As moms, we’ve got a lot of tasks to juggle, like cleaning, cooking, home management, and taking care of the kids & helping them with their own tasks and responsibilities. Many of us also have full-time jobs, part time jobs, or side hustles to manage. If we’re lucky, we can squeeze in some gym time, a girls night, a hobby, or some Netflix.
But nobody wants to just “squeeze in” the fun things. The key is to stay on top of our tasks so we always have time for a little fun. I’ve learned that implementing habits is the best way to stay on top of my life and be a more productive mom, allowing for more fun in my life.
Admittedly, 2017 was not my most productive year, and what was missing from my life were habits. Somewhere along the way in 2016, I lost a lot of the good habits I’d built up over the years, and it was hurting my productivity game. Here are 5 key habits for a productive day that I’m working on re-implementing in my life:
Habit #1: Do the dishes everyday.
It seems like a simple, obvious habit, but I found that whenever I skipped them, it was a downward spiral. Maybe we went out for dinner and therefore didn’t have many dishes, so I’d decide not to waste my time doing them. Then, all of a sudden, the next day they seemed to be overflowing. And then the thought of doing the dishes was crazy stressful because the pile was so dang big.
Plus, now it was going to take forever to do them, and I didn’t have forever. I had other obligations. So I’d wait until the next morning when I had a longer chunk of time. But by then the pile was even BIGGER. It was overwhelming and I wanted to do anything but the dishes. And guess what? It took forever to get through that pile.
So this habit is a no excuses type of habit. Even if there is only one dirty dish for the day–do the dishes. There’s something to be said about the habit of EVERY DAY. Not “every day except” or “every day if” or “every day but”. No, EVERY DAY is EVERY DAY. (***If you’re sick, please take the day off of dishes!!!)
When you have an empty sink and clean dishes, your day will run much smoother. I don’t know how it works, but I promise your mind will be less cluttered and you’ll feel more relaxed and ready to conquer your day.
Habit #2: Plan your day in advance.
I know there are a lot of people who hate planning, but if you want to be productive, you really need to plan ahead. At least to some degree. If you hate planners, don’t use one. Try an app instead. Or a post-it note stuck to your fridge. There are so many different methods to planning and no one way is better than another. The best planning method is the one you’ll use.
Try a bunch of options out and see what works best. Maybe you prefer planning at night before you go to bed so your brain lets you sleep instead of figuring out everything you need to do the next day (this is me 🙋). Or maybe you plan best when you wake up in the morning. Maybe you like to plan with paper and pen or maybe you like to do it on your phone. The method doesn’t matter so much as having a plan in place.
By planning your day in advance, you’ll have a realistic view of how many appointments you have and how much time you have to fill with to-dos. Then you’ll also know that yes, today is a good day for a trip to the park and not be scrambling later when you realize that you had a deadline and now have to stay up until 2am finishing a project because you were at the park for 3 hours.
Planning is key to a productive life.
Habit #3: Eat a healthy, protein filled breakfast.
Have you ever eaten French toast for breakfast, only to want to take a nap by 8am? Yep, I’ve been there. If you eat a sugary breakfast, your brain will be foggy and you won’t have the energy you need to accomplish the day. Or if you skip breakfast altogether or just eat the leftover bites off your kids’ plates, you’ll be starving and probably cranky by 9:30 and won’t be able to focus on your tasks.
Even worse, all of these can lead to unhealthy choices or overeating later in the day. Set yourself up for success by starting each day off with a healthy, protein filled breakfast to give your body and brain the fuel it needs to conquer the day. Eggs are a great option. They’re easy, pretty cost-effective, and can be served in a variety of different ways so you don’t get sick of them.
Habit #4: Don’t over schedule yourself.
When you make your plan for the day, be realistic about the time you have and the time each task takes. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun! This is one that I have to remind myself of frequently…like today (**please hold while I go cross off 2/3 of the items off my list for the day 🙈**).
Also recognize that LIFE happens. I like to schedule what I call “flex” time into every single day. You know, time to clean up the entire jug of laundry detergent that was dumped on the floor. Time to cuddle your daughter after she scrapes her knee. A few extra minutes for the unexpected traffic you hit on the way to the grocery store. By putting this flex time into your schedule, you’re planning for the unexpected because, let’s be honest, the unexpected happens pretty much every day as a mom! And the amount of times it happens seems to grow with each child you add to the family.
Don’t put more on your plate than is possible to accomplish in a day. By being realistic, you’ll avoid a lot of stress, frustration, and self-deprecation.
Habit #5: Get ready every day.
I know this one brings some controversy, but I know I’m much more productive when I get ready for the day. That being said, “getting ready” can mean whatever you want it to mean. Maybe for you getting ready means brushing your teeth, throwing your hair in a top knot, and changing from your pajama pants to your yoga pants. That’s great! But I think it’s important that, even if we’re staying home all day taking care of little kids, that we acknowledge that it’s a new day and get ready. It’s the whole “look good, feel good, do good” mentality.
Experiment with this one a bit. Try various levels of “getting ready” and see if there’s a level that ups your productivity. Be honest with yourself. You might be surprised at what you find. I know I went through a phase where I never got ready because what’s the point? I wasn’t leaving my house, so why would I need to put any effort in? Well, a few months later I realized that it was seriously hurting my life. I wasn’t productive. I wasn’t happy. I felt really blah.
For me, I like to at least brush my hair, apply some foundation and mascara, and put on actual clothes. I wear lots of t-shirt dresses! Now, I do take days where I don’t get ready, but these are intentional days where I know I’m not going to get as much done and I’m taking a “lazy” or mental health day (which I also strongly recommend!).
Overall, if you put a little effort into getting ready each morning, your state of mind and productivity level will increase.
When I’m sticking to these 5 habits, I’m happier, more productive, and have more time for those I love.
What are some habits you have to stay on top of your productivity game?
If you liked this post, don’t forget to pin it!