The Mysterious Story Behind ‘Busy’
Have you ever heard the saying ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person’? Have you ever wondered why that would be? As a working mother myself, I can tell you I class as a busy person.
I have learned how to manage time for this reason! I have to state here and now that I do not like the word ‘busy’. ‘Busy’ is a cover-all, a blanket, a camouflage. We can all hide behind ‘busy’. I prefer the term ‘productive’. So we will use that from here on in.
Productive people have a faster beat to their lives, they take on more. They have learned to manage time.
More responsibility, more tasks, more new things. A working mother is constantly doing this!
Productive people relish the challenge of fitting more in their day and being able to achieve at a higher rate. Speaking to someone who is a ‘productive person’, when you are not one, can be an exhausting experience. They are fast paced, full of energy and drive. They are ambitious with a ‘can do’ attitude. They face fear and eat it for breakfast, growing and developing along the way. Not a lot can stop them growing in character and experience.
Their anthem for life may well be the Lego Movie theme tune ‘Everything is Awesome’.
How to Know If You’re Productive
So, what drives such a person? How do they tick? Well, let’s explore this a little.
I used to believe productive people were morning people. The type that would be up with the lark to seize the day and blast out some tasks before others had risen for the day. To a large degree, I still believe this, but I appreciate there are productive people out there who are just as prolific in their work ethic, but more pedestrian about getting going and they will work longer into the day as a result.
As a working mother, this can also be reliant upon your children’s and family routines. I know myself this affects how I manage time.
Let me share with you, from my own experience, the difference I have noticed when I have or have not been productive.
In 2019, I was working full time in an office. I had to travel 20 minutes there and back each day. I was driving there early, listening to a podcast while I drove. I would park up and walk to the gym over the road, still listening to said podcast. I would work out, change and come back to the car to swap bags, still listening to a podcast or other learning. I would arrive at my desk, pop out my planner, start my computer and plan my day.
Throughout my day I would be tracking my progress against my goals (water drunk, exercise, tasks I had planned) and that very act of ticking something off would boost my energies. Lunchtime was either work (if there was a need) or a walk / lunch with a friend. I loved mixing it up to meet new people and do new things. Hometime would be a drive back, again listening to something I could learn from. Friday hometimes were reserved for a particular playlist that I could sing to on the way home – they got me weekend ready!
Fast forward to Spring 2022, I was then working from home, no commute, no gym, no lunchtime walks, no Friday playlist, even the planner had fallen by the wayside.
It made me dull, unfocused and I would let tasks slip from one day to the next. No one chased me, I was doing my job and managing things at home, but there was no energy, no drive, no sparkle left.
When my husband suggested we join the gym in May 2022, I jumped at the chance. Our daughter swims most days at a sports centre 10 minutes from our house, so rather than drive home again, or sit on our bums watching her exercise, we could be burning calories too. So we did!
Although my daily routine is not the same, adding in time to work on me physically, as well as mentally, has started to bring balance. I am also now back using my planner and I feel so organised, clear headed and productive once more!
3 Habits to Maintain Good Time Management
- Plan time slots in the day
When we are working, the children are at school and there are a whole raft of tasks to manage, it is good to compartmentalise your day. Make slots of time, just as you would in your work diary, for other things. By compartmentalising I mean something like this:
- 0600 – 0830 > Me time
- 0830 – 1200 > Day job
- 1200 – 1300 > Lunch
- 1300 – 1700 > Day job
- 1700 – 1800 > Tea time
- 1800 – 2000 > Children have priority
- 2000 – 2200 > Husband has priority
- 2200 – 2230 > Bedtime routine
Splitting your day in such a way means that you are allowing time to focus on those that need you and you can create balance. Making sure you get time at the start of the day, ensures you fill up your own cup first, like putting on your own oxygen mask on a plane ahead of helping others. You can work from a solid and steady foundation.
There are clearly many versions of the above and it is not always possible to have your own time first (unless you are up at a crazy hour), so think of a way to treat yourself during the day. If you do have to wait until later for your time, add in a little boost in the morning to get you through. This could be an affirmation, a quote stuck to your mirror, a favourite shower gel. A small thing can go a long way.
- Block your own diary
This may sound selfish, but if you leave your work diary open to all, they will take it! And being sat in meetings while the actions are piling up is not fun.
So plan tasks in.
For example, you have a particular regular task of preparing a report. It may be only once a month so it is not as ‘familiar’ a task. Block the necessary time slot in plenty of time ahead of the delivery date. Add onto that diary entry any files and instructions you need to perform the task (if they don’t exist – create them – we are all about setting ourselves up for success here!).
When the time slot arrives, you can hit the ground running!
You may even finish early and get some time back. If this happens, use that time for you as a little achievement reward.
Remember to update your own templates and instructions as you go to continually improve your activity.
- Keep a daily task list
When I say ‘Daily task list’ I mean DAILY! Do not keep one long list as it is a) impossible to manage and b) hard to prioritise. It will look like an elephant, and we all know you can’t eat one in a single sitting. So break it down.
I mentioned earlier I use a planner and this is exactly where I add my tasks. There is even a section called ‘Task that absolutely must be done today’. And that is what I use it for. The essentials. You could add this to a diary or as a calendar entry on your phone.
The idea here is that you can add things to different days when you think of them and avoid overloading days too.
This is where the art of ticking things off is a reward in itself.
Again, you can add as many notes to each item as you wish so that you do not lose momentum when you come to that particular action.
Remember to keep checking that list to make sure things are not left until the end of the day when you may start to run out of energy (or in my case, the doctors aren’t open anymore!).
6 Stage Programme
Often when people say to you that you can have some ‘me time’, as a working mother, you can think ‘bath’, ‘spa time’ or ‘off grid’. And this is a very beautiful treat.
What I would like to say to you is to broaden that.
I got to a point in my working life where I had more in me to give, but my day job simply didn’t serve elements of what I wanted to do. So my ‘me time’ was dedicated to learning and developing myself. I would do courses, qualifications and eventually I started my business. And every morning since has been devoted to me and my business. Because I found something that lights me up, excites me and fulfils me. I can be me. Not always a mother, a wife, an employee, but Lisa – with all that energy, passion and drive that I have for helping people.
I learned, particularly as my daughter got older and became more independent, that I had a bit more head space that I could use.
And being lit up then gave me energy to be a more productive employee, a more loving wife and mother, a happier person.
I worked through what I wanted to do in life, what my values were and started to plan how I could bring this dream to reality.
In doing so, I learned a process. A process that I built into a programme. A programme that you can use too to get this clarity.
And with clarity, brings intent, it brings action, it brings passion, and energy and drive towards that desired future.
Here is How To Take Control
So if you are also feeling like you need better control over your day, through time management, as a working mother, click the link ‘here‘ to take control of your time management and receive the benefit of my experience so you don’t do the hard work. We will work together to build a schedule that suits you and your family life to take control and you treat yourself to a calmer place.
Let’s get you started on the 6 steps to success!