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As summer fun made life a little more hectic, thinking through my schedule became essential. I spent a couple of days on the lookout for time wasters, with the goal to improve productivity.
It was time well spent, because I made some changes to how I do things. Here are four specific changes I made this summer to help me get more done.
Close Out of Email
When I sit down to work, I typically check my email first. Afterwards, I often just opened a new tab to start working.
Because every time I got a new email, I could tell. The number on the opened Gmail tab would change.
And…I got sidetracked. I decided to pop over to my Gmail tab really quickly, just to see if it was important.
Even if it wasn’t, I often took time to read it. Or delete it.
Either way, it took time. I know it only takes a couple of seconds to delete an email. But, once I turned back to what I was working on, I had to get back in the groove.
Those few seconds away really were distracting. I just didn’t think of it as distracting because in my mind it was work related. So I was still working on work, right?
Now I check my email and close out. I check it on my terms, instead of in the middle of a project.
Shut Off the Phone
My smartphone has gotten too much of my time way too often. I’d grab it to check into a group on Facebook, snap a picture of something, or check my email.
And then I got distracted by a million other things on there and ten or fifteen minutes later I realized I still didn’t finish what I set out to do.
So, I’ve started shutting my phone off during big chunks of our day. It was hard at first.
But, I’m not only more productive now, I’m also more engaged as a mom. And that’s way more important to me.
You can do it. Just shut it off and walk away.
Then turn it back on while you’re getting lunch at the table. And again in the evening when there’s too much going on to be distracted.
Or whenever works for you.
If you’re struggling with being on your phone too much, this has been THE BEST strategy for me.
Have a Plan of Action
Don’t waste time wondering what you should be doing. Know what needs done each day, and also make a list of extras you can do.
Because a few minutes here and a few minutes there really do add up! Some of the extras on my list right now?
- Wipe out the freezers
- Sing the ABCs with my preschooler
- Practice counting those tricky teen numbers with my kindergartner (15…it’s always the number missed! If she gets that she’ll keep going and going, but if not, it’s a struggle! :D)
- Schedule some new pins with Board Booster
- Create a new pin for an older post with Canva
- Brainstorm blog post ideas
- Make a list of businesses to pitch for monthly blog posts
- Check on the pigs and make sure their gate is secure (they escaped on Labor Day…not so much fun getting them back in!)
- Read a chapter in a book
My list is an odd assortment of household/homeschooling/farm/business tasks that take a little bit of time. I can easily scan it and find something that matches my mood and available time.
If your list only has hard tasks or items that you don’t enjoy, it’s harder to find motivation to get them done. So put some fun things on there along with the harder. You can do it!
This one is hard for me. I don’t like to admit it, but the older I’m getting, the harder it is for me to do a bazillion things at the same time.
When I was writing a post for my blog a few weeks ago, and wondered why it was taking so long. I was seriously struggling to get it done, which was unusual for me.
So, I got out a piece of paper and wrote down what I’d been working on or thinking about. I had a really good brain dump. During this process, I realized while working on the post, I was also:
- Checking my email (see #1 above)
- Playing with my Pinterest profile
- Thinking about my car games book I’m going to write
- Having ideas for client posts run through my mind
- Keeping tabs on where everyone was and what they were doing
My poor brain.
No wonder it was taking forever to write my post. I wasn’t really focused on it.
I’ve been working on doing less multi-tasking. And I’m really enjoying my productivity when I focus.
Of course, when you work from home with kids, true focus is a rarity. Distractions and noise happen.
But, I don’t need to provide my own additional distractions. I closed out of some extra tabs on my computer and had a quick think time session while walking around the barn a couple times.
I came back in, committed to finishing the blog post. It went much more smoothly this time!
Did You Make Any Changes to Improve Productivity This Summer?
I’d love for you to share them in the comments. Let’s help each other do even more!
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Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.