By Amy Vetter
We all strive for a healthy work-life balance: that perfect ratio of professional and personal time that minimizes stress and maximizes happiness.
But for working moms, especially those running their own businesses, achieving any semblance of balance can seem downright impossible. Navigating the daily demands of work and family — from school drop-offs and pickups to last-minute client calls and fire drills — can be emotionally and physically draining.
As a mom of two boys who owns a yoga studio and has a full-time job, I’m constantly on the lookout for time hacks and productivity tools that can help me get more done, faster. Here are a few of my current favorites.
Scheduling appointments can be exceptionally frustrating when you want to quickly carve out a time for a meeting with more than two people.
Enter Doodle, which offers a number of services to fit any professional or personal need. The company’s simple and intuitive platform makes it easy to organize any kind of event, whether it’s an all-hands-on-deck meeting or a weekend trip with close friends.
Doodle links to your own calendar, which you can then send to as many people as you want, for any event you choose. All recipients have to do is select times that work for them. Doodle puts you in control of when and if you’re available, and it sends confirmation e-mails and follow-up reminders to all event attendees once you’ve ironed out all the logistics.
This handy app makes it easier for moms to manage everything from school schedules to grocery lists.
Each member of the family can access the same account from any electronic device, allowing them to view a collective calendar, add items to shopping lists and to do lists, and leave reminders.
Moms can keep track of everyone’s schedules, activities and appointments, all in one place, and share information in real time. If you’re busy at work and your daughter’s track practice gets canceled, she can update it in the calendar and you’ll see the schedule change instantly.
You can also create and share grocery lists with other family members and store all your recipes in one place.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had someone on call 24/7? Like when you need an air conditioner installed, but you’re too busy trying to make dinner before running out to the door to shuttle the kids to soccer practice? Meet TaskRabbit, which promises a personal assistant, handyman and secretary all rolled into one. All you have to do is log on to TaskRabbit, write a description of the task at hand, and then choose from among a group of qualified taskers who are ready and willing to make your life easier. TaskRabbit handles all payments and clearly displays the hourly rate for each of its taskers, so you don’t have to worry about arguing about price down the line.
Since starting my own yoga studio two years ago, this app, which gives me a quick snapshot of how the business is doing, has been a constant on my iPhone. We use the MindBody platform to advertise classes, manage client registration and accept membership payments. We also use the software to support our own app, which lets students sign up for class, receive notifications and keep up with studio activities.
Square started out as an easy way for small businesses and individuals to accept credit card payments from any place at any time — if you’re at a tradeshow or pop-up market, for example, Square lets you complete a transaction without a bulky cash register. But now it offers a full range of services, from instant deposits and protection for disputed purchases to Square Capital, a money-lending program for Square customers. On top of those services, it also provides health and fitness businesses with software that accepts appointments online and automatically follows up with customers via text or email.