#36 5 Productivity methods for moms to get more done
As stay-at-home and work-at-home moms trying to get more done, we often wonder if there’s a better way. This post and episode highlights 5 productivity methods for mamas to get more done at home!
As moms we’re constantly trying to get more done.
Time really seems to be the enemy.
You want to spend more time with your kids, family, or even on yourself doing the things you love.
But instead you feel trapped with the endless mundane tasks of motherhood cooking, cleaning, laundry (again), cooking (again) diapers, carpool, the list goes on and on.
I talk about how you can strategize a lot of these tasks and make them take less time then you were spending before ( like meal planning and meal prep, outsourcing, teaching your kids to help etc…)
…But at the end of the day, there are just so many tasks for a mom to get done.
So how can you get those tasks done quickly so you can actually get to the things you want to do or believe in doing.
…or how can you make tasks for your home business get done faster to make room for the rest of your life.
There are obviously a host of factors at play here, are you sleeping well? What’s your stress like? Are you taking breaks? Are you only doing the most important things?
All of these could be a podcast topic on their own…but I want to talk specifically about ways that you can get more done FASTER.
Or ways that you can see that you actually are getting a ton done as a mother, even when you go to bed without showering and spaghetti in your hair.
To do that, today I’m going to go over 5 different productivity methods for moms and talk about the kinds of tasks you could use them for.
I’m not going to go into insane detail on each one, but hopefully give you just a little taste and I’ll share what types of tasks each system is best for.
The truth is, I use a great combination of productivity methods based on the types of tasks I am doing.
For awhile I was on the hunt for the perfect method for all of my needs, but I have found that being flexible and using bits and pieces of all of the systems out there is so much better for my (actual) productivity and is more what “real life” looks like.
5 Productivity methods for moms to get more done
Eat that Frog
This method is based on a book by Brian Tracy
Before we dig in we need to identify what a frog is (because it’s easy to get it wrong)
The idea of eating that frog came from a quote by Mark Twain who said.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
So the system should be simple right? Choose the most annoying task you have to do today and do it first thing in the morning. Done.
But it’s more difficult than that.
Tracy says you have to choose tasks that you are likely to avoid AND that will make the biggest impact on your life.
In order to do that, this system is ACTUALLY about goal setting.
The first thing you need to do is identify what your biggest goal is.
Then set a deadline.
Then you need to write down ALL the necessary tasks for completing this goal.
Now’s when that frog analogy really comes into play.
Once you know your needed tasks, and you’ve identified what’s actually the most important to you (impact), then you’re ready to take action.
Tracy suggests starting with the ugliest task on your to-do list (eat that frog).
To continue with forward motion choose at least one task that moves you toward your goal and do it first thing, every day.
So how could you use the “eat that frog” method?
>>Best for GOAL SETTING and forward motion
What the “eat that frog” method isn’t good for?
>>Since it’s based on goal setting, it’s probably not going to help with mundane jobs like laundry that have to get done but don’t propel you forward toward your goals
The timer method
I don’t know if this is a “real method” but I can almost guarantee that it’s used by moms everywhere.
In fact I would say this is one of my “secret weapon” productivity methods for moms.
The timer method is loosely based on the pomodoro method.
The pomodoro method says you should set 25 minute timers and then work as effectively as you can with no distractions for those 25 minutes. After 25 minutes you take a 5 minute break.
After 4 rounds you take a longer break.
While the system as written sounds great for a work day, as a mom I feel like my day is a little to unpredictable to expect to work on something uninterrupted for really any period of time, let alone 25 minutes.
So here’s how I alter it to work for me.
Pick a task and a reasonable amount of time to accomplish that task.
Set a timer.
…then race the clock to get it done!
This method gets used a lot in our house. Particularly with cleaning tasks that I really hate.
So what is the timer method best for?
>>Best for mundane and undesirable tasks (of medium importance)
>>Kids helping! Kids are great at trying to beat the clock!
What the timer method isn’t as good for
>>I don’t find that this system helps me achieve big goals as much (though it could, if you took the time to separate large goals into smaller 25 minute tasks…but that seems a bit mundane to me).
>>I prefer other metods for accomplishing major goals, but find this method extremely effective for those need to do tasks that aren’t particularly fulfilling.
The anti-to-do list
This idea is really fun.
The anti-to do list is basically a “done” list
You know those days that you feel like you got absolutely nothing done?
Or that unexpected urgent things kept popping up and keeping you from the things you wanted to get done?
That’s where the “done” list comes in.
At the end of the day, you write down not everything you have to do, but everything you got done.
This is super empowering, and motivating.
You know those people that add things to their to-do list just to cross it off? They might have been on to something.
The anti-to-do-list isn’t something that I do every day, but I think it can be pretty powerful when we are in a rut and feel like we aren’t accomplishing as much as we would like to.
What the “anti-to-do list” is best for
>>Best for building motivation
What the “anti-to-do list” is not as good for
>>accomplishing specific goals
>>keeping track of tasks
The eisenhower matrix
You’ve certainly heard of this method (even if you don’t know that you have)
The eisenhower matrix is the method where you make a cute graph of your to-do list and split it into four different matrices
On the sides you have Urgency and on the top/bottoms you have importance.
After your graph write out your to-do list putting each task in the appropriate category.
Urgent and Important Tasks go in the top left, Non-urgent unimportant tasks go in the bottom right.
After this process is done, it’s really clear which things you need to work on first.
It’s also clear that you might have some tasks that need to leave your list altogether (those in the non-urgent, non-important category).
The eisenhower matrix is best for
>>Best for mapping out your entire to-do list
>>Best for weeding out unimportant tasks
The eisenhower matrix is not as good for
>>getting through tasks quickly
>>getting through those important but not urgent tasks
Block scheduling (or time blocking) has gotten a lot of hype, and it’s probably one of the most popular productivity methods for moms.
There certainly are a lot of benefits to a block schedule system.
The idea is that you split your day into different “blocks” and put tasks into their own organized blocks.
I love block scheduling for my kids because it has the potential to be very visual. I can use a block schedule and draw in the tasks for my kids.
It also helps you find a place for all different kinds of tasks.
You can fit in your self-care to a certain block, and your “get it done” tasks in a different block.
What “block scheduling” is good for
>>Best for finding “balance”
>>Best for kids
What “block scheduling” is not good for
>>Can feel rigid
>>Can be difficult to follow if your day changes day to day.
Well there you have it, through a combination of these methods you will be well on your way to getting more done!
One more quick note on getting more done and productivity methods for moms.
As much as this is a “productivity” podcast and as much as I’m all about “getting things done” It’s important to remember that breaks are a very important part of getting things done.
There is more to productivity to getting things done, and leisure, rest, and exercise will allow you to be more productive in the hours that you designate to “be productive”
I hope you’ve learned something in this episode and can think of some ways to fit more into your day, so you can enjoy more peace and family time in your nights.
Next week we’re talking food again with how to avoid waste in your kitchen. It’ll be a good one! Hope you tune in!