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We have sssssooo much to do on our backyard farms, running our homes, and making sure the family is fed. It can be really easy to get busy and not really be all that productive. It’s a fine balance to know what needs to be done and not get sucked into the things that SEEM urgent but are not as important as they (or someone else is making them appear to be) seem.
The main idea of productivity is always to work smarter, not harder. BUT I would also add. Taking INTENTIONAL ACTION not just doing the tasks that grab your attention.
As busy women, we have to pay attention to what is getting our time commitment.
Just because you are active, working hard, and doing stuff does not mean you have used your time wisely and were productive. Which I think we all know.
Unfortunately, a myth equates being “busy” to being highly productive, while not being “busy” equals laziness.
However, the most productive people can easily seem lazy with this mindset when they got all their work done already and get to take the rest of the day off.
Here are a few tips that will help you to be more productive and less busy throughout the day.
Take Time To Evaluate Your Work, Efforts, And Goals
It’s essential always to schedule time throughout your week or even your day to evaluate your actions and compare them to your goals.
Yes, I realize things are going to come up and derail you. But when you fix that one pop up task you can go back to your plan for the day, recalibrate, look at your highest priority tasks, and start back to working on the next thing that moves the needle forward on your goals.
This is how you keep from wasting your time and energy when that time would be better doing something else more important.
Take two minutes every now and then to glance back at your task management system or planner and make sure you are still focused on your to-do list and that the goals you need to get done are related to your ultimate goals.
Simply ask yourself, “Did the tasks I do today chip away at any of my goals or get me closer to where I want to be?” If yes, then keep going. If not, adjust your to-do list.
Work in Batches
Working in batches means putting similar tasks together and getting them done at the same time. Now I get it finding uninterrupted time is hard. BUT HEAR ME OUT. When your brain has to switch from task to task it takes your brain time to figure out what is going and get focused on that different task.
It doesn’t mean you have to do those things without stopping. This means less time is required to go back and forth between different tasks and to keep the concentration and momentum you need to get done fast.
If you are paying bills stay focused on that until it’s done. Even if you have to stop to fill someone’s drink-cup or change a diaper. Your brain is still focused on that subject at hand and that makes it easier to jump back in with less of a drag.
Remove Absolutely Any And All Distractions
When it is time to work, take responsibility and remove the distractions you know will disrupt you. Get rid of distracting music. Don’t work where people are walking around and talking.
Keep your workspace clean and organized. When distractions are removed, you can stay focused, concentrate and create momentum to get your work done faster.
Oh and that little square device that is glued to your hip most of the time? Sit that puppy out of sight or in the other room.
Remember that emails, phone calls, and text messages do not have to be responded to right away. Sure if it looks like an emergency answer it but if someone texts you or emails you they don’t expect a response in the first 30 minutes.
Being intentional with what you respond to and when will help you use your valuable time wisely.
Create To-Do Lists and Know How To Prioritize
The best way to start prioritizing your tasks is to have a long-term goals list and break down those goals into goals you can reach this month. Then take those goals and break them down into tasks that you can spread out over the 4 weeks of the month.
Then at the beginning of each week assign the important tasks and action items for that week to the days the fit best as far as your schedule and even days based on the weather if you have backyard farm projects you want to do.
Start each morning with your to-do list tasks IN ORDER of importance and start working your way down through the list.
Three main things is often a good number for each day if you have a lot going on. If you get them all done you can start working on the next day’s tasks or have a backup list of things to get done for when you do have extra time.
And guess what. If you don’t get them all done. That’s ok too. Just move them to the next day and go through the same process.
Successful and productive people prioritize their to-do lists and stay on track by sticking to them. When you have a plan and list of things that need to be done you can look at the list and know exactly what you need to do without having to think about it. Saving you time and stress.
The power comes when you learn to not beat yourself up when you don’t get something done. When you do your best and get work done there is nothing to be upset about.
Now if you chose to go watch three hours of TV instead then sure be upset with yourself. That was a dumb choice. BUT if you can honestly say you worked the best you could then there is no reason to be upset. Cool?
Automate Or Simplify Repetitive Tasks
This is something that can feel almost impossible to do. But hear me out for a second. Whether it is in your side hustle, farm business, or in your home almost nothing is 100% automated.
You still have to trigger the starting process. Or tell a machine to do something. But what you can do is simply a process or set it up to run as smoothly as possible.
You can find ways to automate repetitive tasks using technology (this is my favorite and often cheaper), hire a virtual assistant, or create templates to make work that much faster.
