We Can Be More Productive, and Still Have Fun!
“I’ve been going in circles today and haven’t gotten anything done,” my good friend vented to me.
I nodded in a “I know how you feel way” and then shared with her a few things that have helped me be more productive over the years.
Not that I have my life perfectly in order, but in this situation, my friend was looking for answers.
And I only shared what helped me.
Plus, I shared with her the raw moments when I truly wanted to give up and just quit.
Quit my business…
Quit trying to keep the house clean…
Responsibilities were just too much, and I felt like there was no other answer except quitting.
But, instead, I prayed and begged God for wisdom.
Help Me Be More Productive
Those have been my exact words many times when I’ve asked God for guidance.
I’ve also asked God to show me if I was too busy or too disorganized.
I just wanted to see and know the truth.
Did I Nail the Art of Productivity When I Was Younger?
When I was only 19 years old, I had a strict schedule I lived by.
No one made me go on it, I just felt more “productive” if I lived and breathed by this hourly schedule.
But, fast forward to the season of life when I have six kids (one young adult, 3 teens, and two kids), manage 3 businesses, work in Christian ministry, deal with chronic migraines and chronic health issues, and homeschool 4 kids.
That list doesn’t give me grace on days when my teens need to vent or get counsel from their mom for an hour…
It doesn’t cover the days that are stolen by my unforgiving migraines.
It doesn’t cover the times when someone has an emergency and needs my husband and I to step in, go to the hospital, pray with family members, make a few extra meals, etc.
It doesn’t cover the two weeks I spent in constant headache/migraine mode from flashbacks from family trauma.
So, I had to change things up.
I had to be realistic.
Because life has been very unpredictable the last four years.
How To Be Productive When Life is Unpredictable
Productivity Tip #1: Get up earlier.
Because of my constant health battles, (seizures, fibromylagic, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines), my husband and I decided it was better for my body to get extra rest in the morning.
At first, this seemed like a rational, doable plan.
I began sleeping in until 8 or 8:30 AM.
My husband would get the kids ready for the school day while I rested and slowly got out of the bed.
We hoped this extra time would help prevent migraines and seizures.
Instead, it had the opposite effect.
I would end up being stressed because I had lost hours of my day.
Plus, with my health issues, additional sleep wasn’t helping improve them.
Oh, our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made!
They’re hard to figure out sometimes…even for doctors! :)
Once I switched back to an earlier morning routine (5-6 AM) I became much more productive and less stressed.
Productivity Tip #2: Don’t Drink Coffee First Thing
I know this sound crazy coming from a coffee fanatic, but after a long night of not drinking/eating, our bodies tend to be dehydrated.
This is totally coming from a mom blogger who does internet research…ha!
I am not a medically trained professional (obviously!), but I ask my doctors and nurses lots of questions.
When they see me coming, they’re like…ok…get ready to answer every question imaginable. :)
When I switched to drinking two cups of water in the morning before I have my coffee, it helped me focus more and get more done.
Productivity Tip #3: Don’t Squeeze Tons of Self-Care into the Morning
In my “free” time, I listen to business podcasts, business-related Youtube videos, and read business books.
One of those speakers or authors (some famous dude that’s incredibly productive) mentioned how most people relax and “chill” in the morning so they can get self care in.
As a Christian, I do devote my morning hours to Bible reading in prayer.
But after that, a lot of times I would do exercise, shower, make-up, stretching, maybe read a few chapters of a relaxing book, listen to ocean waves as I cleaned etc…
Without me realizing it, I was spending waaay too much time on self care.
Because my morning hours are my MOST productive. (Here’s a more scientific article on this topic.)
It makes total sense to FLIP my daily routine so the workout, shower, book reading etc. came in the late afternoon.
When I made this switch, I started getting more blog posts written and published (like this one) and began building my email list again.
You’re Reading About Productivity in Your Life
If you’re not a business owner, how does this apply to you as a mom?
Because your motivation…
Your energy levels…
Your focus levels…
They’re all super fresh and “raring to go” in the morning.
So get really important tasks completed before 12 PM.
Then, get self care in.
Because, let’s be honest, self care takes less brain power than WORK.
Productivity Tip #4: Leave Large Projects for the Weekend
Deep cleaning, homemade cinnamon rolls, and sewing projects can all wait until the weekend.
During the week, if you’re life is crazy busy like ours, just focus on getting the basics done.
School, cleaning, work, exercise, cooking….REPEAT.
During the week make simple meals.
Do daily house swoops to keep your house fresh and clean.
You have enough responsibilities on your shoulders right now.
And on the weekend, accomplish one or two really important BIG tasks.
You want to have a little fun on the weekends (we love finding new bakeries, coffee shops, and shopping!), so don’t plan too many large tasks on the weekend.
You’ll stress yourself and your family out.
Trust me on this one. <3
Productivity Tip #5: Set Timers
Busy parents can often get caught up with a project, and before we know it, we spent double the amount of time on “just reorganizing the pantry”.
In the cleaning frenzy, we forgot about cooking a meal for dinner or sending out those work emails.
And of course, we didn’t stop early enough so we could play with the kids.
It’s sooooo easy to lose track of time!
Setting timers for every task you start to do will help you spend reasonable amounts of time so you can get everything done that you need to.
The Real Secret to Productivity
Bonus Tip #6: Don’t Stress or Compare Yourself to Others
Dear busy mom, we ALL do it.
As much as we tell ourselves not to compare or stress, we still do it.
But that kills our productivity.
We see a busy mom who’s in perfect shape and somehow manages to keep a modern, cute home, and get bayalage done.
We see our split ends and random gray strands…
We notice our muffin top and pink stretch marks…
Our house is screaming “I haven’t been updated since 2010 and am totally out of style!”
When we start thinking about everything that NEEDS to be done (at least when we’re comparing ourselves to others) we often forget the blessings that are right in front of us.
Our husband who is our best friend.
Our kids who are our biggest fans.
Our neighborhood that’s quiet and charming.
Those few close friends that are really more like family.
The one we had over last minute for pizza and brownies last night…;0)
A warm, safe place to sleep at night when it’s pouring down outside.
No matter how “productive” we are…
How much money we make…
How skinny we are…
How beautiful our hair is…
We need to take time to count our blessings…one by one.
It’s a trite saying, but “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Focusing on staying calm, not stressing out, and not comparing ourselves to others, truly encourages us to become more productive.
When we’re overly stressed we just want to give up.
Hang up our hat.
Call it quits.
But busy mom, you are loved.
And your worth is not based on your productivity.
But, if you want to be productive (I do! I do!), let go of stress and comparison.
And start there…
Sending you hugs, fist bumps, and support!