In my new gig as a stay at home mom of two crazy little girls, there are days that go by where at the end of the day I feel like I rocked it and I was super productive and then there are days where I feel like all I’ve done is chase the girls around in circles and the house is still a huge mess.
Now, in all fairness, in the time that I’ve been in my current position, I have packed up a whole house, moved, and am currently trying to unpack, re-do and decorate a new house. But, I have found that my really good days have a similar pattern.
6 steps to a Productive Day
I don’t think this just applies to staying home with kids either, I think this method can be followed for working moms (and dads) too.
Table of contents
1. Prayer first, then coffee
This step can be called other things too, like maybe “get your booty up out of bed!” or “set an alarm!” Now, this step might sound easy to some of you morning people out there but this is the hardest step for me. I LOVE to sleep, it makes me feel GOOD! But you know what makes me feel better? You guessed it! Being productive!
This is the key step. You have to take some time for yourself every day. In that time, you have to focus on you: your emotional and physical state. You can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
So here’s how this looks for me:
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- Get up at least on hour before the kids should wake up
- Read something (hopefully educational, religious, inspiring, etc…)
I read Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, which my wonderful mother in law gave us a few years back. I love the short, relevant thoughts in the morning. There is a page for every day of the year, and it seems like the devotion for every day is exactly what I need read to center myself that day.
- Drink coffee
- Pray and write my prayers down in a journal
- Drink some coffee
- Write down my goals for the day (both business and around the house)
- Drink the rest of the coffee
2. Get dressed
There is serious research out there though that shows that if you get up and get dressed in the morning you feel better about yourself and you are more likely to get stuff done! Think about it…it makes sense. I’m not saying to put on your going-out clothes (unless you’re going out, then by all means….) but something at least a step up from pajamas. At this point you should also wash your face, brush your teeth, put on a little make up if you want, etc….
3. Take care of the kids
Whether you’ve got one at home or five, mornings are pretty much consumed with taking care of them. They’ll need breakfast, diapers changed, teeth brushed, possibly clothes depending on the days activities….you know how it goes. I try to squeeze in some mini-clean up times in here. A lot of times I, personally, skip breakfast (I know, I know….but I’ve never been a breakfast eater) so while they eat I’ll throw a load of dishes in or clean off the counter. Throughout the morning, if we switch activities, I try to get them to help me clean up where we just were. So if we are going to go outside, I’ll have them help pick up the livingroom before we go.
A little tip: you have a much better chance of having some time for yourself in the afternoon if you wear them out in the morning!
I *try* to fit in as much play time before lunch as I can so that after lunch I let them watch a show and usually they will fall asleep. Now, if your kids aren’t nappers, I’ve been there! It’s not easy, or fun, but usually it is just a phase (ours was a loooooong phase) so hang in there!
4. Nap time
No, not yours! The kids! Remember the whole point is to be productive! OK, so remember your goals you had this morning? Go check them and see what you still want to get done today and DO them! Remember your goals are just that, YOURS. If your goal was to shower today….go do it! If your goal was to reorganize the play room, have at it sista! Whatever they were…….go get them done!
5. Enjoy the evening with your family
I look so forward to my husband coming home every afternoon. I love the time that the four of us get to spend together every evening. Don’t stress if they get the play room that you just spent an hour organizing messy….don’t worry about the laundry that didn’t get folded, just enjoy this time. You will find that if you have a productive day, you can enjoy this time even more because you aren’t thinking about what isn’t done.
6. Bonus time
I mentioned at the very beginning that you have to take time for yourself every day, sometimes the best time to do that is once everyone else (at least the kids) is/are asleep. Now, this time could be time to write, pray, read, think, work, or maybe this is your time you carve out to spend with your spouse, whatever it is to you….it’s bonus time, so use it wisely!
If you liked what you read and want more, please check back frequently and visit my Down Home Decor and More page on Facebook for info on upcoming events!
Prayer for an Increase in Personal Productivity
Father, I come to You out of frustration because I am not pleased with my performance on the job. It seems that I am not producing that which I should be producing because I am just not as efficient or effective as I need to be.
Lord, I ask for Your help in planning my day, paying attention to my duties, staying focused on my assignment, establishing priorities in my work and making steady progress toward my objectives.
Give me insight, Father. Help me to see any habits that I may have that might tend to make me nonproductive. Reveal to me ways to better handle the tedious tasks I must perform so that I can achieve the greatest results possible. Help me to organize my efforts, schedule my activities and budget my time.
From books, by Your Spirit, through the people who work with me or by whatever means You choose, Lord, reveal to me that which I need to know and do in order to become a more productive, fruitful worker.
