Wake up 06:00 on a weekend morning, meditate and exercise for some mind and body warming.
Prepare a special breakfast for the family, clean the kitchen and tidy up the pantry.
Load the laundry into the washer and dryer, then take a rest and read a book as a breather.
Schedule a play with the kids and finish up other personal gigs.
Then R-E-A-L-I-T-Y struck …
You woke up at 10 AM with no prepared breakfast to hungry crying children.
Half the day already had gone and you just had a quick light brunch.
You forgot the morning ritual as the laundry needed to chase that fleeting sun as usual.
Then you had a glimpse of the piles of clothes that you felt the urge to fold.
You saw the upside-down kitchen and obliged to clear the mayhem.
You fiddled your phone, over 2 hours past you have lost in the zone.
No time to play with the kids as the same thing went on and on with whatever soothed the ball in your eyelids.
Came night time no wonder you felt like you had been struck by lightning and thunder…
Now…imagine a similar working day scenario.
Does it ring a bell to you?
If you are nodding, this post is for you.
That was me… to some degree… some time ago.
I felt like my days were just passing by right in front of my very eyes.
I felt like a headless chook running around to complete my task rundown.
Sure I was busy…I was running steadfastly but the finish line was nowhere to see.
One thing was certain…
It was not a great feeling, I knew I needed to change something.
With that in mind, I gathered my thoughts, nit-picked my habits, and defined those ‘pat on the back’ moments that helped me to reap better daily fruits and dramatically…
Transformed my chaotic busy days to calm productive days.
5. Set a Time
7. Nike It!
13. Say No!
14. Break the binge
16. Get help
1. Eat that live frog in the morning!
Eeeewww, right? But I am not literally talking about real-life jumping and croaking amphibians here.
I am talking about this — is there a task that you keep putting off later in the day which you are meant to do earlier?
There is a big possibility that is the live frog that you are meant to swallow first thing in the morning.
Mark Twain’s famous quote goes…
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
These frogs are the tasks that you usually associate to pain than pleasure, or too time-consuming than easily done, or to “I don’t know how” than “I want to know how”…those you thought difficult to do were more often than not could just be a mere product of your illusion or mindset.
Completing that difficult task earlier in the day will give you that sense of pride and accomplishment. And whatever tasks you have left will just be a stroll in the park.
This is my top favourite productivity booster.
2. Make a morning ritual
Morning rituals positively set your mind and behaviour. Having a consistent morning routine will empower you to have that feeling of control throughout your day.
Once this scheduled morning routine is ticked, it will encourage you to do your next task and another and another.
It could be waking up early in the morning, saying a prayer or meditating, or as simple as making your bed in the morning.
These may appear to be small tasks but they are your anchor in building up your momentum to get ready for your most productive day.
3. Schedule your priorities and prioritize your schedule
Organizing is the fundamental element in creating a productive habit.
Devising a plan of your prime concerns for the day and sticking to the scheduled plan will give a smooth run of your daily flow. You’ll have better predictability and control of how your day will pan out.
Sure, there may be some urgent concerns which may crop up and may require your urgent attention… you know how Uncle Murphy (see Murphy’s Law) surprises us on the odd occasion.
The key message here is to know your priorities and to be able to shuffle them if the situation calls for it…but keeping up with your schedule will lead you to that well-promised productivity.
4. Chunk it to bite sizes
Some tasks may appear to be quite overwhelming at first but once you delve into it, we would then realized it’s not that bad.
Having said that, there are some tasks that are indeed overwhelming…
But if you break that big task into smaller categories or chunk it into smaller manageable sizes; I can assure you will be able to convince yourself to tick them off your list bit by bit.
5. Set your time
One of the easiest ways to accomplish something in a day is to set your time when you take on a task. Set a timer if you must.
Having a time frame to focus will make you feel a certain undertaking is not going to be forever especially if it is part of your run-of-the-mill activities.
On the other hand, it will also limit you to spend way too much time on stuff that you enjoy more.
This is a great trick for me when I do my gardening and writing as I enjoy doing them. Every time I am in my little happy bubble, it makes me feel time seems to pass very quickly. If I do such a task without timing myself, I can spend hours and hours without being interrupted.
