Feeling overwhelmed? The to do list just keeps growing and you can’t figure out how to get anything done? Or you can’t even remember where the to do list is? Then, the moment you start to feel productive you have a tiny human that requires your attention and that’s the end of that. Or you convince yourself you’ll get going on your list when the kids are in bed, but by the end of the day you are so exhausted and you know the morning will come too early, so bedtime it is. Does this sound familiar?
People often ask me, how do you get it all done? Although I have one big thing I do most days that is key to my productivity, I am no expert at this!
I’m a mom, just like you and I do have these same productivity struggles, just like you. Over the past two years I have gone from working part time at a Potash Mine and working part time at home all while running to and from daycare in a day and solo parenting during the week to working part time at home while my daughter naps in the afternoon, only to then have to adapt to figure out how to work once she stopped napping. Now we are in the process of a move and somehow I’m finding balance (for the most part), but it is a daily challenge. In other words, am trying to figure this out, just like you, but I’ve found a few key things that have really helped me get stuff done, which I’m sharing today!
Momma – Get Stuff Done with These Top Tips!
Write it down
I am the queen of to do lists and I can often remember better once I have written it down. Lists also help me stay focused. If I am getting distracted, I check my list to remember what really needs to get done. The rest can wait. It’s also a great feeling of accomplishment when I can cross something off my list, which motivates me even more. Have you ever completed something that wasn’t on your list, but you wrote it down after just so you could cross it off? Yeah…me too!
I have paper lists that I leave on the kitchen counter, especially if they are things I’d like my husbands help with. A visual reminder is usually a good thing! I also have lists on my phone and more personal lists in my Simplified Planner. I use the “Notes” section to keep a running list of bigger things. This has been very helpful because I often remember things when I am out or in bed or not near my paper list. It is quick and easy to add it in my phone, then I won’t forget.
And yes, I may have lists of my lists 😉
Set a Reminder
Do you have Mom Brain? If writing it down isn’t enough then set yourself a reminder. Because I check my Planner all the time, I don’t always set reminders/alarms, unless it is something that is very important and I have a lot going on. If you need a reminder though, the Reminder App (iPhone) is great for this! I also set alarms for appointments that I enter on the Calendar App. Both are great options.
I also ALWAYS set alarms when I am cooking. Why stress over remembering (and dealing with a burnt supper) when we have the technology to helps us!
This is one that I am working on, but when I do it, it is super helpful. The first thing you need is a good planner or calendar or place to write your plans out! I love my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley because I can plan by month or day. I’ve included some photos below to show the layout. The monthly one is great for planning daycare and appointments and it is easy to refer back to it. The daily entries I use for to do lists. Click HERE to view my planner!
It has been especially helpful while moving because I have all our new accounts and appointments all in one place. Just as long as I don’t pack it I’ll be okay!
I also love the bright colour options <3 Make sure to check out the other products like the baby book. If you are looking for a gift for the hard to buy for mom – you’ll definitely find something HERE.
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Stop the Distractions & Set your Timer
Some times I pick really bad times to try and get things done. If my daughter needs me or she is not occupied playing independently then I really shouldn’t bother because we both end up frustrated and nobody accomplishes anything. So when you do have time, where your child/children are entertained or sleeping, you want to make the most of that time. The lists help me stay focused on what I need to do, the reminders help me to remember the lists and setting timers help me to stay focused on the specific task.
Social media is the biggest time suck EVER. Just when you get a minute to sit down, you scroll your Facebook feed and the next thing you know your kids are up and their goes your window of productively. Use a timer so that doesn’t happen!
It may only be 15 minutes that you have, but I promise, you can get a lot done in 15 minutes of uninterrupted time! Set your timer for 15 minutes and ditch the distractions. Turn your phone notifications off if you have to. Once that 15 minutes is up, move on to the next thing on your list, even if the first isn’t finished. If I know my daughter will sleep for an hour, but I have two things I really need to get done, I’ll set my timer for how long I want to spend on the first and when it’s up, I’ll move to the next. Even if you do want to spend some time scrolling your Facebook, set your timer! Give yourself 15-20 minutes, but when it’s up, MOVE on!
My Biggest Secret
You’ve probably noticed by the tips above that I plan to be most productive when my 3 year old daughter is sleeping. Whatever I get done when she is awake is a bonus, but I try not to count on her awake time as my productive time because it rarely has a happy ending.
I am NOT up late in the wee hours of the night working while my daughter is sleeping. I know how important it is to get a full nights sleep, which is why my lights are out not far past 9pm 🙂 Whenever I try to be productive in the evening it just doesn’t work for me. I am tried and the only thing I can focus on is Netflix, haha!
So how do I do it? Welcome to the 5am club. I do not get up at 5am every morning, but when I have a lot on to go, I get up that early. More often it is around 6am. I get up, get the coffee on, let our dog out and get working! Whether it is sewing or house work or whatever it is that needs to be done (Sundays it is writing this blog), I get it done, uninterrupted while everyone else sleeps. It is amazing. I usually get 1-3 hours of solid productive time in the mornings before anyone else’s day has started! This is what keeps me sane.
I use the rest of the morning when my daughter is awake to shower, get dressed and have breakfast. I find it easier to do these things together then it is to do any sewing or tasks that required me to be 100% focused. Even if you are not a morning person, you should give it a try. I don’t set my alarm, but if you need to, do it! If you do give it a try, plan for a whole week and make sure to go to bed a bit earlier because morning will come FAST!
What are your tips for being productive?
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