Busy. Busy. Busy.
Do you ever wonder how you cram it all into one day? Or maybe you don’t.
Do you forget things all of the time? Confirming, mom brain is real!
Is life constantly a rush? Nose down trudging through each minute? At work and at home?
Look, I see it all of the time! In friends, relatives, co-workers, you are back logged! Shoot, I run into the same problem.
Just for the record and to be clear with expectations here – we do this to ourselves!
We over commit, add things to our plates, mismanage our responsibilities, and confuse our priorities. This happens every day with people, and yet, so many of us just continue to run with our noses down to grind it out and get through it.
Oh sure you say things like how you really enjoyed your “get-away” or watching the kids play a sport or you made “me time”. But did you? Did you really?
How long before you get a text, an email or call from work, think about something that was bothering you, something other than what was happening right then and there? Or all the work and planning that went into getting everyone loaded up and in making the perfect get-away happen.
This life we’ve created for ourselves isn’t going away. Unless you really sit down and make an honest focus and approach at cleaning out your life, your family, your work life, it isn’t going away.
Not doing anything about how we manage the lives we’ve created for ourselves, that’s a different story.
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I constantly have people say to me, “I don’t know how you fit [it] all in.”
Work, mom, wife, blog, exercise, grocery shopping, sleeping, yard work, etc.
Another spoiler alert, I don’t!
What I do though is know what my priorities are, and I don’t mix them.
I find time that is wasted time and make it intentional time. And when I say intentional time, I’m even talking time just enjoying watching my kids play together.
Naturally I’m a process oriented person. Maybe this is to my advantage here and possibly disadvantage in regards to other areas of my life.
I’m here to tell and share with you that there are tactical ways to help you live more intentionally and productively.
You may have to dig yourself out of a hole a little and get caught up, but once you do, you will see the difference.
You will start to see how small routine changes can transform your life, making each day and moment actionable, intentional and with purpose.
Make a list.
Make good use of your time.
Make a list.
When I had our first child, the sleep deprivation, the additional responsibilities, and just general need to focus on recovering verses being productive was really wearing on me. There were things I needed and wanted to get done, but as soon as I could do them, I couldn’t even think of what the things were!
Finally, I realized, that if I didn’t write these things down, have a list to go back to when I got interrupted, then I’d never get anything done.
Making a list is the simplest most important tip I provide leaders and will share with you now in regards to productivity.
Whenever I have someone come to me and say that they need help with “time management” I ask them, “do you make a list of the priorities for the day?” and if their response is no, then that is where we start.
I’ve helped restaurant managers, moms, office managers, and nurses become increasingly productive because of this simple task. If you don’t already do this, try it for 1 week.
For 1 week, write down what you need to get done for the next day. Go a step further and write down what you need to get done, appointments you have scheduled, etc. in the order that you are going to do them. Start with the quick hit items first, like checking your email. Then go from there. Your productivity will improve increasingly over each of the days.
Hint: as part of your list of to do’s for the day, you should include making a list for the next day.
What I love about this, is when I get drug away from my desk unexpectedly, I come back to that list and can pick up what I need to do right away verses sitting down and thinking about what I need to do.
I also love this because there are, not often, but sometimes, days that I complete my list before the end of the day. Since the last thing on my list is to plan the following day, I write out the plan for the next day and then start working on those to dos!
Now, there are also days that I don’t get to everything on my list. Those days are going to happen. When they do happen, I look at what I didn’t get to and reprioritize them against deadlines and other things that need to get done. Most of the time, I move them to the next day’s list of to dos.
I use this list making method mostly with work and on days when there is a lot going on at home. Our mornings are very routine particularly on the week days, so I don’t typically write out the to dos for every morning unless there is a change in the routine.
Here’s an example of what a day at work and a day at home may look like.
