You’re ready to kill it in the business world. You have the ideas, the drive, the know-how, but you have one thing holding you back – your small children who need your constant attention.
You love them with all your heart, but you’re wondering how you’ll ever be able to rock it in the business world when you are being pulled in so many different directions.
Don’t worry. Help has arrived. Here are some productivity hacks to keep in mind when you have young children running underfoot and you need to focus on your business.
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1. Take advantage of nap time
If you’re working on your business at home or trying to launch your dreams on the weekend, the second your child closes their eyes for a daytime nap, you should resist the urge to do the same.
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Instead, use this time to start conquering your goals, one at a time. Whether you have one or two hours at your disposal, use laser focus and avoid all distractions. Leave the housework alone if you’re at home – that can wait until later.
2. Plan, plan, and plan some more
At the close of your day, while your child is in bed so you aren’t distracted, make a to-do list for the next day. There’s a reason to-do lists have always been so popular – they really work! They’ll keep you motivated and on-task, and there’s little that feels better than crossing some kind of task off your list.
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But instead of just making a normal list, prioritize your tasks. Make the first task on your list the most important thing you have to do that day. That way, you’ll stay on top of the most vital things you have to accomplish.
3. Start your day before anyone else
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is arguably one of the busiest people on the planet. Between his family obligations – he’s a dad too – and all the irons he has in the fire with his companies and entertainment endeavors, he knows a thing or two about scheduling.
One of the secrets he’s discussed frequently is how he starts his day bright and early, sometimes getting up in the wee hours of the morning to squeeze his workouts into his packed day. While you might not have a team of helpers behind you as he does, it’s still great advice. Those early morning hours in your house before anyone wakes up can be some of the most productive hours you’ll have all day.
4. Exercise even if you think there’s no time
Make exercise a priority. You’ll be setting yourself up for good health and you’ll be able to deal with everyday stresses better. Getting regular exercise will make you feel more confident and give you a positive attitude.
Instead of just walking around the block, try to find exercise in which you set goals for yourself. That can include things like running 5k, counting the number of pushups you’re able to do, or doing some rock climbing.
As you are able to tackle your goals and succeed, you’ll begin to feel unstoppable. That energy will translate into other areas of your life, like work and parenting.
5. Get enough rest
This may seem like it’s a direct contrast to the tip about getting up early, but it’s not. You may not feel like you have time for adequate rest, but you need to make it a priority. It’s okay to burn the midnight oil occasionally, but you shouldn’t make a habit of it.
You should try to listen to your body. If you notice you’re dragging and you know it’s because you’ve been working and not sleeping as well, it’s time for you to go to bed early for a couple of nights. If you skip too much sleep you’ll compromise your immune system, and getting sick will derail your efforts in both your business and your personal endeavors.
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6. Avoid time-suckers
You know what the time-suckers in your life are. They are the games you can’t resist playing on your phone, the daily surfing of the internet, and even the morning paper that takes you 30 minutes to read while you drink your coffee.
You need to limit these activities if you’re serious about making time for both your start-up and your family.
When you have time-suckers that you can’t get out of, try to multi-task if you can while doing it. If you’re a parent of young ones, wearing your baby can be a godsend which allows you to stay close while doing chores around the house or grocery shopping.
7. Surround yourself with can-do people
The people in your life can bring you down or lift you up. If someone constantly tells you there’s no way to juggle a business and small kids, you’ll start to believe it. Likewise, if someone says you can accomplish anything, you’ll feel uplifted.
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8. Take a short break to recharge
Sometimes during the day as a parent and entrepreneur, you’ll feel stretched to the maximum of what you can do. When that happens, you may be better off walking away from both duties for a few minutes to clear your head. If you have a friend or family member who can watch your child for 30 minutes, indulge in a power nap or a quick walk, or listen to inspirational music.
That small break can help you be more productive later.
9. Don’t go off on a tangent
Keep your conversations short and do the same for your emails. It’s still okay to have long conversations with the people in your life – you don’t have to cut your spouse off mid-sentence just for the sake of saving time. But you don’t have to get in a long-winded conversation about simple business matters that could be addressed in a three-sentence email.
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As both a parent and entrepreneur, you have to work harder, but you also have to work smarter.
10. Give yourself some uninterrupted work time
When you get up earlier than usual in the morning, don’t look at your phone. Don’t look for emails and start answering them. They would normally wait until you’d wake up at the start of your day so they can wait now too.
Use this time to stay 100 percent focused on what you’re doing so you can get a jump on your day. Worry about those emails and texts later.
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Guest author: Jenny Silverstone is a professional writer, editor, and online entrepreneur. Jenny is the brains behind MomLovesBest.com, a parenting blog which shares tips and hacks to help other mothers who are struggling to do their best but feel totally overwhelmed. When she’s not working on her own projects, or with her clients, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.