Let’s face it . . . as a single mom, you need all the time in the day you can get. I know I do! It’s not easy being mom, dad, chief cook, housekeeper, chauffeur and financial provider. There are innumerable other roles that you play each day – but you already know that.
So, how do you squeeze more time out of day that’s already packed and has the same 24 hours that everyone else gets?
In fact, how is that some moms can do just that?
It’s likely they use a few productivity tips and tricks that help them get more done in less time. However, finding more time in the day then creates another problem. . . what do you do with that time?
If you are like most type-A driven women, you’ll fill the time with more, more, more. There will be more work, more meetings, more jobs, or the potential of starting your own home business, so you fill the hours with more things that help you ‘feel’ productive.
But, the intention “I” have in sharing these productivity tips is that you spend the extra time relaxing and enjoying your life. Relaxing and de-stressing are important to your health and your life with your children. Keep up the stress and you may just significantly reduce the number of years you have left.
Stress is linked to:
Reduced sex drive
Lack of motivation
Neck and shoulder pain
And, that’s just the short list. Each of those conditions, triggered by stress, is related to other health conditions as well. Making changes to habits can be difficult, so pick a few and get started – by the end of the year you may surprise yourself with how much time you have each day!
So, how can you find more hours in your day so you can use it to relax, destress and spend more time with your children?
- Shower at night
Showering in the morning takes an extra 20 minutes of your time, while showering at night can be done after your children go to bed. Showering in the evening is also relaxing, helping you to fall asleep faster and enjoy more restful sleep.
You might use the time in the morning to write in a journal, watch the sunrise, drink a cup of coffee while reading a devotional or even sleeping another 20 minutes.
- Engage your children in housework
It doesn’t matter how old they are – children are capable of picking up, cleaning up and helping out. Ask them how they may want to help so you have more time to spend with them – you might be surprised by what they come up with.
However, your home isn’t a democracy – so while it’s nice to give them the chance to offer input, your decision is final. If they can reach the sink they can stack the dishwasher, put the dishes away, vacuum the floors, fix their beds, clean their rooms and a myriad of other things.
- Take temptations out of reach
We got rid of our television and cable service a year ago, or more. Yes, we have Netflix and watch TV on the computer, but removing the television has reduced the amount of time I and my children sit blankly in front of a screen.
Do you have something in your home that eats up a lot of your time, but isn’t productive? Think about it and determine if it’s something you could get rid of, or at least put it out of daily reach.
- Keep a “To Do” list
I keep mine on Wunderlist.com. I can access it from any computer or my phone. There is an incredibly satisfying sound when I check off something I’ve done and I can make my list recurring. In other words, if there is something I do daily or weekly, I can set the list to make the item recur each day or week.
- Do one thing every day
Some productivity experts tell you to chunk your housekeeping duties into one day and get it all done. However, I’ve found if I do one thing every day, the house stays clean and I don’t “feel” like I’ve spent the day cleaning.
One day I dust, (ok, once every three weeks I dust), I vacuum twice a week, mop the floors on another day and clean bathrooms on yet another. Each task doesn’t take more than 15 minutes and I don’t put it off because I dread spending hours doing work I really don’t enjoy.
- Remember to say “No”
You enjoy helping others, but remember to prioritize your home and children. The more you say yes to other people, the less you can say yes to outings with your children.
- Schedule in breaks
Research has determined that even if you exercise for 30 minutes every morning, if you sit all day, you’ve negated the benefits and are at the same risk for heart attack as people who don’t workout at all. Another benefit of getting up every 15 to 25 minutes is that you’ll recharge your batteries and be more productive. Your brain works better when you give it a break.
Don’t multi-task. Work on one thing from break to break and keep your mind on the project. Staying focused in the moment and working on one task at a time increases how much you can do in a short amount of time.
- SCHEDULE free time
You already keep a calendar and schedule your day. You’re running for your work, to keep up with your home and to take your children to activities. It’s time you also schedule time for free time for yourself – even if it’s 15 minutes each day, the idea is to DO IT.
- Life a healthy lifestyle
Exercise, balanced diet and sleep are foundational pillars to your health. It’s important that you keep each of them intact and functioning well. At least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 8 hours of sleep and a diet low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fats and plenty of clean water are key. The better you function, the more productive you’ll be.
- Practice gratitude
When you are grateful for what you have, it opens your eyes to everything in your life for which you could be grateful. And, being grateful actually makes you more productive. Spend time with people you love and be grateful for the time. Recognize your small successes each day and be grateful for them.
I use most of these tricks – unfortunately, instead of using my extra time for relaxation, I’ve piled on more work. This year, 2017, it’s my goal to make more time for ME. Why don’t you join me?