I know, I know… Call me Super Mom (my own mom does) or Wonder Woman (I told the kids I am), but even I know I can’t keep up this pace for long. Here is my secret (shhhh!): balance. “Everything in moderation,” my good friend Darcy used to tell me. Boy, was she right. I can accomplish much by multi-tasking and delegating, but some good old peace and quiet can be extremely productive. Let me suggest a dash of this and a pinch of that.
Required Ingredients to Increase Productivity
- Make a plan: every day is different, but consider what has GOT to get done. Start there.
- Make a list: prioritize your too-many tasks on paper (or your phone) so you can check it off as you go (like Santa, minus the cookies). You’ll feel more productive and those little tasks really do add up.
- Be systematic: attack one task at a time and keep moving down your list.
- Access help: people without kids of their own (babysitters, sisters-in-laws, etc.) love to help organize or sort through kids’ clothes, games and toys… Let them help you!
- Avoid distraction: use a timer if you need to, but stay focused! Turn on some music; stay off social media.
- Multi-task when possible: with all the automated stuff we own, we should be able to get a few things done at once, even if it is as simple as getting the dishes done or supper made while the clothes are in the washer.
- Delegate when acceptable: I like stuff done right, but over time, and six crazy kids, I have discovered I care less about how certain things are done, as long as they are done, or close to done.
Ingredients to Decrease Productivity (Use sparingly.)
- Do what you want vs need: tempting, but not a good habit…you probably want to do the easy stuff (like me) and continue to procrastinate on the big or hard jobs.
- Over-plan every moment: sometimes I just need a break! Sitting down to some peace and quiet allows me to organize my thoughts and feel less scattered. When we are too busy, we tend to forget things or just do them half-way anyways.
- Let emotions rule actions: when you don’t feel it, fake it. Put on a happy face and get down to action, whether it’s cleaning up the clutter from the holidays or getting dressed for work.
- Don’t seek or accept help: yeah, just keep going it alone. You should be able to handle it all by yourself, so just suck it up. No, not really! All joking aside, parents need help! Family and friends (and kids) can do stuff, too.
- Distract with technology, gaming or internet: reward with play time, like in the “olden days,” instead of fill your day with it. Revisit the concept of first meeting responsibilities, then rewarding yourself with something good or fun, maybe not even an electronic device (GASP!).
Obviously, not every day can (or should) be as productive as the last. In fact, I find that I relax and enjoy my weekends more when I have a productive week. I can engage more fully with my husband and kids when I am not distracted by the need to run my household (until Monday). Seriously, finding that right balance between getting stuff done and enjoying life is what we are all trying to perfect.
Just the right amount of each ingredient—work, play, patience and pressure—all blended with the immeasurable love of a parent, is the recipe I recommend!