant where you can try their famous meatballs (I personally ain’t a fan.haha) and what I’m so in love with…their cheese tarts! Oh goodness! I’m craving right now!

Or if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for a sit-down meal, drop by their Bistro where you can get $1.00 hotdog (also have Veggie hotdog at the same price) and their soft serve soya ice cream for only $0.50 which you get to make yourself. Well, technically just put the cone on the machine, drop your coin and watch your ice cream bring into life in front of you. The kids love it! haha…Okay, me too! Who doesn’t?!

Just a quick question before this blog ends. How often do you visit IKEA and what do you usually buy whenever you go there. I’m pretty sure most of you guys have been there more than 3 times…don’t lie!

Hope you find this helpful!

xoxo,

TheMommyWithAGoal

Maintain a Positive Mindset as a Mother on bad days

Being optimistic in life can be challenging, be a mom and your life can be tougher. Good thing bad days doesn’t lasts long. Sleep in and the next day can be a better one.

Despite that truth, we still can’t deny that going through that bad day can still be frustrating. It may come only from time to time but ain’t it better if we know how to address this situation better?

What can you do when days where you just ran out of patience and all you want to do is yell at everyone? Here’s some tip on not to dwell on those bad days and instead just make a few changes in order to move on and make it the best of the rest of the day left.

  1. Go for a breather. By going out of the room and removing yourself from the situation (go to another room, bathroom or closet) for a 5 minutes, you get to clear your mind and think better. Composing yourself again before letting out that frustration get worst into a meltdown is essential especially if you’re dealing with your children.

Not only are you able to show them a good example on how to deal with things, you also did well for yourself in holding your emotions. You can’t always control the things around you but how you react is always a decision for you to make. Sometimes this can be the make of break situation. Make your day better or break it, get it?

2. Deep breathes. It may seem useless since you know you’re already breathing (hello!) but it helps! Trust me! My daughter learned this technique from school which she later on shared with me. Hold up your hand with 5 fingers out. Slowly trace the starting from your pinky finger until you reach your thumb. Inhale every time you go up and exhale on your way down. Have you tried it while reading this? Isn’t that relaxing?!

3. Pray and Meditate. Nothing beats praying intimately. By doing this, you encourage yourself to hope and your doubts vanish. In times when you feel like you’ve already given our your very best yet things still don’t go how you want it to be, just pray leave it to God. Believe and you shall receive.

4. Reassess the situation. Have an open mind to look again at the situation and see it in a different angle. You might be pushing too hard on the wrong side of the box that’s why you aren’t getting the outcome you’ve been wanting. Always remember that if it’s a problem, there’s always a solution. At times, we confuse ourselves to thinking that it is a problem when all the while it isn’t. How on earth would you be able to come up with a solution with that?!

5. See the good on things. Ever wonder why some days your day goes so smoothly while others felt like you just want to go back to sleep and wake-up the next day so you wouldn’t need to deal with things and everything will just be over? Blame it in your mindset! Everything in front of you no matter how bad it may look like would always have a good in it.

Focus on the good things and you’ll see how everything you do in your day follows.

6. Be easy on yourself, you’re human. As a mom, we always try to be perfect and be a superhero while all the while, we’re already a “super+human”. This means that while we are capable of doing a lot of things, we also need to accept that we are human and we can get tired. Being too hard on yourself won’t give you any good.

Relax and enjoy what matters truly when it comes to motherhood…that’s you, your kids and let’s not forget your first baby, your hubby. Everything else such as a clean house, laundry, much thought healthy meals can be done later.

7. Lastly, know that there’s always tomorrow. If you’ve used all your resources and your day just really don’t turn the way it should be, tomorrow would surely be a different one. A new a better day!

Be easy on yourself momma! You got this!

xoxo,

TheMommyWithAGoal

Mom shares Reality on the PROs and CONs of Virtual Schooling

As an Overseas Filipinos worker (OFW) it has been a usual family set-up for the parents to stay abroad and send back their children back to the Philippines to study. I, myself, has been raised this way. Not that I’m against it, actually I’m very grateful for my hard working parents and the rest of our family for helping raise us the way we are.

