Simple Tips to Reduce Distractions & Increase Productivity

 

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Increasing focus with set time blocks.

As I head into my busiest season of the year, I’d like to share a few tips that work well when I need to accomplish a lot in a short time window.

I am easily distracted, especially when I have a long to-do list.  I can quickly jump from one project to another and not finish anything if I don’t focus.  If I can pick one thing from my list and focus on that, I get a lot more done.  I do this by setting time blocks where I focus only on that item.  For me, 30 minutes of focused work is a good time block before I need to stretch or take a quick mental break.  I set a timer, and don’t do anything else during that time.  This works well for work related things, but I’ve even used it to do housework and other tasks. I am always surprised by how much I can do in even 5 minutes of focused time.

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Reducing distractions from your phone.

Part of focusing is reducing distractions.  One of my biggest distractions is my cell phone.  It’s hard to concentrate on anything if I’m constantly being alerted to messages and emails or even just falling down the black hole of social media.

Now I have most notifications turned off. Usually I respond to all inquiries (Facebook, email, phone etc) during a time block in my work day.  I might not be the fastest to respond, but this is more efficient than constantly breaking my concentration to look at my phone. I still try to respond within 24 hours if possible, but it is not my goal it respond within minutes of getting a message.

I also recently discovered the everyday usefullnes of airplane mode on my iPhone. I can switch my phone to this, and it turns off texts, calls, and wifi.  I can still use my timer, so I now switch to airplane mode when I want to focus on a time block.  I can easily switch it off to check messages before I switch back to airplane mode for another time block.

I hope these tips are helpful to you as many of us photographers and other creatives head into the busy Fall and Holiday Season!

 



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

K. 1 Year Session | Baby Plan

 

This sweet boy turned 1!  He has always been so happy for all his baby plan sessions!  I’ve loved working with him over the past year.  He loved his cake smash and made us all laugh!

Enjoy a few favorites from his 1 year pictures!

kamden1My baby plan starts at newborn or 3 months and includes 4 sessions in your baby’s first.  Contact me, I would love to get you more info!



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

1st day of School 2015 | My Life

 

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I blog my kids first day of school pictures every year. It just takes a few minutes every year, but I am so glad I do this so that I can look back on our different houses, and remember where we were at each grade. Not to mention seeing how much my kiddos change each year! Yikes! 5th and 1st grades this year.
aug158334 aug158306I dropped the girls off at school and helped them get all settled, and then I had to head back to the house to get ready for our licensing worker stopping by. She comes out twice a year to keep our license up to date and make sure we are in compliance, etc.  While I waited for her, I took advantage of the oppurtinity to clean all my floors, because who knows how many times that got done this summer!
aug158284Before I dropped my girls off, I talked to them about all the things we usually say. Be respectful to your teachers, work hard, and be kind to others. I also reminded them to make sure they look out for kids who get forgotten, or don’t fit in. I always want them to be the ones who see those kids and take the time to make them feel included. I hope they heard my heart on that and put it into action this year!
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It’s going to be an awesome year, and I feel so incredibly blessed by these 3!



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

E. 6 month Session | Baby Plan

 

My goodness, this little girl was so completely adorable and happy for her 6 month session! I am so thankful I get to work with this lovely family! We are still working up to getting a picture of all 3 kiddos together, I think we will before this baby plan is done!

Enjoy a few favorites of this sweetie!
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If you are interested in a family session or would like more info on my baby plan, please contact me!



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

S. Family & Maternity | Location Session

 

Back in the day when I shot weddings, I had the privilege of photographing this wonderful couple right here in Watseka. I have so enjoyed reconnecting with Emily as our girls go to dance together now! I loved photographing this sweet family that is going to add another family member soon! It was just an amazing sunny and cool morning! parker2

I love photographing expectant mothers and families. If you are interested in these sessions, contact me and I will get some info in your hands!



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

A. 2 year Session | Children

 

I love seeing my previous baby planners again! So many of them come back for pictures at 18 months or 2 years. I loved seeing this beautiful girl again!

Enjoy a few favorites from her 2 year session!

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Is it time for some updated pictures of your children? Contact me today about and I will get some info into our hands quickly!



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

Jordyn Iroquois County Fair Queen 2015 | Head shots

 

I was so excited for Jordyn when she was crowned at our county Fair this summer!

I loved working with her at the studio to get her head shots done for State. It’s so fun to do this every year!

Congratulations, Jordyn! Hope it’s a wonderful year full of great experiences for you! Best of luck at State!

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Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

Summer, I knew you would do this… |My Life

 

…you always leave too soon.

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This summer, we decided we needed to take it easy after a very full year.  Last year we sold our house and moved into a house that needed a lot of work, so that kind of overtook our summer.

Usually I feel like I need to fill up at least a few weeks with things so my kiddos don’t get bored.  I went ahead embraced boredom this summer.  We had just a small handful of planned things, one of which was two weeks of swim lessons and the last week didn’t happen since our town was flooded in July.  They spent a lot of time making up their own games, playing with friends, riding their bikes, and going swimming.  Hopefully, they’ve created some brain space for all the things they have to learn this year.

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Every year, one of my favorite interior design bloggers writes about the summers she has left with her boys.  She wrote about it again this year here I always think about this now.  How many summers do each of my kids have left at home?   And even less summers left where I have little ones who want to play outside, make mud pies, and catch frogs.

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I’m glad we took it slow.  It still went by way too fast.  My girls start 1st and 5th grade next week.  They are excited to go back, so I am happy about that at least.

aug156518And no, it hasn’t been a perfect summer with everyone playing happily all day long, and the hours seem long some days.   But I am never in a rush to get them back into the classroom.  I know I will get more work done next week, and suddenly I will feel a lot more focused (and I do enjoy my quiet work days!) but my favorite part of the day will be collecting them all from school and daycare and heading home to spend the evening with my family (can you tell I’m a homebody?).

There’s still a few days left and I’m going to enjoy them before the busyness of Fall overtakes us!

 



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer

C. Kids | Location Session

 

Both of these cuties are former baby planners of mine, and I loved seeing them again! We had a drizzly day for these pictures, but we decided to just go with it. Our weather in June and early July just did not cooperate!
Enjoy some favorites from their session! cluver



Watseka, IL Maternity, Baby, & Family Photographer