Using this simple strategy will boost your productivity and help you get more done every day. All you need to do is make two little words work for you!
If you are a busy mom and homemaker you may relate to this: You are awfully busy all day, putting out fires and trying to make everyone happy … and you go to bed feeling like you have accomplished nothing.
Help is here! There are two magic words that help you getting things done and boost your productivity.
Six letters only and yet so helpful. Let them become your magic wand of productivity.
Busy and feeling you get nothing done. The new normal?
I often felt like I was running at maximum speed all day. Caring for the needs of my family, trying to work on my side hustle, being mom and wife, homemaker and servant of God, daughter and sister and all. I was facing an ever growing to-do-list of things I’d like to accomplish in life. Add some dreams of learning so many things like baking like a pro, taking better photos, read and write more and faster, learn French and Arabic and so much more. And of course, work out each morning and have some me-time, too.
But time seemed to slip through my hands. I felt like a failure. Zero productivity.
How to do it all with a family to take care of? Can a busy mom pursue dreams of her own and make big things happen while keeping up with her duties?
Obstacles in your way
Every woman with many things on her plate runs into obstacles throughout her day that decrease her productivity.
You prepare for a baking day, but then the family invites you over. You want to work on that writing project, but then the baby gets sick. You plan to work out in the morning, but then the washing machine floods your bathroom….
That’s when you decide to put your projects aside and care for what seems more important, or at least more urgent, that moment.
Decisions wear out your willpower!
Making lots of decisions can wear out your willpower. It is better when you plan in advance and prepare for what you want to get done. For example, when I did Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred I laid out my workout gear the night before. Then, in the morning I would not allow myself to think again or imagine to snuggle in the pillows but jump out of bed into the workout clothes. And it worked. (It is a great program, by the way. Try it!)
So, have a plan before you start anything and prepare. Do not rush into your week without a plan.
When schedules are unpredictable
I totally get it. With little ones, you cannot plan out your perfect week. But you should have a plan anyway. I once read about one mompreneur that had two little children and built an amazing career. Asked for advice on productivity for other struggling moms, she said she had a lot of actions plans for different situations. For example, she had action plans for how to fill in the quiet minutes that sometimes pop up. Or a plan for moments when the baby falls asleep for an undetermined time period. She used every minute she could get to work on her projects though she didn’t know when those moments would come.
For some ideas what to do with 15 minutes of your time (and when you find them) to build a business, see this post by Sylvie McCracken. Maybe you want a more organized home? Then see what you can get decluttered with 10 minutes of your time in this post by Ruth Soukup that comes with a nice printable. Want to attract clients? Read Andrea Emerson about 13 Tiny-Tasks to do in five minutes.
Decide on your One Big Thing
Chances are you will probably not get everything done that you dream of in the near future. You need to know what it is you want to make the most progress in. Focus on your big goals. Then dedicate your golden hours to that thing you want the most. Use the time when you are uninterrupted. For me, that was the nap time of my little one for a long time. The only uninterrupted hour of the day. In that hour there would be no phones, email, TV or anything like that.
When I was still working on my Ph.D. thesis in the year before we moved to Morocco I wanted to make progress in learning French. I had a clear goal: Getting along in Morocco on my own. But I had no time for a class or lessons with an instructor or online. So I decided to carry learning cards with me all the time (no smartphone then). I would pull them out anytime I had to wait for something (even at work, waiting for an experimental setup to spill out data) or when I was commuting. I made good progress with only dedicating those minutes to my goal every day.
The two magic words to boost productivity
Finally! And those are: If and then. Make decisions beforehand what to do when this or that happens. Your productivity will soar.
- If I get a 10-minute chunk of time unexpected, then I sit down and […].
- If I take a couple of photos, then I send them to my storage right away.
- If I get an hour to myself I jump on the treadmill and listen to a podcast.
- If I wait at the doctor’s office I read an ebook on [important topic of your choice].
Also, you should use these words to prepare for obstacles in your way.
- If I work then I let calls go to my voice mail.
- If I want to check something on facebook/Pinterest/Instagram, then I set a timer to not get sucked in for an hour.
- If I have uninterrupted time then I learn about XY rather than cook dinner. Order food or take something from the freezer instead to feed your family. (Here is another one: If I cook freezer-friendly meals then I will double the amount and freeze half of the meal.)
You see how important it is to prepare – physically and mentally.
These words have also inspired an app. The If this than that-App (IFTT-App) with a lot of If-then-recipes. You can learn more about that in this episode of the Brilliant Business Mom podcast where UK-Blogger Jennie Brandon shares her experiences about using the If-App to manage her social media channels. (If you are a blogger, check this out.)
Make the most of your time
In conclusion, you can make more of your time even with a tight mommy schedule. We have all heard of those women you have a big family to care for and at the same time run successful businesses. We all have those same 168 hours in a week. Make your hours count and pursue your dreams in the little chunks of time. If you know what to do, you only need to wait for the when. Don’t let precious time slip away wondering what you could do with it. Try to find time for pursuing your dreams and goals.
Do you struggle with productivity? What works for you?