Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How do you get so much done?

"How do you get so much done?"

This is a question I hear all the time, and it makes me chuckle because honestly, for every thing on my list that gets done, there's about a hundred things that I didn't have time for.  But, since you guys keep asking, I suppose I can share a few of my secrets.  Don't be too disappointed though.  I'm just a regular ol' mom and wife!  :)

Nona's Tricks to Productivity

1. Make a list.
I like to have an ongoing to do list.  My gmail even has a task list built in, so I can add to it and cross things off while I'm on my computer.  I try to put everything on there - even the cheesy things like laundry - because it feels good to have things crossed off.

2. Prioritize.
Do the most urgent or the most difficult things on your list first.  That way you have the quick, easy and fun things left over.  I try to do one or two hard things in the morning so that I have the afternoon to do fun things.

3.  Say No.
This is really difficult for me, but I've gotten better at it.  And it amazes me that people understand when I do say no.  I have to choose to put my family activities first.  But this has allowed to me spend time doing the things I really want to do, versus doing things I don't want to but feel obligated to do.

4.  Time Wasting/Procrastination
I don't read the CTMH bulletin boards, and usually only spend 20-30 min a day reading blogs or messing around on facebook.  Otherwise it becomes a vortex of time wasting, sucking me in and keeping me from my family and to do list.  :)  Similarly, I try and get projects done well ahead of their "due date".  It just feels better than rushing at the last minute.  This is funny to me, however, because in high school I was the one up until 4 am writing midterms and the queen of procrastination.

5. Working Quickly
I really try hard not to dawdle.  If I'm folding laundry, I turn on some music and blow through it as fast as possible.  Same thing with my other chores, and even some artsy projects.  If the house is a mess, I'll set the timer for 15 minutes and see how much cleaning I can get done in that time frame.  I even time myself when typing up my monthly newsletters, and try and beat the clock.

6.  TV is not just for watching.
Dave and I enjoy quite a few TV shows, but I never just sit and watch.  I always have some kind of project going because it bothers me to no end to just sit there.  So my TV time is also my knitting time, or card assembly time, or folding laundry time.  That probably doesn't sound very relaxing, but it is for me.  There's nothing better than knitting to calm the mind and body while still being productive.  Shhhh, don't tell, but it's my favorite hobby.  :)

7.  Sleep or lack there of.
This is an area that will likely not work for everyone.  I'm a total night owl, and I don't need much sleep to function.  I can get by on 5-6 hours of sleep just fine.  We put our girls to bed at 7:30, and I usually don't go to bed until midnight or one AM, so I have between 4 and 5 hours every night without small children underfoot.  If you aren't a night owl, perhaps think about getting up an hour or two early so you can have some alone time.  I get more done in one hour without children, than 6 hours with them awake.

Hopefully that was helpful!  Like I said, it's pretty basic stuff.

Now I need to go and get to my list!  :)


Kim Harper said...

Nona, thank you for sharing your "secrets". While I have never asked you how you do so much, I have often wondered. As I read you list I thought to myself: me too, I do that, met too, right down to the TV watching and Night Owl Part. I know what you mean about 1 hour without the kids up getting more done than 6 with them awake.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

Have a great day!


Angela said...

Nona, great tips for organiziation. I don't know how anyone gets by on only 5-6 hours and survives but obviously you are one of them! Now if I could only train myself to be like that!


Tammee said...

Thanks so much for the tips, since I know I was one of the ones who recently asked this. I definitely need to work on the not dawdling thing. I am just naturally laid back and not in a rush most of the time and it definitely translates to not getting enough done quickly. Though I did do the set the timer for 15 minutes the other day and found that trying to beat the clock did help. Maybe I will try that with more things. And trying to make TV time more productive is definitely a good idea, too -- I often think I should be doing something but have a hard time coming up with anything. I guess that is where the list comes in handy.

roxybonds said...

You sound a lot like me :) I cannot just sit and watch tv, always doing a project too (otherwise I fall asleep!) And I'm a night owl too! My kids are down by 7:30 too and I'm up until at least 11. I function well on 5-6 hours of sleep :)