I’m often asked how I am so productive with a family of 5 kids, running my own business, taxi service to my kids after school, etc. I always used to say “I don’t know….I just run around like a headless chicken.”
Now this honestly wasn’t, and isn’t, the true answer! So what is my secret?
I don’t have much of a secret – it is all about planning! Not just planning what to do or when it needs to be done by BUT actually DOING IT!!
When we have so much to do we don’t know where to start, overwhelm hits! Guess what happens then…nothing gets done! I would often find myself wandering around a room moving bits of paper, opening up the laptop with the intention of starting a task and remembering I needed to do something else. Off I would go and forget to go back. Tidying up because everything felt messy and cluttered and then I could start doing stuff! Over and over and over again! So I needed to change! (This change started many years ago when I had my first daughter!)
Get organised (personally)
Get yourself a diary (online or offline – I have both!) and use it. Plan in regular meetings, appointments etc. Block out the family time that you need whether you are being a taxi service or you are having dinner together! Plan in your regular hobbies or social activities. Block out holiday time (at least 6 months in advance). It doesn’t matter if you change those holiday dates but you need to plan them in. Now you will notice that I have asked you to start with personal appointments/meetings/blocks of time. Why? That’s so that you know you will have some down time in your week – something to look forward to. Who wants to work 24/7? Yes you deserve a holiday – regardless how long you have been in business!
Spend a bit of time getting out of your head everything that you need to accomplish! Write down everything – large and small tasks. You may want to do this for 20 minutes or so and then leave it for a bit – we always forget something don’t we? This will free up some ‘brain energy’ so that you feel you have more clarity and are not worried you will forget anything.
Prioritise and set deadlines
Work out what is important and when it needs to be completed by. Don’t be tempted to try to get all your important tasks done straight away IF you have a bit of time in completing them. You will ALWAYS have important tasks to be done. If you need to have something completed by the end of the month (and it is important) schedule some time in the month to complete this. That way you can balance out your workload AND get stuff done.
Plan out the next month, three months, six months – whatever seems most comfortable for you. I plan out in great detail the current month and next and have an overview plan for the following four. That way I always know what I am working towards in detail and in the short term. Get some help with this if you find this hard or if you are procrastinating on doing this.
What comes next?
Well once you have a plan, you need to DO IT!!! But don’t just do it alone!
Surrounding myself with other likeminded individuals who can support and encourage me has been the single most positive step I have taken into being productive. Seeing other businesses grow through the productivity that is produced is amazing.
I’d love to hear how you keep productive?