This is a guest post from Susan Wenner Jackson (@SusanWJackson), VP of content partnerships for the Cincinnati-based tech startup Ahalogy and cofounder of Working Moms Against Guilt. She spends her days (and nights) juggling the responsibilities and chaos of startup life and motherhood – always with her iPhone in reach.
Mobile technology can be a double-edged sword for working moms.
Sure, our phones keep us connected with colleagues when we have to step out for kids’ doctor appointments. And we can stay in touch with our family when we’re traveling for work or stuck in a meeting.
But for some, the mobile phone can become a constant reminder of work, an unwanted professional intrusion in your personal family space. For example, if you have your notifications alerting you of every incoming work email or chat message, even as you’re reading stories with your preschooler or helping your teen with homework, that can be overwhelming.
I happen to adore technology, and the more efficient I can be while on the go, the more flexible my chaotic working mom life becomes. The trick is to use mobile technology to save my sanity, rather than drive me nuts.
Here is my advice for working moms with a few ways I harness the power of tech to help me out:
You know the little button on your phone that makes the rings, chimes and beeps go away? Use it. Liberally.
Whether I’m in an important meeting with a client or eating dinner with my family, I feel absolutely free to mute my iPhone so it doesn’t get in the way. Texts, emails and voicemails that come in during the muted period can wait.
Do not disturb
Speaking of quiet time, did you know you could set your phone to go silent during certain hours? So if you like to keep your phone on the nightstand (but still like a good night’s sleep), turn on “do not disturb” during your typical sleeping hours. I make exceptions for certain phone numbers, so if I get emergency calls from my mom or boss in the middle of the night, those will ring.
Adjust your alerts
Take charge of all the alerts and notifications that could interrupt your work or family time. So many games and apps default to bug you about all sorts of ridiculous things (“You haven’t played Subway Surfer in awhile – where have you been?”).
Save your sanity by switching off any alert you don’t care about. Only let through the ones that matter to you.
Give your kids FaceTime
If you have a busy work schedule or work-related travel, being away from your children can really be hard. Allow yourself a few minutes of FaceTime (or other video chat) to see their sweet faces, hear their stories from school and blow kisses or give virtual “phone hugs.” This face-to-face conversation always helps me feel closer to my kids (and vice versa) when we can’t be together.
Susan and her kids.
Find apps to help out
Are your current apps mostly games to keep you (or your kids) occupied during moments of boredom? Consider diversifying your selection with apps that help you get things done or enjoy your life more. These are some of my favorites:
- Pocket: When I find an interesting article, video or Web page that I want to read, watch or view later, I use Pocket to save and access it later on any device (even without WiFi).
- HealthTap: Need a quick doctor consult? Get free instant answers from real healthcare professionals with HealthTap.
- Todoist: Working moms have never-ending to-do lists. But at least with Todoist, we can organize, prioritize, delegate and accomplish tasks on the go. And that’s something.
- 7-Minute Workout: I never seem to have time to exercise, but with 7-Minute Workout, I really have no excuse. These quick, easy workouts can be done just about anywhere—even with your kids (or coworkers!)
- Calm: Give yourself a break from the madness with this app full of guided meditations. The Calm app puts me in a better place, professionally and personally.
How about you? How do you use mobile technology to make your crazy life a little saner? Share your advice for working moms in the comments.
For more Verizon Wireless news, subscribe via RSS feeds in the right rail.