How do you stay productive?
Some people might give you advice and their answer would be “it’s all about time management.”
The truth of the matter is, we cannot control time. We all have the same number of hours in a day. We can’t get an extra hour no matter how good we are or how badly we want it. And we also cannot bring back the hours we wasted the previous day when we browsed our Facebook News Feed for nothing, or when we watched a series of Netflix shows or get caught up with enviable photos on Instagram.
We can only manage ourselves. To do this, we need to know how to manage ourselves or self-management.
What is Self-management?
In an article in Success.com by David Allen called “It’s Not About Time.” Mr. Allen suggests that too often we focus on managing our time when we should, in fact, be focused on managing ourselves.
Self-management is really about what we do with ourselves during the time we have. It’s about “knowing what to do at any given moment”. It encompasses managing your thoughts and emotions and dealing with work and family relationships. How we balance our thoughts and actions to achieve the best outcome that is in line with our goals.
We cannot be a slave to our to-do list because sometimes no matter how well we plan, there will be new problems and opportunities every day. There will be unexpected events every day especially for moms like us. Like if our child gets sick, a boring PTA meeting, school fair that we should attend, assistance with kid’s school project and so on.
To help you how to do that so you can be productive and achieve better results, I have collated my research findings and I have also added my tips. It may or may not suit you, but you can follow these tips and adjust them according to your situation. Test them out and see what works for you. The key is to stay consistent to achieve positive results.
1. Learn to say "NO"
Women are more agreeable than men and this is a tendency to stay polite, careful in choosing words, and afraid of saying “no”. This is because we don’t like to hurt someone’s feelings. That’s why when someone asks a favor or invites us to a party, it’s hard to say “no”. It’s ok to give in if you think you can manage to finish your important tasks, otherwise, you should muster turning down invitations and running errands for someone else.
Avoiding meaningless conversations that are not in line with your vision and goals is also another time-wasting activity that you have to say “no” to. No to naysayers and negative people who bring you down will protect your mind from getting corrupt and may dampen your spirit. Nourishing your mind with helpful and useful information by listening to motivational videos, or reading educational books will better equip you to have a more successful endeavor.
No to negative news from radio or television. How bad the economy is or the increasing rate of crimes and unemployment pollutes your mind with the trash that diminishes your positivity in life. Remember that what you feed your mind may affect your thinking that translates into actions.
Say “yes” only to those that empower you and contribute to your well-being. “No” to those that diminish your energy and make you lose your drive to succeed.
2. Plan around your energy level
Know when is the best time of the day to work on your goal. If you feel you can focus more in the afternoon while the kids are in school, go ahead and grab that opportunity. As long as your mind is fresh and you feel energized to do your short term goals or your daily tasks.
For me, though I have the time in the afternoon to work while kids are in school, sometimes I already feel exhausted because of some chores in the morning. I can barely think anymore and I just want to lie down on my bed and relax.
So I try to wake up at 5 am (sometimes 4 am) to have quiet time all for myself so I can focus more without any interruptions. True enough, I noticed that I feel more energized throughout the day even though I woke up very early. Know when do you still have the energy so you can think better.
3. Avoid multitasking
When it comes to doing mommy duties, just like me, I think you’ll agree with me that you also multitask. But when it comes to working on your goal, multitasking won’t make you productive. Being productive isn’t the same as making progress (which is a different topic).
For example, you cannot have multiple tabs open on your Google browser while learning graphic design skills. Answering Facebook messages, then switching to your Yahoo or Gmail emails, and then watch YouTube isn’t being productive. Doing multiple things at once that is in no way related to that ONE thing that you’re currently working on will only slow down your progress.
So turn off your notifications, and reduce distractions.
A study from the University of California Irvine found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task after getting distracted.
Time is our most valuable resource so we must use it wisely by managing ourselves.
Author Alan Lakein wrote, “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Learn to manage yourself, and enjoy more productive life.