Improve Productivity in 5 Steps


As a WAHM, it's so important to take the time to improve productivity. If you can change the quality and output of your work for the better, it frees up time to spend with your family and can even boost your bottom line. If you need help improving your productivity, follow this easy 5 step tutorial:

Step 1: Stop Procrastinating

There are a million ways you can waste your time once you actually have the headspace and free time to get a job done. Take "if not now, when?" as your mantra, and instead of pushing tasks off, make a list and prioritize them. Ask yourself what you can reasonably get done in one session--and get to work!

Step 2: Don't Get Sidetracked

Once you have an idea of what needs to be done, minimize distractions as much as possible. Log out of Facebook, Myspace, and email. Turn off skype and your cell phone. If you have a door to your workspace, close it. If not, mentally shut a door and get to work. Promise yourself that you will contact the outside world again once you have something accomplished.

Step 3: Set a Timer

Once you have shut out all distractions, decide how long you want to work on a particular task. Then set a timer and work until your time is up. You can use a kitchen timer or the timer on your cell phone or watch. Or, if that doesn't appeal to you, simply watch the clock or play music until your time is up. Most songs clock in between 3 and 4 minutes, so if you want to work for 20 minutes, estimate 5 songs. There's something about forcing a time limit on a task--it jump starts the creative process and keeps you on track so the desire to procrastinate simply vanishes.

Step 4: Take Regular Breaks

The flip side of procrastination is doing so much work that you don't come up for air. Studies show that regular breaks are crucial to maintaining productivity. If you get too tired, it's easier to make mistakes, slow down, and even drift off. So make time for breaks and lunches--they will improve your productivity and make your day much more pleasant!

Step 5: Close the Day with a To-Do List

If you can spend the last 5 to 10 minutes of your day creating a to-do list, you will be faced with it the moment you step back into the office. This serves two purposes: first, it winds down your day, which might make it easier for you to leave the office behind once it's time to get back to being Mom. It also helps you get a jump start on your job when you are able to return. Rather than putter around, wasting time trying to decide what to do, you have a ready-made road map for your day.

As a WAHM you probably feel like you are stretched too thin between the obligations of family and the duties of your job. But, if you can maximize your productivity when you work, you get much more accomplished and can easily leave your job behind when it's time to focus on the family.

Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.

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