You may or may not know this about me, but I have kind of a lot going on 🙂
Aside from running Coded Creative, I also have another business, and a podcast that I currently co-host. I’m a mama to an almost 2 year old who stays at home with me, and my husband is in the military. All of this means that at any given moment, I have quite a few plates spinning.
I’ve been asked how I get so much done when I have so much going on in my life and business, so today I thought I’d peel back the curtains a bit and share how I do it all.
01 | Define your work hours
As I mentioned before, I’ve kept my daughter home with me since she was born. This is a luxury that I know not many people have, so I definitely don’t take it for granted. However, this means that I have limited hours to work during the day because I have worked around her sleep schedule since the beginning.
If you have kids at home and you work at home, you really want to be strategic about when you’re going to work. This keeps me from working all the time, and most of the time I don’t feel bad about being disconnected the majority of the day.
So, this is simple: sit down and decide what hours you actually want to work.
This summer I had to do this for myself again because my daughter dropped to 1 nap a day, so I had to adjust when I was going to be working. I ultimately decided I want to work first thing in the morning (when I’m feeling most productive), during her nap, and occasionally at night.
I do want to add a caveat here. I work about 5 or so hours per day at most, so this means I work 5-6 days per week, depending on my workload, but not every single day includes work during all three of those times. Sometimes I work less, some days I try to squeeze in more.
Honestly, I love what I’m doing, so I don’t mind the extra days I’m putting in, and I’m so grateful to have the long breaks in between work sessions that help me avoid working all day and ultimately burning out.
I’ll also say here that I know this is a verrry tiny season that my daughter is at home with me, so from the beginning I chose to just roll with it and make it work. Again, this is a luxury that not everyone has, and I’m grateful we can do this.
If you’re reading this and you don’t have kids, I recommend still setting some specific work hours. I used to “work” all day before my daughter was born, and yet I still never got as much work done then as I can now in a single week. Really be honest about how much time you actually need to be working.
02 | Schedule your week
This is something I’ve sort of always tried to do, even before my daughter was born.
Essentially you’ll go through your “master” to do list and schedule your tasks throughout the week. This could be in Asana, Trello, or a physical planner.
If you’re not using a project management tool or a calendar of some sorts, then I’m curious how you stay productive? You’re much more likely to get everything you need to get done if you actually know what you need to be working on.
For the past couple of months I’ve been using Sunsama to schedule my tasks throughout the week.
I love it because it’s essentially a calendar that looks like a Trello board. I can easily see exactly how many items are on each day and move things around if I’m too busy. This makes it really easy to plan my week and see what I’ve got going on at a glance.
I’ve also been planning my days by ordering tasks in Sunsama, but I’ll talk about that more in a second.
03 | Highlight your priorities
What is the most important thing that you get done this week?
I know you’ve seen the planners that have a space for the Top 3 of the day, and this is because it’s important to prioritize what you’re working on.
Because I run two businesses and co-host a podcast, I have a lot going on each week. I need to quickly and easily see what’s the most important thing to get done throughout the day / week so I can stay on top of bigger goals while I’m working.
You can easily do this by putting your top tasks at the top of your to do list, which is another reason I love Sunsama. I can re-order my tasks super easily to make sure I get the biggest tasks done first before I move on to other work.
04 | Dump the distractions
So, this is where I get really honest about how I used to work before my daughter was born. I used to chat on Slack all day long, and I tend to procrastinate by looking at my phone (who doesn’t?!).
This is the reason I used to “work” all day, but at the end of the day / week / month I would feel like I didn’t actually get that much done for my business.
It’s so important to get rid of distractions while you’re working.
Turn on the Do Not Disturb mode on your computer and phone when you’re doing focused work. This doesn’t necessarily have to be every single task, but you should at least be doing this for your high priority tasks each day.
Also, if you don’t already, turn your phone over or leave it in another room.
I’ve suggested this to people, and I’ve had them tell me they simply can’t be away from their phone because “what if…?” This is why our phones have loud volumes for the ringer!
If you can’t leave your phone in another room, at least put your phone in your desk drawer or flip it over beside you.
Tough love: if it kills you to be away from your phone, you probably need to think about what that means for yourself.
Also, make sure you’re turning off notifications. You don’t need browser or phone notifications for Instagram or Facebook. You just don’t. Turn those off so you’re not distracted by them when you’re supposed to be working.
05 | Focus on one task at a time
This is a super simple task, but I’ve realized how much a game changer it really is.
Recently Sunsama launched the Focus feature in the app, which means you can hit a few buttons on your keyboard and make it to where you only see a single task on your screen at a time. This is perfect, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time simply trying to decide what to work on next.
So, what I’ve started doing on a daily basis is this:
- Open my to do list and review how much has to get done for the day
- Order tasks based on the priority + the time it will take
- Put Sunsama into Focus mode and get to work
As I’m checking off tasks, a new task will automatically show up on my screen next. I love this because I don’t have to keep looking at my long to do list and deciding what I “feel like” doing next.
If you don’t have Sunsama, you can still totally do this by simply putting your tasks in the order you want to do them and then just working down the list.
I realize that a lot of people already do this. Here’s the thing, though: making decisions can be hard. Deciding between a bunch of things that you’re either really excited to do or stuff that you’re not looking forward to working on leads to procrastination.
So instead of spending an hour trying to make that decision, procrastinating, and then finally forcing myself to figure out what I want to do, I just work on what’s on the screen until I’m done or need a break.
How do you get things done?
Regardless of whether you’re a mama or not, I’d love to hear your secrets to getting stuff done for your business. Feel free to send me a DM on Instagram with your #1 productivity tip!