It feels like there is never enough time in a day to get everything done. Add kids to the mix, and that time shrinks even more. However, effectively organizing your time can really help with productivity. That, and accepting the fact that it’s okay to not get everything done on your list every single day. There are some very simple ways to become better organized and increase productivity.
Determine your most productive time of day.
Pay attention to the time of day when you feel most productive. This will be different for everyone, but it’s important to note this for both work and home life. If you’re a morning person, begin your day with a few tasks that will help you feel accomplished right off the bat. Then focus on the most important items you need to get done. Personally, I tend to get the most done after dinner and bath time when my son goes to bed. My husband and I can clean up the house and get things ready for the following day. This is when I have the energy to prepare for the next day before it’s time to wind down for the night.
Don’t forget, it’s important to relax and recharge as well. I have had to accept that the house will not be clean every single day, and that is okay. Each day I focus on the little things that need to be organized in order to keep me feeling sane. We select days throughout the week to get the bigger things done, like clean the bathrooms and mop the floors. There are only so many hours in a day, so it’s important to choose what you want to focus your energy on. There will always be more to do the next day!
Write it down.
Personally, I find it impossible to remember every single thing that goes through my brain. I’m always trying to think ahead while also remembering everything going on each day. When I’m at work, I utilize a desk calendar and lots of sticky notes. If I don’t write down the items on my to-do list, I will most likely forget to complete them. This is a very simple, yet effective method. Plus, it’s a great feeling each time you cross another task off your list.
When it comes to our family schedule, shopping lists, and things to get done around the house, I find utilizing the Google Keep Notes app on my phone is the easiest. I can access my lists at all times since I always have my phone on me. Additionally, my husband and I can share notes with each other. If I’m cooking dinner and realize I am out of an item, I can immediately add it to the grocery list on my phone. I’ve learned if I don’t do things like this as soon as I think of them, I tend to forget.
Plan out your week.
One of the smoothest ways to get through a week is by making sure everyone knows what is going on each day. Some families utilize a large calendar on the refrigerator, a planner, or share a Google calendar. Find whatever works best for you. I have a calendar app on my phone where I put all doctor and beauty appointments, meetings, birthdays, and important events. It’s always helpful to look ahead and know what you’ve got coming up in the days to come, rather than be surprised the day of, or worse, completely forget about something that you could have easily kept track of.
Plan and prepare your meals.
In addition to knowing what is happening with everyone’s calendar, one of the most beneficial things I have found to make my time most productive is planning out meals for the week. My husband and I both meal prep our lunches on Sundays and eat them throughout the workweek. Not only is this efficient when getting ready in the morning, but it’s usually healthier and more cost-efficient. We aren’t left wondering what to eat each day, plus it’s less tempting when co-workers want to eat out since you’re already prepared.
Additionally, evenings are most productive when you know ahead of time what you’ll be eating. Planning out meals helps with organization, productivity, health, and saving money. When thinking ahead to the next week, I add dinner ideas to a list on my phone as I think of them. When I run out of ideas, I look through Pinterest, cookbooks, ask friends, or just look for ideas online. It’s also helpful to keep a running list of favorite meals the family loves that you want to make again and again.
As you plan out the meals for the week, this will help you create your grocery list. Want to make the most out of your time in the grocery store? Don’t go in without a list! I find that grocery shopping runs much smoother if I can go by myself. If that’s not an option for you, many of my mom friends love using online grocery ordering services like Click List to save time and make picking up groceries easier. You know which method can help you be most productive.
When you know what you’ll be eating throughout the week, look for days when you can do as much of the prep work ahead of time as possible. Cut and chop vegetables, cook meat, or make things like rice ahead of time. Preparing casseroles and putting them in the fridge until you’re ready to throw them in the oven will save you so much time the day of. If I know we’ve got a busy night coming up, I will prepare that evening’s dinner ahead of time so it will be ready as soon as we need it. Keeping some leftovers in the freezer can also help during busy times. When all else fails, treat the family to pizza or another favorite! Being organized does not mean you can’t be flexible.
Plan out the next day.
Ever since I was a kid, I have always picked out my clothes the night before. When I wake up in the morning, the last thing I want to think about is what I’m going to wear that day. When we iron and lay out everything the night before, it helps our mornings run more smoothly and less stressful. If I know I will have time to hit the gym after work, I will also pack my gym bag. Even though it can be a lot to get yourself and the kids dressed, fed, and out the door on time, there are simple ways to keep mornings from getting crazy. Figure out everything that can be prepped the night before, and include the kids on this if they are able to help. This will help set expectations and build skills that will last a lifetime.
There will always be days when the alarm doesn’t go off, someone forgets their lunch or a work meeting changes. Be flexible, and give yourself grace. Getting yourself and your family organized will model positive life skills that your kids can utilize as they grow older. Plus, it’ll help you not want to pull your hair out on a daily basis.