• Carrie Higgins

Productive and Organized: an Introduction

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

I used to think that being “busy” was the same as being “productive.” That, somehow, doing a lot during the day meant I was achieving goals and crossing things off my list. After becoming a stay-at-home mom my responsibilities and focus shifted from outside the home to caring for my home and family… because I could easily spend hours upon hours working on things around the house, I quickly realized “busy” and “productive” are very, very different AND if we aren’t careful, our busy can actually get in the way of our productivity.

Our busy can actually get in the way of our productivity

Let’s take a look at their basic definitions. Busy is having a great deal to do. I think this can ring true for most everyone in today’s society. Think about your family’s day to day needs – we have to prepare meals, do laundry, set time to take care of our physical health through exercise, our mental health through hobbies and let’s not forget about our jobs that are a requirement to support ourselves and our families financially. It’s easy to see that without direction and a plan, we can fill our days with endless tasks that keep us busy. But busy is not the same as productive. Productivity, in its most broad definition, is something that produces a positive result. To better understand this, let’s take a look at two tasks – laundry and meal prep. You can keep yourself busy all day doing laundry – sorting, washing, folding – and never manage to complete a full load of laundry to the point of putting clean clothes away. On the other hand, an example of being productive would be planning weekly meals in advance and cooking them in one sitting, thus decreasing the time you spend each week making meals. Don’t get me wrong, laundry can be a productive task and meal prep and grocery shopping can keep you busy... how we plan and execute is the deciding factor. Still not sure of the difference? Think of it this way, busy is frantic and fractured while productive is efficient and focused.

So what do we do with this? How do we keep from filling our day with endless busy tasks? If you Google this topic, you will find an array of videos and blogs with step by step plans on how to prioritize tasks, worksheets full of questions to help you identify goals, multitasking how-to’s (or don’t), time-blocking, getting clear about your motivations, etc…. Is your head spinning yet? I want to make this super simple, because let’s face it, if it ain’t easy, we won’t do it. So, let’s get super basic and talk about rhythms and routines.

A few years back, when I was in the early years of raising kids, I discovered The Fly Lady – an amazing productivity specialist with simple methods for keeping your home and your household in check. And one of her basic ideas is the daily routine. If you think back to grade school, you’ll remember that your day was structured much like this – you might even remember teacher’s referring to it as a “block schedule.” You had a morning routine (get dressed, eat breakfast, pack lunch), school routine (your school schedule was set), then you had an after school routine (homework, sports, free time) then a night routine (dinner, prep school bag for the morning, free time, shower and bed). These basic daily routines brought structure to your day and when coupled with weekly rhythms give you a clear map for navigating through your busy lives. I don’t know about you, but as an adult, I really struggled with creating rhythms and routines once I had kids because there was just SO MUCH that I had to get done. Take a deep breath, because it’s not as hard as we all make it out to be. In fact, the pointers and tips I will share can be tailored to everyone, whether it’s a family of 10 or just you.

These basic daily routines brought structure to your day, and, when coupled with weekly rhythms, give you a clear map for navigating through your busy lives.

In this 4 part series on #productivity and #organization, we are going to break down general daily routines, get specific about morning and night routines, define general weekly rhythms, and discuss quarterly plans. My hope is not to further complicate your life, but to help you make focused changes in how you plan and accomplish tasks so you find more time to #getorganized and do what you love – after all, you are a creative, brilliant person with talents to share. Let’s hop on over to part 1 and get started!

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