Redefine Your Productivity with These Three Practical But Radical Tips
The struggle is always real when it comes to work-life balance, even more so if you are a Work-at-Home-Mom (WAHM). Being a single WAHM for the past five years (I started working from home when I was just six months pregnant with my daughter, who is now a little over 4 years old as I write this), I have experienced both struggles and success in my attempts to raise my child hands-on and at the same time build a home-based career that can provide a comfortable life for us.
I have encountered, tried and combined countless productivity, organization and management tips from influencers, big-name institutions, and other reputable sources over the years.
Of all those productivity tips, these are the three that radically changed my day-to-day and overall productivity.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that these are the only good productivity methods out there; I am sure there are many that I haven’t tried or even heard of. But these three productivity tips are the ones that have worked best for me with the most positive results. They also work complimentary to each other – despite my learning them from different sources.
So I hope these three practical but radical productivity tips will radically change the way you manage your home life and work life and help you strike that work-life balance we all aim for.
1. Set TASK-based goals but work in TIME-based intervals
I’m one of those obsessive-compulsive types that loves making “to do” lists and seeing check marks on that list. As a young professional in a typical corporate office setup, I relished in rush projects and pulling all-nighters as long as I got to put a check on my list –because anyway, I can sleep it off on the weekend!
I remember Saturdays when I’d sleep 13 hours straight and just laze around the house all day. As a young mom of a 4-year old, I am shaking my head at my young professional self and wondering where I even got those 13 hours! LOL.
So after a good 2 years of being awake practically 19-20 hours out of the entire 24 since deciding to be a WAHM, I stumbled upon a method that has radically changed my productivity.
I’m not sure if this has been publicized elsewhere but I’ve never read it in any blog so I’m going go out on a limb and say this one is something I came up with from experience.
SET TASK-BASED GOALS BUT WORK IN TIME-BASED INTERVALS
What this simply means is, you can still make your “to do” lists but don’t attempt to focus all your time and energy just getting the list marked off. Set time-based intervals for you to work on the items on your list.
For example, I put “Search Marketing Mastery Certification” on my “to do” list one Sunday afternoon. I mapped out the 5 lessons in the certification and the certification exam, giving myself 1 hour each day of the following week to finish 1 lesson and the last day for the certification exam.
As a result, I was able to get my Search Marketing Mastery Certification by the end of the following week, and happily marked it off my list!
2. Identify IMPORTANCE and classify URGENCY
I remember learning this at one of the Human Resource meetings I attended when I used to work as the Administrative Coordinator for a startup NGO. The text in the chart below may not be verbatim to what our regional HR Director had on her PowerPoint slide (because honestly I have #momnesia about everything 2012 and earlier; my daughter was born in 2013 haha), but the concept is accurate.
This productivity tip presupposes that not all tasks are created equal. Again we go back to my OCD of needing to check item on my “to do” list only to realize that in reality, some tasks are bigger than others – requiring more work and time; also some tasks are “surprise” tasks that your client may just suddenly throw on your plate and no surprise, needs it done yesterday.
Identifying the importance of tasks and classifying their urgency compliments our first productivity tip of setting task-based goals and working in time-based intervals really well.
In short, combining these productivity tips helps optimize your “to do” list.
3. No Internet, No Problem
Okay, now this last productivity tip may be the most radical of all and most of you may scoff at it or you will not like me anymore after saying this BUT IT REALLY DOES WORK.
Turn OFF your Wi-Fi (or mobile data) after dinner and turn in back on again only after breakfast. Put ALL your devices (laptop, mobile phone and tablet) at least 10-15 feet AWAY from you before you go to sleep.
I heard a few versions of this productivity tip from an event I attended a few months ago as well as on social media, and during those times, it sounded excessive to me and I wondered doing it would make any significant difference.
It wasn’t until I read a blog shared by one of the moms in this Facebook mom group I’m in that made me decide to take this radical step.
Wi-Fi: A Silent Killer That Kills Us Slowly
I can’t find her post anymore, but in the post she said that ever since she moved into their new building where there was centralized Wi-Fi she noted a drastic change in the sleeping patterns of her and her children. She also said that when they visit her parents’ place for the weekend, they go back to their normal sleeping pattern.
The blog she shared titled Wi-Fi: A Silent Killer That Kills Us Slowly has been re-blogged several times already since I read it a few months ago.
But the main truth is that before I started turning off the Wi-Fi in our home, me and my daughter wouldn’t be able to sleep till around 2AM everyday. I would also get constant headaches near the base of my head.
Since I started turning off our Wi-Fi after dinner and turning it back on again only after breakfast, my daughter’s sleeping habits aligned to the normal one a toddler should have. I also have been able to sleep for 8 hours again after almost 4 years of only 4-5 hours of sleep a day.
I also found that putting my devices away from arms-reach helped me to curb impulses to check messages and try to accomplish tasks in my “to do” list.
If you’re up to the challenge of radically changing your productivity, try out these three productivity tips for at least a month and let me know how it goes!
Your feedback and insights are always welcome and valued!