How Busy Moms Use Skype to be More Productive

“All one needs is a computer, a network connection, and a bright spark of initiative and creativity to join the economy.” – Don Tapscott… My life has changed so dramatically in the past couple of years. The switch from a fast-paced job in retail management, to the even faster-paced life of a work-at-home mom has brought a lot of unique challenges. While the unpredictable nature of the work I do makes it tough to create a daily schedule, I do my best to keep up with consistent routines. I build in time for snacks, naps, housekeeping, and of course – working. And, with all of the awesome technology that exists, I’m able to work almost anywhere that my busy day takes me…

work from home mom

“The phrase ‘working mother’ is redundant.” - Jane Sellman

I usually get up with the sun – I start my day around 6am, grab a BIG cup of coffee, and head out to the patio with my laptop to start working. I check emails for anything urgent, then get out my planner to see what I have scheduled for the day. I try to do as much of my serious working as I can in the morning before the kids are up – things like phone calls, articles to write, or Skype chats with potential partners. Abby’s afternoon naps are kind of sporadic, so I can’t count on nap time to be a quiet time. And it can get awkward trying to have a phone call with a brand rep while you have a toddler screaming for another cookie in the background. {I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, right? Ah, the joys of motherhood.} Once the kiddos get up, I take a break to get them all dressed, fed, and set up with an activity – like a cartoon, puzzles, or coloring. I love that I finally splurged on a new laptop – so that as we move into summer afternoons, I can work on the patio while I keep an eye on the kids in the pool, or pack it up to take with me when we head to the park. Between blogging, freelance writing, campaign projects, and my social media addiction – I’m connected pretty much 24/7 by either computer or my iPhone. Crazy, I know.

Productivity Tools for Busy Moms

Since I’m online so much, most of the tools that I use each day to help me stay on track are techy-type solutions – I love, love, LOVE using Google Calendar to manage my family’s schedules. I use Mint.com to help me track my spending and keep good records. I couldn’t live without all of the amazing apps on my iPhone. And, when it comes to keeping in touch with business contacts – Skype is a lifesaver for me! We use Skype to connect with our extended family that live far away – {Abby loves to chat with her Papa} – and I just love the ability to get time face-to-face with people, instead of just speaking over the phone. I’m definitely a people person, so using Skype is a perfect solution for me. And when you’ve got a group of people who need to run a project together, there is just nothing better than getting them all together on a Skype group chat to bounce ideas off of each other. Crazy how productive those can get. So – if you’re ready to give Skype a try, here are a few tips for a successful chat:

  • Connection: Obviously you need access to the internet to use Skype – but you also need to make sure you’ve got a connection that’s high speed enough that you’re chat can be smooth and seamless. A slow connection can make your call really choppy and frustrating.
  • Location: You want to set up your computer in a quiet location, without a lot of background noise. If possible, find a room with good natural light – maybe near a window. Try to have a “clean” background without a ton of clutter, so that it’s not distracting the attention away from what you have to say.
  • Appearance: Ok – I Skype in my pajamas with no make-up all the time when talking to my family or friends. But if it’s business time – even with my blogging buddies – I bump it up a notch. The camera can kind of wash you out, so make sure to add a little blush and lip gloss. Some eyeliner and mascara will help your eyes stand out better on the screen too. Find a top in a solid color or small print, and a couple of great accessories. Not only will you look better on the Skype screen – but you’ll feel more confident too.

Once you think you’ve got these all down – practice! If you’re planning your first Skype chat as an interview or business connection, I totally recommend trying it out a couple of times with friends first, to make sure your volume settings are good, the lighting looks great, and your equipment all works fine. Don’t worry – a couple of times using Skype, and you’ll be a pro!

how to use skype

It’s time to say more and stay human.  It’s time for Skype.

{Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Skype via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Skype. Photo credit by Anastassia.}

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Comments

  1. This is something that I have not tried, yet. I am still working out Google Chat with family!

  2. I wish more of my family had webcams and Skype – would make seeing them much easier when we live 1700 miles away! :(

  3. I don’t do Skype.. tho I heard its a great way to keep in touch!

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