Parenthood has made me think about time management in an entirely new way. Essentially, it’s forced me to get twice as much done in half the time.
I’ve noticed how I tend to let a few minutes here and there slip by, and that can add up to hours a day! I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all?) but I’ve discovered several tricks that have increased my productivity dramatically.
Best of all, I’ve learned that getting more done is NOT about adding more pressure on top of an already busy to-do list. (Sigh of relief.)
It’s actually the opposite. It’s about focusing on what matters so your mind is less cluttered, you feel less overwhelmed and are more satisfied at the end of the day.
So with that, here are ten ways to get twice as much done in half the time.
Totally counter-intuitive, right? I used to believe wholeheartedly in multitasking. And then I learned multitasking is a myth. Our brains simply can’t do it. Multitasking is nothing more than switching quickly between tasks, which is much less efficient and produces poor results.
Now, hear me out on this fellow moms: single-tasking is a luxury sometimes. We obviously can’t prevent it when our kids ask for a snack while we’re filling out a school form and the phone rings at the same time. This is more about the tasks we assign ourselves and allowing ourselves to focus on just one thing when it’s in our control.
From now on, remember that getting twice as much done isn’t the same as doing twice as much at once time.
I read this post from Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter and it completely changed the way I thought about household chores: if you stay on top of the dishes and laundry, everything else is much, much easier.
I admit I’m still working on this one, but the advice is true nevertheless! When I’m in the routine of getting one load of laundry a day done and put away, and the dishes are going into the dishwasher after every meal, the house is reasonably orderly.
Let the dishes pile up or the laundry go for a few days and it’s utter chaos.
Try to schedule throwing in a load of laundry and emptying the dishwasher in your morning routine. From there, it’s so much easier to keep the little things picked up.
I love learning about how our brains work because it helps me understand how we are wired and work best. I used to think if only I had more will power, I would do everything I had set out to accomplish.
Turns out our brains have limits on how many decisions we can make in a day. So if we can minimize those, then we can save our decision-making power for the important stuff.
Take your wardrobe, for example. Every day we wonder, what will I wear? That’ll cost you one decision. Do you really want to spend a decision on your clothes every single day?
Try this: next time you put away clothes, set out six outfits so you know exactly what you will wear throughout the week. If you have young kids, you can do this for them too. Older kids can do this job themselves.
Other tasks to batch: replying to emails (don’t check your email every 10 minutes), sorting the mail, prepping lunches, following up with clients, scheduling appointments (try setting aside 30 minutes and getting several appointments scheduled at once), and doing a weekly budget review.
This way you’ll have fewer tasks taking up space in your mind, save your decision-making power, and you’ll get so much more done in less time.
This is my favorite tip from Michael Hyatt. He is a former CEO and a productivity expert. He has a family with five girls and he’s had a smidge of career success, so he knows a thing or two about getting a lot done in a short amount of time!
Michael Hyatt insists on identifying your top three priorities. Forget about your list of 87 tasks that have to get done- you’ll go to bed stressed and defeated no matter how much you accomplish! Instead, think about the most important tasks and do those. Everything else is icing on the cake.
Getting up early is a new experiment for me (not that I’m superstitious but I hope I don’t jinx my initial success by writing about this!) and so far I love it! It’s still hard to get up at 5:30, but I love that I can get a full 90 minutes of a morning routine in before my kids are up. The automatic coffee maker helps a lot too.
Each morning, I pour a cup of coffee and read my Bible for the first 30 minutes. Then spend some time writing, throw in a load of laundry, and take a quick shower.
It’s a peaceful yet also productive way to start the day, not to mention so much easier to get the kids ready in the morning when I’ve already gotten myself ready to go.
We live in a people-pleasing world. And that’s not always a bad thing, except when you lose the ability to say no. If you haven’t read the book Boundaries, I highly recommend it! It will give you freedom and confidence to say no without any guilt.
It’s easy to take on more than we can realistically handle, and it’s not healthy to be overly-busy. That’s what our culture values, though, so you’re going to be going against the tide on this one!
Let’s be real: we waste so much time on our phones. Minutes add up. Put down your phone. Keep it in a basket or at a charging station unless you actually need to use it.
If I tell myself to do the laundry and make the bed, it can take 20 minutes. If I have five minutes and say, hmm I bet I can get the laundry in the wash and make the bed, it will probably take five minutes. Challenge yourself to get a task done in a short amount of time, and you will likely fit it into that deadline.
Are your daily tasks helping or hindering your goals? When you write down your goals, you’re significantly more likely to achieve them. Align your daily activities to the goals you have, and you’ll begin to see progress on the stuff that matters.
What financial goal are you currently working on? Whatever it is this month, write it down. Then think about your spending habits, your budget, and where your time is dedicated. Are these activities helping you progress toward that goal?
Sometimes it’s not about doing more, but doing more of the right things.
I read once that successful people plan their minutes, not their hours. I don’t think that means every second has to be neurotically scheduled, but I do think it means we can be intentional about our minutes and recover some time that’s potentially going to waste.
I find it especially easy to overestimate how long a dreaded task will take and easy to underestimate the time I spend on Netflix and social media. If you can relate to this, take an honest accounting of where your time goes. Perhaps even spend a few days recording your activities every 15 minutes and see if you’re spending it the way you intend to.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with relaxing (in fact, it’s necessary!), but it’s also good to be realistic about how many minutes you could recoup in your day and use it for something productive.
To recap, being more productive is NOT about cramming in more tasks so we can be busier. It’s about prioritizing, streamlining, and acting with greater efficiency. This will give us margin in our lives, reduce stress, and help us focus on the goals that we want to accomplish.
Plus, if you can get twice as much done in half the time, why not?
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.