Ok, we’ve all been there and by ‘there’ I mean struggling to get work done. It’s like you’re running on a hamster wheel and no matter how much time you put into your to-do list there’s barely anything scratched off at the end of the day.
If you’re like me you’ve scratched your head thinking, What the hell?!
Being productive is like a dance. You have to find your rhythm and flow, otherwise, you’ll be doing the tango with two left feet.
Am I describing your life right now? Don’t worry, here are some productivity tips to get things done as a working mom!
Time block! Time block!
My saving grace ????????.
When you time block, you block off a specific time in which you are to get a task done.
For example, let’s say you need to audit one of your social media accounts. So, you schedule 4pm-5: 30 pm to get this done on a specific day. Boom, you just time blocked.
I love doing this because I have a terrible habit of multi-tasking and getting distracted. When I know exactly what I am to be doing and for how long, it’s a lot easier to stay focused on that one task. Plus, when the time is up I feel amazingly productive.
Try to schedule your tasks in small intervals of time, like 15 minutes to an hour. The average attention span is around 8-12 seconds, which means that working on something for too long may cause you to tap out without completing it.
Learn how to say “NO” to non-priorities
You’ve got to learn to say no to things on the lower end of the priority list. Even though it’s a sunshiny day and meeting your girls at a restaurant downtown sounds tempting, it’s not exactly the best decision.
As moms, our time is limited so we have to make every single second count in a major way. You honestly don’t know talent until you’ve managed to move at lightning speed during naptime!
Do NOT waste your precious minutes doing something that’s not beneficial or can be done at a later date.
Without a doubt, I will impulsively begin working on random things if I allow myself to. I could have a crapload of things to do, but decide to make a wreath for my front door instead. True story.
Sometimes we have to give ourselves a tap on the hand and that infamous Aht aht! to stay in line.
Look over your to-do list and prioritize your tasks. What needs to get done today? What can be pushed out until next week? Are any of your tasks holding up a process flow?
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Leave your phone in another room
Your phone is probably the single, most distracting device you have.
How many times have you told yourself that you’re just going to check something really quickly only to have wasted over 10 minutes scrolling? Yep ????????
If your phone is right beside you while you work, it’s going to be extremely tempting to pick it up and swipe. It’s a time stealer for sure, and when you’re a working mom time is money!
Put your phone somewhere out of sight but close enough to hear any urgent calls that may come through. With it tucked away, it’s just you and whatever you need to get done.
Put your to-dos on a calendar
In my post 6 Sanity Saving Tips for Kick-ass Moms Balancing a Work Life, I mentioned the importance of a to-do list. Planning out your day is vital for staying productive. It takes the guesswork out of what you are supposed to be doing and limits wasted time.
Now, take that written to-do list up a notch by putting it on a calendar. This could be a little cheapie from Target, on your phone, or even, my favorite, Google Calendar.
Basically, use anything that has a calendar and gives you the ability to write or enter information. I recommend using one that is online because, oh man, losing your list sucks!
Benefits of a calendar:
- Gives you an overview of your whole day, week, and month
- It’s portable, and you can make changes on the go (online)
- You can easily add new events/tasks
- Ability to set up recurring tasks/events (online)
- You can see what times are best to block off for tasks
Be realistic about what you can accomplish
We would all love to be superwoman and knock out a scroll of things we want to get done in a single day, but it’s just not possible.
I had a habit of writing a gigantic to-do list, but never even got through half of the tasks. The time it will take to complete our lists is often underestimated, and it’s hard to feel productive when you didn’t do what you said you would.
Start off by scheduling 2-3 tasks to complete each day, and as time progresses you can determine if you need to scale back or have the bandwidth to add more. Basically, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Start with the task you dread the most first
We naturally gravitate towards the things that capture our interests. However, when you need to up your productivity game this won’t work out in your favor.
I remember I would always start with the easy tasks first because, well, they were easy. When I got through with the ‘fun stuff’ and realized I had the devil left on my list I was like uh-uh. So, I rebuked it and it didn’t get touched.
As you can imagine, my to-do list grew like wildfire. Now, I make it a point to start with the task that makes my eye twitch and there’s no need to sprinkle any holy water.
You know how pumped you are when you first start working on your tasks? Use that fresh energy to power through what you dread. Leaving the exciting stuff at the end helps you gain momentum to keep running (or crawling) to the finish line.
Take a breather
Starting one task after the other, without a break in-between, is dangerous. Your productivity begins to fizzle, and pretty soon you’re working in “crazy person mode.”
Crazy person mode? You know those cartoons with the swirly eyes and thoughts that are running together? That’s it.
Give yourself time to take a breather. Whether it’s a two minute trip to the bathroom or a quick stretch, you’ll return to your work more refreshed.
I love to do this when I’m writing blog posts. If I start getting writer’s block I know that I need to move around in order to get my juices flowing.
After that, I’m pumping out words quicker and even spot errors I didn’t notice before.
Guess what happens when you spend too much time planning and analyzing? You never start working on what needs to get done!
Being organized is extremely important for a good workflow, but it can also cripple you. You get so consumed in trying to make sure everything is perfect that you forget you haven’t even started working.
In the words of the ultimate girlboss Jenna Kutcher,
Done is better than perfect. ”
Just start already!
When you get ish done you feel motivated and ready to take on other challenges. That extra boost of confidence is absolutely necessary to rock being a momboss and businesswoman.
Most importantly, you free up more time to love on your babies! Totally worth it.