Thursday, June 30, 2011


It's going to be a productive day... I can just feel it.

Oops, hang on a sec.  I forgot to water my garden!

Okay, I'm back.  Where was I?  Right. Productive.  Yep, it's going to be a great day full of writing, getting things done around the house, painting my "freebie find", making homemade pesto and so many other great things today.

I'm sorry, excuse me a second.
 "Noraa.... stop sassing your brother!  Sammy, be sweet please.  Let's treat each other with respect okay?"

Here I am.  What was I saying?  Yes, productivity!  It's just going to be one of those days where everything falls into place.  You know the days where you don't forget about the laundry....

Laundry? Wait. Oh man, I think I left a load in the washer last night. Oh drat, I bet it smells by now. I'd better go check and run it again. BRB.

Got it. Okay so back to business. I found this article on Productivity.  I thought I would share some of the tips that I thought were applicable to me as a homemaker.  The article lists the 33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity.  However, for time's sake I'm going to focus in on the ten that I find most useful. (For the full list click on the highlighted link above.)

(20 minutes later after getting the kids settled in the back yard)

Peak times.  Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
For me, morning is a peak time as far as getting "busy" tasks done.  Errands to be run, chores finished etc. The kids are still well rested and can focus enough for me to get a few things done.

Timeboxing.  Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task.  Don’t worry about how far you get.  Just put in the time.  See Timeboxing for more.
I like this idea because it doesn't take a huge commitment.  30 minutes is about all I can give anything these days, so giving myself permission to stop at 30 minutes rather than feeling bad that I didn't complete the task makes things a bit more "do-able" for me!

Glittering prizes.  Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement.  See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.
Okay, so my "prizes" are a bit more simple than his suggestions, but I like the idea of rewards.  
My favorite iced tea, 30 minutes to myself to read during nap time, a trip to the library by myself, a piece of dove chocolate, (I'll even let myself get on Facebook after completing a few loads of laundry!) are just a few of the prizes I like to set aside for myself.

Slice and dice.  Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks.  Focus on completing just one of those tasks.
I use this one a lot.  For example; when I'm doing laundry I list it as four separate tasks. Wash. Dry. Fold. Put Away.  This way it doesn't seem as overwhelming and I get to check four things off my list instead of one!

Delegate.  Convince someone else to do it for you.
Ah, the old Tom Sawyer trick!  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Somehow bragging about "getting to clean my toilets today..." at MOPS just doesn't have the same effect!  I thought it was cute though, so I added it in.  I have however used this with my children... I can't tell you how many times the preliminary mopping has been done by two little girls with wash rags singing Cinderella's "Sing Sweet Nightingale"!

("Mom, can you help this?"  That's my sweet son's way of asking for help.  How can I say no to that?  Time to lay on the floor and help him put together the Diego puzzle.)

Optimization.  Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step.  Refactor them on paper for greater efficiency.  Then implement and test your improved processes.  Sometimes we just can’t see what’s right in front of us until we examine it under a microscope.
I can't tell you how many times I've come up with a great idea, or heard of a way to do something efficiently and then promptly forgotten it!  I now keep what I call "The Book of Ideas", a three ring binder that I put these types of things in.  I have binder paper in it, as well as article I rip out of magazines or print off the internet on how to do things.  I go through it periodically to review and add to the binder.

Nuke it!  The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it.  If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your to do list.
I LOVE THIS. I can't tell you how many times I make a list of things to do and I put an impossible amount on my list.  It's silly.  I saw a method in THIS book that I really like and have been making my lists this way for a while now. (She suggests sorting your list into quarters, To Do, Projects, Tasks, and Misc.)

Worst first.  To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day.  This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
Yep, it's just like eating vegetables!

(ooo, vegetables, that sound soooo good. Why am I so hungry? Oh yeah, I forgot to eat breakfast... better fix myself something really quick.   20 minutes later...!)

Peak times.  Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
Nap time.  Need I say more?

No-comm zones.  Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate.  Schedule light, interruptible tasks for your open-comm periods and more challenging projects for your no-comm periods.
This is so hard for me.  I hate being "unplugged". But sometimes it's neccesary in order to get things done. No phone, no computer, no communication with the outside world even if it's just for an hour.

(Best friend just called, after a wonderful 40 minute conversation... I'm back to the desk!)

Batching.  Batch similar tasks like phone calls or errands into a single chunk, and knock them off in a single session.
This is a great idea if you can do it.  As a multi-tasking Mom it's hard to accomplish them all at once, but I like the idea of just pounding it out and getting all the similar tasks done at once.

So there you have it friends... the top ten of the list!  And it only took me three hours to write this post. Yep, it's going 
to be a productive day, I can feel it!

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