The purpose of this blog post is to help you get started in managing your time better. This is not an all inclusive list of productivity tips, by any means, but more of a “quick-start”. I am not a productivity expert, but I am extremely well researched on this topic. I’m constantly trying to find ways to optimize my time and make sure there’s room in my days for relaxed and enjoyable family time so I don’t miss out on precious moments with my son and husband. I want to help other parents do the same. You are saddled with the weight of the world and yet you’re trying your darnedest every day to create and/or maintain a beautiful life for you and your family. The fact that you’re even here reading this blog post right now shows that you are an amazing parent and your children/spouse/friends/family/employer are all so lucky to have you. Learn to do more by doing less. Let’s get started:
1. Schedule yourself some “me” time
This may seem like the last thing you should do when you’re trying to find the time in your day to knock off the 80 million things on your to-do list. But, hear me out. Self-care is the single most important thing when you are a parent. It’s also the thing that seems to go to the wayside most quickly when you have children. If you’re anything like me, scheduling time for yourself is so counter-intuitive because you take great pride in taking care of others in your family, at work, and in your friend circles. We’ve all heard the “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others” speech and while that’s true, it’s not the only reason you should take some time out for you. You need the time for yourself to boost your energy and keep you going throughout the day. I like to wake up a little early and spend 30 minutes drinking my coffee and watching a show or writing my to-do list (if I didn’t get to it the night before). I don’t spend my “me” time the same way each day. Sometimes I walk the dog and listen to a Podcast. Sometimes I sleep in a bit. This all counts! Find what works for you and get your little “me moment” before all the chaos ensues. You’ll feel so much better and able to stay focused, strong and keep momentum throughout your day.
2. Create a “To-Do” list
This seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? Well it kind of is. But why is it meaningful and impactful when it comes to getting more done more quickly? For me, it helps to ease my mind and allows me to think more clearly. Most of us have a million darting thoughts bouncing around in our heads throughout most of the day. “I need to cut my fingernails, get the dog to the groomer, make sure my youngest eats at least one piece of fruit today… Oh! I should reorganize the linen closet and clean out the fridge” Sometimes it’s a wonder how any of us get anything done at all with all of that going on internally. The to-do list serves two purposes: 1) It helps you remember all the tasks that you need to complete and 2) It eases anxiety about your day and helps you focus on the task at hand. To-do lists act as somewhat of a “Brain dump”. Also, it feels great when you cross things off of those to-do lists. You feel more accomplished and motivated to do more. I like to create my to-do list the night before so I can go to bed feeling relaxed and content knowing I have a plan for the next day. There are a few ways you can create your To-Do lists. Some people like to have a really long running to-do list with no specific organization. Others like to have to-do lists for each area of their life (i.e. work to-do’s, cleaning to-do’s, home-related to-do’s, etc.) Personally I have my work life to-do’s and my home life to-do’s. Furthermore, I like to prioritize the items I need to complete (See tip 5).
3. Cut the Crap
As a parent, it’s easy to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You feel like you have to do it all and still make a five course meal, clean the house from top to bottom, and volunteer at your local soup kitchen. Oh, and don’t forget to teach your children 5 different languages before age 5. While being a martyr is sometimes perceived as being in the job description, it isn’t! Also, if you’re anything like me, the perfectionism complex gets you stuck feeling like you just aren’t making any progress or you aren’t doing enough. I’m going to pause for a moment and say this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. In fact, you are more than “enough”. You’re here and learning how to be better at what you probably already do quite well. When you look at your to-do list, what are some things that don’t really need to happen? Do you really need to brush your beautiful Golden Retriever’s luxurious fur for 2 hours each day? Probably not. Cut some of that crap out and give yourself time for more important things.
What can someone else do? Can your 11-year-old transfer laundry from a washer to a dryer? Probably. Cleaning is one example of a huge time-sucking task that you can delegate throughout your family. Some people hire a cleaning company to do their cleaning and I’ve never once heard that it isn’t worth the money. For much less than the cost of a cleaning company, you could “hire” your teenager and 4 of their friends to deep clean your home. It’s a win-win for everyone – you get a cleaner home and more time and they make a little extra money. Get creative with your delegation. On a particularly busy day, can your crockpot make dinner for you? It sure can. Look, I totally get it. Delegation can be so hard. It’s hard to have others complete a task because you’re worried they won’t do it as well as you would. Maybe they won’t, but will it be better than it not getting done at all because it’s lower priority on your to-do list and there’s literally just not enough time in the day to complete it. You can bet your little booty it will be better to have it done, even if it’s not perfect. The other struggle many of us have with delegation is the concern of burdening others. It’s OK to ask for help. Most people are happy to oblige. Your gratitude for their work is generally going to be more than enough to make it worth it to them. What can you delegate to others today?
Prioritizing your tasks is an amazing thing you can do to boost your productivity. Larger, important tasks can be done earlier in the day when most people are at the peak of their productive power. Getting those things out of the way helps you feel accomplished and takes some of the weight off of your shoulders. Prioritizing can also help you determine what you can delegate. Personally, I prioritize my to-do lists using four categories: 1) Things I need to do today 2) Things I need to do this week 3) Things I should do if I have time and 4) Worries for another week. When I started breaking my to-do lists up into these categories, I felt like it was ground breaking when it came to my productivity. Just like when you first become a parent and all your priorities seem to align in an instant, you just feel better about the future. You feel more in control and like you’ve got this. I encourage you to prioritize your to-do list as you write it down. Making decisions in regard to prioritization can be a time-suck all on it’s own, so be careful here. Make sure when you’re doing this that you are making a relatively quick decision about which category of priority each task goes into. It’s not set in stone. You can move things around to different priority categories as you go. But having your priorities in line helps immensely in your ability to get more done and have more time for the important stuff.
So, those are my 5 tips to help you get more done in less time. I hope that these tips will help you get started on optimizing your time and leaving more space for what’s most important to you and your family.
What are some of your tips for productivity? Leave a comment below!
Much love and productive vibes,
Momma Caped Nerd ❤
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