You feel like you are always behind in your schedule. All the tasks never get crossed off your list at the end of each day. There is never enough time to write.
Are any of these sentiments familiar to you? If so, that means you are a busy, possibly overwhelmed, writer. And mother. An overachiever who feels like a failure when all goals aren’t met. You might even be asking yourself: is there any hope? With everything you are attempting to cram into your day – all the tasks and to-dos that you both accomplish and still need to do – you probably feel like there is no way to be more productive than you already are, but you hope and wish that there was. I know that I have felt this way more often than I would like to admit. Which is why I am so excited to share with you the top 5 productivity tips for writers and busy moms that I have discovered (and tried). Are you ready? Good!
1). Don’t Skimp on Sleep
This is more crucial than you might think. Sure, you already know that you feel worse, are grumpier, and have a harder time focusing the less sleep you get. Plus, you know you are more prone to sickness, injuring yourself, and even developing relationship problems when you don’t get enough sleep. You definitely can watch your creativity take a nose dive.
But did you also know that skimping on sleep could be killing your brain cells? No wonder you are less creative the less sleep you get! Studies show that staying awake too long over just three days killed off, in mice, a quarter of important brain cells designed to keep you alert and awake. The implications for humans are rather shocking if you think about it. Each time we lose sleep we could be doing irreparable harm to our brains. Which means we can do a lot less during the day with them. This also explains “mom brain”, don’t you think? (If you want to read more, check out this article from Forbes.) So get those zzz’s! They’ll end up making you a lot more productive.
2). How Am I Being Productive Right Now?
This is the question I ask myself multiple times a day to evaluate if I am making every moment count. After all, life is made up of little moments, especially a busy mom’s life. And we only have so many moments in a day. We can make the most of our time, budget our time, but never actually make more time.
So how are you using your moments? Are you filling them with busy work so that you can feel productive while avoiding an important project or task that is less than appealing to you? Or are you consciously using each moment to move forward towards your goals while at the same time consciously setting aside time to purposefully relax and rejuvenate rather than veg out?
3). Focus On What You Can do in Tiny Sprints
With a crazy busy schedule and the demands placed upon you by a passionate and energetic child, it is inevitable that you just don’t have large blocks of time to spend on your writing, sadly. My biggest blocks of time are nap time, and (if my husband is gone) after my daughter goes to bed. To insure that I actually have these blocks of time for writing rather than housework, or another necessary project, I personally have to focus on getting everything else done in little spurts through the day. This strategy of “little spurts” also works excellently for trying to get writing and other business type work done during your child’s waking hours. Instead of looking at your book as a whole, for example, longing for a few good hours to work on it, and then moving on to something else because you think you just don’t have enough time, hone in on the paragraph you can perfect in 15 minutes. Or the plot quirk you can work out in the half hour on the way to the grocery store. (And then use voice to text so you don’t forget your brilliance!)
What can you get done in the next 10 minutes after reading this blog post? Can you squeeze in a bit if writing while you child is engrossed in eating for 10-20 minutes?
4). Pair Down to the Essentials
This maybe should have been the first productivity tip, it is so important, but with how I am feeling right now with my daughter not sleeping well still I am definitely ranking sleep first. Still, though, pairing down to the essentials is crucial. While similar to asking yourself the question “am I being productive right here, right now?” it is not the same. For you can be productive, doing things that aren’t necessarily busy work, but still never getting to the most important goals you have set for yourself. Why? Sure, you are busy. Crazy busy with life and work and maybe even motherhood. But that doesn’t have to keep you from achieving your dreams (especially if you keep your dreams at least quasi-realistic).
You just have to make sure that you are paring your days down to their essentials. Is the complicated recipe necessary every night of the week? Do you really have to dust SO much? Can you put a few more dishes in the dishwasher? Try running all your errands in one day so that you don’t waste time with driving out every day of the week. Ask yourself as you create your list each day, “is this really necessary? do I really have to have this in my day?” Check out this blog post here if you would like some more tips and tricks about pairing down to the essentials.
5). Make Time to Rest
This is not a nonessential that you can pair out of your life. You need rest, and I’m not talking about just sleep, which we have already established is essential. This rest that you need is brain rest. Relaxation. A time to tune out from your work day. To just have some fun. If you never let yourself have fun, you will be able to watch your motivation for work and unpleasant tasks slip away. And if you never rest, you will be able to kiss your creativity goodbye. For without relaxing – without living a bit yourself – you will have nothing to write about it. Your fountain of ideas will dry up. So read tonight before you go to bed. Or watch your favorite TV show. Just don’t work in front of the TV (a terrible habit I formed, working late into the night, that I have to be careful I don’t slip into). Of course, there are always exceptions you have to make, and I sometimes still work in the evening. But I try to make sure it is at least something I really enjoy. And I try to do it very infrequently.
So, are you looking to increase your productivity? Get more done each day, in less time, and with even more energy? Then try one of these productivity tips today. Try all of them, and watch your day transform from a drag to an exciting and productive adventure. If you liked this blog post and know any other busy mom and creative person that this could help, please share this using the social media buttons below! I would really appreciate it!