If there’s one thing I really struggle with as a stay-at-home mom, it’s time management. It’s so easy to have an “off” day (or a week) where it seems like nothing gets done. We switch down to bare-bones house work and I stay up until 11pm every night doing writing that I would normally get done during the day (I work from home).
I know that I have time management issues and a strong addiction to Facebook. That’s a fact. So, to help myself, I developed these 5 tips that have helped improve my productivity. I feel like I’ve gained at least 2 extra hours each day and my house and home look a little less neglected. Read on to see what I’ve learned.
1.) Clean the kitchen at night. My old routine used to be to wake up and immediately start doing dishes. No more! My husband got me new pans for Christmas and in an effort to prolong their life, I’m hand-washing them. If I wait until the morning, they’re nearly impossible to get clean with anything less than 40-grit sandpaper and a blow-torch. That’s some serious incentive to get things done before going to sleep. Once the dishes are washed, I quickly wipe down the counters and stove, then empty the compost bowl that collected scraps and peels during dinner preparations.
2.) Unsubscribe from at least 1 email group each day. In the morning I turn on my computer or go on my phone and I’ve got 15 to 20 emails waiting for me. If I’m lucky, 1 will be important. It’s also pretty distracting to be on the computer during the day and see the little red 1 over my mail icon. I always wonder what it is, even if I know there’s a 99 percent chance it’s junk. Which brings me to my next tip…
3.) Set designated times to check your email… and stick to it! If you’re like me, as soon as you see that little red 1 over your mail icon, you want to check it. Turn the notifications off if you can and set times to check your email. Depending on how bad you are, you may need to allow yourself to check it every hour on the hour to begin with and then cut back from there. Wean yourself slowly rather than going all-out from the beginning and you’ll have a better chance of succeeding.
4.) Use a timer. If you’ve been staring at the computer screen for 3 hours working, it’s easy to allow yourself to get distracted. Make it a game. I often use a timer and set it for 15 minutes. I challenge myself to get 3 pages done in that time frame, but even if I don’t, the computer gets closed and I go do something else. Not only does this keep your brain fresh and give you a goal, it also gets you up and moving more. I have 3 kids so it’s not an issue, but for other people it may be an added benefit.
5.) Create a cleaning schedule. If you don’t already have a cleaning schedule, you need one. Rather than trying to do everything sub-par every day, focus on 1 thing that’s manageable to do each day and don’t worry about the rest. For example, here’s m list:
Monday: Kitchen (microwave and floor)
Thursday: Clean out the fridge, food inventory & grocery shopping
Friday: Living room
Saturday: Bonus feature – dusting, windows, clean carpets, etc.
In addition to weekly tasks, I also have daily tasks that include: scoop the cat litter, gather the eggs from the chicken coop, dishes, laundry, 1 bag of trash.
What’s the 1 bag of trash note about? Every day I grab a grocery bag and I go around the house picking up scraps of paper, broken toys, socks with holes, etc. and I fill up the bag. Once it’s full, I throw it away. I feel like that trick makes it so I’m never bringing more into the house than I’m taking out of it.