Hence, setting your time is an effective productivity trick to help you attend to other important details of your day to day life.
6. Begin with the End in Mind
This is one of the secret habits of effective and productive people.
It’s about knowing the answers to the whats and reasons to the whys of your everyday missions.
Let’s get to the mindset of eating healthy foods…
This is undoubtedly not an easy habit to get into, given there is a gazillion of temptations everywhere you go. It takes discipline and a tough mindset to pull this off consistently and turn it into a lifestyle. However, by doing this you know that you will be rewarded with a healthier mind and body system which could then affect all of your endeavours, not just today but every day of your life.
Having a clear understanding of your goals will lead you to better productive days.
7. Nike It!
Yes, that famous tagline from that famous sportswear company – JUST DO IT!
Sometimes we just need to stop overthinking and just start doing.
Sometimes we just need to separate our emotions and just deal with our actions.
As simple as it may sound and as easy as it can be said, it takes a lot of nerves to just do it… I know but one thing is for sure…it’s going to be worth it.
Just doing this…you will be amazed by the level of productivity you can achieve in your day… or (appropriately I say) in your life!
8. Find your Flow
Are you a morning or an afternoon person or a night owl?
Do you have a specific spark of drive or enthusiasm on a Monday (What? Are you serious? On a Monday?), Wednesday, or Friday…or how about the weekend?
We all have a different flow of energy and creativity throughout the day, as well as the week.
Identify the tasks you are more likely to do on specific time and day instead of just going through or picking whatever is noted on your to-do list.
Your productivity rate will certainly shoot up when you find your right flow.
9. Be mindful of mindless scrolling
Shall we both do a facepalm? I guess nearly everyone who owns a smartphone, computer or gadget can easily fall into this compulsive behaviour trap.
In this day and age, numerous temptations from the online world and social media are just a push of a button, it is so easy to be occupied all day long mindlessly scrolling our life away for hours.
Eagerly checking how other peoples’ lives are doing and comparing ourselves but losing track to do our self-checking.
There may be various applications (usage tracking apps or digital well-being apps) that can assist us to stay in control of this addictive habit.
Though the best sure shot way to be in control of our day and have a productive one is to switch off our reactive mode and switch on our MINDFUL mode.
10. Avoid Multitasking
As busy parents or homeys, we are swamped with never-ending daily tasks.
Mind you, those tasks that we have just completed today will persistently be present on our list tomorrow and the following day and the next day…so I can relate multitasking to shoot a couple of birds in one shot may be inevitable.
When I was younger, I was led to believe multitasking is a COOL and NOBLE skill to have and predominantly embodied by women especially those with kids.
Now that I am a busy mummy of 2 very curious and active school-aged kids and the key homey of a very busy home, my multitasking view has changed over time.
I feel I don’t multitask; I just do multiple things and tackle things alternately by shifting my brain like crazy in a very short period of time.
Often with my desire to multitask, I am left disgusted having to serve burned foods to the table and deflated forgetting to hang the clothes to dry and wasting a wash cycle.
Multitasking could be exhausting and is detrimental to our productivity and our brain activity.
So, avoid it by all means.
11. Tackle a tribe one at a time
As you plan your day or week, consider to group similar or related tasks and deal with them one by one.
It makes sense to do pantry inventory and clean-up after putting away the groceries or to clean the kitchen straight after cooking meals or to put away the clothes to their respective closets after folding them.
Tackling related tasks (one at a time) sets your mind in a smooth-shifting phase. You will have completed not just one but more tasks and in return, you will have more spare time to do other things you may wish to use your time more productively.
12. Crank that music on
The saying goes…”Music makes the world go round…” is not just a fancy jargon. It is coined for a reason.
Music undeniably plays a massive role in the productivity moods of people. There are varying genres that can stimulate our oxytocin in fulfilling different activities. For example, dance and hip-hop music motivate us during exercise while classical, instrumental and binaural beats music relaxes us and makes us focus on the task at hand.
Needless to say, music inspires us to be in that good state of thinking and performing better.
