Have you ever found yourself at the end of the day exhausted, spent, with more on your to-do list than hours in the day?
We've all been there. Recently I got a comment on one of my YouTube videos asking how I got it all done.
I laughed a little. I wish I could tell you I have it all together as a mom and business owner. I wish I had it all together, that I cracked the secret to productivity and that my home was perfectly managed and stress-free. But it's not.
However, I have learned a few things about productivity... and giving yourself a little grace.
1. Stop doing so much
I understand this doesn't sound like a productivity tip. But it is. Stick with me here, okay?
You're putting too many things on your to-do list. If you're getting to the end of the day and you have a bunch of unfinished items in your list you probably put too much on your list.
I heard a really wonderful quote this week from author Emily P. Freeman, "The sky is only the limit if you are an airplane. You’re not. You’re a human person."
This comes down to STOP. Stop trying to do so much. Stop trying to push too hard. Give yourself space in your day.
2. Accept where you are in life
I am a mom of littles. I have a four-year-old and two-year-old, while this limits some of my time, I still have more flexibility than I would if I was caring for a newborn nursing around the clock.
There are seasons of your life when you will have less time, less flexibility and less energy. This month has been very difficult for my family and me. So I have given myself permission to slow down and do less.
Do the same for yourself. Respect where you are in life.
3. Create a top five list
I do this single day. Every day. Even the weekends. I sit down and create the top five things I need to do on a daily basis. These are my biggest priorities, both business and personal. If nothing else gets done it's fine as long as these things are accomplished.
4. Develop daily checklists
Daily routines are important for so many reasons. They set our day and create a sense of accomplishment even on rough days when everything feels like it's falling apart.
Mine is very basic. I do one load of laundry, run a load of dishes, clean my kitchen (this takes 20 minutes tops!) and plan and cook dinner. In total, this takes me about 45 minutes a day.
5. Time thyself
Have you ever sat down at your computer to work and gotten lost in a project? Suddenly all your work time was used up?
This is particularly necessary when working online. It is so easy to get sucked into email, social media, perfecting graphics. Not to mention Pinterest. Seriously, I am not going to go there right now (see 6!).
Set your timer. Give yourself a limit for tasks you know should only take you a certain amount of time. If it only takes you 20 minutes to clean your bathroom or send out your weekly sales email, then set the timer on your phone. When it buzzes. You are finished. Walk away from what you're doing and move on with your day.
6. Limit your distractions
I got sucked into the Pinterest vortex this week. I got home from church Wednesday night, bathed and fed my kids, put them to bed and then sat down to answer an email and check for one recipe on Pinterest. Next thing I knew it was 2 a.m. Seriously. 2 a.m.
Delete apps that distract you from your phone or give yourself a time limit for areas where you know you get sucked in.
7. Write things down!
Oh my goodness. I am the worst at this. Trust me, you can tell yourself that you will remember an event, project or job but you won't. Just write it down. I use a plain Jane notebook and this planner from Mead to help me remember.
I write down appointments, to-do lists, goals, blogging ideas, business ideas, meal plans and conversations I need to have with my husband while he is out of town.
I know obsessively writing things down may seem like it would take more time, but trust me, this saves me hours.
If you're looking for some resources to help you launch your at home business I suggest checking out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2016.
There are several wonderful Work-At-Home related books that I recommend. And a blogging planner that you could easily convert to keep up with your freelance work.