Mummy Mondays - My Top Tips for Productivity

Monday, 5 January 2015

It's almost time to go back to work/school/normal life. The twinkly lights and sparkly ornaments are being returned to the loft, the fake (or real, if you're more dedicated than us) pine needles are being swept up, parents are tearing apart the sofa cushions looking for newly acquired - and then promptly lost - Barbie shoes, or Aquadoodle pens (!) or ridiculously small bits of Minecraft Lego. There are only a couple of broken candy canes and a few miniature Bounty bars left in the sweetie bowl. Alarms are being set. Uniforms are being ironed (or panic washed and hung on the radiators). Lunches are being packed.

Some of those things don't apply to me, but still, I know they are happening.

And I am cracking out blog post ideas like there's no tomorrow. After weeks of laying dormant, the writing part of my brain is bursting into life. I am tempted to burst into song:

This girl is on fiiiiiiiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!


Here are my tips for being productive, when, like me, you are ordinarily the Least Productive Person On the Planet. Hopefully, with my guidance, you will go from this:

To this!

1. Pretend to be someone else

Put on a kind of internal disguise and simply act like one of those people that always have a clean, organized house/non-scruffy children/a fully ticked to-do list. 

Yes, they do exist. They are rare, but they exist. I've seen them.

Anyway, you can be that person too! Simply tell yourself: I am not lazy, or disorganized, or stressed. I am perfectly calm and capable and in control. Just like (insert name of person you secretly want to be here).

Fake it til you make it! 

2. Write a great big list

Writing lists always makes me feel more productive without actually having to do anything. It's an amazing psychological trick.

Make sure to put 'write list' at the top of your list, so you can immediately tick it off. Satisfying.

3. Block out everything else except for the thing you are doing right now

Except children if you have them, you should probably keep an ear out for them.

Sometimes I pull off doing several things at once: writing a blog post by saying it out loud to my daughter, making our lunch with one hand, switching on the washing machine with my foot, etc. (I'll let you think that's true and that I'm remarkably flexible). It is not often that this multitasking ends well. It usually ends with about five jobs started and not finished.

I remember years ago, as a young teenager, visiting friends of my parents. They were ridiculously loud. They seriously had the loudest kids I'd ever heard. Midway through the visit I hissed to my Mum (imagine this with serious teenage attitude) 'How do you put up with all this noise!?'

To which my Mum said cheerfully (and honestly): 'Oh, I just block it out, it's like I can't hear it anymore.'


I thought - and still do - that my Mum has magical powers.

Anyway, that's what I'm trying to learn to do. Prioritise important things, ignore the rest. I look at the washing pile (my nemesis) and say 'I can't see you!' so I don't get distracted from the more important thing I'm trying to do. Maybe if I keep ignoring the washing it will actually disappear

4. Get off Facebook

And blogs. And forums. And Twitter. And Instagram.

What you should do is put your phone somewhere really annoying and difficult to reach until you've finished doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing. Then you can go and get it back, and reward your ten minutes of ironing with half an hour of social media.

Seriously though, I am approximately a million times more productive when I have no access to the internet, than when I have my phone in my pocket.

5. Make your bed

Get up in the mornings and make the beds. This might sound ridiculous to some of you but it totally works for me. On the days that I take the extra 60 seconds or so to make our beds in the morning, I feel so much more organized than the days that I don't. And feeling disorganized quickly slides into the I can't keep up with everything feeling and then into the Well the house is a tip so I might as well not do anything feeling.

Build small things into your routine. (I am writing this for men, too, in case someone out there thinks I'm horribly sexist. My husband does these things too. Mostly) I always use the window of my toddler eating lunch (takes way longer than I do to eat, mostly due to her apparent need to make as much mess as is humanly possible) to wash up her bottles and wipe down the kitchen counters. Our friends swear by putting a load of washing in the machine and setting it on a timer at night so it's finished by the time they get out of bed in the morning (this, to me, feels impressively organised).

Small things. They keep us ticking along.


So. It's 2015. Are you feeling organised? Do you have any actual tips to stop procrastination? Comments welcome as always!

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