We all like to be productive, right? Maybe your productive is different from my productive. Productivity is subjective. So, let’s define it for the sake of this post. Let’s just say productivity=getting stuff done. When at the end of the day you can say…I accomplished what I set out to do. The things on this list are simple things that help me ‘feel’ more productive, thus, I usually am more productive. They are in no magic order.
1. Get up first. Before anyone else in the house. It’s so nice to be alone in a quiet house. Make coffee, spend time with the Lord, read a novel, sketch, journal, take a bubble bath, go for a walk, listen to the birds, or just be still. Do something that satisfies and makes you happy. Do not start on a list or chores if you can help it, until you’ve had some time for yourself! Usually I use the time for praying, journaling or reading the Bible. My day is off to a good start when I have this time.
2. Make a plan. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Don’t go crazy here. Just come up with a few items that should get accomplished that day. I don’t want to over-spiritualize, but I usually pray for guidance before I make my list. A bowing of my heart and will to His plans for my day. You can write it down in a notebook, on a chalkboard, or if you were gifted with a better memory than mine, keep it in your head. Now, here’s the hard part…stick with those few realistic goals. As moms, we know there are so many unexpected events and interruptions in our days. It’s hard to stay focused and get stuff done. When I have a realistic list I stay more focused and get more done.
3. Get dressed. Come on, I’m serious. Put on some clothes that you would actually wear out of your house. I’m all for being comfortable, but sweat pants should not be your go to. I like to remind myself that someone could knock on my door at any moment. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too fond of receiving guests before I look a little more together. I kid you not, I feel more productive just by getting dressed.
4. Make your bed. I know, this would make your mom so happy. I won’t tell her she was right. This is such a simple task that can make such a difference. Really! You walk into a room with the bed made and you feel better…it’s orderly, neat and pretty. Keep your bed-making simple and quick. Pull up the covers and add a few decorative pillows. Time yourself. If it takes more than 60 seconds it’s time to pare down your bedding. Seeing that bed made makes me remember I did get something done that day.
5. Take a nap. So this might seem counter productive…stay with me. There are days when I drag myself through every single task, chore and interaction. So. Tired. I’m usually a pretty driven, task-oriented person, but many days, I ‘allow’ myself to sit, rest and fall asleep. Sometimes I set an alarm, but generally I wake up within 30 minutes. My girls are all old enough to survive my nap time without a serious catastrophe. If yours aren’t old enough…nap when they do or use one show as a sitter (gasp!) while you rest on the couch next to them. When I get up from my nap I feel more ready to tackle the rest of the day.
I pray that these simple tips help you as much as they help me. But, hear me friend…our productivity does not equal our value. We are so much more than our accomplished to do list. There will be days when nothing gets crossed off the list. Days when productivity does not equal getting stuff done. Days when our accomplishments are those little things that really matter. Some days will be so hard we’ll just want it to be over. Give yourself grace. Remember that His mercies are new every morning. We can start fresh tomorrow.