WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY?
Oxford Languages and Google defines productivity as “the state or quality of producing something.” The time spent doing something, and its quality, is how we measure our productivity.
But, let’s face it, when it comes to parenting, we feel anything but productive. Parenting is tough; It’s even harder as a working parent. And in the midst of it all, you’re probably questioning where to find time for other things.
As a mom of two toddlers, working 40 hours a week, some days I want to throw in the towel. I just want to stay in bed, watch a documentary, eat hot cheetos, pretend I’m invisible, and let my husband deal with the house and kids.
And that’s because adulting can feel overwhelming. It’s hard to stay on top of things–let alone, face it all–when our focus includes the kids, work, paying the bills, cleaning the house. The list is endless.
Within our 24-hours day, how exactly do we fit in everything and feel productive?
10 PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR WORKING MONS AND/OR PARENTS:
- Use a Calendar
It’s so important to have a calendar when you have a family, as a calendar allows you to see what everyone’s schedule looks like, all in one place. There’s no guessing game nor assuming that a specific day in the week is open (or not), and alleviates stress and anxiety. Using a calendar keeps the family organized. And family members can communicate about their individual plans and put those on the calendar. Such can easily be the calendar app on your phone or a physical one. (I personally like using both.)
- Stick to Routine
We’re all creatures of habit. Sticking to a routine feels safe and comfortable. By having a routine, you can accomplish daily tasks without needing to exert a lot of energy. Other benefits, according to Northwestern Medicine, include better sleep, management of stress, a healthier diet, and even more exercise when you place it into your schedule and see it through.
- Work During Your Peak Hours
Are you a morning person, afternoon person, or a night owl? Leverage your peak hours and work during the time of day–or night–in which you are most energized. Use this to your advantage to get the most–if not the more important–
stuff done. If you have a big project or a deadline to meet, tackle these during your peak hours.
- Prepare the Night Before
I cannot stress how important it is to prepare the night before. Getting the prep work done and out of the way will eliminate stress or forgetting something, and it allows you to take your time in the morning. This could be as simple as packing lunches, picking out the next day’s outfits for you and the kids, loading the car with the items you need to take to work (or wherever it is you need to be the next day). If it’s too dark or late in the day, place your item at the door so you see it–or trip over it–when you leave the house. Preparing the night before means you are ready the day of.
- Wake Up Earlier
Waking up earlier does not mean you have to sacrifice sleep. Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier to allow you to have more time in the morning for just yourself. Spend this time doing things you may not be able to do during the day due to work and family. Wake up early to workout, meditate, journal, create art, you name it. This window is just for you, so enjoy it!
- Keep it Simple
Simplicity means having less. You don’t necessarily have to go minimalistic, but having less means worrying less. For instance, go simple with clothing. Have a couple tops and bottoms you can rotate throughout the week, wash them over the weekend, and mix match the next week. Doing this declutters your wardrobe, allows you to donate the clothing items you don’t touch, and ensures that you spend less time worrying over what to wear. Do the same with the kids.
- Meal Plan
Knowing what meals to cook and eat in the week removes stress, worry, and anxiety. You could prepare and freeze meals for the week, or stock up on certain food products the family eats.
I personally stock up on the same food items every time I go grocery shopping or place an instacart delivery. My list always includes pork, beef, poultry, eggs, milk, herbs, and frozen vegetables. And then I make simple go-to meals based on these items.
- Take Brain Breaks
It’s easy for us to get stuck in a routine. But then mundanity kicks in, and now we’re all bored and miserable. So it’s nice to take brain breaks. Take this opportunity to play on your phone, watch a movie, get out of the house, etc. Having breaks in your day or week allows you to recharge and be ready for the next activity or day. You don’t always need a busy schedule to feel like an accomplished parent.
- Have an Empty Schedule
I know, you’re thinking “Uh, Lysa, didn’t you just say ‘One-create a schedule’?” Yes. In your schedule, schedule nothing. Have the weekend off, where your little family doesn’t have to be anywhere, doing anything, or pleasing other people. Use this time for some me-time; your partner gets to do their own thing, and the kids get to play or rest at home. Having an empty schedule allows you and your family to recharge and re-energize. And it’s a great bonding time because the whole family is home.
- Ask for Help
When all else fails, or when you feel like giving up, know that it’s ok to ask for help. Get support from family, friends, neighbors, as well as fellow YouTubers and bloggers. Even Siri can help you. We don’t have the answer to everything, and parenting does not come with a guidebook, but somewhere out there another parent has experienced what you’re going through, and they’ll be more than happy to help. You only need to ask.
As a parent, it’s tough staying on top of things, let alone feel productive at all. By taking into consideration these 10 tips, you’ll be getting more done in a short period of time. Just remember that productivity is not about quantity but quality. So take your time and enjoy the journey of parenthood.
You got this!