Growing up though, I knew that I wanted to work abroad as well. When we started having our own family the reality of bringing them up the same way I and my sisters were isn’t the one I want. Luckily, pre-schooling here in Singapore is quite easy as there’s a lot of schools to choose from. As long as you’re able to get your child a Dependent Pass, the government don’t have much to say which school you send your child to.

Entering Primary 1 is a different story. I’ve mentioned in my other blog “Dilemma of Foreigner Parents” on how we’ve came up with the solution to our problem. This gave way for us to keep our children here in Singapore without compromising their studies nor our source of income (both important).

For us, it doesn’t matter much if our decisions abide by the norms of society. What’s important at the end of the day is what would work for our family.

When we stumbled with Southville International School and Colleges, one thing we noticed is it’s similarity with the International Schools here in Singapore such as having WASC accreditation, ISO accreditation, IBO authorised world school and have an international-based curriculum. Not to mention its one of the best International School in Manila, Philippines. It provides basic education that covers from Kinder to Year-12 is globally equipped excellent education by being. That alone is impressive already but as parents new to Virtual Schooling, were still skeptical and have lots of doubts.

PROs

School’s competency

Family goal

Finances

CONs

No Social skills

Physical activity is confined

Excessive Screen-time

We learned that the school has them having the VOLT (Virtual Online Learning Teaching) Program even before the Pandemic. We are all aware that everything and everyone suddenly needed to switch doing things online everything we used to do face-to-face. This also means a lot of changes and adaptation to the new normal is needed from each one. So this came as one of the PROs which is a big deal especially for our daughter who’s just 7 years old. We as parents wants her to at least feel normality especially in regards to her studies.

Having competent and reliable teachers is one thing but having ones who have the experience of doing virtual schooling gave us the peace of mind that our daughter is in good hands. Teaching face-to-face and keeping the students attention is hard already, what more when its done virtually. Kudos to all teachers!!!

As highlighted in my other blog, keeping our family intact here in Singapore without compromising our children’s education has been one of our goals. Finding a way to make this happen has truly become a blessing that we never expect would be possible. I guess, God truly have big plans better than we hope for. It’s wouldn’t be surprising this is a big part of our PROs.

Living in one of the most expensive country in the world like Singapore isn’t a joke. What more if you have 2 children who needs to go schooling already. Being a single income family, yep, I’m a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom) made it more of a game changer for us as we really need to be mindful of our finances.

Finding a school that fits our budget (that’s a need so we really had a budget allocated for it) is not only included in our PROs list but also a need. It won’t be wise in the long run to choose to break a bank just so our children can have their schooling here with us.

Of course, with all the PROs comes with the CONs too.

One of our CONs that we’re most concerned about is our daughter’s interpersonal skills. We don’t only want her to learn about the facts in life (be bookish-wise) but also learn how to be sociable. Knowing how to deal with other people with respect and having friends is one important thing in life as well that we don’t want our daughter to miss.

This one has been quite tricky to resolve honestly as our initial plan to enrol her on some extracurricular activities didn’t push through due to the Pandemic. We didn’t want to risk going out that frequent just to go to classes.

Another CONs is being too confined at home and have not much physical activity. Travelling to/from school alone is like exercise already for the kids. With this removed from our daughter’s schedule, her physical activity pretty much turns out to none at the end of the day as going in and out of the room ain’t counted. We just settled to bringing her to the children’s park nearby our house to breath some fresh air and play with other kids as a solution for this. On rainy days, I have an exercise planned for her to keep her moving. Exercise is important no matter what age group you are in. It helps make your body more alive.

Perhaps, after the Pandemic, we can push through our initial plans of her doing some extracurricular activities where she gets to move around and make friends too.

Last but not the least of our CONs is ScreenTime. This is one of the trickiest area especially in parenthood nowadays. Their love-hate relationship with gadgets can be impeccable. I say love-hate relationship because as a parent myself, I know how helpful these gadgets can be if I want to have my things done and how dangerous it can be too if my children gets used it.

