You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Work smarter not harder” but what does it truly mean to work smarter? This task seems impossible for mothers juggling challenging days filled with appointments, meetings, deadlines, dishes, and dinners. What if working smarter meant finding a balance, keeping your sanity, and enjoying days filled with productivity? In a time where to-do lists are a way of life, establishing some stability in a work day can accomplish more than just increasing productivity. Stability, in any aspect, ensures we are not stumbling through our day, constantly putting out fires. It is important to create a system which alleviates the burden of overwhelming lists and tasks which in turns helps us balance and enjoy the life we have.
Take the Time to get Organized!
A essential skill to working smarter is to be as organized as possible. TaskCracker is an amazing addition to Outlook which helps organize your daily “to-do’s”. Google doc sheets can create free monthly calendars with the ability to draft, edit, and share with family member’s . Arrange tasks according to their priority, such as high, medium, or low. This system is similar to Steven Covey’s “Time Management Method”. The time management system determines when errands need to be completed (today, tomorrow, this week, next week, or no end date). Visually seeing timelines dramatically increases productivity flow.
The need to get many things done can be an overwhelming experience. This feeling occurs when our “to-do” lists exceed the amount of time we have in our day. Once you’re organized and your priorities are established, try breaking up your tasks into smaller more realistic goals. This way you can work on various things a little bit at a time, but still feel as though you accomplished a lot through your day. For example, if you have a PowerPoint that needs to be worked on, don’t plan on trying to finish the entire task. Plan on completing a minimum amount of slides each day. By utilizing this approach, overwhelming goals become more manageable.
Unclutter Your Work Area!
In short, clear your space! When you have a system of knowing everything has a place, it saves time. Saving time is saving money. Daria Harvey, blogger of “Your Organized Life” describes clutter as “anxiety, hitting women especially hard.” Walking into clutter significantly increases stress, which releases cortisol and overstimulates our senses. Over-stimulation is caused because the mind doesn’t process clutter well. Your mind registers clutter as an ongoing “to-do” list and this dialogue repeats itself over and over.
Chaotic environments associated with clutter do not fall in line with working smarter. Try simple techniques such as dedicating 20-minutes on the weekend to clearing out one box of junk. Before leaving your desk in the evening, make sure it is tidy and ready to start fresh the next morning. Additional tips for starting fresh every morning include making your “to-do” list and prioritizing tasks for the next day before leaving the office each evening. This is ideal for getting a jump-start in the morning.
Getting up Early- Does it Really Work?
Mom’s are insanely busy, we get it! However, feeling overwhelmed first thing each day is absolutely avoidable. Leading CEO’s and successful entrepreneurs around the globe are up before the roosters, getting an early start to their day. Realistically, moms have chaos in the morning, whether they’re staying home with the kids working out of a home office or shuffling the kids out the door. This whirlwind of a morning doesn’t have to be the “norm”. Set the mood you need to get going in the morning. This is the time to do what makes you feel rejuvenated. Try getting up an hour early to enjoy a cup of coffee by yourself in silence. If an hour is creeps too deep into your sleep, try fifteen minutes. Read a book, pray, exercise, answer emails, whatever helps you get that jump in the morning. Getting a head start will result in a less stressful environment throughout the day. Working smarter and find balance in your morning!
Actually Use Your Vacation
Raise your hand if you have an abundance of vacation you will be loosing again this year. Raise your hand if, you’re a work from home mother trapped in a house with children every single day, and conversations consist of deciphering a two-year old’s coded messages. Then it is definitely time for a much needed vacation! Top CEO’s in the leading businesses throughout the world ensure they take time off to recharge. Vacations lead to getting out of the day-to-day grind, resting, and having fun. Being out of the office on your own terms helps get creative juices flowing. These little breaks throughout the year not only give you time off, but are essential to rejuvenating the mind, promoting healthy bodies, and even enhancing your love life. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to take a vacation, it may be time to take a step back and reexamine the load on your plate and reflect on what will remove obstacles, as well as alleviate hindering anxieties to achieve an appropriate work-life balance.
There will always be days that keep us on our toes and we’re winging it second-by-second, and that’s OK! However, these should be rare occurrences, and not the norm. Here are your final points:
- Always remember to establish priorities and keep a daily to-do list handy.
- Breaking up large tasks into smaller more manageable segments can help maintain progress towards your goals.
- Getting organized at your desk will shut down an overactive mind, and allow the brain to maximize productivity.
- Waking up early (even 15 minutes early) allows a jump start on the day.
- Most important of all, use your vacation! Even stay-cations are beneficial to recharging batteries that have been running at capacity all year.
Working smarter and finding balance ensures the stresses of the world are kept at bay. A little bit of planning can truly intercept hectic schedules and overly stressful days.
Leave a comment below and let us know ways that you balance work and family life!