Do you ever have days where it feels like you’ve been really busy but you’re not sure what you’ve actually got done?
Come on, I know it’s not just me that this happens to!
As parents we have so many things on our minds, so many things we’re juggling that it can be really hard to even know where to start some days. There are a few tricks that I want to start using more though, to actually get stuff ticked off my to-do list.
If you could do with some help in that area too, then here are 5 interesting ideas of things you can try to be more productive and get more done each week.
Go into aeroplane mode
One of the biggest reasons I don’t get as much done as I could is that I’m always being distracted by notifications popping up on my phone.
I have all sorts of things set up to push notifications through, from Twitter and Facebook to emails and Instagram. And then there’s things like ClassDojo and texts from the school keeping me up to date with various things.
When you need to put your head down and focus sometimes the best thing you can do is switch your phone to aeroplane mode.
This basically turns off your phone service and disconnects you from wifi. So you won’t receive any calls or text messages and no pesky notifications will come through either.
If you want you can take this a step further and really drop off the grid for a bit.
Put a ‘do not disturb’ sign up on your door. Shut down all unnecessary windows on your computer so you don’t see any notifications of new emails or Facebook posts. Go as low-tech as you can and crack on with that to-do list.
Schedule in a power hour
This is just where you set aside an hour to focus on something. To go at it with all your energy and just get. it. done.
Lots of people do this with cleaning their homes. Pick an hour, put on some music and just whizz round getting as many cleaning jobs done as possible. Don’t let anything side track you, just stay focused and crack on.
You can also use this power hour idea to get on top of all those niggly jobs that never seem to get done.
This is something that Gretchen Rubin has written about and I love the idea of it. What you do is schedule in one hour each week to work through your list of jobs that need doing but have no real deadline to them. Those little annoying jobs that need to be done but don’t NEED to be done so they end up, well, not being done.
You know the types of things I mean.
Jobs like actually taking that bag of clothes and books to the charity shop. Sewing that button back on that fell off weeks ago. Ordering prints and putting them in a family photo album.
Pick an hour a week, pick a job or two from that list and get them done.
Use the ‘one touch’ rule
This is something I learnt about in a random course I did when I worked an office job. And while I don’t always stick to it, I know that it does make an impact on how productive I am when I do follow it.
The rule is this – only touch things once.
When the post arrives, sort through it and deal with each item there and then. File anything you need to keep straight away. Recycle junk mail immediately. Respond to anything that needs a response there and then. Don’t look through the pile and then put bits to one side to deal with later. Touch it once, deal with it straight away.
The same goes for emails and text messages.
If you read them, respond to them at the same time. If you know you can’t reply straight away then don’t read them yet.
When you read an email, then leave it to reply to later it sits in the back of your mind. Draining your energy and taking a little bit of focus away from the other things you’re trying to do. So make an effort to only touch things once, either physically or metaphorically. Deal with things there and then so you can put them out of your mind and move on to the next job.
Try narrating your life
This one is a bit more out there.
If you want to be more focused and, as a result, more productive then try narrating your day. The idea is that you think ahead to how things are likely to go in your day, then pay attention and note to yourself how things actually go.
Studies have shown that people who do this are more focused and more likely to pick up on things that are out of the ordinary and react accordingly.
Get things out of your head
One of my favourite ways to get focused and tick more things off my to-do list is to do a brain dump of everything I need/want to get done.
Grab some paper and a pen and write down everything that is swirling around in your head. All the jobs you need to get done, all the little things you’re keeping in your head to try and remember and keep on top of.
Once it’s all out of your head you’ll be able to think more clearly, process what’s important and urgent to get done and it’ll be much easier to actually do something productive and tick things off that list.