Finding Time and Increasing Productivity: Think ahead (WMW13)
It’s Women’s Money Week again! I am participating again this year, and linking up my post(s). Make sure you check out the site, as this week there will be tons of blog posts linked up. There will be so much great information to help you with you finances and life, so please stop by and check it out. Here is what will be covered this week:
Monday, March 4: Increasing Income
Tuesday, March 5: Finding Time / Increasing Productivity
Wednesday, March 6: Family and Money
Thursday, March 7: Happiness, Hobbies, and Money
Friday, March 8: Future Planning & Financial Planning
Since I am a stay at home mom, I know I have more time to get things done during the day, but that doesn’t mean that the techniques I use to manage my time can’t be applied to a busier lifestyle, or even one without kids. How do I get so much done? It’s all in the way I think and how I plan my time. I make a list (sometimes written, sometimes in my head) of what needs to get done each day, and I figure out what should be done first. If you think ahead, instead of just jumping into your tasks, you will be able to manage your time more efficiently. Household tasks like laundry takes the longest, but don’t require my full attention, so I throw on a load before starting other things. While that is going, I have time to tidy the house, quickly clean a bathroom, or prep a meal. I am also in the habit of thinking about my daily tasks as what can be done while the kids are awake or when they are sleeping. Vacuuming wakes them, and I can’t put laundry away in their rooms while they are asleep, so those will wait. But I can clean bathrooms, dust, make phone calls, send emails and blog.
Do you work during the day, and your evenings are super busy with activities? If this is the case, you need to plan ahead even more. Are you able to take 5 minutes and toss laundry in the washer before leaving? And put it in the dryer when you get home. Take that meat out of the freezer before going to bed, to let it defrost in the fridge, saving you time when you go to cook dinner the next day. Maybe you have an hour on the weekend when you can prep meals for the week, cutting up veggies for dinners and snacks, or even cooking an entire meal and freezing it. Would it be easier to take a few minutes after dinner to make up lunches for the next day, instead of trying pack them up during the morning rush? Maybe you can meal plan while you are waiting to pick the kids up from school, or on your commute.
I think the biggest part of being productive is getting off your butt and doing it. Sounds simple right, but getting up and actually doing things is often the hardest. I know we all have those days where we’d rather sit and doing nothing, and that’s fine, we all need down time. But if you are going to sit there today, know that it will make tomorrow busier! And won’t your relaxing afternoon be that more enjoyable, knowing that everything on your to-do list is already done?!
Every Minute Counts
Personally, I am most productive breaking up my day into 5 or 10 minute increments. My kids prevent me from taking a few hours to complete something all at once, so planning tasks for segmented amounts of time works much better for me. It’s much more manageable for me to spend 5 minutes cleaning up small messes in the kitchen, and doing that several times a day, than leaving the mess until it takes an hour at the end of the day. Same goes for laundry; I would rather do 1 or 2 loads each day, than have a “laundry day” where that’s all I do all day long. Those 10 or 15 minutes while the kids fall asleep, I use those to fold laundry or grab a quick workout with some printed out exercises. Instead of sitting there and waiting, knowing I might have to go and tuck someone in again, I use those 10 minutes to get something done.
If you do work outside the home, or just have a very busy life during the week, leaving everything till one day might be your only choice. This can lead to even more wasted time, since you are in the mind-set that you have all day to get things done. You should still plan ahead, you’ll be much more productive! Laundry can be rolling while you scrub that tub. Get stuff done around the house as soon as you wake up, or before you go to bed, and leave the day time for running errands when stores and banks are open.
Every minute of the day counts, and if you think this way, and see that spare 5 minutes as an opportunity to get a small task done, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done each day. Being frugal applies to time as well as money. Just like every dollar counts, make every minute count.