My heart’s desire is to give my very best to You and to my employer. When I become frustrated because that is not taking place, help me, Father, by the power of Your Spirit to do whatever is necessary to correct that situation so that I can once again function with accuracy and proficiency.
Thank You, Lord, for bringing all these things to pass in my life.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Psalm 118:24 Psalm 119:99 amp
Proverbs 16:9 amp Proverbs 9:10 amp
Proverbs 19:21 amp 1 Corinthians 4:5
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Praying for peaceful sleep
Oh Heavenly Father, as I lay my head down to sleep, I ask for your comfort and strength. Ease my mind. Help me to let everything go, and leave it all in your hands. Give me peace that I may sleep without tossing and turning.
Encamp your angels around me, that no harm will come to me or my household. I cover each and every member of my household in the blood of Jesus.
Read also: A Prayer for those Sleepless Nights
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Encamp your angels around me, that no harm will come to me or my household. Click To Tweet
Praying for a restful night
Almighty God, bless my night, and bless the coming day. I’m so tired and anxious, burdened by the cares of the day. Lay your hand upon me and quiet my restless soul. Cradle me in your protective arms, dear Lord. Give me rest that tomorrow will be a very productive day.
Refresh me fully and fill me with your joy, oh Heavenly Father. Wipe away my tears of today. I repent of my sins and look to your Holy Spirit for guidance and protection. In Jesus name, Amen!
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear…Be still, and know that I am God…the Lord Almighty is with us.”
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5. Click To Tweet
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Some days, my to do list gets the best of me. But other days, I conquer it, and it’s the best feeling ever!
I have recently been trying a new strategy to get things done. I’ve been challenged to keep track of my time throughout the day to see ensure I’m making the most of my day. So here is how it’s worked for me!
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1. MAKE MY TO DO LIST THE DAY BEFORE
Before I end each work day, I have a reminder set on my phone to make this to-do list. It’s the single best thing I do during my day for my business. Having my to-do list gets me pointed in the right direction from the moment I sit down at my desk in the morning. The days I fail to do this, I could spend an hour easy, working on things that just aren’t priorities or aren’t business-related at all. Even if it’s responding to emails in your inbox, write it down so you have an accurate look at what you need to do.
2. LIST TIME ESTIMATES NEXT TO EACH TO DO ITEM
This has helped me to not get distracted in the middle of a task or waste excessive amounts of time. Without a boss keeping watch, this is easy to do! But, if my handy dandy list said it should take me an hour for a particular item and I’ve barely put a dent into it 45 minutes in, I know I’ve got to buckle down. I’m pretty competitive so I find it really exciting and motivated to keep going when I’m taking less time than planned. And when I’m over my predicted time? I know to get moving. This also helps me keep realistic expectations for what I can do in one day. No more feeling bad about not accomplishing everything on my impossible to-do list. The second number is the time it actually took me. This helps me make realistic estimates in the future too!
3. WRITE DOWN EACH TASK WITH TIME STAMPS
On a separate sheet, I write down each task as I work on it and how long it takes along with the clients name that the task is for. There is a bit of overlap here with keeping track of time, but I’ve found it very helpful when I don’t remember how long I’ve been working on something because my timesheet has my start time. The purpose of this sheet is predominantly to see how much time I spend on projects to make sure I’m charging the right amount, etc. But it has be SOO helpful!
Click here to download my simple timesheet. The categories are pretty del-explanatory except two.
Job Code. I use this column to categorize into the following categories: Design, Marketing, Blog Posting, Packaging, Business, Client Correspondence.
Client/Project. Each client goes by the year, month, first initial and last name (ex. 12ILJames). When a project is complete, I look over the time spent to make sure it has been profitable. If it has not, I adjust! If it’s business items instead of client work, the client is VMP! This helps me gage how profitable certain marketing aspects are.
I’ve fine tuned this process a bit since I posted the photo above on instagram. I’ve found I can fit more than one day on a sheet so I now highlight a yellow line to separate the days.
BONUS: This may seem simple OR like busy work, but it can really work! Checking every single item off my list for a day NEVER happens to me! Lately it as been. The day I wrote this post, I had extra time just to write a blog post and I was also able to hit the gym and do 60 MINUTES of cardio. This NEVER happens either. And because of my workout, I had tons of energy to do a bunch of chores I’ve been needing to do around the house. It was a no brainer, I spent the 10-15 minutes it takes to plan my day for tomorrow. This has transformed my days! I also now end my day with between 0-5 emails in my inbox.
I’d love to hear your tips for how you stay productive. If you implement this plan, how has it worked for you and any tips to make it better?