With four kids, three pets, and all of the spinning plates that is my life as a homemaker, I can’t afford not to be as efficient and productive as possible. Let’s face it. If I don’t get to it, it’s probably not getting done.
I get distracted easily, and I tend fixate on “important” but not “urgent” tasks. If I’m not careful, I’ll go down every rabbit hole until my day is over and nothing on my to do list is done. I can’t help it. It’s my nature. And yet, I actually am very productive now most of the time.
How Do I Increase My Productive?
There are five things I do everyday that help me make the most of my day. These five tips help me stay focused, break away from more interesting activities and keep all of my plates spinning. Are you ready? Here they are.
#1: I always do the most important tasks first thing in the morning.
Volunteering or working, family finances, raising children, making meals, household chores–face it, we have A LOT of plates spinning. Thankfully, we don’t have to focus on every plate all of the time. We just need to figure out which plates are in maintenance mode, spinning away just fine on their own, and which need our undivided attention.
Some days, my most important tasks are household-chore related. Other days there is some sort of office work like bills that needs my attention. Deadlines looming for a volunteer role? That might just become my number-one priority for the day. Whatever it is that must get done that day–whatever plate is starting to wobble–that’s the first thing I do after my morning routine, no matter what else I feel like doing more.
#2: I Use Timers and Reminders to Set Time Limits
I could sit at my computer for hours working on a blog post, researching my next big DIY project or surfing social media. Admit it, the internet is a major time suck for most of us. I started using alarms and timers to limit my “less productive” time and remind myself to switch tasks.
I love to sit with a cup of coffee in the mornings and check in on social media or do a little reading or blogging after a hectic morning of getting the big kids off to school. If I’m not careful, suddenly it’s 8:30, and the littles are waking up hungry, while I’m still on the couch having some extended “me time.”
I set a reminder for 7:40 every morning. It helps me put down the phone and start the second half of my morning.
A timer can also help me get started on tasks I really don’t want to do. When it’s time for the evening pick up and I’m exhausted, a timer set for 20 minute can get me moving again. r
If you find yourself struggling to switch gears from one activity to the next, or finding the motivation to get up and clean your bathroom, try setting a timer, or four if that’s what it takes.
Bonus tip: When you are working a on big project, but want to make sure your other daily activities get done as well, try taking breaks. Work on your project for 40 minutes and then take a 20 minute break to clean up, play with your kids or prep for dinner. Then you can go back for another 40 minutes and repeat.
#3: I Streamline My Day With Routines
What parts of your day can you put on autopilot? Doing the same things at the same time everyday creates habits that relieve your mental load and increase your productivity. I have a pretty consistent morning routine that I do everyday. After getting myself ready for the day, I make beds, take dirty clothes to the hamper and wipe down the bathroom counters and toilets. I start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher and do a quick pick up of the main areas of the house.
At 3:30-4:00, the big kids and I do another quick pick up of the main living areas, and then they sit at the table for homework while I make dinner and fold laundry. We do clean up as a family if we have time, otherwise, I set a timer for 30-40 minutes and clean up the kitchen and do one last tidy in the evenings after our activities.
There are days that I don’t follow my routines, and honestly, those days are stressful; I get frazzled, and at the end of the day I feel like I got nothing accomplished.
#4: I Listen While I Work
We’ve all heard the advice to listen to music while you work, and if that’s motivating for you, fantastic, but while I do enjoy listening to music sometimes, I am with tiny humans all day and I would much rather listen to the sound of an adult human talking about something that isn’t turning my mommy brain to mush.
I love me some Youtube, but when does a busy mom of four have anytime to sit and watch TV? Answer? I really don’t. But, I can listen while I get my chores done guilt free. What is your guilty pleasure? Binge on Gray’s Anatomy, catch up on your favorite Vlogger, or listen to your favorite podcast. If cleaning is the only time you get to really enjoy mommy screen time, you’ll find yourself looking forward to that hour cleaning marathon rather than dreading it.
#5: I Enlist Help From My Family
I know, your husband worked a J.O.B. all day. Your children have sports and homework and school. But, that doesn’t mean they get a free pass from helping to maintain the house you all call home.
Your children need you to teach them that maintaining their home is important and they aren’t going to learn by osmosis here. And I don’t recall seeing maid in the definition of housewife. Give your handsome hubby and those sweet little kiddies jobs to do. The more you can delegate the everyday easy stuff, the more time you’ll have for detailed cleaning, handling the finances, helping with homework, and that glass of wine that’s been calling your name all week.
So, there you go. My five tips for increasing your productivity at home. Set timers and alarms, do the MITs (Most Important Things) first, create routines to reduce your mental load, listen to you favorite podcast/YouTube/TV show while you work, and delegate, delegate, delegate.
What do you do to stay productive at home? Was this helpful? Share your tips in the comment section below!