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SALT LAKE CITY — Time does not discriminate, nor does it offer anyone favors. We all have an equal 24 hours each day and we get to control how we spend that time.
Whether you are an employee, work-at-home parent, community volunteer or stay-at-home mother, it can be very tricky to get things done, especially with children at your feet.
C.S. Lewis states it best: “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
Here are 10 tricks you can implement to get more done each day and make the most out of your 24 hours.
1. Work with purpose. What is your motivation for doing what you’re doing? When we know the “why” behind what we do, it makes it easier to follow through and finish.
2. Do the hard thing first. Mark Twain is attributed to saying, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” When you take on your hard task first, everything else seems easy and light in comparison. What are the biggest frogs you avoid?
3. Create a list. So often we get bogged down by really long to-do lists. Keep it simple. Write down the six most important things to do each day. Prioritize them by order of importance and focus on just those things. (Find a free "6 Most Important List" printable at MOMentity.com.)
4. Wake up early. The best way to create more time in a day is to wake up early, take time to focus yourself, and put your daily plan into action.
5. Play music. One of the biggest distractions we face is our smartphone. From social media sites to games, we can lose a lot of precious time on the device in our hand. How often are you checking your email, or texting? Personally, I have found when I play music from my phone, I’m much less likely to waste time on the device. In addition, music can help me keep my energy high. 6. Use a timer. Race against the clock to get tasks done, or only give yourself 15 minutes to check-in on Facebook. Not only can this trick work for you, but it helps kids work toward completing their tasks too.
7. Batch your projects and your errands. Do your best to batch like tasks together. Clean all the bathrooms at the same time. Make all your phone calls in one sitting. Run all the errands on one day.
8. Plan out each week. Take time Sunday evening or Monday morning to plan out the schedule, tasks and commitments for the coming week. Knowing what activities are on deck can help you focus on the most important tasks first.
9. Learn to say “no.” We want to do everything and help everyone. But despite our best efforts, it’s just not possible to ‘do it all.’ Learning to say no effectively without guilt can help minimize your to-do list.
10. Involve your family. Often the biggest challenge to getting important tasks accomplished can be interference from the ones we love most. Include your family members in the tasks you hope to accomplish. Council with them. Delegate appropriate tasks to them.
If you find yourself trying to get work done with little children at your feet, create a diversion for them. Set aside a special box of toys or activities you can pull out during those moments when you really need to buckle down and get things done.
Nicole Carpenter is the founder of www.MOMentity.com and the creator of Define Your Time eCourse. is a professional speaker and mentor for mompreneuers. Nicole and her husband are raising four children, 8 years and younger, including twin toddlers.*