Friday, November 2, 2018

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines - A Course Review

Lisa Tanner is a writer, blogger, and work at home mom of eight children. She is a free lance writer and home schools her children. You can find her at Lisa Tanner Writing.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is one of the helpful courses she has created to share her knowledge of how to get things done. Based on her experience of running a business, while raising and homeschooling her children, she shares effective strategies to be productive and accomplish goals.

As a Homeschool Review Crew participant, I had the opportunity to take and review Lisa's course Diapers and Deadlines. For myself, with only young adults and a teen student still at home, our homeschooling responsibilities are coming to a close. I certainly don't have the needs of young ones to take into consideration anymore. However, the prospect of learning some time management skills from someone who manages to accomplish as much as Lisa, was enough for me to enthusiastically join in, on this one.

What Lisa has put together in this course is impressive! It is practical and encouraging. If your babies are grown, don't let the diapers in the title discourage you; this course is useful for anyone working from home. We can all use tools to help maintain balance in our work and home responsibilities, no matter the ages of family members. Presented in eight units beginning with an introduction and the basics, each unit includes 4-8 lessons within.

The Unit titles are:

Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
Building Your Foundation with the Basics
Minimize Your Decisions
Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
Sustainable Growth
Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
Boost Your Productivity
Closing Thoughts

In the study units, Lisa introduces overall concepts like; getting your family on board with your business, building a foundation and minimizing decisions. She describes how a concept applies to productivity and gives suggestions to address and complete tasks with examples of how an idea has worked for her family. She provides very doable action steps to use in your own situation. The lessons are sprinkled with sufficient reminders to be flexible and creative in applying them in your family.
"Planned fun helps with motivation." -
Lisa Tanner

If you have been homeschooling and/or working from home for a while, you might feel the pull, as I did at first glance, to quickly move through or even skip the units with titles that suggest lessons on the basics. After reading through a few lessons from the beginning, I began applying a few of the helpful action steps that followed. As a result, I started to evaluate some of my basic routines and my current situation in a new light. I am now in the process of returning to some routines that have fallen by the wayside and am completely overhauling others, most notably; meal planning.

One simple and basic I'm returning to was prompted by Lisa's 15 Minute Quick Clean. A time limited pick up/clean up is something I used when my children were small, to get them to participate. Reading her creative adaptation to the same idea sparked the renewal of this technique for myself. Along with the wonderful reminder to enjoy the process, put some music on! Why do I forget this? Might as well have a little fun and dance while cleaning up, even if (or now that kids are big) especially when, I'm cleaning by myself!

An example of a bigger overhaul in my routines, prompted by Lisa's course, falls under the concept of minimizing decisions. I see how we all get bogged down with too many daily decisions and how making as many as possible in advance can increase ones productivity tremendously. I'm on board with this and appreciate the suggestions Lisa gives about where to make decisions in advance.

The place I currently most want to minimize daily decision making, in my own life, is in the area of meal planning. Lisa understandably, gives meal planning it's own unit. The process of determining what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis, takes it's toll and frequently results in less than optimal nutrition for my family. I have done weekly meal planning off and on over the years. It is a task I don't enjoy and am truly overwhelmed by.

Just beginning, still overwhelmed
but, determined to give meal
planning another try.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines provided the motivation, so with printable pages provided through the course, I'm diving back in. Lisa's example of a yearly plan, quite frankly, seemed crazy and impossible at first but, as I read through the lessons in the unit and printed out some of her examples, the idea started to fall into place. Having themed dinner ideas makes sense to me. It still allows for some flexibility and creativity while providing the needed structure to get it done and minimize daily decision making - leaving energy for productivity in other areas.

My current challenge is actually preparing for and adjusting to the many transitions our family is undergoing, finding focus for my own endeavors as we move into a new season of life. While we have our routines in this phase, the rhythms are changing which can make productivity a challenge. Lisa created this course to give info to moms and help them accomplish their goals while still caring for their families. She offers down to earth practical advice and suggestions for the necessary day to day basics that need to be accomplished for the healthy effective functioning of a family.

At first glance through the early units some of the lessons seemed too basic but as I progressed through the units, I also found myself returning to those basics. I reflected on and re-evaluated my current routines and how they are addressing the needs of family members and my own needs as I pursue a new and developing list of my own goals.

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