My spunky little girl, Harper, will be two this month. She’s full of personality and her facial expressions are priceless. She makes us laugh every day. We cannot wait to see how she will be as a big sister (Baby girl #2 coming in September!)

When Harper was born, James and Michelle came to me with an amazing offer. They wanted me to start working from home and be able to raise Harper without having to send her to daycare. The offer brought me to tears (Post-partum hormones may have had something to do with it). Working from home has been more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. I have gotten to see every milestone that Harper has reached.

Recently, Harper has starting talking. She is at such a fun age and we love hearing her try to mimic what we say. A few weeks ago, she started saying something that caught my attention the second she said it. I was working on my phone while sitting on the floor playing with her, and she looked at me and said, “Away.”

It honestly scared me. I put my phone down and played with her immediately.

That night, I couldn’t get what Harper said out of my head. I started thinking about all the times that I think I’m multitasking, and really, I’m absorbed in my phone or computer and ignoring Harper. My phone and computer have become addicting. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. It’s hard to be fully present with Harper when I am so wrapped up in myself that I can’t even put my phone down.

I knew that day that I had to get stricter about my work hours and my play hours. The older Harper gets, the more she knows and understands. The last thing I want is for her to hate my job and hate that I work. I want to be truly present in her life.

Here are a few of my tips that I have implemented in my life to help manage my time and be fully present in Harper’s life:

Create a work schedule.

Plan your schedule around nap times, school drop off/pick up, etc. Stick to your schedule, and let your co-workers know in advance so that they can expect when to receive things from you and when you’re free to talk.

Work when you’re productive.

For me, I’m more productive at night. I am NOT a morning person. The other day I woke up at 5:45am on my own and got up to work, and by afternoon, I needed a nap. Mornings are not my time, and that’s ok! I do better at night.

Write out a daily to-do list.

I’m a list person. I enjoy crossing things off my list. Sometimes, I write things down, even if I’ve already completed it just to cross it off. (I know I’m not alone!) This has helped me stay on track during the day, prioritize my tasks, and get things done on time.

Delete social media apps on the weekends.

 Michelle was the one who introduced me to this idea. It’s truly a game changer when it comes to family time and being engaged. How many times do we check social media accounts daily? Do me a favor. If you own an iPhone, go to Settings > Battery and check the Battery Usage. If you click the little clock icon, it will show you the amount of time you spend on each app each day. You’re about to be amazed (or possibly appalled!) at how much time your day is spent on social media. Delete your apps during the weekend. If your job doesn’t allow you to disengage on the weekend, try to pick another day each week to get unplugged.

Play without guilt.

Once you’ve got your scheduled work hours created to complete every task you’re responsible for on time and with excellence, PLAY. As Michelle and Somer have already reminded us this month, they don’t stay little forever. Let’s enjoy them.

Often times, Harper wants me to play with her all day. You and I both know that it’s not realistic for me to be able to do that. So when she says “Away,” and I can’t put my phone or computer away at that very moment, I tell her, “Mama’s working right now, but when I’m done with this, I will play with you.”

Sometimes, she’s ok with it, and sometimes that’s not the answer she wanted. It’s a learning process! We aren’t perfect, of course, but hopefully, these tips will help us pursue ways to ease the tension between work and family.

If you’ve got any tips to add to my list, please comment below!