I have discovered the keys to being productive! Really!! It works!!
Okay, so by now you may have heard me say (many times) that I am not the neatest of people… clutter is something I hate, but for some reason seem to put up with all the time. I’m not self-motivated to clean, and I get overwhelmed with mess VERY easily. Oh, and I’m also easily distracted (Facebook & Twitter are major culprits!).
So, when the school year ended last week, I knew I was in trouble: All day long, at home, with everything to do but nothing was actually getting done. I’d half-heartedly move some clutter from one pile to another, putter around trying to find places for things, and end up with an even bigger mess than I started with. Frustrated, I’d sit on the computer and update my Twitter status for the umpteenth time, check out my friends on Facebook, and search the Babies R Us website, looking for cool things to get for the baby.
Needless to say, when my hubby would come home at the end of his full day of work (and still have his at-home business to take care of), he would NOT be too happy with the state of the house. He wouldn’t always say much, but by the look on his face, I knew.
For the last week, I felt less like a striving wife, and more like a failure…. but I couldn’t articulate how I was feeling to my husband without getting defensive and us fighting.
Last night, before youth group, Jason and I went out for pizza & broached the subject of the state of our house once again. For once, I was able to listen and be open to suggestions without crying (too much) or shutting down.
Here are the keys to my being productive that we came up with (& that I implemented today):
- Make a timeline of what needs to be done, and when. A list itself won’t suffice (I’ve tried that already)… I needed an actual timeline, telling me what I was going to do at particular times throughout the day.
- Be realistic! Schedule in breaks, as well as “make-up” times, in case something you were working on runs late. Don’t schedule 1/2 hour for a job that typically takes you much longer… you’ll be setting yourself up for failure! Better to schedule EXTRA time than too little time!
- Wake up on time, and stick to the schedule! For instance, today my day started with 9:00 a.m. breakfast, a 9:30 walk, and a 10:00 a.m. shower. My actual “work” time didn’t begin until 10:30… but I felt energized and rested as I began!
- Play upbeat music to keep you moving through your housework! I tend to get distracted, bored, and discouraged very quickly when the house is silent. Today I jammed to Hillsong United’s new album, as well as some Steven Curtis Chapman.
- To tackle clutter quickly & easily, walk around with a box or a basket, & put those things that don’t belong in the box. Your house will be decluttered VERY quickly… and soon all you’ll have left will be a box to go through! I was able to get through the piles on my kitchen table very quickly… those items without a “home” now have a temporary home - a box, not my table! All that’s left on the table now is a pot of pretty flowers, my list, and my laptop. A-ma-zing! (Just be sure to schedule time to go through that box! Don’t let it overflow with stuff, or that too will get overwhelming!)
- Get rid of all distractions - until your breaks! Close the laptop, turn off the PC monitor, or log out of Twitter, Facebook, Skype, & any other program that might distract you from your scheduled job. Did you schedule in blog or book writing? Get rid of all other distractions that might pop up on your computer. Only allow those during your scheduled breaks. Resist the urge to check your Twitter, email, or Facebook during your work times. You’ll get a LOT more done if you remove the option! (I close my laptop while I’m cleaning so I don’t hop back on for a peek at Twitter!)
- Reward yourself for a job well done at the end of the day…. give yourself free time before your hubby gets home from work to read a book, or plan a nice dinner or date night in with the husband. He’ll appreciate the attention in a nice clean house.
Looking around, I feel like my day was actually productive… for the first time since school let out a week ago! Of course I’m not finished, but I have made some MAJOR headway! It’s amazing what a few organized hours in the day can do!
Alright, my break time is over! I’m off to finish up a few little things, then get ready for my reward: A girls’ night out with some great friends!
If you’re like me & not naturally organized, give these methods a try… you may surprise yourself with all you get done! (And of course, I’d love to hear your own success stories with this!)
Keep on Striving,
PS - I know having kids around can throw a monkey wrench into the whole timeline idea… anyone have any good pointers or strategies for maintaining a schedule with kids underfoot?