Have you ever just laid in bed before falling asleep and wonder what happened to the past 24 hours? I mean 24 hours seems like a lot of time. That’s 1,440 minutes and 86,400! Seriously, what did you do during all that time? Much of the day is wasted and we don’t even realize it.
I’m a big procrastinator. Seriously, I’ve been wanting to write this post for over a month now! I’ve just kept putting it off or playing on Facebook instead. Oh, Pinterest might be to blame as well. Last week as I reflected on this post, I realized how much time I’m actually wasting. What starts out as a 2 minute “Let me share this blog post” ends up being 45 minutes. There is some “share this blog post,” “share this funny meme with hubby,” and “Oh! Sicily would love this outfit. I have to order it for her.”
I started listing out all the nooks and crannies of time within my day and was surprised at how many little chunks of time I could be using to get things done! Today, I’m sharing those nooks, crannies, and simple tasks that have helped me find more time.
List and Schedule
I end every night, unless I’m too tired and then every morning, making a list of what has to be done the next day. When I have a list, I tend to get more done. I order my list from most important to least important. Sometimes I’ll put the most dreaded task first, so it seems to be more important. I like the idea of getting it done, so I can forget about it! Next, schedule these tasks into chunks of time you already have in your day, like nap time. I go into more detail about how I schedule into chunks over on this post.
This may seem counter productive, but get some ZZZZ’s. We mamas tend to think that we need that me time or one more TV show even though we can barely keep our eyes open. I’ve talked to mamas who really want to go to bed with their kids, but feel it’s too early for an adult to go to bed.
Let me tell you, that I am in bed almost every night between 8 and 9! Sleep is important to me and I perform better when I well rested. I’m also a morning person, so I get more done in the morning. I tend to wake up super early to get a few things accomplished and get some me time in before Sicily wakes up. I like starting my day out with my me time, instead of ending the day with it like most mama’s do.
Having the morning to myself makes for a more relaxed day. I get the most important/most dreaded tasks done during this time and don’t have to worry about it all day.
Find Purpose (even in the small tasks)
Why are you doing this task? If you have a hard time finding motivation, ask yourself why. It may seem silly for simple things like folding the laundry, but answering yourself with “I don’t want to wear dirty clothes (or wrinkled clothes in my case. I get it washed, but not folded)” can be a great motivator to get it done!
Enlist the Small People
That’s what kids are for, right? Just kidding, but I can’t wait until Sicily is old enough to help with chores instead of making them harder. Most of the time I end up folding the same shirt 5 times in the process of folding and putting away a load of clothes.
Even at the age of 2, children can start helping with chores around the task. Make it fun and teach them responsibility. I’m teaching Sicily how to clean up, even though she is one. It’s a slow process, but in a few months it’ll make things a lot easier.
Kick Guilt to the Curb
Sometimes we need to just relax and binge watch a few shows on Netflix. It’s okay, mama! Take the time for yourself and let it go. Don’t feel guilty about not getting to a task on your to do list. I try to under plan…yes, under plan…my days. That way I feel accomplished when I finish it all and even more proud when I can get something else done that wasn’t on my list.
Learn to Say No
This is a biggy for me. I hate making people feel bad by telling them no. It’s a learning process, but I’m getting better at it. If you really don’t want to do something, and you don’t have to do it, then say no. Don’t let others con you into doing things that you don’t want to, like bake the batch of cookies for the bake sale. (Although if you do, bring me one please!)
Focus on One Task at a Time
Yes, there may be 10 things on your to do list, but they all don’t need your attention right this very minute. Focus on one thing at a time. This goes for things not on your list as well. When your child is needing a hug then be there! When your husband wants a kiss, be there! When the dog needs a walk, be there! You will find that taking a break to focus on what’s in front of you helps you be more productive and get more done.
I know that felt like an arrow to the heart, but it works! I have such a hard time putting my technology down. Even at this moment, Facebook and Pinterest are opened while I’m trying to write this post. Some times we need to jut close everything, put it away, and focus on the task.
This can be really hard if you are using the computer to complete a task like I am. Every time I get a notification, I have to click over to see what it was. I just can’t wait if I know there is something waiting for me. (That’s really sad, isn’t it?)
It can wait though! Just close out of those screens and tell yourself it can wait. If you need to set a timer. Reward yourself with technology for working really hard for 30 minutes.
I know some of these “tricks” don’t necessarily find you more time, like this trick. But, physical activity boost productivity and helps you stay focused. It may not find you more time, but it helps you focus so you can get more done during that chunk of time.
Break Larger Tasks into Small Chunks
A large task may seem daunting and lead to procrastination. Break it into chunks scheduled throughout your week. Looking at one small chunk at a time makes the task more manageable.
Create a daily routine and stick to it instead of winging it every day. Having a routine helps you be more productive throughout the day because you know what’s coming up. A routine helps you see where the chunks of time are throughout your day to help you plan your to do list for each chunk.
Ask for Help
I know this is hard for most people. It’s hard for me too, but sometimes we just need help. And it’s okay to ask for help.
There may not be a way to add more hours to the day, but with these tips and tricks I hope you find ways to utilize the time you do more effectively.
What is your best kept little time hoarding secret?
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