While the world, our families, careers, and businesses demand all of our time, how are you managing to stay sane, and productive? Here are just a few (out of several) strategies that work for me.
- Set a routine – Yes, get up and get going with a routine. Consistency is a major key to success so what does your routine look like? More of us are working from home now so it’s important to get up and get dressed like you’ve got somewhere to go because you do. Yep, down the hall to your home office, where you’ll be taking calls and video meetings, and making magic happen. Plus, when you look good, you feel good and perform well. For me and my house, my youngest and I get fully dressed for virtual school and remote work, but before school and work start, my routine begins with prayer, affirmation, stretching and exercise, and inspirational music. Sometimes gospel, jazz, or hip-hop. I then take extra special time with my youngest cuddling and snuggling her out of bed and preparing her for her school day. Oh, and I prepare a hot breakfast for the kids too. Now getting my high-school age daughters to get up and dressed for their virtual classes is not my battle. I set the tone for my home, and believe our days are set up for success when I get us going with a positive routine.
- Plan your day – First things first. Make your schedule and your time your friend. Review your calendar and to-do list, and create an action-plan to execute what’s most important FIRST. Prioritize what you “have to do” before doing those optional or less urgent tasks. What do you need to prep for? Who do you need to meet? Do you have all of the details to execute? Give yourself adequate travel, transition, and prep time between meetings so you’re not late, and so that you show up prepared and ready. Plan time to review and clear out your emails. What’s urgent for everyone else, doesn’t always mean it needs to become your priority (except, and unfortunately in some workplace scenarios). Plan out your workouts, social time, and dinner dates too. For sanity and productivity’s sake, planning makes the difference so plan for each day, but take it a step further with weekly, monthly, and quarterly planning.
- Eliminate or minimize distractions. It sounds crazy because we’re constantly interrupted, especially us working from home moms (sorry dads, but moms get interrupted more than you do, just admit it). With that being said, if we cut down the social media, and internet scrolling, we have more time for actual work. I swear I feel the information overload daily so I have had to set boundaries, and be intentional about protecting my time, space, and energy from those inundating distractions. The day that I learned NO was a full sentence was everything. If saying yes prevents you from being and giving your best at what is REQUIRED of you…you know what to do.
- Get Organized. To help you focus, it’s important to be organized. It’s not just about having a neat and organized space, although that is an important and helpful aspect – cluttered, unorganized space contributes to cluttered thoughts, confusion, and chaos. I’m referring to having systems and strategies for how you get things done. What can be automated? Do you have checklists to keep you on task? If you constantly respond to emails or text messages, have some text ready to send. It usually takes time to get your systems in place but once you invest the time and resources in getting organized, those tools can work for you for a lifetime.
After a productive day, celebrate your success, and just update your plans for the next stay. Then, exhale. Take a deep breath in, and let it out – a few times. Quiet down the noise (around you and going on in your head), then begin your night routine. I’m so grateful for my 5-year-old Lauriel because she keeps me honest with my daily routines, including our daily doll playing and TikTok dancing routine (inserts the crazy face emoji). Finally, rest. Our bodies and minds need to reset so that we can wake, be our best, and CONQUER the new list of people and things awaiting.