Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, you work from home, or you’re just trying to get 5 minutes to yourself without a tiny human asking you existential questions about the universe, it can be a challenge to stay on task at home.
Lucky for you, I’ve researched, brainstormed, and polled some top-notch sources to compile this awesome list on How to Be Productive at Home. So put on your big kid undies and get yourself off that struggle bus. It’s time to get productive!
What is Productivity?
In its most technical description, productivity can be described as “the rate of output per unit of input.” Okay, Caption Jargon, that sounds all fine and dandy, but can we translate that for those of us who haven’t had our morning coffee yet?
Basically, productivity is how much you can get done in a period of time. I would describe it delicately as “getting sh*t done.” Personally, I consider myself productive when I manage to keep my family (and myself) from turning completely feral most days. Oh, and as if that isn’t enough, I also make sure work deadlines are met, and my life and household don’t feel and look like a hot mess.
That’s not hard, right? [Engage meltdown mode].
Productivity at Home
I understand how hard it can be to be productive when you’re distracted by children, work, pets, housework, and everything else on your plate. Plus, you gotta get that self-care in there! And the laundry! Sweet cheese, the laundry! Why won’t it ever go away? I’m legit one step closer to joining a nudist colony to get rid of the curse that is laundry.
How can we possibly be these amazing, superhero-like productive beings day after day? Maybe Gal Gadot can (she is Wonder Woman, after all). I’d also predict Dwayne Johnson is pretty productive as well (have you seen his bazillion ab muscles?). But for those of you Average Joe’s and Jane’s out there just like me, we don’t have oodles of money, chiseled body parts, and hired help to cross off those to-do’s and meet all our deadlines.
So what’s a busy girl (or guy) to do?!
I’ll tell you what you do. You start by grabbing a steaming cup o’ joe (because liquid motivation), look in the mirror, tell yourself that you are not a stinky poopypants like your 3 year old claims, and you scroll below for 5 tips on how to be productive at home. Because everyone is capable of change and developing new habits, and you are no exception, my friend!
How to Be Productive at Home
Okay, Priscilla. You’ve rambled all about productivity and The Rock’s abdominal muscles, but how, HOW do I become more productive at home? Especially when there’s The Rock’s Instagram page RIGHT THERE and op, yep, there I go, sucked into scrolling through picture after picture of pectoral beauty.
To be perfectly honest friends, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. What works for one person may not work for another. But, this list coming ‘atcha is a great, broad place to start. Even implementing one of these ideas can’t hurt, right?
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You become the tiniest bit more productive or organized? You seriously have nothing to lose here!
So even if you’re the master procrastinator, and so help you, you will leave everything to the last minute, NAY, second! I can guarantee this post will help give you some great ideas and much-needed motivation to become the productivity champion at home!
1. Say No to the Snooze
If you’re naturally a morning person, this tip isn’t for you. Congratulate your chipper, early bird self and its ability to wake happily before 8:00 am, and leave the rest of us to wage battle against our evil overlord: the alarm clock.
As you probably already guessed, I am NOT a morning person. You know that GIF of the two dogs in the car, and one is up and happy and cute, and the other one comes up a minute later looking like it got hit by the struggle bus? Yeah, I’m the dog you can’t see in the video still asleep on the chair.
Despite this, I fight the good fight. And you can too! That snooze button is a formidable foe, tantalizing you with promises of continued dreams and hiding from tiny household dictators, but it can be conquered! So friends, join me in saying “no” to the snooze!
You want to look like a hot YES instead of a hot mess, right? RIGHT!
You want to get sh*t done today, right? RIGHT!
You want to finally, FINALLY be able to look at that perfectly put together mom at school drop off and show her what-for because you too are wearing clothing in your appropriate size that is not typically worn while sleeping or binge watching Tiger King. Right? RIGHT!
Well my friends, you can have all this and more if you act now and get your body out of bed when that alarm clock goes off. Channel your inner D.A.R.E. graduate and Just. Say. No.
2. Make To-Do Lists
Second on our list of ways to be productive at home is making to-do lists. As I mentioned earlier, productivity is the ability to get stuff done, but how can you get stuff done if you don’t know what needs to be done in the first place? Hence the need for a to-do list!
By having a view of what’s on the docket the following week, you can also start making a game plan for how to best cross stuff off that to-do list.
How to Make a Productive To-Do List
Now, I know it may seem like making to-do lists is a no-brainer, but I’ve developed a killer weekly to-do list making protocol that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It goes a little something like this:
- Start with a brain dump. Start your to-do lists with a complete brain dump. Grab a notebook or some paper and write down everything (and I mean everything) that you want to accomplish that week. Yes, I said week. Go for the gold here. You want to learn how to knit a scarf? Add it to the list! Ready to learn all the lyrics to It’s the End of the World As We Know It by R.E.M.? (And don’t lie here, I know this has been on your mind for years now). That’s great. It starts with an earthquake.
- Select the top 3 MUST dos. Once you have your awesome, albeit long list made, narrow it down by selecting the top three tasks you must complete that week. Like, you or your family will definitely become feral if these things are not taken care of first and foremost.