Almost 12nn and haven’t cooked anything yet?? Grab those gadgets and give your kids some 30 mins screen time. Everyone gets happy! Mom gets to cook, kids quietly glued in the living room and a bit later hot meal for the family. Get me?!

That comes along with “hatred” too as we all know how dangerous these gadgets are to our children if used for too long. The tricky part though is that we ourselves seems addicted too to these gadgets. Do not believe me? Is your phone one of the first things you grab when you wake up? See what I mean.

If we ourselves are having a hard time controlling our usage of these gadgets, how do we expect to control our kids in using them? Moreover, our kids follow more what they see us do than what we tell them to do.

We for example have this “weekend phone day” which we started with the kids even before they can talk clearly. These days are starts from Friday night till Sunday noon where they can freely use their gadgets. Nowadays though, as they start to get older and learn to reason out more, some days they complain why I get to use my phone more frequently than them. You see?!

I hope you find this helpful if you’re planning to put your kids in Virtual Schooling too. Feel free to write in the comments below if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge and experience.

xoxo,

TheMommyWithAGoal

Dilemma of First time Primary 1 Parents

***Disclaimer: Long post ahead!

Schooling is something parents always have in the back of their minds from the time their child is born. Knowing that this is one of the most important responsibilities they need to get right for the future of their child.

That’s what both me and my hubby have in mind for seems to be the longest and shortest (all parents can relate on how time flies!) time when our eldest daughter turns 6 years old and would be attending Primary 1. It’s crunch time!!!

THE REALITY

For those who don’t know, both me and my hubby are Filipinos which also means it won’t be shocking news if we decide to send our daughter to either of our parents for them to raise her while we stay abroad to work. This has been the most common scenario of OFW(Overseas Filipino Worker) families ever since I was born (i think?!). I myself grew up with this kind of setup with my hardworking parents and I can’t thank them enough for the good life they’ve given me.

Let’s just make it clear though that its not that the parents choose their careers over their kids. It’s more of choosing the source of income they know that can give a brighter future for their children over seeing them grow-up which is very heartbreaking on both parties. Deep inside, I know, that as much as they want to go back home, the income in the Philippines for the same type of work you’ll be doing abroad really isn’t sufficient enough to give your family the good life that one envisions.

STILL A FOREIGNER

We’ve been living in Singapore for almost a decade now, very much blessed and loved everything about living in this Little Red Dot. Both our daughters have been born and raised here and to tell you frankly, they’re more Singaporean than a Filipino if not for their blood. They’ll cheer for Singapore in any International competition we watch like a true Singaporean will do!

Despite all that, we can’t deny that we’re still foreigners and in cases like schooling, the rules of the government prevails. We’re in the bottom of the list and the chances of our daughters to be accepted in their local school is near to none. We were still quite optimistic though and still tried our luck last year in June when we submitted our Indication of Interest for our daughter through the MOE Website. There’s nothing wrong trying, right?

As the months passed by and October comes nearer, the more we became anxious. Lo and Behold, mid-October the email we never have wished to been received came. “….we are unable to offer your child a P1 place in our national schools.” Even if we somehow knew this could happen, it still made a mark on our hearts as parents especially when we told our daughter about the news. We don’t want her to get the impression that she wasn’t good enough that’s why she wasn’t accepted. =(

FINDING SOLUTIONS

We knew that what we’re facing is like any other problem which has a solution. We just needed to find that solution…fast! My husband and I already made the decision even before my first daughter was born that we’ll do whatever we can for our daughter/s to be raised wherever we are based. We would always come as a pack no matter what. This is why the idea of sending our daughter back to the Philippines (like what most Filipinos do) for schooling is a NO-NO from the start.

