Can a tomato be the answer to your to-do list dilemma?
For parents who are self-employed, freelancers or running their own business in some shape or form, working from home can be a blessing and a curse. It is fantastic to structure your day around your children, not wasting time and energy commuting and being able to squeeze in a bit of house work here and there. But this is often where the problem starts! Being efficient when working from home can be very challenging! There is (plenty!) of distraction and the to-do list is endless.
The KIDSORTED Team is often asked how they do it and we wanted to take the opportunity to share a few tips. We are working with lots of parents (mainly mums to be fair) that have joined the team as Local Community Managers, giving parents the opportunity to gain valuable digital marketing and sales skills while earning a bit of cash on the side. But it does mean to juggle an additional job with your already busy schedule. With a few tricks it is definitely doable and we wanted to share:
1. Stay focused! If you decide to dedicate an hour to a task, do it properly. If you want to spend a couple of hours with your kids, give them your full attention and put your iphone away. You will soon see that not only will you be more productive in less time but your kids will also appreciate it. To get this done, we can highly recommend the The Pomodoro Technique! It is super simple and we have it outlined here in 5 simple steps:
- Decide on a task from your to do list (OK ... we know, there is plenty of choice! Think about the big to dos first, ideally the ones that you are dreading most). Having accomplished a dreaded task will give you tons of energy and a great feeling of accomplishment. Besides, everybody seems to prefer tackling little tasks firsts that can be easily ticked off, but if you think about your to do list as stones of different sizes you will see that it does make sense to focus on the big rocks first: every time to complete a task you put the stone into a bucket. You will see if you get the big tasks done first and then fill the rest of the space up with the little tasks / pebbles you can fit much more in as if you start with pebbles and then try to fit the big rocks on top. Also consider for which tasks you need to be in front of a computer and which tasks you can do from "on the go".
- Set your Pomodoro (or phone timer) to 25 minutes
- Go!!!! Work on the task with full focus until the timer rings. Ignore distractions, don't pick up your phone (or briefly state you will call back in half an hour)
- When the timer rings: smile - you just completed 25 minutes of super focused work and deserve a little break. Take 5 minutes for a breather, coffee or a little treat
- You can repeat above 4 times so you complete an entire hour and tackle your to do list in record time. Tick your to dos off as you go. After 2 hours take a 15 - 30 minute break and switch off, do something completely different and re-charge.
Check out a simple online Pomodoro Time Tracker here.
2. Find your sparring partner! Everything is more fun as a group and people generally stick better to their goals if they commit to them as a team: you can cheer for each other, celebrate successes, have a little cry if something went wrong and have fun together. So whatever you do, find a sparring partner. Surely, one secret why KIDSORTED works is because we work with a group of parents (our Local Community Managers) that help us find the best providers and as a team we can motivate each other, stay on track and have fun together.
3. Balance work and play and get your energy levels up! Even as I am writing this I have to smile as it does sound completely unattainable as a parent and honestly it is. But what I mean is: find things that give you energy and with this I mean mental energy and physical energy. We all know the feeling that when you sit at your computer for hours and just become unproductive because your brain is dead and you are just drifting off in your thoughts. To be productive you need to be physically fit. So even though you really don't have time to go running/do a weekly pilates session/go to the gym/pull out your dusted fitness DVD ... do it!!! You are NOT wasting time. You will see that by being and feeling fit you will accomplish your other tasks much quicker. On the same note: try to schedule in an occasional date night or girls night out. The positive mind set and mental energy from it will super-charge the rest of your week.
I hope you found the above tips helpful! Feel free to leave some comments below sharing your top productivity hacks and if you are interested to join the team as a Local Community Manager you can read more about it here.