As a parent who’s also building a career, you have to juggle so many responsibilities. Chances are that all of the multi-tasking is draining your batteries, making you much less productive than you’ve previously been.
Maintaining a high level of efficiency as a working parent is far from the easiest task. Still, there are things you can do to boost your brain power, improve your focus and craft a daily routine that will help you do more in a shorter period of time.
A smart and well-organized to-do list is a great choice for people who have to manage so much.
Drafting a to-do list in the morning will give you a chance to pinpoint everything you need to complete during the day and to prioritize key tasks. If you don’t work smartly on the list, you’ll have a guideline that will eventually lead to a large portion of the tasks remaining unfulfilled.
Be realistic when drafting the list. You may want to cram dozens of things in it but will you really get to finish everything you’ve planned? If the answer is no, try to reduce the to-do list to a few manageable and most crucial tasks.
As you practice, you’ll become better at creating realistic guidelines to help you navigate through the day. Checking items on the to-do list will also enable you track progress and feel good about the work you’ve already done.
Get in the Habit of Starting Your Day Early
As a parent, you already know that sleeping in is a luxury. Still, many parents struggle with getting up early and completing many of their key tasks in the early hours of the day.
A schedule focused on productivity involves getting up as early in the morning as possible.
If you have a task that requires a lot of focus, try to tackle it before the kids wake up. Having to take little ones to nursery and school and beginning the daily madness will kill your concentration. You will get to work once you arrive at the office, which means that many precious moments will already be lost.
To accomplish this task, you may have to get in the habit of going to bed earlier than you’re used t. This is another good thing. Going to bed at 10pm, for example, will give you seven to eight hours of sleep if you wake up at 5 or 6am. This morning hour is early enough to give you some time to yourself before you have to get the kids ready for their daily activities.
Eat the Right Foods and Choose Supplements
A strong body is needed to do a lot during the day and to maintain excellent focus. A great body requires great fuel.
Eating the right foods is essential if you want to have energy throughout the day. If you don’t have enough time to eat a good meal, you should also consider supplementation to give your brain everything it needs to function properly.
If you want to enhance your productivity even further, you should opt for food sources or supplements that are rich in DHA, l-carnitine, ginkgo biloba and herbs like St. John’s wort. These enhance focus, improve memory and your mood and could even contribute to better sleep at night. Obviously, all of these components are required if you want to be productive.
Follow the Two-Minute Rule
There are dozens of small tasks that tend to be neglected because larger and more strategic processes are prioritized. As a result, such tasks remain on the to-do list for a long period of time and they’re never tackled in a convenient and effective manner.
When you have lots of such small tasks you’re postponing for the future, you should get in the habit of following the two-minute rule.
The rule is very simple – if you have a task on your to-do list that requires two minute or less for completion, you should do it immediately. Answering to a quick email, setting up a phone call appointment with a client, writing a greeting card or filing papers can all be completed quickly and effectively before you need to dedicate a longer period of time to something much more important.
Network with Other Professional Parents
Networking as a working parent should turn into one of your priorities.
Finding other who are in a similar situation as you is incredibly beneficial. You can learn how other parents are coping with the problems you face, what they do to recharge their batteries and how they find happiness in their hectic life.
If you are not finding support and understanding in your current social circle, you should look for new opportunities to communicate with similar-minded individuals. Surrounding yourself by positive people who have goals and aspirations in life similar to yours can be tremendously empowering. Not only that, such communication can open your eyes to new opportunities and personal growth chances you were oblivious of in the past.
In the beginning, it may feel like a conscious attempt at networking is reducing your productivity. You will have to dedicate some of your limited time to meeting other people and communicating with them. With time, however, you will find out that being successful and productive is about working smarter rather than working harder.
Finally, don’t forget to dedicate enough time to your family. Playing with the kids, building a tree house together and cooking a family meal can all give you the motivation needed to continue excelling at work. You’ll get your daily reminder about why you’re trying so hard. Precious family moments shouldn’t suffer for the sake of career establishment. Finding the balance between the two worlds you belong to is difficult but once you accomplish the task, you’ll feel an immense sense of accomplishment.