Anyways, we as parents can’t just stop there. That day, I made an excel spreadsheet (yes! that’s what we always do with everything. Put in excel!haha) of all the International Schools here in Singapore. I know, in your mind, you’re saying, “You should have done that months before!”. We’re the optimistic ones, remember? So we kinda really hoped for the best and just waited for the result….our bad!haha

Upon seeing the school fees…waah!!! Thinking about it now while doing this blog still makes me a bit dizzy. As I go on and filter and the results, I was left with two great schools that we can afford our daughter to go but still left us with an even tighter budget to manage.

FINDING THE SCHOOL

That’s when we tried to explore other options. Last year, 2020, has been a very unusual year for all of us. Changes are made in many things we’re used to doing most of our lives. Schooling is one of them wherein Virtual Schooling became the only option to go to so that children would still have that sense of normality and not to compromise their learning progress.

That’s when we found Southville International School and Colleges. Not only is it based in the Philippines, they also got a program called VOLT (Virtual Online Learning and Training Program) which is basically a virtual schooling. What’s more amazing with it is that the school started this program even before the Pandemic so they already figured out everything from the system and flow of lesson and how the teachers would teach. How cool!

Here in Asia, at least, homeschooling is still an unusual type of schooling for parents to choose for their children. As parents who both attend the traditional face-to-face schooling, to be honest, we never envision our daughter attend a virtual school or anything near to homeschooling for that matter.

For us, it felt like a given thing that they’ll be attending a normal school. It’s only normal for us to feel VERY uncertain and anxious putting our daughter in a school setup that we ourselves aren’t that familiar with. But as mentioned earlier, the world changed drastically and we needed to adapt.

ADAPTING TO CHANGE

As we learned more about VOLT and knew right then and on that it’s the solution we’ve been looking for. The kids would not only be able to stay with us here in Singapore but their studies wouldn’t be compromised either. It’s a win-win!!!

What’s great with this too is that the school fees fits just right with our budget. Still expensive but if you compare it to the International Schools here in Singapore, the fees are way much lower. Not bad since Southville International School and Colleges has almost the same accreditations like being an IB and WASC member. Let me just add that since most children nowadays do virtual schooling because of the Pandemic, our daughter never felt different after all.

There’s a lot of Pros and Cons with this decision before we went ahead with our decision to enrol her to Southville which I’ll be listing in another blog post.

GOOD DECISION

You might be wondering why it took me a year before I post this blog. There’s two reasons actually.

First is, as a parent myself, I know that schooling is a big decision you need to do for your child’s future. I don’t want to recommend something to someone that I truly not believe in and which I myself isn’t satisfied with the result. I must say that, we’re very much satisfied with Southville.

The Teachers who my daughter and I can easily send a message with any question about her subjects have been very helpful throughout the school year. The Administrators too are so welcoming even if my daughter was a term late when she enrolled. We never had any issues scheduling her “Audit Tutorials” to make-up for all the lessons she missed and even with payment transactions which we only communicated through emails.

Second is of course how my daughter would be able to adjust to her new normal. Surprisingly, her transition from traditional schooling to virtual came so smoothly. I remember being the one who’s anxious and asking her almost everyday during her first few months how does she find her new school. Is she enjoying as much as she was in her former school even if she only gets to see her classmates in a screen? Does she feel too isolated since she seldom goes out of the house? Things like this that is beyond learning yet still an important skill growing up.

I’m proud to say that she accomplished her 1st Grade with flying honours. She gained some friends as well. Aside from that, seeing her become more independent doing things (doing homework on her own) and being responsible (like taking care of her laptop) and even teaching her younger sister about the topics she learned from school which makes us much more proud.

Now I’m sure that her lil sister is as excited as we are to follow her sister’s lead this coming August as she’ll be attending VOLT at Southville too!

I’m sure this set-up won’t be for everybody and most parents would still choose the traditional way of schooling. Like everything that you do that’s new, it’s not wrong to feel skeptical and have doubts about it. Nevertheless, I’m also pretty sure there are other families like ours who’s looking for solutions to keep their family intact without compromising the studies of their children.

Hope you find this helpful!

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Stay Safe.

xoxo,

TheMommyWithAGoal