Hacks from a mom and productive procrastinator
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” That’s a quote from author/entrepreneur Jim Rohn, but that’s not where it originated for me.
As a new mom, I too, get to be a kid again. So where did I get that insightful piece of advice? From Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby. That’s right—an animated flick about a talking baby who’s on a secret mission to ensure that a new designer puppy doesn’t take the love away from babies. (Yes, that’s even stranger in writing). Regardless of its oddities, that pint size animated kid speaks the truth.
With a whole new level of responsibility, I quickly learned that staying on track at work was the difference between being stressed out or serene—especially since I had a new reason to be distracted. We could all use a life hack or two, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far.
- Get organized. Clean your desk and sort your inbox. You’ll win in two ways. Not only will you have a clean space where you can focus, you’ll already feel productive because you’re organized.
- Get up. A butt in a chair doesn’t always mean productive things are happening. Stand up and take a stroll around your workplace or go outside. Before you know it, inspiration will strike.
- Work somewhere else. That’s right, all hope is lost. It’s time to quit. Just kidding! I mean work in a different room, take your laptop outside, wherever. You’ll be amazed at what a change of scenery can do to get you motivated.
- When you’re on a roll, stay there. Here’s a secret I probably wouldn’t have offered up in my interview—I’m a terrible multitasker. Constantly shifting from one task to another means I’m taking twice as long to do the original task. If you’re on a roll, you don’t need to answer that GChat right away. Wait until you’re at an ideal stopping point so you don’t lose any good ideas.
- Make it a game. Stuck starting on a project? See how much you can get done in 20 minutes. It probably won’t be your best work, but having a little fun with it takes the pressure off perfection—and now you’ve at least started.
- Try some background noise. If you’re not the type that needs complete silence to concentrate, work with some background noise. For tasks that are like second nature, I’ll pick a podcast or music. For projects that require focus, YouTube offers plenty of background noise videos. I’ll even put on a show I’ve seen countless times and just listen to the audio.
- Ask for help. If you feel like your brain packed up and left for the day, bounce ideas off your co-workers. They’ll be happy you asked for their opinions, and they may offer ideas that seem like they should have been in front of you all along.