- Set up webex meeting
- Review benefits guide and enroll
- 9am safety huddle
- Prep for Meeting
- 11 – meeting
- Follow up on items needed from leader
- Review project and follow up with SMEs
- Continue to build and design shell for new guide
- 3 – meeting
- Tomorrow’s to dos/tonight’s to dos
- Make meals for the week
- Plan dinners for the week
- 11 Croix horse lessons
- 3 pictures
One thing I rely heavily on is my momAgenda planner
I’ve been using this for several years now, and it’s perfect for mom life and for work life.
It worked great when I was traveling all of the time and trying to keep nearly weekly travel plans, child care, personal and work life straight.
The weekly layout allows me to keep appointments at the top of the page and then what I need to do each day, project or mom life, at the bottom.
There’s also a monthly view that is helpful to. I base my daily list of to do’s off of what I’ve put in my planner.
When we make certain things routine and constant, it helps manage the rest of our day and eventually eliminates having to make a list of what needs to be done.
As I mentioned, unless there is a change to our morning routine, I don’t need to write it out. Everyone will get breakfast, diaper bag and book bag will be loaded up, etc.
I exercise at the same time every day. Currently at 5am. This is for many reasons, and sometimes it changes, but keeping it at the same time every day doesn’t require me to write it on my list of to do’s. When I plan to go on a run at work, then I write it in my list of work to do’s because that is out of the normal routine.
Even making it a routine to write your list for the next day is important.
Make good use of your time.
I used to see mom’s sitting at their child’s sports practice waiting for it to be over and thought, “If I was at my kids practice, I would be in the best shape of my life! Why would you just sit in the car not doing anything when you are where you could be exercising?!” This is a great example of using that time for intentional use verses unproductive use.
Another great example of this is after the kids go to bed and you have all of the parenting responsibilities done for the day, and you are sitting on the couch vegging out watching TV or scrolling social media. I’m not saying a good brain vegging isn’t worth it and needed sometimes. When this becomes a nightly routine and for multiple hours and you’re complaining about never having any time, then it’s a problem. Ultimately it’s up to you on how you use your time. If you need that vegging time every night, then no judgement here.
The point is, be aware of what you are doing when you are doing it. Think about all of those things that you want to do and do them! Like starting a blog, or exercising, or projects around the home.
We all have unique lives that change daily. But are you managing your day, or is your day managing you?
Getting in control helps us build focus and intentional time to what our priorities are and need to be.
Making a list, creating routine and using your time intentionally, helps you take more control, increase productivity and find time you didn’t realize was there.
All of these things also help you to be better equipped for the things that derail you and are unplanned. When you do get pulled away, your list of to dos will be there waiting for you, verses you trying to decide what to get started with next when you come back. This is much more efficient.
Imagine the administrative assistant that I helped with this.
Sitting in an office where the phone is constantly ringing, emails don’t stop and there’s always someone from the office asking something of you. Interruptions are a norm. Getting any actual projects and responsibilities done had become nearly impossible.
The first day we met and I asked her to explain what goes on in her role so that I could understand why she was having troubles getting to meetings and responding to responsibilities, the biggest issues was that she is constantly interrupted.
I told her to make a list of the things she needed to get done for the next day, similar to what I described above. Then I told her to come in the next day and start with that list. When she was interrupted, take care of the interruption, and then go back to her list and pick up with what she was working on.
After a few days,I followed up with her on the new process and the first thing she said was how much she was able to get done of her priorities and still get the requests made of most everyone else’s!
If you are doubting that this process won’t work for you, I challenge you to try it for one week.
Accept that you may not get to everything on your list every day. Be mindful of when you are overcommitting and reflect on your priorities and line them up against any deadlines. Base your decisions of what goes on your to do list on these things.
I get up at 5 am to workout because I’m too exhausted by the time the boys go to bed to do it then. My cousin told me the other night that she runs at 10pm and showers at midnight. We all have different lives and will find what works best for each of us individually. One thing is constant, we all want to “do it all”, and to intentionally do it all, we have to intentionally look at what we are doing and stay focused.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and success stories on this!! Share below!