5 ways moms can get more done at work and home

I'm one of those people that is somehow constantly busy and always procrastinating at the same time. Whether at work or at home, I'm always working on something (a story, a project, a new recipe, etc) but I wouldn't call myself a highly productive person. In fact, I am usually all too aware of the things that I'm doing wrong: checking my email every 5 minutes, keeping the TV on constantly, getting overwhelmed by my giant To Do list.  

But I want to be more productive. Don't you?

Although it's hard to fight the dopamine rush we get every time we get distracted during a project, there are a few things that highly productive people do that we can all learn from. After all, how else can we get everything we need to get done at work and at home?

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1. Break down big goals into smaller chunks of specific tasks. Seeing "clean the house" or "finish work project" can be overwhelming. Instead, divide up that big goal into milestones, and then into smaller tasks. For cleaning the house, why not break it down into rooms and then into tasks by room? It'll be a lot easier to get things done when you see specifics like "clean the fridge" and "reorganize pantry" instead of just "clean kitchen".

2. As difficult as it is, you seriously need to stop multi-tasking. Yes, it's hard. I'm probably one of the best multi-taskers ever. I am constantly telling friends that I work better this way. No, really, I do! But research says that I'm just fooling myself, since IQ points drop by 15 points for men and 5 points for when while multi-tasking. As difficult as it can be for a busy mom to find time to just focus on one task, do your best to devote some solid time.

3. Say "no" to any distractions that may come your way. Sneaking a peek at your email when you're supposed to be working on something else is something that we're all guilty of. I am constantly looking at my inbox on my computer or on my phone. After all, what if something super important comes through? But chances are it won't, so do what you must to get rid of distractions and focus: lock the door and turn off that phone.

4. Set priorities for your day before you open your email inbox. The first thing many of us do in the morning is look at our emails. But seeing a clogged inbox can freak us out before our day truly began. Instead, relax into your morning by going about your usual routine (drinking coffee, eating breakfast, etc) and then take 15 minutes before you head to work to set prioritized goals for the rest of your day, whether on paper or with meditation.

5. Take a 5 minute break every 60-90 minutes to clear your head. It's been proven that you work better when you can replenish your mental energy throughout the day. The reason you feel so burned out after super long meetings is because your  brain uses up most of its glucose during them, so the best way to stay productive is to make sure that you're getting to recharge by getting up, going for a walk, having a snack or taking a coffee break throughout.

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What is your best strategy for being more productive during a busy day?

Image via Mish Mish/flickr