I feel like every day starts the same.
I wake up with all this inspiration to have a beautiful and productive day, but when it comes down to it, I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels while staying in place.
I begin cooking breakfast, and then I notice all the dishes in the sink so I start those, then I notice my dog’s water bowl is empty, and while I’m there I see I haven’t vacuumed the den in days and the summer coat my dog is shedding is all over the floor.
Once I get back to the eggs, they’re burnt.
I’m so guilty of it.
I want to get as much done as I can, so I do as much as I can all of the time.
I pick up extra tasks while I’m doing other things and then everything ends up taking ALL DAY.
Maybe you’ve seen the video on Facebook of the girl who spent all day starting 100 cleaning tasks, and at the end of the day being exhausted, with nothing done.
It’s the truest video I’ve ever seen.
Multitasking makes you feel like you’re being productive, but really, you’re not doing your best work in any of these tasks, and they’re taking much longer to finish.
Multitasking spreads your energy and attention, usually too thin.
When you’re working on one task, you’re focusing on the other tasks you’re trying to do.
How can you fix it?
Let’s try single-tasking!
What is Single Tasking?
In the example we just talked about, focus on making breakfast first, and then move on.
It’s simple when you take away all the interruptions.
The dishes can wait until you’re done eating breakfast.
Your doggy’s hair tumbleweeds will still be in the corners after breakfast.
When you’re free to spend all of your attention on one task, you’ll complete it faster and better.
Imagine, your eggs could be perfectly cooked instead of trying to scrub the burnt bits off the bottom of the pan.
Or imagine actually being able to sit down and spend time with your child reading a book without checking your phone or worrying about the dishes, or what’s for dinner tomorrow.
Checking my phone is my biggest problem. I check it all day.
Even if there isn’t a notification popped up, I often rotate between checking my email, Facebook, and blog stats.
It’s like a hamster wheel.
If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with your phone. So put it on a charger in another room and come back after reading your child’s favorite book to them.
Using it to Your Benefit
Studies suggest that taking a short break every 90 minutes help you to be more productive.
During those breaks, you can give in to the urge to check all your alerts.
Another popular method to increase your productivity is called the Pomodoro Method.
The Pomodoro Method is spending 25 minutes working, then five minutes off.
After four of these sessions, you take a longer break.
With this method, I have been able to get SO MUCH done with my house.
You can do anything for 25 minutes. After that, you’re done.
More Tips to Consider
You can stop relying on memory to ensure you’ll finish your to-do list.
When I try to remember things in my head, I end up forgetting everything. Including when I need to return a library book, or what channel Disney Junior is.
When I don’t have a notebook, I use a program called Trello.
It syncs to all my devices, so I can access it from anywhere and it’s AMAZING for list making.
You can organize your things in boards, and have expiration dates, or checklists inside your cards.
There is SO much to Trello, you can use it as a stay at home mom, for your work, as a to-do list manager, or even as a list for groceries you need.
And best of all IT IS FREE.
You could upgrade if you wanted, but I have never done so, and I can’t imagine a need to anytime in the future.
But back to list-making!
If you take those thoughts out of your brain and put them on paper or into an app, you can focus better on the single task you’re trying to do.
It helps you stay focused because you won’t waste brain space on trying to remember something else.
My second favorite way to increase my productivity is to set up my day beforehand.
Before I go to sleep, I try to plan out some of what I need to do in the morning.
By planning out my most productive time of the day — when I first wake up — I can increase the amount I can get done, and prevent myself from spinning my wheels trying to find traction.
You can wake up and know exactly what you want to get done, and what single task you should start with.
How do you know what to start with?
Make a list of six things you need to get done the next day, and then organize them by importance.
Starting at the top, do the most important thing first, and when that job is done, move on to the next.