- Create templates for DM responses or emails that you type out often if you answer questions about your product or livestock often. Create blog posts or documents that answer the longer questions in full and you can send them the link along with a shorter answer.
- Save the links to the main posts that answer people’s questions in your notes app so you don’t have to go hunt for them.
- Constantly reaching for something in the back of a cabinet that is hard to get to? Move that item to the front or in a more assessable place to save time.
- Have a cabinet that has a lot of loss things that fall out at you every time you open the door? Put them in a tub or container that you can pull out and find what you are looking for instead of taking the time to put everything back in that fell out.
When something seems cumbersome. Pause and look at the situation and ask yourself “what can I do to make this move smoother or make my life easier”
Organization is essential to achieving your goals both long-term and daily.
Before you say “I don’t have goals I am working towards” let me stop you. People need things to look forward to or work towards. If there is no vision the people parish the bible says.
We were created to work towards something no matter how small of the progress we make.
Whether it’s running a business or making sure every task in your life gets completed one at a time.
Organization And Optimization
Figure out where you’re spending the most time and energy. Chances are you’re wasting both on tasks that needlessly occupy your day-to-day life. Make a list of all those tasks and hours spent and see what can be eliminated.
Another way to get organized is to build systems into everything you do. That could mean setting alarms when tasks have to be done or breaking goals down into manageable chunks.
By visualizing entire projects in one place with a timeline, it will also be easier for you to harness control over workflow and develop methods for more efficiency in everyday routines.
Being organized leads to increased productivity, so find tools that can help support an efficient approach such as project management software or a unified inbox or reminder app – whatever works best for you.
Say “Yes” To The Right Things
Saying “yes” to every request is a surefire way to overload your schedule and become overwhelmed with tasks that detract from your progress.
Being busy is not a badge of honor and people who wear it on their sleeve can easily end up overwhelmed and stressed out. It’s easy to say yes to almost anything that seems good or even productive. But the honest truth is that some things we say yes to don’t help us move closer to our goals.
Productive people, on the other hand, think more strategically and deliberately before they commit to something new.
Analyze the potential gains of saying “yes” versus the value lost if you take on too many responsibilities at once. You only have the capacity to do so many things well AND before you stop enjoying the thing for what it is and just focus on getting the thing done rather than enjoying the process.
Here is a personal example. Several years ago I had about 5 different species of livestock to take care of all at once. There was so much going on that I was not enjoying the animals I had. Instead, I was looking at them as a list of tasks that needed to be done. It took my mind off being present and enjoying what I had. Needless to say after about 8 months to a year of that I paired down to just what was important or served a purpose towards our family’s life goals and that was it.
Be aware that a simple yes carries weight and not all requests should be granted immediately. This includes requests from your kids and close family members.
With this in mind, assign priority to any potential task or responsibility and only say yes if it furthers your goals or makes you happy and you want to be a blessing to someone.
If not, then politely declining is an option even though that is hard to do.
Fill Your Life With Productive People.
Fill your life with productive people and remove the ones that are not. Now I realize you are going to have some that you can’t remove from your life. So in that case you need to have MORE productive and positive people in your life to drown out the people who are not helpful in your goals to be productive.
Surrounding yourself with productive people is one of the best ways to ensure you stay on track with achieving your goals.
Your friends influence the choices you make, and depending on who you associate yourself with can lead to the outcomes good or bad.
People who are productive have a goal in mind and have those around them that actively encourage them to achieve that goal EVEN IF they don’t completely understand it. A lot of people don’t understand the life of a business owner but the people who what the best for them will still cheer them on.
On the other hand, those busy yet less productive people may tend to be surrounded by others who indulge in frequent leisure activities or seemingly endless conversations without any tangible outcome or progress. IE talking about what they are going to do or what would be a good idea instead of taking action on it.
Make It Easy To Write Down Your Thoughts And Ideas
Something that can get you off track during the day is you think of something else that needs to be done and you a) stop and go do it then totally forget what you were doing before that. Or b) you try to remember it the whole time doing another task and that slows you down while working on the current task.
Have something like trello or a notes app on your phone so you can write down your thoughts when they come up but can still stay focused on the task at hand.
Sure paper is all well and good but you can’t carry a pad of paper and a writing utensil around with you doing farm chores or doing the laundry.
Remember that being productive tasks practice and continual thought about what you are doing. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go as well as you thought or you let someone else blow you off track.
Course correct and keep going.