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It seems no matter what decade we’re in, people are always searching for ways to become more productive. As I’ve gotten older and had more children, more responsibilities, I realized that my current way of life wasn’t going to cut it. I was always frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, and unhappy. I struggled badly with how to be more productive at home, and that was the root cause of all of my negative feelings.

I know I’m not alone in my struggle, however. Being a parent is hard! Getting your life together for the sake of your sanity and your family’s wellbeing is a must, but it is hard!

I still struggle with being more productive, but I am happy to say that I’ve gotten much better at increasing productivity, so I want to share a few secrets with you about what I changed.

I redefined success

The first thing I did to become more productive was to redefine what I considered successful. I stopped comparing myself to other moms and instead focused on my abilities.

As a mom who lives with major depression, placing unrealistic expectations on myself can be fatal for my mental health. Instead of being hard on myself for not washing dishes, or not picking up after the kids, I praised myself for the little victories.

Some of these small achievements include:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Getting my oldest to school on time
  • Making breakfast for myself and my husband
  • Completing at least one task on my to-do list before picking my oldest up from school
  • Remaining calm most of the day when dealing with the kids’ madness
  • Remembering to take the chicken out of the freezer to defrost for dinner the next day (this is actually HUGE for me)

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    My simple advice to you is to reflect on what you believe to be successful and ask yourself these questions to confirm whether or not you should redefine your definition of success:

    • What do you consider to be your best attribute?
    • What do you want to do?
    • What impact do you want to have?
    • What do you value in life?
    • Who contributes to your success?
    • Why do you want to be successful?
    • What will it feel like when you achieve success?

    I set S.M.A.R.T. goals

    Have you ever heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals? If not, here’s a quick breakdown of the acronym.

    For optimal success, goals should meet the following criteria:

    S – Specific

    A goal that is specific answers the 5 W’s: What, why, who, where, and which

    1. What do you want to do?
    2. Why is this important to you?
    3. Who is involved in accomplishing your goal?
    4. Where is this goal? Where do you need to be to fulfill this goal?
    5. Which resources do you require?

    Example: (1) I want to be more productive at home because (2) being more productive will relieve stress. (3) My family impacts my ability to increase my productivity (4) at home. I may need (5) a planner, other office supplies, and a plan for how to become more productive.

     

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    M – Measurable

    Ensure your goal is quantifiable or can be measured. A measurable goal addresses the following questions:

    • How much/many?
    • How will you know when your goal is accomplished?

    Example: I intend to finish 5 items on my to-do list by 1 pm.

    A – Attainable

    An attainable goal is a realistic goal. Ask yourself:

    • How you can accomplish this goal
    • If there are constraints (i.e. finances, time, etc)

    Example: I can increase my productivity by setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and time-blocking. I do not require any resources I don’t currently have in order to achieve said goal.

    R – Relevant

    Ensuring your goal is relevant is key to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you may want to reconsider the relevance of your goal:

    • Will this help me to achieve my end-goal?
    • Is this the right time to attempt to accomplish this goal?
    • Is this goal worth the effort it will take to achieve it?

    Example: Increasing my productivity will help me to become less stressed in the long-run and starting today will help me to get closer to my end-goal sooner. The effort needed to become more productive is definitely worth it because it’ll get me closer to peace.

    T – Time-based

    Finally, a S.M.A.R.T. goal should be based on a schedule of outcomes. Creating a time-based goal will keep you accountable to achieving it in a specific amount of time. When you can’t see an end to the madness how likely are you to keep pushing through? I know it’s very unlikely for me, therefore I ask myself the following questions:

    • Where should I be a year after beginning this process?
    • What about in 6 months?
    • 6 weeks?

    Example: I will be able to check off every task on my current to-do list within a week so I can begin my next project which I expect to complete by mid-June 2020.

    While crafting S.M.A.R.T. goals is another task to add to your to-do list, doing so will become easier with time. You’ll get so used to creating goals that make sense that you won’t think twice about whether or not they meet the S.M.A.R.T. standard.

    I started time-blocking

    I truly cannot say enough about how time-blocking has helped me to become more productive at home. If you’re not familiar with time-blocking, it is essentially planning out your entire day into blocks of time. You account for every hour (or half-hour) of every day using different colors to represent different tasks.

    I’ve created my own Time-Blocking Workbook and you can download your own free copy below!

    I prioritized tasks

    The ability to prioritize tasks is one of the best habits for a better life overall. When I really struggled with how to be more productive at home, one of my biggest source of frustration was not prioritizing tasks.

    I’m the type of person who has to write my tasks and due dates down on a piece of paper because if I try to juggle it all in my mind, nothing will get done. And I mean NOTHING. If I had two articles to write, a sink full of dishes, and a pile of laundry to wash do you know what I would do? Take a nap because the mental exhaustion for me was too overwhelming. Every task in my mind would pile up on top of each other, fighting for my attention. Prioritizing tasks was a necessity for my sanity.

    While searching for strategies to improve prioritization, I came across an AWESOME article from Team LiquidPlanner. While Team LiquidPlanner’s article is directed at prioritizing tasks in the workplace, it’s all the same no matter where you apply the process, which is broken down into 6 steps.

    The 6 steps to prioritizing work, according to LiquidPlanner, are:

    1. Make a list of all of your tasks
    2. Identify which tasks are urgent
    3. Distinguish between which tasks are most important to your goal
    4. Estimate the effort each task requires and list them according to most to least effort
    5. Sometimes priorities change, so remember to be flexible
    6. Remove the tasks from your list that aren’t urgent or most important to your goal

    Whenever I create a new to-do list, whether it’s for the blog or household duties, I follow the aforementioned 6 steps and am able to focus on what’s most important.

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    While searching for strategies to improve prioritization, I came across an AWESOME article from Team LiquidPlanner. While Team LiquidPlanner’s article is directed at prioritizing tasks in the workplace, it’s all the same no matter where you apply the process, which is broken down into 6 steps.

    The 6 steps to prioritizing work, according to LiquidPlanner, are:

    1. Make a list of all of your tasks
    2. Identify which tasks are urgent
    3. Distinguish between which tasks are most important to your goal
    4. Estimate the effort each task requires and list them according to most to least effort
    5. Sometimes priorities change, so remember to be flexible
    6. Remove the tasks from your list that aren’t urgent or most important to your goal

    Whenever I create a new to-do list, whether it’s for the blog or household duties, I follow the aforementioned 6 steps and am able to focus on what’s most important.

    I have remained persistent

    Finally, my last piece of advice is to remain persistent, which is so much easier said than done!

    Persistence is probably the hardest part of increasing my productivity for me. The amount of projects I’ve started and haven’t finished is ridiculous, but I had to come to terms with the fact that that’s okay. Some things are more important than others, so focus on what’s most important to you, your family, and your work. Keeping your end goal or purpose in mind will push you to see through the hard times until being more productive is second nature.

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