3 practical tips to help moms working from home be more productiveFeb 23, 2021
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This post will benefit you if you’re a working mom who is always trying to figure out how to be more productive while working from home.
Some moms have this amazing superpower that allows them to be super productive—even while working from home. And a really special group of moms are productivity ningas when their kids are at home, too. I am not part of this group. Most of my clients aren’t, either. So, if you’re like me and need some tips when it comes to work from home productivity, here are three that have helped me and my clients become somewhat more efficient.
Take one idea and implement it as early as tomorrow. Once you’ve mastered that work from home productivity tip, move onto the next. Take it step by step and don’t get frustrated if every day doesn’t go as planned. Try to your best to stay on track and see how your day changes. Even a little bit of productivity improvement is a welcome gift to most working moms.
1. Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is something I adopted last year and has become one of my favorite productivity tips as a work-from-home mom. I loved the idea because it was so simple to implement. When my kids were home during quarantine, this method allowed me to have quick bursts of work time followed by short breaks to focus on them.
The Pomodoro technique teaches you to set a timer for 25 minutes. Spend that short amount of time focused on getting one thing accomplished. Then, take a five-minute break. I find this works because the time commitment is minimal. Plus, if my kids are around we can make a game out of it. We start the timer and everyone does their own thing for 25 minutes. Then, when the timer goes off, we get a few minutes to hang out together.
Break time can include a quick snack, a five-minute dance party, or reading a book. If your kids aren’t at home feel free to use this time however you want. I always make sure I stand up and walk away from my desk.
How I use it
When I have a task I keep putting off, I know it’s time to implement Pomodoro. I know that if I can just get through those 25 minutes there is an end in sight. I get working and make sure I am all-in on that one task. When the timer buzzes on my phone I’m almost always further along than I thought I would be before I started. Sometimes I’ll even keep going because I’m close to being finished! However, I always make sure I take a short break at some point. This tip is a great place to start if you feel like you’re drowning while you attempt to work from home with your kids.
2. Zone of Genius Mornings
Gay Hendricks, the author of one of my favorite personal development books, The Big Leap, talks a lot about the importance of recognizing your Zone of Genius. Most of us spend the majority of our time doing work within our Zone of Competence and Zone of Excellence.
Think about it for a moment? How much of your own time is dedicated to doing work about work? If you calculated the number of hours you actually get to do what you’re superior at—the thing that makes you unique—it’s probably very few. This is likely another reason why you struggle with productivity while working from home. You’re doing work that doesn’t really inspire you.
I’ve realized that making time to execute on your Zone of Genius in the morning makes my entire day so much better. It allows for creative work to take place when you’re mentally at your sharpest. If you can knock out important tasks that fall within your Zone of Genius early in the day, you’ll feel productive and energetic heading into the afternoon.
If you can commit to spending one to two hours doing work that’s within your Zone of Genius each day, you’ll be amazed at what you can get accomplished in a short amount of time. It’s a productivity tip that makes working from home, even with kids, doable. Even if you have to split that time up, at least you’re having periods of focused effort and energy doing what makes you feel good.
How I use it
For me, figuring out my Zone of Genius has been life-changing. I realized I was doing so many other tasks outside of that zone which left me feeling tired and sometimes uninspired. It was draining to start my days like this. Although it doesn’t always happen, I try my best to spend two hours each morning doing something within my Zone of Genius. That means from 7:30-9:30am I don’t schedule meetings and try my best not to check email. I’m usually writing a blog or social media posts, responding to client messages, or spending time in online communities sharing my expertise. Oftentimes, I use the Pomodoro technique during my Zone of Genius mornings for even more productivity and output while working from home.
3. Priorities Sheet
This is the easiest productivity tip for moms working from home to implement. Depending on your job you may work within a project management system. I’m a big fan of these tools but sometimes a good ole’ to-do list is necessary. I created a very simple Google Sheet Priorities List for my clients to use (feel free to use it as well but be sure to make a copy first). This works wonders to help keep you productive as a working mom at home because all tasks that have to do with work and life (cheers to work-life integration) are housed on this sheet.
You can put everything on there from big projects to simple tasks like emptying the dishwasher. You have the ability to categorize and prioritize your to-dos, set due dates, and check that little box when you finish a task. It’s so satisfying! There’s also a column for notes and you can add/delete sections to make the sheet work for you.
How I use it
I use the Rocketbook Fusion* to keep myself productive, but several of my multi-tasking clients have found my Priorities Sheet to be a lifesaver. As working moms, we have so much on our plate. One of my clients was using multiple notebooks for each part of her life before she started implementing my Priorities Sheet. She had a hard time getting things accomplished because she had lists everywhere. While trying to stay organized, this mom had no idea where to start. Now, she looks at her Priorities Sheet daily and knocks things off of her list based on importance.
*Speaking of the Rocketbook Fusion I mentioned above, if you like to write things down, this erasable notebook will be a dream for you. Check it out on Amazon. It’s the best notebook that helps me to keep everything in one place.
If you just can’t seem to get anything accomplished during your workday, these three work from home productivity tips will certainly help. Also, be sure to check out this list from real moms just like you for more ways to work from home with kids.
Leave a note in the comments or send one to me directly so we can post it for other working moms to see.
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