Do your mornings start badly–and everything goes downhill from there? Do you wake up determined to get a lot done today, and then you get derailed within the first few hours?
Women are tired and stressed. I know I had a difficult time getting going today because I had a wonderful weekend with my family for Canadian Thanksgiving, and I’m just not in work mode. But I know that there are often just small things that we can implement that can make a huge difference. For me it was always putting on the dishwasher the night before, so I have clean dishes to start the day.
Today Darci Lopez, author of How to be Less of a Hot Mess Once and For All, is here to show us how adding a few simple tweaks to your routines and a few little productivity strategies can put us on the road to being more productive, efficient, and joyful in no time.
Some of the tips are simple, and you may think you don’t need to do them. Try them anyway. Humor me. I promise you will be and feel more productive for having done them 😉 Here we go, with Darci:
1. Set your coffee pot on the night before for easy mornings
Simple, right? I told you these tips were easy. Easy, but effective!
If you don’t have a coffee pot that you can preset the night before, invest in one now. You can thank me later. I started doing this about two years ago and have not looked back once. There is nothing like waking up to the smell of coffee in the morning to get you out of bed and ready to take on the day.
While you are preparing dinner or doing something else in the kitchen, just make the coffee and set the timer for the next morning. It will feel luxurious at first, but then you will have it no other way. Guaranteed.
2. Get up before your family to feel organized in the morning
Wait, hear me out. This has been the single most effective strategy that I’ve implemented in streamlining my days and rocking my life. You must try it.
Get up at least half an hour before the rest of the family does. You can do what you like with this time, but use it wisely. It is time that you have all to yourself, no distractions, no interruptions, no hassles.
I get up an hour before the family and I exercise (on good days), get dressed, have my coffee, and do some inspirational reading. I find this time invaluable in my attitude and outlook for the rest of the day.
3. Create a running to do list so you know in the morning what’s on your plate for the day
Keep a running to-do list of all your activities, appointments, errands, chores, tasks, etc. Whatever you may forget to do, write it down. It does not have to be in any particular order or sequence. Just jot it down. It does not have to be in a special planner. Just get it on paper. You get the idea.
Once you have your list, you can systematically tackle once task at a time, whenever you have time throughout the day. Cross completed tasks off the list and keep adding new ones to the bottom.
I’ve found this method much more effective than a finite list that once done, is done. Although this one continues on, you still get the satisfaction of crossing items off the list. It seems like a menial thing to do for satisfaction, but that small gesture will spur you on to get even more accomplished so that you can cross more off the list.
4. Set the washing machine on the night before
This may sound counter intuitive, but hear me out. This little nugget has kept my loads upon loads of laundry under relative control for quite some time.
You want to do one load of laundry every day. Load the washer at night (or in the evening when it’s convenient) and set the washer to run in the wee hours of the morning. Then, as soon as you get out of bed, even before you’ve had your coffee, transfer the clothes to the dryer. It will seem like magic because you were half asleep when you did it! Then all you have left to do is fold at some point during the day.
An added bonus of this tip is that since the washer is running in off-peak hours, you may save a penny on your bills 😉
5. Set the dishwasher before you go to bed (Sheila says–I totally second this one!)
Every night. Why? Because it stinks to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes, that’s why. Because when you go to get your luxurious cup of coffee in the morning that was ready and waiting for you, you can walk into a clean kitchen. Does the luxury not end?!
Set the dishwasher at night and unload it in the a.m. Then, throughout the day, do NOT let the dishes pile up. Instead of placing them in the sink for later, put them in the empty dishwasher. You will never have a sink full of dirty dishes and clean up will be a breeze.
6. Exercise for 15 minutes every morning
This is not a recommendation for weight loss, although if you do this, it can only help your waistline. This is a recommendation for getting your body moving, whether it be with yoga, walking, gardening, swimming, dancing, whatever, just move your bottom for 15 minutes.
Let the intention of the movement be for getting in touch with you! Spend 15 minutes moving your body and being thankful for all it can do. You will have more energy, be happier, and more joyful for it!