- Determine what you NEED to get done. These guys are right behind those top 3 must dos and are pretty damn important. Think: projects that have deadlines, can’t miss appointments, and memorizing R.E.M. for the big karaoke competition on Saturday.
- Finish with the WANT to dos. These are tasks that you would like to complete, but it’s not the end of the world as we know it (see what I did there?!) if you don’t get to them. Oftentimes, these wants are upcoming tasks that will become more pressing as time passes, so it’d be great to get on top of them sooner rather than later.
Once you have your lists made, you’re ready to start crossing things off your list. Take it one day at a time, and don’t forget to add things to your list that you already completed just so you can cross them off (listen, we all do this, so there’s no need to pretend anymore).
3. Eliminate Distractions
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get some work done, and being frequently interrupted. If you work from home, you’re likely bombarded with distractions throughout the day. Some can be ignored (social media and electronics) and some cannot (small children reminding you to feed them AGAIN).
Now, you can try to ignore those small children, but chances are they’ll be incredibly persistent and will keep asking for those fruit snacks over and over and over until they wear you down.
When needing to be productive at home, try your best to get rid of distractions. Leave your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to hop on Facebook for the umpteenth time that day. Close the door to the laundry room so those piles of clothes stop taunting you. (Do you think nudist colonies charge a membership fee? Asking for a friend.) Get the kids settled into an activity before you launch into yours, so they can [hopefully] stay [somewhat] distracted while you finish your to-do list.
If it buzzes, whines, barks, dings, or cries, turn it off or give it some coloring pages and a Lunchables and get that item crossed off your list!
4. Get into a Routine
Daily routines are an awesome way to keep you on task. Here’s my morning routine that begins right after the alarm goes off:
- Silence the alarm clock and/or baby, whichever makes noise first.
- Try my damnedest not to browse social media.
- Take a few minutes to make a messy bun look more “I woke up this gorgeous,” and less “Dear god, is that Miss Trunchbull!?”
- Put on battle gear and wake the small humans.
- Make gourmet breakfast and lunches for school (Hahahahahaha, jk. Cereal and PB&J’s for everyone!).
- Help child #2 find missing shoe and remind child #1 who can’t find her homework that THIS IS WHY WE PUT OUR BACKPACK TOGETHER THE NIGHT BEFORE.
- School drop off hellscape.
- Return home, do all the things, and get sh*t done.
How do I do all the things and make it look like a breeze? Routines, baby. It’s all about the routines.
How to Get into A Routine
Morning routines, work routines, after school routines, and bedtime routines are key to being productive during the day and creating a sense of organized chaos while trying to be productive at home.
Don’t have a routine yet? No stress! Take a few minutes to sit down and write the step-by-step processes you’d like to achieve with yourself and your family during key times in your day. Hang them up somewhere, and refer to them as often as needed.
Oh, and bonus? Now ol’ Routine List can take the place of telling you child to pack their freaking backpack at night so you can focus on more pressing matters (like finding that stupid lost shoe). Less lecturing the children and more productivity? Yes please!
5. Be Flexible
Let’s get really real for a second, diggity dog. We won’t always check everything off our to-do list each day. You’ll be in the middle of finally tackling that mountain of laundry and your 5-year-old will run up to you with a Lego brick stuck up his nose that you now have to extract. Such is life.
So, in order to increase our productivity, it’s important to plan for life to happen. Here’s how you can be flexible while making your best attempt to be more productive:
Make sure you’re doing the MOST IMPORTANT tasks first; the tasks that, if not completed, will make the rest of your day or week more difficult.
Deadline in the morning? Get that done! Karaoke competition tonight? Time to chug some liquid courage and get psyched up!
I highly recommend numbering your to-do lists with the most important, will-make-you-rage-scream-at-the-ceiling-if-you-don’t-get-them-done tasks first, and the less pressing last. You can also color code them using flair markers (because who doesn’t love these bad boys) to keep you on the right track and looking more put together than you actually are.
Decrease Your Load
Only add a few “want to do” tasks to your list each week, and make sure they are some that you won’t beat yourself up if they aren’t completed. So even if you only cross one of these tasks off your list, no sweat. You’re doing things! You’re performing emergency Lego removal surgery without general anesthesia for goodness sakes!
So keep your list light and acknowledge all the amazing things you get done every day.
Plan for Breaks
Schedule some breaks into your day. Seriously. It may seem counterproductive to plan time to NOT be productive, but it’ll help in the long run.
If you already have an hour planned for lunch/yoga/making a Slurpee run, you have a magical time already planned into your day where you can rearrange things if your 5-year-old has now jammed a second Lego in his other nostril so the first one doesn’t get lonely, or you randomly find yourself scrolling through The Rock’s Instagram feed (I can quit whenever I want).
Increasing Productivity at Home
So what did we learn today, folks? You, my friend, have now mastered the secrets of how to be productive at home! From waging war on the snooze button to sticking to daily routines, there are a handful of ideas you can implement TODAY to be more productive at home.
Feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks you need to complete every week? Bring Wit On to the rescue! Check out more posts from Bring Wit On all about tackling all those household tasks then get your awesome self over to Instagram. We’ll be there with a giant foam finger and pom poms to cheer you on and help you become the ultimate responsibility champion.