Let us start with understanding productivity first. Productivity can mean and look different for everyone. But the basic definition is:
“The act of PRIORITIZING THINGS in our life to EXECUTING THEM EFFICIENTLY in a set time frame to have BETTER BALANCE AND SATISFACTION in life”
We have been given limited time to accomplish things in this life. And if we don’t respect “time” and learn to utilize it to our advantage, we will have problems in the long run.
It is the act of doing small things daily which slowly add up and turn into the big compounded results that we dream of achieving
You push yourself to walk daily for 5 mins and slowly you start believing in yourself and you will want to push yourself to walk for 10 more minutes and that is a healthier you!
Every night you clean your kitchen and the hall before going to bed and that is one more day of a cleaner home.
It’s the small things we do mindfully in the available time that builds up over time to give you what you truly desire.
And this is why productivity is very important in our daily lives.
My husband and I, before the birth of our child, led a very carefree life. We despised any kind of routines or structures and did what came easy.
At home, we spent a lot of time watching movies, television and on other things that kept us entertained after coming from work.
Eating outside or ordering food happened regularly. Cooking was not a happy affair. But we wanted to eat healthy home-cooked meals, but it was easier to forget our resolutions when we sat before our systems, declaring that we had life-saving work to finish on our phones or laptops.
Our home was messy; I had a room dedicated to dumping piles of unwashed and washed, unfolded clothes.
If someone was supposed to come over, it used to take me a whole day to get the house to have some semblance of tidiness.
After our daughter was born we both were very scared and struggled to find balance. We fought over who was responsible for what and we both were tired trying to figure out how to make it all work.
So after a lot of research and experimentation, we have put in place structures and routines to manage our time and lives.
Now I cook all our meals at home, I can get the house under control in 10- 15 minutes if someone is supposed to come over.
I still struggle to make it all work together(My laundry! how can there be so many clothes to wash and fold and …! When I am in my pyjamas most of the time!), but I have more faith in myself and my systems and I keep trying without losing heart in the process.
Let’s start with Planning- THE CLUTTERBUG WAY
Everyone has a certain way of planning their day, some activity, a project e.t.c. It could be simply jotting down things to do or setting up reminders on their calendars.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish “
If you are just entering the world of “I have to get my life under control, and don’t know how to plan”, then I recommend planning the Clutterbug way. She is a Youtuber, Author and also a Podcaster who has mini-courses on how to organize your home.
She says in her book “Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook” that we first need to set a dream for ourselves.
Below is the slightly modified version of her planning technique
Think of the best version of yourself; that ideal “you” you have always wanted to be. Write it down in a sheet of paper.
Next, write WHY your dream is important to you.
This will give you clarity as to how you can proceed towards your dream.
Identify and write down the different roles you play daily.
I am a mother, wife, homemaker, a blogger, a daughter, a sister, daughter-in-law, K-drama watcher e.t.c. But I can’t spend time equally on all the roles. So I need to pick 3-4 roles which I will be performing on the majority of days.
You have to identify your daily priority roles to find out how much of your time each role is taking up in a day.
We do this to understand if a particular role is useful in working towards your dreams or if is it a distraction to your goal
Then mindfully reduce the time for the roles which are not going to be helpful to achieve your dreams!
Below is an example of what are my daily priority roles and how much time I am dedicating to each role.
Homemaker – 6 hours approx.
As a homemaker, it takes me nearly 5-6 hours daily to do my household chores. 2.5-3 hours for preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items for my daughter. Then laundry (washing in the machine, hanging washed clothes for drying, folding and putting them away); getting grocery, putting away grocery; cleaning/putting away things from the hall, kitchen and bedrooms.
Mom – 6 hours approx
As a mom, I feed her, bathe her, clean her, read to her, put her to sleep, take her for walks, play with her, create activities for her. My role as a mother most of the days goes beyond 6 hours.
Wife – 2 hours approx.
As a wife, ideally, I want to spend at the least 2 hours with my husband but I struggle to get to sit and talk with him for even an hour!
If I add another role to my priority list, for instance as a blogger, it eats into the time I have allocated for my other 3 roles. But blogging is very important to me and thus I compromise on the responsibilities that come with other roles.
“At any given point of time playing with 3-4 roles is optimal for maintaining our sanity. Anything more than that will leave us feeling both mentally and physically tired and unavailable to put our best self forward”
Now breakdown your dreams while keeping your roles in mind.
Your roles are your “reality”. You can want to achieve “n” number of things, you can have “n” number of goals but you need to be realistic about how much you can truly work on.
If one of my goals was: “Start meditating daily”
First, I will write down a daily action plan for the goal.
Then start working on the “Action planner”. The action planner could look something like this:
Action plan for the goal
I will daily meditate at 10:00 pm, just before going to bed and inform my accountability partner about my progress
Timeline for the goal
By Nov 2019, I would have finished 80 days of meditation
KPI, Accountability partners
I will have finished 30 days of meditation by September 15 2019
After meditation, I will inform my mother through a Whatsapp message
Productivity Tip: 1
Set a morning routine and stick to it
Morning routines set the tone for your day.
When you start your day doing 1 or 2 activities from the above list, you will feel like you planned for something and you have achieved it and that drives you to want to do more.
Morning routines can trick your brain into believing that you have already achieved something great and the brain will believe that it can do a lot more throughout the day!
This is a big topic and I feel I cannot do justice to it by simply putting all the information in one post.
So I will be writing “productivity tips from a stay-at-home-mom -Part 2” soon.