7. Multitask the little things for more productivity
As women we are blessed with this innate ability to multitask, to do 5 things at once, to have it all under control. Harness this ability and utilize it to streamline your days and up your productivity. Why do only one thing when you can do two?
For example, make the coffee while you are waiting for a pot of water to boil. Catch up on social media on your tablet while you exercise (if on a stationary bike or the like). Clean up the kitchen while on a phone call.
I am always looking for ways to multitask, and everything really does get done. The bonus is that you’ll have more free time later.
8. Drink something green for health
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the green drink craze. It has merit. I’ve been a vegetarian for 31 years and I don’t think I was getting all my nutrients until I started making green drinks.
The idea is to make a smoothie including green vegetables. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, I know, but it really isn’t bad. Really. And you’ll feel energized and healthy.
There are many resources for finding recipes for green drinks, but even if you just throw what you like into the blender with a handful of spinach, you’ll be better off.
9. Do SOMETHING to care for yourself
There is a lot of talk about self care these days, how to do it, why to do it, when to do it. All I am here to tell you is to DO IT. You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. Set aside half an hour or an hour a week to do something just for you. It should be something that you enjoy and that feeds your soul.
Your self care could be taking a walk around the block at sunset, or it could be getting a pedicure. It really doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is the intention behind the action. Focus on yourself, on rejuvenating your body, your mind. Really be intentional about your self care.
I recently was given the gift of going to a spa for the day. I had a massage, sauna, exercise, meditation. It. Was. Amazing. I hadn’t done anything like that for myself in many years. However, I do take the time for self care on a routine basis. I love to read inspirational material in the mornings over coffee or do yoga while my daughter naps.
10. Make gratitude your attitude
If you only implement one of the tips given, this should be it. Gratitude. What is it? It is an act or a feeling of thanks for your bounty. If you are blessed, and you know that you are, give thanks.
Keep a gratitude journal, and every night before you sleep write out 5 things that you are thankful for that day. You will rest easier, you will put yourself in a pleasant state of being, and it’s just good to do.
We’ve also started a sort of tradition in our family of voicing our gratitude over dinner. We go around the table and each state our favorite thing of the day, our least favorite thing of the day, and what we are thankful for. The kids love it. Even my two-year-old chimes in. It’s beautiful.
There you have it my friends. I’m hopeful that you will take these tips and implement them for some added productivity and joy in your life. How are you productive in your life? Do you have any tips to share? Please comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
And if you are a stay-at-home mom in need of some inspiration, hop on over here and download How I was able to Afford to be a Stay-at-Home Mom and How You Can Too.
Darci Lopez wants to live in a world where her closets are organized, she is on time everywhere she goes, and yoga pants are perfectly acceptable attire. As a mommy blogger who writes about parenting, lifestyle, and inspiration, she’s been honored with both the Liebster and the Versatile Blogger Award. When she’s not running around chasing her kids or writing, you can find her behind her sewing machine creating beautiful pieces of clothing, household items, and accessories. Her first e-book, How to be Less of a Hot Mess- Inspiration for Stay-at-Home-Moms, launched June 2016! Share ideas, lifestyle tips, and inspiration about parenting, organization, and personal development at Life Unplanned, on Facebook, or on Pinterest. While you’re there, sign up for post updates and awesome freebies!
Sheila does a morning postmortem: Okay, so now I’m going to analyze my morning and figure out what I did wrong. Yep. I didn’t put the dishwasher on last night. I forgot to put my tea on (I have a timed teapot, it’s super cool), and so my drink wasn’t ready and I was grumpy. I haven’t exercised or stretched in days and my back hurts. I wasn’t paying attention to my to do list and I got distracted this morning when I was trying to put this post up and I ran late.
It really does help to live by these little productivity tips! So let’s talk like Darci said: which ones do you already do–that make a big difference? Which one do you most want to try?
And remember my Top 10 Tuesday philosophy–pick just 1 or 2 to do. Then, if that works, you can always add more. But instead of trying all 10, which is overwhelming, try 1 or 2 absolutely and stick with it. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes! And if you do need more–remember to sign up for