I wanted to share a follow up to my post on productivity because it would be easy to say that focusing on time management alone makes for an easy day… but most of you mommas know that when you’re balancing all that’s on your plate, even the the most productive gene in us does not beat out fatigue, a drag in creativity and even all of the great/annoying daily distractions that we encounter.
This is where focusing on prioritizing my work schedule has helped me in a big way.
I know (after years of getting used to the rhythm of my own work ethic and patterns), that there are certain times of the day where I am ON and when I am OFF (or getting there…). If I take a step back and prioritize my list – saving the good juice for when I really need it – then my days feel so much more energizing, happy and, I guess I’ll say it, productive. :)
7-9am: Mornings are my special time so I really try to not mess with the 7-9am hours. Work will never get done in those hours unless it is an absolute must.
9am-2pm: This is my power time! I can get so much done in this block of time that it’s crazy. This is when I must have child care, this is when I must have chill time in my little home office, this is when I must block the world out. This is when I focus on big projects, when I schedule conference calls, when I put my brain into overdrive. I prioritize this time, too – it has it’s own set of lists.
2-3pm: This is right about the time in the day that I need a pick-me-up. A cup of coffee, a quick park date with the girls, or even stopping everything for 30 minutes to make a smoothie and chat with my little ladies. Liv is done with preschool most days at 2 so it’s a natural stopping point in our day. Most of the time our morning sitter heads home at 2 or 2:30 and an afternoon second sitter (or even a mother’s helper) comes by again at 3. I sometimes like to prep dinner during this hour (I’m working on this one – I think if I can start to build this into my late lunch break I’ll make myself SO much happier come 6pm). All in all, a break in my day for kid-time is rejuvenating.
3-6pm: I know that this is my ‘coming down from the mountain’ time. I’m a little bit more tired, a little bit slower, my creativity juice is draining fast. If there’s a bag of chocolate somewhere in my home I’m in trouble (it’s 2:45 and I’m eating a reese’s peanut butter cup right now). If I line up my day correctly, this time of the day is filled with updating expense reports, invoices, checking and responding to less immediate email. I might start a blog post or edit a handful of images. I don’t schedule conference calls (unless they are overseas) during this time so it’s okay if the kids are noisy in the background.
6pm: Afternoon sitter heads home. When day light savings time is in full effect I LOVE to get out of the house (this is when living in a walkable neighborhood becomes a win-win) if I didn’t earlier at lunch for an hour for everyone to burn off some steam. Especially if I really did prep dinner at 2 or chose a crockpot meal that morning.
7-9pm: I put a show on for the girls and finish up dinner. Kevin gets home around 7:30 and we aim to eat right away. You can sum this chunk of time up as feeding and putting children to bed time :). Okay, family time. We prep, cook, eat, clean up after a meal – we discuss our day, pray for everyone in the universe five times, have mid-bite dance parties when the mood strikes (L & T, that is.) Dessert is threatened and everyone hops back into their chairs to finish their meal. PJs, teeth brushing, story time and cajoling children to their bedroom for lights out.
9-11pm: Remember when I used to be a late nighter? I used to get back to work after the kiddies went to bed but I am trying REALLY hard to not do that as of late. I might flip open the computer but it’s for light hearted stuff like blog reading and email answering. I’m even making it to bed most nights before midnight because I honestly, can’t-for-the-life-of-me keep my eyes open past 12pm. I think I need to have my thyroids checked, it’s killing my production capacity ;).
This started as an exercise on measuring my energy levels at different times of the day but quickly turned into more of A Typical Day post. :) Heyyyy brain dump…
But! What I mean to share is that I think all of us have those definitive ON and OFF moments. With this self-awareness we can (and should) give ourselves a break when our patience is running low and likewise we can push ourselves into overdrive when we’re feeling on top of the world. By grouping appropriate activities in appropriate time chunks, we are giving ourselves a better chance at making it successfully through the day with that calm assuredness that our balancing act is indeed possible and totally worth it. We are super women after all, right? (yes, yes we are.)
And because, after all, there are plenty of big priorities outside of work that need our full attention (and energy), too.