Some might wonder why a housewife needs tips on being productive. I have played many roles in life- student, working woman, working mum, work-from home-mum and stay at home mum. Of all the above roles, being a work from home and stay at home are the most demanding jobs, whose days are filled with unplanned incidents, emotional tasks, unpredictable twists and layers of multitasking. A place you strive to achieve perfection every minute, but you get nowhere close to it.
Few years ago, I took up an online course on Productivity. Though it was on being productive in the corporate world, I rewrote them to suit my lifestyle needs. I hope my version on productivity tips will help you travel through the day with less friction with time, chores, kids and your dreams.
Journaling – I cannot stress on this enough; journaling has done wonders in my life, in terms of analyzing myself and helping me utilize every minute in achieving my dream. More on this.
Time blocking – As in a corporate setup, I cannot imagine following a strict rule of planning an activity within a particular time frame. Example 7 am to 8 am – yoga, 5 pm to 6 pm – shopping. The key is being flexible. I block my time this way – do this before Thanvi gets up, do this when Thanvi sleeps, get this done when she is in the gym and so on. Having a tentative time on when she will get up I would choose a chore from my to do list for the day. Similarly, I plan my day in chunks, in coordination with Thanvi.
Say No – When I am demanded of more than what I could at a particular time, without any hesitation I say, no. This helps me and others to plan and deliver the best. I do this even to attend calls. I inform, fix a time and call back the next day.
Time Tracking – I not only plan my day ahead but also write down how the day passed by in reality. This helps me analyze where the actual problem is and strive to do better the next day. It helps you find how the time vanished without getting anything done.
Wake up early – If I don’t satisfy my inner urge to do what I personally want to do in life, how can I deliver the best of what is required of me to others? If am not happy and satisfied, how can I provide the same to others? I take extreme care on my mental wellbeing. This needs a lot of time and calmness. I have so much to do in life that I cannot sleep more. I usually spring out of bed by 5 am. I make the most out of my mornings. The tip is, go to bed early. Do what you can, when your conscious than forcing yourself to hit the snooze when you are unconscious.
Don’t React – Don’t react to things that cannot be controlled by you. If you cannot do anything to solve it, why worry about it?
Do not involve in activities that do not align with your dream.
Seek to understand than to be understood.
Think win -win: Thanvi used to make a big fuss every morning in choosing her clothes. She would want to wear a party dress to play, a jacket on a summer afternoon, mismatch clothes etc., this would drive me crazy. One day we packed up all occasional and seasonal clothes in a box and agreed on a rule that she gets to choose what to wear inside the house and I get to choose what to wear outside the house. I placed her home clothes in a shelf that she could reach. Now both of us get our jobs done without any hassles.
Checklist: After becoming a mum, caring for my physical self has taken a back seat. But I highly understand its importance, so i created checklists around the house to remind me to complete my activities. It motivates and reminds me.Seeing my checklist, Thanvi wanted one for her. Children love taking up responsibility. Now she calls, ‘Appa, come soon, it’s late, I have to take bath’. She feels a sense of accomplishment when gets to complete her list.
Split your work – After dinner it’s Prabu’s and Thanvi’s job to clean the house. When it comes to children , what they see, is what they do. She loves to put things back in its place. After 8.30pm, I write a journal, read and unwind with my night routine.
Approach logically – Thanvi and I step in and out of the door multiple times a day. She puts on her shoes by herself but would take a long time but did not like to be helped. When I felt this issue is taking up a big chunk of our time, I bought her a pair of sandals. Problem solved, it’s no use cribbing or scolding her.
Establish Routine – Children love routine. They like us to be predictable. In our case, we follow a strict routine not by time but by the flow of work. Of all that we have achieved as a married couple, establishing routine was the toughest; it took up a lot of trial and error and effective communication of each other’s goal to set up a highly consisent and functioning routine.
Communicate – All of us communicate our plans for the next day to each other every night. It helps us so much that mornings are a breeze, as Thanvi knows what to expect from a day. Thus getting ready and eating gets done easily even if we are moving out early.
Be stubborn, not too strict or too loose. Be stubborn on what is correct. It’s no use scolding or punishing. But communicate why you are this stubborn.
Prolong your yes and no: I never say. yes, no, good job or keep a full stop, nor do I force my opinion on her.
DN: Do you really want an ice cream now? I thought our ice cream movie nights are on Saturday. Do you want to enjoy your ice cream now or on Saturday night? TS: Amma, I think Saturday is a good idea. DN : Thanvi I liked the way you shared your pomegranate with security uncle with a smile. Since that day , she takes an extra effort to smile while sharing, without me telling/forcing.
Keep up your promise –We were in a hotel for evening snack during a long journey. The table next to us, had a half-eaten lunch plate with a pappad(appalam), seeing that Thanvi wanted one. I told her that appalam will be available only for lunch and the lunch time is over now. On her persistence, I asked the bearer if we could get a single piece of appalam. He said no mam. DN – I shall make one for you, for lunch tomorrow? She agreed without a word or any pestering. One because I sincerely made an effort to get one, two because she might have been very confident that amma will keep up her promise. The next day I made appalam for lunch. TS – Amma, I totally forgot about the appalam, how you remembered? DN – If say something, I really mean it. I told you, not just to console you at that moment. By keeping up our promise we avoid pestering, tantrums, mood offs, etc.,
No phone first thing in the morning and when you go to bed – I heard this 101 times before but never really reaped its benefit until I practiced it. Seeing phone first thing in the morning sucks out all your energy. The subconscious mind sets the mood of the day in correlation with the content you saw/read. The same happens at night. My sleep –wake cycle set in beautifully even without an alarm, with the help of this tip.
Menu Planning – No just menu, I plan all activities that I are controllable by me the day before.
Minimalism – One main area were we get totally upset and that one event which ruins our day is when, the maid doesn’t show up. Thanks to minimalism, I hardly worry about my maid. A small hint – I only have two kadais (pans) in my kitchen. Own only what is really necessary. I need to blog to explain in detail about my kitchen setup. Each one of us do our own work, so there is hardly any sign in the house that the maid hasn’t come that day.
Know when to talk and when not to – Prabu and I hardly get time to talk our hearts out. So why talk mundane chores, plans and activities in those precious moments. We make use of technology for all the above. We use wunderlist app to the fullest from financial work to grocery shopping and Google calendar for scheduling and time management.
Keep your cool – Nobody can provoke you. It’s your thoughts about them which provokes you. Stay calm to know yourself better.
Women are the backbone of every family. It’s our thoughts and energy that make or break a family. Most of the time we think emotionally and loose our calmness, this is the place we have to use all our managerial skills and IQ. It’s simple to achieve a happy and orderly functioning family by just three steps. Be an inspiration, perfect yourself, that you cannot be found fault with. Two, change your thoughts on others and keep vesting positive thoughts on everyone/everything; Effective communication is the key to any issue.
Motherhood is not a sacrifice; it’s your own choice. Strive to give your best in all your chosen paths. Being a better housewife/mother/in-law is also a challenge and the rewards are a happy and healthy family which is not evident from the Facebook photographs but the way you talk to your children.