Since I rang in the New Year, my productivity has been horrible. I feel like an old car. I would get going, then burn out, try a quick fix to get going again and burn out once again.
Talking with a lot of moms online and in person, I know I am not alone. This feeling of being overwhelmed and not productive is affecting a lot of us. These past two months, I have been brainstorming what has gone wrong in my life, and I think it will offer you a clue to why your productivity has taken a nosedive too.
1. You’re Trying to Do Too Much
Mama, you can’t do it all. (Note to self: I can’t do it all). With social media, we can scroll through the posts of dozens of successful mamas within minutes. Right now, I am trying to maintain a $4-5K freelance workload, manage all the finances, write another book, write my writing course, build up this site, take care of my littles full-time and homeschool.
The fact that I cannot get it all done effortlessly is so frustrating.
Are you in the same boat? Are you expecting too much of yourself? I have given myself permission to tackle one thing at a time. I gave myself to permission to not be perfect and to let a few tasks go.
Write down everything you are trying to accomplish and all of the expectations you are putting on yourself. What tasks can be put on the backburner? What items can you take off your list altogether or delegate to someone else?
We are enough as we are. We don’t need to conquer the world in one day to make us more valuable.
2. Your Health Sucks
Last August, I had lost 13 pounds and felt amazing. Then Thanksgiving and Christmas came, and so did my old eating habits and the weight. To top it off, I was stressed out all the time and used eating as a stress coping mechanism. My caffeine consumption was off the hook, and this led me to health burnout. My body shut down on me. I was tired all of the time, my period was two months late, and I kept getting sick.
It is so hard to stay on top of work when you feel horrible all the time. I have been following the Keto diet for the past month and have been trying to force myself to get more sleep and not down caffeine like a junkie. I am drinking a cup of homemade organic bone broth in the morning (not my favorite) and a tablespoon of MCT oil in my coffee. Slowly, I am feeling like myself again, and my productivity is perking up again.
Don’t be like me. Take care of your health because your body will force you to take care of it one way or another. I am thankful for the two to three months of just feeling lousy because it has been an eye opener. I don’t want to embrace the life of stress only to find out I have cancer or another debilitating disease five years down the road. No success is worth the cost of health.
3. Your Situation Has Changed
Not only had my health tanked, but 2017 also brought me a two-year-old. I have been working from home with kids for the past five years, and some ages make it easier to balance work. For me, I can’t get much done with a newborn, teether, or clingy two-year-old. If you are stuck in the same boat, then hugs to you. There is nothing wrong with your child, and this phase won’t last forever.
In one of the Facebook groups I am in, there are so many desperate mamas that want to know how to work at home with one or two young children at home. If your work hours cannot be completed during nap time and bedtime, then you need to hire outside help even if it is only for a few hours a week.
On the days that I have my babysitter come, my kids are getting the undivided attention of someone else, and I can work with no interruptions. I can get more done in an hour free of interruptions than five hours with needy kids.
In my experience, trying to work at home with little ones that need something every five seconds is bad for my family. I get grouchy, my work suffers, and they feel neglected. If you are trying to balance a workload with busy little ones, stop thinking that they or you are the problem. No one is to blame.
Your situation just needs a little tweaking. Either you need more help, or you need to do less in this season. Don’t you hate when people try to tell you to do less when your to-do list is spinning out of control? Me too, mama, but I think at the center of our heart, we know we do need to slow down, even if it is just for a few months.
4. Your Time Management Sucks
Sometimes we aren’t as productive as a work at home mom because we don’t reign in our free hours to work for us. We are surrounded by a lot of time suckers that rob us of our precious minutes and energy. Here are a few time wasters to look out for and keep in check:
- Social media
- Poor cleaning routine
- Long meal preparation times
- Long exercise periods
- Long getting ready periods
All of these are part of daily life, and you can’t just cut them out of your routine neatly. Instead, identify one area that you know is taking up too much of your time. For me, a poor cleaning routine has zapped me of many hours and my energy each week. Cleaning up after small children is like brushing your teeth after eating Oreos.
I am trying to implement a power hour of cleaning each morning, as well as cleaning up after meal time or play time. However, if it doesn’t get done before the kids go to bed, then I am learning just to leave it. Cleaning when they are asleep is easier, but that time is better spent working on writing and business tasks.
Once you identify your top time-wasting problem area, come up with solutions that work for you. If you struggle with social media, getting ready, and Netflix, don’t try to fix all your habits in one day. Choose the top offender, say social media. Maybe you can move all of your social media accounts to an iPad instead of your phone and only check it for two set periods during the day.
What’s been draining your productivity as a work at home mom lately? Do you have a game plan to change it?