Oh hi there friend! Yep, still here, at home. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize our privilege to stay home safe and sound. I’m super grateful for our situation and that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges.
Here’s the deal, while I already worked from home pre-covid-19 I did not do it with all three kids by my side. If there was a kid at home, it was a kid that napped..a few times a day. I was not “homeschooling”, chasing a 3 year old around while nursing a baby and running a couple businesses. Nope, I was definitely NOT doing that. And had you asked me if I would like to do that I would have given you a hard pass.
In all seriousness, I, like a lot of us have found myself pretty scattered and ending my days with the question “what did I do today?!”. And in thinking about this, I realize that this probably doesn’t just apply to working moms. Even stay-at-home-pre-covid-19 moms are feeling the burn. All of us, at some point, had time to do the things we needed to do whether for our household, our job, our business or even *gasp* for ourselves!
This tip I’m about to give you will not change the struggle. Sorry ya’ll, the struggle is real. BUT it will help you get at least three things done a day. It’s a productivity hack that doesn’t require much effort. In fact it’s so simple you might be tempted to blow it off. But humor me and try it for a couple days. If it works, tell me about it. If it doesn’t, tell me about it. I really want to know if this makes a difference for you too.
Here’s what you’re going to do. Find a stack of 8.5×11 printer paper, we usually use my husbands scrap work papers that he no longer needs . Yes, it can have stuff printed or drawn on one side. Then cut the stack into fours. Now, place that stack of 2×5 papers in a kitchen drawer next to a pen. Every day I want you to take one piece out and sit it on your counter. When you think of something you need to get done (I’ll list some of my things below) you write it on that paper. But try and only write three things a day, this is pretty important. I find that writing too many things makes it feel overwhelming and nothing gets done.
Some days I’ll wake up and my three things will just flood to me, so I’ll write them all at once. Some days I’m writing them throughout the day. If I find I’m particularly “listy” one day I’ll take out a second sheet and create a brain dump. I can always let some of those things flow over to another day. I do make sure to prioritize based on deadline (ie if “pay amex bill” pops up I will make sure to do that before “shop for swimwear” especially if the bill is due right away).
Studies suggest that we are more likely to accomplish goals and get things done when we write them down. This is so true for me and this exercise. Some days I’ll go to my list at the end of the day and realize I already did all of them! I absolutely know it’s because I wrote them down which brought them to the forefront of my mind. I honestly think it’s all about the intentionality. I saw this happen so many times that I felt like I had to share.
Here’s an example of some of my recent lists-
1// plant new plant
2// update sunbasket order
3// pay sales tax for Sunflower
1// Order Carter shorts
2// Bake zucchini muffins
3// R+H blog post
These are just some examples, they vary by day and what is going on. As you can see I don’t list the things that are our every day life. These are the things that I, personally, want/need to do. For example I’m not going to list “school work with Carter”, “make dinner”, or anything like that.
I will go to my list when I find pockets of time where the kids are playing nicely, one is napping or they’re having screen time (2 out of 3 happening right now!). Without the list those times will sometimes go to “waste” and I will just wander around tidying up. Friends, we can tidy all day everyday. So don’t waste precious nap or quiet time on cleaning up…go.to.the.list. 😉
So there you have it, my super super simple tip that will help you get things done while working from home with kids! I hope you all are well and enjoying this current slow pace of life.