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As a blogger, business owner or parent, you probably wear a lot of hats. If you sometimes feel overwhelmed and like your to do list is never ending, this is a post for you! Find out five ways to be more productive, even if you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Plus be sure to check out my FREE printable at the end with an easy way to manage your to do list.
Being a work at home mom to an eight month old, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of things I need to do every day. Caring for a little human is enough of a job for a day’s work so when you add on trying to manage a small business and run a food blog, you can definitely feel like two hands aren’t enough (or eight hands, for that matter).
Everyone says that the “newborn” period will be the biggest adjustment, but some days I wish I could go back to those days. Now, he can play on his own for a little period of time, but will need something after a while. Not to mention that I often don’t want to work while he’s awake and playing because I love getting to interact with him and watch him learn.
It’s certainly a blessing to be able to “stay at home” with him but it’s come at a price for my business and blog. I used to spend all day working (though not very efficiently) and with an infant that is just not possible. Over the last eight months, I’ve had to slowly learn how to use my time more efficiently so that when I do have time to work, I make sure I get done everything I need to get done.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom running a blog, a work at home business owner, or a blogger juggling your blog and another full time gig (school or work), here are my tips for getting work done more effectively so that the little time you have to get things done is spent well!
+Write Things Down
My grandparents have a sign in their house that says “The biggest lie I tell myself every day is that I’ll remember it without writing it down.” While this is attributed to their older age, it’s definitely a true saying for most of us. The truth is we have too much on our to do lists to remember it all. We might not have to write down some of the little things every day, but I find myself easily forgetting even some big things that I would swear I could remember to do. To do lists are my jam for getting things done!
+Take a Break
This is a huge key for productivity. Our brains and eyes aren’t meant to sit and stare at a computer screen for hours on end. Get up, take a walk around the house (or outside if it’s nice!), or take a coffee break. I love having my afternoon coffee pick me up and it’s the perfect way for me to decompress either in between tasks or between the shift from mom life to business life during my son’s afternoon nap. I love adding International Delight Simply Pure Vanilla Creamer to my coffee for just a hint of sweetness!
I’ve used this creamer before in my Strawberry and Orange Glaze Scones but I try to keep it on hand for my coffee, too! International Delight Simply Pure is made with real milk, cream and sugar, which I love knowing! It’s always been important to me to minimize artificial ingredients, but it’s even more important to me after being pregnant and now nursing my son. This creamer is available in Hazelnut, Vanilla and Caramel.
As a business owner, it’s really hard to give up control. I’ve always struggled with the idea of outsourcing various aspects of my blog or business to someone else. But in the last few months I have started working with a virtual assistant and it has been amazing for my productivity. Just knowing that I have an extra hand who I can give some smaller tasks to really helps simplify my to do list! If you’re a business owner or blogger, start thinking about how you can outsource various parts of your business. Could you hire a designer instead of spending two months DIYing your blog design? Could you hire someone to manage your Facebook profile? Maybe it’s book keeping that you need help with. Whatever tasks that you could bring in outside assistance for, try to!
During my son’s nap, I always try to spend my time efficiently. Especially now that he is pushing his naps to almost two hours long, it’s a lot easier for me to sit down and focus in on my to do list. During this time, I do my best to eliminate distractions like social media, other open tabs on my browser, or meaningless to do list items.
One thing that works great for me is opening a new desktop or window on my browser and keeping ONLY the tabs open that I need for my current task. I usually keep two windows open, one for business and one for blogging, and that also keeps me focused in.
If music helps you to center in on your tasks, get some headphones and get in the zone. If your home/office space is a distraction, find a quiet corner in a coffee shop where you can zone in and get things done!
+Prioritize Your To Do List (The Urgent vs. the Important)
When you’re making a to do list, it’s important to organize your to do list and prioritize what’s on it. To do this, I follow a time management principle from President Eisenhower that prioritizes your to do list based on what is important versus urgent. This principle helps minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines by streamlining our to do list into a more manageable list. Here’s the distinction:
Important activities help us achieve our goals. Urgent activities need immediate attention but are usually to help achieve someone else’s goals. These are the ones that usually “distract” us because there are consequences for not dealing with them immediately.
To help understand this, here are the four categories that every item on your to do list must fall into:
-Important and Urgent
Crises, deadlines and problems
Ex. Writing a sponsored blog post, correcting an error, some emails
-Important but not urgent
(Second highest priority)
Relationships, planning, “time off”
Ex. Editorial calendar planning, date nights, reading, car and home maintenance, business planning and dreaming
-Not important but urgent
(Third highest priority)
Interruptions, meetings, most emails
Ex. Phone calls, text messages, social media notifications
-Not important and not urgent
Ex. Mindlessly surfing social media or the web, online shopping, watching TV
Recognizing the difference between these two types of tasks has been huge for me! To help you set a manageable to do list, I created a printable to do list with this important versus urgent scale built in. To download it, click here and right click to save! Spend a few minutes with a cup of coffee and International Delight Simply Pure filling out this to do list form to help you start making the most of your precious extra moments.
I hope these tips help you to work more effectively, whether you’re a business owner, blogger, mama or maybe all three (like me)!