Productive day routine is my kind of routine. And by productive, I don’t mean full of tasks and to-do lists. But a day that I can look back at, and feel a sense of accomplishment. As working moms, we juggle a lot of things. And sometimes it is easy to get lost in all those responsibilities. We are constantly doing something – but sometimes at the end of the day it can feel like we have not really accomplished much.
So let’s talk about a productive day routine that will help you get things done and be successful – however you define your success.
BRAIN DUMP IS KEY TO A PRODUCTIVE DAY ROUTINE
Have you ever tried a brain dump? This is the easiest and most effective way to declutter your brain. If you want to have a productive day routine, brain dump should become a part of it. It is hard to concentrate on your work or chores when you have hundreds of thoughts running through your mind. When you are constantly thinking about what you need to do and when you need to do that.
So instead of struggling, take out a piece of paper and just dump all your thoughts on it. I will usually divide my page into a few sections, like home, work, side business, and any other major project I might be working on at a time. And I just write down all my thoughts and things I want to accomplish (whether I need to physically do something or brainstorm some ideas) in a given category.
This is so therapeutic and I promise once you are done, it’s like you just woke up from a long nap. You will be much more energized and your mind is no longer preoccupied with all the other things. You will be able to concentrate on a task at hand and get it done much quicker.
DECIDE ON YOUR PRIORITIES FOR THE DAY AND WEEK
It is really hard to have a productive day when you don’t know what you actually want to accomplish. Now that you have done a brain dump – you have a list of things that you need to work on.
Remember, we don’t want to be busy – we want to accomplish things. So the first thing you need to do is to write down what your priorities are for the day. I suggest listing your top 3 to 5. I usually break it down into 3 work priorities, 1 home priority, and one priority for my side business.
Those are going to be the things that you want to accomplish before the end of the day. Think of it this way: if all you can accomplish that day is your priorities, then it will be a great productive day. Writing down your priorities will help you get and stay focused. You will not be distracted by a million of things that are on your to-do lists that you would like to get done. These are on the ‘it would be nice to get done’ while your priorities are ‘must get it done today’.
MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINES
If you have been following me for a while, you know that I thrive on routines. And I don’t mean a rigid schedule but a set of activities that get done each evening and morning to make things run smoother in your household.
Morning and evening routines will help you get ready for the day. They will also help your kids know what to expect out of the day. It prevents meltdowns because they don’t want to get dressed in the morning or because they don’t think they should go to bed in the evenings. When you have routines, kids know what to expect and get used to it quickly. I promise it will make your days run much smoother. Check out my morning and evening routines videos to get an idea of what routines look like in my household.
GET UP BEFORE YOUR KIDS TO START YOUR PRODUCTIVE DAY ROUTINE
This is a lifesaver for me. I started practicing a miracle morning routine over a year ago and have not looked back. I get up a few hours before my kids to start the day on my own. If this is not your style, if you are not a morning person, get up about 15 to 30 minutes before your kids do.
Your mindset and mood will really improve for a more positive one when you get to start your day at your own pace. That is without your kids dictating from the very first moment you open your eyes on what you need to get done. I know I used to find it a little challenging when I did not get a chance to fully wake up before starting my day.
There is just nothing more peaceful than starting your day with a cup of hot coffee and a few minutes to gather your thoughts and think about your plan for the day. Without constant interruptions. You will be much happier and ready for a productive day when you kids get up.
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This is a great system to make sure you stay focused on a task at hand. If you are working on a variety of projects and tasks at work – time blocking will help you be more productive. You basically are blocking a specific amount of time on your calendar for a specific activity or set of related activities. For example, you can block the time between 9 am and 10:30 am to work on a few tasks related to project A. During that time you only concentrate on that work. You don’t check emails or complete any other tasks. This is very effective because you are able to concentrate on a task at hand and get it done much faster.
You can also use time blocking for home purposes. For example, at our household the time between 4 pm and 8 pm is family time. This is when we do after school activities, homework, dinner time, and evening routines. During this time, I do not do any work. A great resource to learn about time blocking as a working mom is from Jordan Page.
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It is not a surprise that a lot of highly successful people implement workouts into their daily routines. Before you say ‘I don’t have time’ consider the fact that a good workout will get you more energized and you will be able to get things done much quicker than normally. So if workouts are not part of your routine, make sure you add them. It doesn’t really matter what kind of workout you do – choose something that you really enjoy so you will stick with it.
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TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS
Phones are awesome but they can also be the biggest wasters of all time. One of the best things that I have done is turning off the majority of my notifications. There is nothing that kills your productivity more than that notification sound on the phone. It makes you feel like you absolutely need to check what that is about.
So turn them off! And if there are any that you want to keep turned on, make sure that they are on mute. That way you will only see them when you look at your phone.
We all do some multitasking as moms. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. But we absolutely need to limit it to a minimum. And only do it in situations where one activity is mindless. So maybe folding laundry while listening to your child practicing spelling.
But be sure that you are not trying to do two activities that need some brain power. For example, responding to emails while in a work meeting. We all have been there. But when you really think about it – you most likely responded to that email but had no clue what was discussed on the call. If you concentrate on one task at a time, you will get it done much quicker.
PRODUCTIVE DAY ROUTINE STARTS WITH A CLUTTER FREE SPACE
A productive day routine is much easier to implement when you are not surrounded by clutter. It is very distracting. So make sure the space you are working in is not full of things. For example your office desk should not have a huge pile of papers and books. It really needs to be a clean space.
Same goes for your house. It is hard to be productive and get things done when you constantly get distracted by clutter. I know that I used to constantly stop the chores I was doing because I was distracted by random things laying around my kitchen island. The more stuff you have, the harder it will be to stay productive. If clutter is a problem in your house, consider starting a decluttering project – one room or area at a time.
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There are times when you get in the zone and are getting things done. And there are times when you get stock on something and don’t seem to be able to move forward. This is an indicator that you need to take a break. Go for a short walk around the block. Do some stretching. Or read a chapter in a book. Basically you want to get your mind off of a task you are working on. A quick break will reset your brain and you will be much more creative when you get back into it.
And make sure that you also have regular breaks scheduled into your days. Those planned and unplanned breaks definitely need to be part of your productive day routine.
BONUS TIP: GET ENOUGH SLEEP
This is such a problem for us moms. We usually have our days packed with things to do and responsibilities to take care of. And sleep is usually the number one thing that goes on a back burner. But if you don’t get enough sleep you will simply move slower and have much less energy. So sacrificing sleep to get things done has the opposite effect in the long run. You need to figure out how much sleep you need to feel energized and rested and make it a goal to get it most of the nights.
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What is the one thing that helps you make your day productive?
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