In 2004 I had to return to the full-time work force to fill a void in one of our companies. In addition to work weeks that sometimes lasted 60 hours, I had to find time for my children, maintaining Websites for my clients, performing my duties as managing editor of a monthly e-zine for a national organization, and staying on top of the unending household chores generated by an active family. During that difficult time when I felt stretched to my limits, I stumbled upon a secret to making the most of my time. In one word—routines.
I sat down and listed everything I needed to do to keep my home running smoothly‑dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, etc. I then assigned myself a short list of chores for the morning, afternoon, and evening. My housework spurts took no more than 20 minutes each, and they covered all the tasks I needed to perform in a day to stay on top of the chores. As long as I consistently followed my routine, dishes and laundry stayed washed, the house got cleaned, groceries filled the refrigerator, and my children were fed.
The routines brought order to my chaotic schedule and helped me to be more productive. I began to feel better about myself as a wife and mother. My kids had healthy meals. My husband had clean shirts to wear to work. My home, while not perfectly clean, was neat enough that I wasn’t embarrassed for company to drop by unexpectedly. No more CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) for us.
Developing routines has also helped me in my work. There are certain tasks that have to be done daily, like checking my business social media accounts and answering emails and messages. These tasks go into a block in the morning and evening. I also need to create fresh content every day. This also has a place in my routine. I have even developed a routine for doing things that aren’t a part of the routine. They get a block of time in the late afternoon after other critical tasks are done.
Developing a routine to follow at my desk has helped increase my productivity. My brain has grown accustomed to the routine, and I find I can mentally transition into each task at the appointed time and flow into the work. I get more done in less time, and that translates to more reach, more sales, more profits, etc. Oh, and less stress! 🙂
Now when I need to increase my productivity levels, I immediately look at my situation and ask, “Can I simplify all or part of this situation with a routine?” Often the answer is “Yes.”
Think about the tasks you do weekly and daily in order to keep your home, work, or life running smoothly. It only takes a few minutes to brainstorm and arrange your chores or workload into logical, practical daily and weekly routines that fit into your schedule. By finding the most efficient way to do things, and training your body and mind to focus in on certain tasks at certain times, you will get the “work” out of the way so you have more time to “play” or pursue activities you really enjoy.
Isn’t that what we all want? More play time?
Get out there and be productive!