When your baby is first born, you can’t imagine how you could ever be productive again because of how exhausted you are. Then, your baby gets a little older, starts sleeping more, and you feel like you might get back to yourself again. Then, your baby becomes mobile. From that point on, your productivity goes downhill in ways you never would have even imagined. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself putting laundry away and a little person walks behind you and pulls it all out and onto the floor. You try to get some work done on your computer, and little hands reach up and accidentally delete everything.
I’m a young mom, and I’m sure things only get more crazy with more children, even more responsibilities, and everyone running off to various activities. So, how do we stay productive through all of it?
The biggest tool that I’ve found to be immensely helpful in regaining productivity is time blocking. This essentially means to schedule the activities of your day as if they were appointments, and to hold yourself to it as much as possible. I will say, as a mom, you have to be careful that you hold on to your schedule very loosely. There are many things that will happen to change your schedule, like your kid waking up 3 hours early or totally refusing to nap. But, time blocking will help you organize things in the best possible way to accomplish as much as possible.
So, how do you go about time blocking?
Step 1: Write down all of the activities that you need to complete in a day. You want to first think of the things you do on a daily basis, i.e. morning routine, work, exercise, cleaning, intentional time with kids, etc.
Step 2: Group activities by category and approximate time frame. For instance, I group together my morning routine, exercise, showering, breakfast, and getting ready all into a category called “Morning Prep.”
Step 3: Assess how long each activity will take, and whether it needs to be done with or without kids. For example, if you’d rather exercise before your family wakes up, you need to make sure you block out that time before your kids’ usual wake-up time. If you need quiet time to work, then block out nap time for that activity.
Step 4: Write it down. I feel like my productivity naturally increases when I write something down, specifically in a schedule format. Once you come up with a general “template” for an average day, you will rarely need to change it, except for specific events and appointments. I use the Create 365 Happy Planner, and bought specific day-to-day pages to go in it that have a daily schedule on the right and a to-do list on the left. Once I got time blocking down that works for me, I just photocopy the page so that the same schedule shows up, and I just change the to-do list based upon daily goals.
Here’s an example of what time blocking looks like:
This little tool has really helped me prioritize and organize my daily tasks to keep me productive despite the distractions of having a little one. I hope that you will find it useful as well!