Boost Your Productivity As a Busy Mom
There are only 24 hours in a day, so getting stuff done in that limited time frame can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are 9 genius tips from a busy mom, to show how you too can maximize your productivity!
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My friends and co-workers routinely ask me how I get so much done; I have two toddlers, work full time, primarily manage my household by myself (my husband typically works 12+ hour days – 7 days a week!) and on top of that, run this site! It’s not uncommon to have someone come to my house, be offered a fresh baked cookie, hear me mention the latest book I’ve been into (or written), and then hear about what’s going on at work and with my kids. On top of that my house is usually reasonably tidy.
I won’t pretend my life is perfect or that my house is spotless, but overall I like to think I’m doing alright.
Want to know my secrets as to how I get so much stuff done?
Here’s my top 9 tips to get stuff done:
1. I write a weekly categorized to-do list. At the start of each week, I write 3 to-do lists (all on one sheet of paper). I have it divided up so I have one list for my work, one for my house and family, and one for my blog. I include all meetings, appointments and tasks. I used to write this list on a random piece of paper, but now I write it in a planner. There’s nothing particularly special about my planner, except that it has a layout I love and it’s harder to lose than a single piece of paper. I stumbled upon this Happy Planner and fell in love with its beauty as well as function. I definitely don’t use it the way it’s intended to be, but I have found that I am super proud of my planner and love toting it around with me. Besides that, it allows me to easily transfer things that are remaining on my to-do list from one week to the next.
2. I know my priorities. I know what NEEDS to get done ASAP and what is optional. I try to knock out tasks that take only a couple of minutes early one because it builds my confidence when I get to cross something off my to-do list. I make sure I get all necessities done before I do anything for fun.
3. I am motivated. I know that if I am efficient at getting the necessary things done, I can accomplish something I want to do for fun. This really pushes me to get as much as I can done! (I also LOVE crossing things off of my to-do list!)
4. I do something useful during small, random time blocks. For example, if I have a meeting in 15 minutes, I don’t waste those 15 minutes on Facebook (I used to). I find something on my to-do list and get it done.
5. I listen to podcasts and educational audiobooks at every given opportunity. If I am doing some mindless activity, I try to conquer two birds with one stone by listening to something that will further my life or career. I won’t lie, sometimes I jam out to some upbeat music while cleaning the kitchen or mowing the lawn, but a lot of the time, I try to use this time productively.
6. I make my commute productive. I either listen to a podcast or audiobook related to my job, or I turn off the radio and try to organize my thoughts. I think about what needs to get done, brainstorm solutions to problems I’m facing, or think of the best way to say something. Additionally, when you have young kids at home, sitting in silence is sometimes nice. You’d be surprised how peaceful it can be to let your mind wander.
7. I multi-task – the smart way. People always wonder how I have time to make cookies. Let me tell you the secret – I make them while I’m cleaning the kitchen. If you wait to make cookies after your kitchen is cleaned, not only are you making it messy again, but you have to hang out in proximity to your oven to constantly take cookies in and out of the oven – taking more of your precious time! If you make cookies while your cleaning the kitchen, then it’s just another thing to do, since you’re already there. It adds at most 15-30 minutes to cleaning the kitchen, instead of an hour or two. Additionally, I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks during this time, so I’m accomplishing 3 things at once.
8. I know when to be impulsive and when to take the time to do research. I used to grocery shop at 4 grocery stores, shopping the sales at every single store. Now I do pretty much all my shopping at Walmart and Sam’s Club. (I still occasionally run to Aldi!) I found out that Walmart and Sam’s Club prices are usually quite competitive with the sale prices at other grocery stores. My time is valuable and unless I’m going to save a significant amount, it’s not worth my time to spend another a couple hours scanning ads and driving to various stores.
9. I drink coffee. I usually have at least 1-2 cups a day. I will take a 30-60 minute nap as needed, but if I have a lot to do, a strong cup of coffee will help me power through the day.
Ultimately at the end of the day, there are only 24 hours in each day. How you spend every single minute is valuable. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t relax and binge watch something on Netflix every once in awhile, but when you are a busy mom wishing there were more hours in the day, something has to give. You simply cannot accomplish everything so you have to focus on prioritizing and using your time as efficiently as possible.
What tips do you have to get more done? Share in the comments below!
Now get out there and rock your busy mom life!