13. Say No!
Saying NO is saying YES to what matters most to you!
The people you value the most, your family…(Do you hear that melodramatic sound playing in the background?) …most importantly YOU…your health and your wellbeing.
Saying NO to all inviting temptations and the eyesores luring you to derail your smooth travel to your desired productive day.
It does not mean you don’t care, it just means you know how to set your priorities.
Having a mix of type C personality, I can recount this could be a tricky way to stay productive at home especially if you are habituated to nursing your meticulous persona and love pleasing the people around you.
But, give this tip a shot and you will be surprised this could be one of your ultimate productivity hacks.
14. Break the binge
“Everything in excess is opposed to nature”, quoted by Greek physician Hippocrates.
This is same when you do too much of something, like binge watching.
Binge watching, as per my experience, prevents you from accomplishing something during the day. It even robs you of your precious time of sleep when you watch during the night. It makes your brain float like a balloon flying in the sky ready to land somewhere unknown. Because, you were allured to watch episodes after episodes after episodes. Leading you to watch straight for 3 hours or more without control.
Reflecting on this behaviour will help you to set your priorities in order. Aiming to enjoy watching with limits. Keeping yourself excited with the series but busy enough with other worthwhile activities to help you break the binge.
Watching movies or series is not a problem; it’s the binging part of it that’s slaying our productivity.
Thus, like anything else, watch in moderation. This will allow you to sleep more at night and achieve more during the day.
15. Allow a carefree day
You want to kill that productivity in you…you do ALL WORK and you do NO PLAY.
By working your ass off non-stop, you may initially feel you have accomplished a lot. But soon enough you will reach a point where it will slow you down…and worst… it could burn you out. I was so familiar to that feeling.
And we know not all days are created equal. There are days you just don’t feel like it, you’re not feeling well, you’re tired, you’re exhausted. In short “just can’t be bothered”. That is normal! What is not normal is to always feel that way. So, pre-empt this before it happens.
Allowing a full day or days (if you can afford it…Aaah, I envy you!) or part of your day to be free from your usual heavy tasks or chores can bank you some energy you need to face the next days’ challenges and to tackle the mundane stuff of your typical week.
16. Get help
We all are superheroes in the eyes of people who depend on us, just like our kids and our better halves. But let’s be honest here, we just CAN’T BE ALL and DO IT ALL.
I am a prime believer that a true happy and productive family and home help and support one another. It’s inspiring to do our bits and be good at it if we see our household playing their parts as well.
Let me say this once again…
You may be the primary homey (homemaker), your spouse as the co-homey, and your little ones as little homeys in training… Everyone has a part to play to increase that guaranteed home productivity you’ve been aiming to have.
Aside from our household, we can also seek some support from friends and other people who may have better knowledge or skills than ourselves. You can either get these help for free (Ka-ching! Ka-ching!) or pay for them (if you don’t have any choice or if you have extra budget).
So get that help now!
Productivity is defined as the effectiveness (along with the efficiency) of efforts we put in to produce outcomes of the tasks we committed to complete.
I guess everyone wants to be productive. However, knowing and embodying productivity are two separate things.
Being productive is a conscious way of life.
It is how we set our minds to get to the results we want to have.
There are so many tips, strategies, and practices out there that you can apply to turn your busy days to productive days. It could be overwhelming where or how to start, but you need to keep this in mind that each habit has a different effect or provides different outcomes on people.
You just need to test drive the tricks that will work best for you.
Most importantly you just need to start somewhere.
Then slowly but surely build your way to the steady road of success to productivity.
By the way, the tricks above are not limited to your home. You can apply them anywhere, your home, and beyond your home.
Now, it’s your turn.
I would like you to examine your daily productivity habit.
How is it? Are you there yet?
If yes, cheers to you for committing yourself to stay being productive.
If not, don’t you worry it’s never too late to try something new or different to start being productive at home.
I guess, there is no better time to be productive than NOW…when everyone is expected to do their part in saving the world by mostly staying and being productive at home.
What are other productivity tips that worked for you which I haven’t mentioned above?
Please feel free to share it in the comment section below and let’s inspire one another to be productive at home and beyond home.
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