Monday, February 18, 2019

Having a More Productive Day

As a mom, I have recently been struggling with getting up and going in the morning. This is not something that I've struggled with in the past. I've always been a morning person (although I do love a good nighttime get together or game night).  But recently I've been feeling the pull to stay in bed a little longer and then we end up having a crazy morning, which leads to a crazy day.

Not anymore! I listened to THIS 3 in 30 podcast and it reminded me of the reasons I love being a morning person, and it helped me remember how to be a morning person. And I really encourage you to listen to that if this is something you struggle with, but I also wanted to share a few of the ways I make my mornings happier and more productive, which makes my days happier and more productive.

I wanted to share today a few tips about being productive through your day. These tips apply to anyone. Parent, Working mom, SAHM, doesn't matter. We all have the same amount of time in our day and most of this stuff is time management and priorities. So here are the tips, and then I'll explain each one. (they aren't in any order)

  •  Set yourself up 
  •  Break it up 
  •  Give yourself a time limit
  • Take a break

Set yourself up
How many of us use our phones as an alarm clock (I'm raising my hand right now) I use my phone as an alarm clock for a couple of reasons. It's convenient and I can pick what I want it to sound like verses hearing that obnoxious beep that doesn't just wake you up but gives you a heart attack.  But what happens when you go to turn your phone alarm off? For me, my phone is already in my hand and out of habit I end up spending the time, that I was supposed to be up reading my scriptures or working out or getting breakfast ready or just being productive, scrolling instead. Then I'm running late. I have to skip reading, skip the workout, get myself ready quicker, and nag the kids to wake up (why do they only sleep in on school days?) while I'm getting breakfast ready as fast as I can.  I don't have another alarm clock yet, so I admit that I still use my phone for that. But, putting your phone across the room so that you have to get up and turn it off anyway is a big help. Or, one thing that I've been doing is that I will put my phone on top of my scriptures on my nightstand the night before.  I turn my phone off, turn my lamp on and read scriptures in bed for 15 minutes before getting the rest of the morning going. Set yourself up for success by preparing what you need to for the morning. I lay my workout clothes out the night before. I have my kids lay their clothes out for the next day. I set my scriptures where they are easy for me to see and reach for when my alarm goes off.

Break It Up
When you try to pile as much as you can onto that list, and into your day, you start feeling tired and worn out, or bored and unmotivated to do anything on your list. Scheduling certain things out so that you're not doing it all in one day is smart! Make one day cleaning day, one day grocery day, one day for your other errands etc... Being productive doesn't mean getting everything done in one day, sometimes that just makes us sloppy. And I always tell my kids "do it right or do it twice".  This tip works so well for anyone. Decide what your most important, most pressing things are and do those things first. Break them up into manageable bits and get those things done before you do anything else.

Give Yourself a Time Limit
Sometimes, once I get the kids off to school, I fall back into that scrolling rut. And I get frustrated because then I don't feel like I'm getting anything else done like I wanted to. So I started to think about what chores need to be done every day in our house. Then I pick one podcast and give myself the whole podcast worth of time to get as many chores done as I possibly can (usually while V is playing or getting his TV time)  I clean the kitchen, fold laundry, clean the bathrooms, vacuum...whatever I can get done in that amount of time. By the end of the podcast, I feel like I've gotten a lot done and I'm ready to move onto another thing on my to-do list. I use the podcast as my little reward for getting myself to clean because as a mom of 3 young kids, cleaning is very monotonous.

Schedule It Out
I've felt overwhelmed lately with some changes in schedules and life in general that we are working on. So in order to help me keep things on task and not waste time I've been doing a brain dump of all the things that I need to get done on one paper. I do this on Monday mornings or Sunday nights depending on what time I have open. I make a huge list of things I need to do for the week. Even the small things, like making sure I eat meals, and then I put them on my schedule. You can read more about that all HERE. I don't have a planner, and I've never been much of a planner person, but I made my own "planner" out of a notebook to test this out with for a week. It's helping me know how much open time I have that I can spend doing things that I need to work into my list or that aren't as pressing as the things that are scheduled. It made a big difference in my stress level and helped me get things done!

Take a Break
Even when we are trying to be productive, we need to set some time aside to relax and do something that we want to do. Just like when you're running without taking rest days, you can get burned out. It's ok, and even good for you, to take a break from your to-do list and do something for you. Just make sure the break doesn't send you spiraling into an unproductive rest of the day :).

What are your favorite tricks and tips to keep you productive?

Do you have a real alarm clock or do you use your phone?

What is one thing on your to-do list that is stressing you out?


  1. These are great tips! Recently I've noticed how easy it is to lose 30 minutes of my day scrolling mindlessly on Instagram. I'm working on cutting back on that time since that is definitely NOT productive, lol.

    1. I am the same way! I have been trying to be better about getting on my phone with a purpose so it doesn’t happen as often.

  2. I like to make mini goals for the day and the week so I don't get caught i=up in trying to do too much and getting frustrated.

  3. I still use a real alarm, but keep my phone out of reach so I'm not tempted to scroll "one last time" before lights-out. When our kids were young (I was home with them until the last one started 1st grade), smart phones weren't a thing. We had to sit at a computer to surf the web, so the web didn't get much of my time or attention. I'm really glad I didn't have the convenience of a smart phone in my hand or I fear I'd never get anything done because I doubt I'd have the discipline to disregard it.

    1. Sometimes I wish I could go back to a land line just for that reason! Not that it's mandatory that I use my phone that much, but I have to be more discipline so I don't do it.

  4. My mornings are pretty tightly orchestrated but I do scroll Facebook while I'm brushing my teeth. That's pretty ridiculous! I love the idea of timing chores to podcasts. I tend to plow through big to-do lists and then feel so drained - I should plan in a break or two.

  5. I finally just tossed my alarm clock. I don't even think it's been plugged in. Some days I'm a lot more productive than others, but i do confess to getting overwhelmed sometimes and needing to step back until I get myself together.

    I am very much a morning person, however, and I get a lot done before I even have to start my day out of the house.

  6. I find in order to get my day going, I HAVE to have "MOM" time before anyone else in the house is up. So I set my alarm for 5:00 am every day. I get up, make breakfast, and hop on the computer where I catch up on blog work and client emails. Then, by 6:15 when it's time to wake up the kids and husband, my caffeine has kicked in and I'm ready to start my day!