Do you ever feel like your day is running you instead of the other way around? Do you long for the “good old” days, when things seemed so much simpler? I do. I long to be Laura Ingles Wilder, where everything was so simple…that is until I remember they had outhouses…and it took most of the day to put food on the table, not to mention wash clothes…uhhhh no thanks!
I am thankful for our modern conveniences, but is it just me or does it seem like that even with our modern “conveniences” that save us time, we have less time and are busier then ever? How do we accomplish all that needs to be done in 24 hours a day…or less because we do need to sleep once in awhile;)?
I love being productive, which to me, means keeping up with the daily household tasks, feeding my family healthy snacks and meals and tackling my never ending to-do list. When I am productive there is order…order in my life, my family and my home. To me, it makes this crazy, busy life run more smoothly. Between 4 children ages 2-10, homeschooling, running a home (cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.), a business, two brothers and a dog living with us, life is busy and full. There is much I need to accomplish everyday.
Do you ever wonder how some people are able to get so much more done in the same amount of hours as someone else? What is the secret to being productive and getting things accomplished everyday?
These are some of the things I have learned over the years about being productive.
1-Productive people are intentional (with time and resources)
2-They know how to say no
3-They have established great habits
and my personal favourite
4-They keep lists/planners/checklists, etc.
The outcome of our day is influenced by our habits (good or bad).
Having a productive day/life doesn’t happen by chance, effort is required. The effort and intention go into creating habits for oneself. Wouldn’t be nice if we could get an app for that ;)?
Don’t get me wrong, just because I know how to have a productive day and what great habits I should have, doesn’t mean I always do them.
Nope. There are days that if everyone makes it through the day clothed and fed, we’re having a good day. And that’s ok. But if my habits cause me to waste time on useless activities and then I’m scrambling to catch up, I am not being intentional with my time.
Habits can be good or bad, productive or time wasters. Create good productive habits and avoid the time wasters.
For example, if I have a habit of binge watching Netflix daily, I am not going to get much accomplished. Believe me, ummm, ahem, err...I’ve done it before. I’m looking very sheepish right now :( I have binge watched a Netflix series before, but it’s not a habit. Ain’t got no time for dat’!
One of the easiest ways to create more time, is to significantly cut back on screen time. I know it can be tough, but pick one or two favourite shows and stick with that.
Another habit that has been hard for me…and still is at times, is going to bed at a decent hour. I know it sounds productive to stay up late and get lots done, but…it actually ends up being counterproductive.
I know for most parents, the hours after the kids go to bed can be the most productive time of day. That makes it’s hard to put something down and go to bed. BUT if I go to bed late, I am cranky the next day and it affects the whole atmosphere of my home. I’ll sleep in and end up dragging, feeling sluggish and unmotivated all day. It’s a catch 22.
I’ve learned it’s best to just go to bed at a decent time.
Implementing good habits and being intentional with one’s time are steps in the right direction for having a more productive day.
Does this mean your house will always be clean, you’ll get to shower everyday and dinner will always be ready by 6pm? No, not always, but that can be the goal. Does it make us a failure if we don’t get everything done everyday? Again no, but it gives us something to aim for. If we don’t have a game plan, if we’re not intentional, then we get distracted…hello Pinterest and Facebook!!
Start a couple of these habit right away and see if you feel more productive each day. Some habits take a little more work to implement, but they will help you be more productive. It’s about working smarter, not harder…ok maybe slightly harder, but it’ll be worth it!
Habits to start implementing:
1-Go over your to do list and schedule for the next day…if you don’t have one start by making one
2-Start the next day off right by by making sure the kitchen is clean and dishes are done before you go to bed.
3-Start early…get up before the kids. I know it can be tough, but just being able to have a few moments to oneself, whether it’s to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee, to exercise or have a quiet time starts you in the right direction. If this is really difficult for you, start with a couple days a week and increase from there.
4-Make the bed-it automatically makes the room feel tidier and you can check it of your checklist. See!? You’re already being productive ;)
5-Get ready and dressed for the day in the MORNING…I’m talking to myself here too
6-Go to bed early…by 10:30
7-Start meal planning…either weekly or monthly
8-Prep breakfast the night before
9-Prep dinner first thing in the morning. If you didn’t do this the night before or don’t have a freezer meal available, get dinner prepped. Make a salad, marinate meat, put veggies in a pot or peeled, chopped and on a pan for roasting, etc.
10-When tackling your to-do list, do your biggest/least favourite task first thing when you’re feeling fresh. You will feel so much better having accomplished that task.
I know being productive isn’t the be all and end all. We have to make sure not to get so wrapped up in the to do’s that we lose sight of what’s most important in our lives.
I also know that it will look different for each person and family. But I do know that we only have so much time in a day and many responsibilities. We are accountable for how we use our time and our lives. For me, I need to be intentional with my time, for my family, so that I can be and do all that they need me to be and do.
Let’s live wisely and live intentionally.
Go out there and create habits that will bless you and your loved ones.