6 Smart Steps to Getting Things Done
Please welcome my guest today, Carolynn from My Little Bit of Life. Carolynn is here to share some great strategies she has learned through her own experiences on how to get things done.
1. Have a Routine
I was raised on a routine, going to school to be a teacher, they emphasized routines, and we have had many routines in our home. Our routine is flexible, but we usually do things in the same order most days. Having a routine helps me accomplish more because I know when I will have time to be productive and I usually know about how much time will be available (however, I still always over plan)! ;)
I know that the earlier I get up, the more I can accomplish before others get up. However, I’m a morning person, so this works for me. Come 9 pm, I am done. I am super lucky if I am productive after that time. I have learned to work with my body instead of against it. I will plan sedentary or easy things to do at night (reading, blogging, etc) and try to get the more labor intensive things done first thing in the morning.
2. Have a Plan
I have learned that planning is a big part of getting things done. Being organized (not my strong suit) and having everything together, will automatically make you more productive. Not too long ago, I made a “Calls” list and had phone numbers on it. I then stuck it in my bag. Low and behold, a few days later I was waiting for my children to be done with church school and I pulled out the list and was able to complete all the phone calls. I would not have been able to accomplish that if I hadn’t had an organized list.
Planning also helps you become more aware of how long things actually take (something I am still struggling with) because I always think that things won’t take as long as they do. I’ve also learned to plan in extra time if I have to contact or rely on someone else.
Planning “buffer” time is also a must. I used to plan almost every second of every day and then get very discouraged when I didn’t finish hardly anything.
3. Change Your Habits/Vices
A lot of my productivity has come from making changes. Some were easy to implement and others were (and still are) a huge struggle. First of all, I love TV. I used to watch so many shows. I knew for a long time that if I could give up TV then I could get a lot more accomplished, however, I wasn’t ready to make that sacrifice yet.
At one point in time, I was addicted to Facebook games. I was playing at least eight games and I literally planned my day around when I needed to play my games. I think I was suffering a little postpartum depression. However, when I would go to bed at night, I would feel terrible about myself and about who I was. I didn’t want my children to remember me by always being in front of the computer.
Electronics aren’t the only thing that has sucked me in in the past. There have been times when I’ve been reading a book and made the book more of a priority than it should have been. Habits and vices come in many forms. Learning to control them is key. (I now only play 1 game; on my iPOD, which doesn’t require a computer; I also don’t hardly ever watch my shows when they are broadcasting anymore, I “DVR” them and watch them when I have time. I am extremely far behind on some of them, but I figure, when they become important enough to me, then I’ll catch up!)
4. Attitude is Important
I have learned that my attitude can make or break my day and my productivity.
I have learned that if it’s important enough, I will find a way to get it done.
I have learned that determination and persistence are good, but they can also lead to burn out.
I have learned that I can think about things differently: I like to work out in the morning before everyone else gets up, but if it doesn’t happen then, I don’t have to forget it for the day, I can try to get it in during nap time (knowing that I will have to give up something that I was planning on accomplishing during nap time). I don’t have to have everything on my “To Do” list done before my husband gets home. I still have quite a few more hours left in the day after he is here. Plus, it gives me a good excuse to ask him to spend time with the kids, while I finish up a few things! ;)
I have learned that I’m not a failure if I don’t accomplish everything I wanted to and that it does me absolutely no good to let myself feel like one either. As I stated before, if it’s important enough, then it will get done. Progress, even baby steps is better than being stagnant! I also want to make sure that I have enough time for the most important things in my life. I want to be a good example for my children. If you are thinking that maybe other things are taking over the important things in your life, ask your children. I love to ask my children “What do mommies do?” Their perspectives can be quite eye-opening (and sometimes very funny).
5. Make the Most of the First 30 Minutes of the Day
I have learned that the first 30 minutes of my day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If I can be productive in the first 30 minutes, then it will probably be a good day.
6. Schedule Some Fun
I always try to make sure and write down things that I will enjoy doing. This helps me start feeling more motivated instead of dreading my list. It also gives me something to work towards. Besides, if I’m having a really bad day, I can usually at least make myself do at least one thing on my list!
How do you get things done?
Carolynn Sauer taught for 5 years and is currently in her second year of being a stay at home mom to four children; ages: 6, 5, 3 & 2. She blogs about parenting and life as a mom at My Little Bit of Life.