There is so much to do during the day! Most of us start the day with a to-do list longer than there is actually time for.
Do you find that you have multiple tabs open on your browser, text messages coming in, emails to answer, several projects going on at once?
How many times have you sat down to read the kids a book, only to have a message come in that “needs to be answered” or sat down to eat dinner with the family only to hear the chime of an incoming email?
We live in a time of multitasking. We’re listening to the radio, scrolling through facebook, cooking a meal, helping with homework, doing the laundry and chatting with a friend via text all at the same time. But is it really productive?
It’s gotten so bad, we’ve become addicted to texts, facebook and emails and it’s affecting how much our children learn in school and it’s lowering our IQ! <source>
So, this multitasking isn’t helping us be most productive we can be, is it?
Well then, how do you become an amazing productive person?
That’s right. This multitasking business has run it’s course. It lied to us, making us believe we could get more done, but the only way to get what we want done, is to focus on just one thing at a time.
As a parent, it seems impossible to single-task. I have 6 kids- there is no point in the day when I can think and focus on just. one. thing.
But, that is a lie too. We can do it and we need to do it.
Multitasking causes more stress. When we think about everything on our to-do list at once, well, that just makes us feel crazy. Life is chaotic enough as is it, we don’t need to pile more on.
How can one keep the balance and simply focus on one thing at a time?
I have a few tools that help me:
Have a to-do list. I use Wunderlist. It’s an app for my phone. I mainly use it for grocery lists, but I can also put in any appointments and have it remind me. I like it best for grocery lists, because it’s shared with my husband. So whenever either of us goes to the store, we have our list with us. Both of us can add things we need. I’m not always trying to remember what we need or where my list is.
Use a planner. I got a passion planner this year and I am totally in love with it. I use it for blogging and getting all my writing projects done, but I also block out time for family, doing things that are important to me. I’m a total planning/scheduling nerd and for me, it means I get things done. If I have something that needs to be done, I schedule out a time to do it. Even if that is coffee with a friend or a phone call with my BFF- I put it in the planner, so I know I have time set aside for those simple pleasures.
Work on something important first. Do you have a project that is the most important one of the day? Do it first. This project needs to come before facebook, email, phone calls, etc. Set a timer for yourself and work intently on this project, not allowing yourself to get distracted (no snack, no phone, no email checking). It goes for anything- from a business project at work or a decluttering project at home, if you want it done, do it first. As the saying goes, eat the frog first thing in the morning.
Turn everything off when you’re working. That’s right! If you are working on your computer, close all programs you don’t need for that job. Close that email, facebook and youtube. If you need to, set up a site-blocker for yourself, so you can’t even open those during work times. If you are working on a non-digital project, then turn off the computer, turn off the phone and just work.
Check email only at specified times. Set aside time for yourself to take care of email. We only have so much decision making in us each day and unfortunately, every single email requires a decision. (Do I respond, delete, archive or save it for later?) Having a tab open for emails is distracting as well. (How many times do your eyes drift over to see if the number on your inbox has increased?) Just leave your email closed until it’s your specified time. Turn off the notifications and if you can remove the mail program off your phone- that’s even better!
How does that look for a stay at home parent?
Well, it means the chores get done, the kids get my full attention and I actually have time to teach them to cook. It means I can sit down to read a book with the littles or go out to coffee with the teens… and not stare at my phone the whole time. It means being present in the moment. With my family.