7 Ways to Find More Time and Increase Your Productivity

Women juggle multiple responsibilities, especially if they are moms. 

There are work responsibilities, household responsibilities, and family and children responsibilities.  Don’t forget to set aside some time to care for yourself by preparing healthy food and finding time to exercise.

The work at home mom must become an expert at juggling because she’ll constantly have to switch between childcare tasks and completing her work.  I should know because I’ve been a work at home mom now for two years.

In the beginning, juggling my childcare responsibilities with work responsibilities was fairly easy.  My two younger children took fairly long afternoon naps, and my workload was not that heavy as I was just starting my business.  I could get all my work done during nap time and in the evenings after the kids were asleep, and I still had time to relax.

Fast forward two years, and most days my kids don’t nap.  If they do, it isn’t longer than 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, my workload has increased.  My schedule had to change so I could find more time.

If this sounds familiar, let me share some of the ways I’ve found more time in my day and increased productivity:

1.  Work at your optimal time.

When do you work best?  Your optimal time is the time when you get the most done with the least effort.

For me, that is between 8 a.m. and noon.  I still get work done in the afternoon, but I do my best work in the morning.  By evening, I’m just spinning my wheels.  Learn what time works best for you and try to do the majority of your work then.

2.  When you’re working on one task, focus on that one completely.

If you’re working on your business, focus on that completely.  Don’t go surf the Internet or stop by Facebook for a minute just to see what is going on.  Focus on the task at hand completely.  In fact, Inc. reports that “you could regain as much as 40% of your time by decreasing your stressful multi-tasking habits.”

If it’s a longer task, give yourself breaks.  For instance, tell yourself that you’ll work on a particular project for 25 minutes, and then you’ll take a 5 minute break to check Facebook or go through your mail.  After 5 minutes, start working again for another designated time.

3.  Know where your time goes.

Find more time to be more productivePeople who are trying to manage their budgets are urged to keep a spending log to track where the money goes.

Likewise, if you feel you never have enough time, why not keep a time log?  This is what Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours:  You Have More Time Than You Think and blogger at Laura Vanderkam recommends.


Sure, writing down all of your activities for a week is a pain, but it can also be an eye opening experience.  Once you know where your time is going, you can focus on spending it in ways that you want.  You gain control of your time and what you do with it.  Once you know you waste several hours a day checking e-mail multiple times, you can cut back to just checking three times a day, for instance.

4.  Wake up earlier.

If you’re managing a household, getting up an hour before everyone else does can give you time to exercise or get a head start on a project or task.  Yes, it’ll take a few weeks to adjust to the new routine, but chances are you’ll be glad to have that time completely to yourself.

5.  Accept that you can’t do it all.

Get help where you need it.  If you’re busy with work and family and don’t have time to clean the house, hire a house cleaner, if you’re able.  If you’re a work at home mom, hire a babysitter for a few hours a week to come in and watch the kids while you work.

I started doing this a year ago.  My kids like playing with the babysitter, and I get to accomplish some of my work in peace.  Then, after the sitter goes, I can relax and spend time with the kids.

6.  Exercise.

If you already feel that you don’t have enough time, you may wonder where you’ll fit in exercise.

However, exercise can actually help improve your concentration, which  means you may be able to get more done in less time.  Plus, it’s good for your health, and it can help you sleep better at night.

7.  Get a good night’s sleep.

If you’re rested, you’ll be able to focus better throughout the day.  Think about days when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.  You’re likely irritable and unable to concentrate.  Even simple tasks take longer.  Skimping on sleep is inefficient.  Get the sleep you need so you can be productive the next day.

Finally

There is nothing more fulfilling than working for yourself and having the time to take care of your family, at least in my opinion.

However, mitigating the stress so you can enjoy both roles is essential.  Follow some of these time saving tips, and you’ll likely see yourself become more productive and efficient.

What’s your favorite way to increase your productivity?

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Published or updated March 5, 2013.

Comments

  1. I use lists to keep me focused! I find it an easy way to get me to complete tasks.

  2. Mo' Money Mo' Houses says:

    #3 and #6 I totally agree with. I’ve been regularly exercising lately and I have so much energy. And when I started getting really busy and took a look at what I was really spending my time doing, meaning no more TV!

  3. I can relate 100%, at home with my 2 yr old and 10 month old, and since it’s a snow day, the 12 and 9 year olds are home too. I got up early,so I could get some work in. I also know tonight after the little ones are in bed, I can work some. It is a tricky balance, but these are awesome tips.

  4. Hi Melissa,

    I love your list. I was a work from home mom for 13 years and a lot of your suggestions were things I did as well. I struggled with my kids to get them to understand when I was working and when it was okay to come and be with me. What worked for me was to make as stop sign to hang on my office door when I was on a conference call or writing so they knew that I couldn’t be bothered at that moment unless it was an emergency. I’d flip it to the green side when I was done and it was okay for them to come in.

    I found that working in the morning before they woke up worked great for me. By evening my brain was mush, and giving myself an early bedtime, shortly after the kids were down, allowed me to wake up refreshed and ready to work. I’d use their nap time as a bonus since the age span of my kids meant that often one would sleep and the other would not.

    I don’t think work at home moms we get reminded often enough of the gifts you’re giving our families or recognized for the sacrifices you’re making to balance it all. Keep up the great work!

    :) Heather

  5. These are really great tips. I particularly like #2. Lot of people mistakenly believe that they can accomplish more by multitasking, however focusing on one thing at a time boosts your productivity and helps you accomplish more in less time.

    I would also add one more tip – Learn to delegate. Those who successfully master the art of delegating can accomplish lot more and are able to focus on those tasks that are important.

    • Real multitasking is using your time wisely, like knowing when you can work on something else when you have some downtime from another project. But really you need to work on one thing at a time.

      Great point on delegating! It’s something that has taken me a while to do well.

  6. The sleep one is for my wife. Getting enough sleep for her is insurance she won’t kill me or the kids. Well, mostly me. It leads me to get a little wonky too if I don’t get enough.

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