The Best Productivity Tools for work at home mums

Good time management is crucial in today’s environment. Being the most efficient person who is super productive and focusing on what really matters is easy when you know how. Fantastic time management is essential and a most desirable personal skill, however, most people struggle with it and having effective skills can be hard to learn and implement. We will show you how to develop the best productivity tool to help you get more done every day.

Create the To-Do List that actually works

A To-Do List is a great start by getting yourself organised with good time management, and certainly is one of the strategies for getting more work done in less time, it gets the task out of your head and records what has to be done somewhere to be done at a later time.  It stops tasks falling through the cracks and reduces time wasting and fluffing around on trivial activities which increases your efficiency giving you more time each day for increased opportunities or increased leisure time. Before you write a monster To-Do List, take a step back and see what the super productive work at home mums do.

Know your own limitationsWoman with Organiser and Calendar

Being aware that you need help with time management is the first step to increasing your efficiency.  Having help and good tools is the 2nd step and can make the difference in our performance if they have been implemented well.   Using effective tools can help your productivity by completing more tasks in a much more effective time frame resulting in reducing your stress levels and increasing your chances of a more successful career.

Your memory won’t cut it

These days in our fast-paced society you can’t rely on your memory to recall everything you want to get done, so find yourself a tool, something that suits you and how you can work more effectively.  You can choose to get yourself a diary or to-do book where you write all the tasks you need to do in or get an electronic task manager which will organise your to-do list.

I can also enter tasks onto future dates so I don’t forget to do things with references back to previous dates if needed. So for example when a subscription expires and I don’t want to renew it I can write the cancellation date in the diary so I’m not paying for things that auto renew.  Or if I need to contact someone again, I can reference it back to a previous date which I may have details written which may be helpful for the following meeting.

Organise tasks by what is important to you

Prioritize your tasks to make sure you do the most essential tasks first and the tasks that aren’t as important at a later time.  Essential tasks can be written in gaps between appointments where you know you will have time to complete them.  Planning tasks and scheduling them by time it takes to do them is also a good idea especially for the longer jobs so you make sure you have appropriate amount of time allowed.  Some tasks may even require you to set a time limit especially if you treat your time like it’s money so then you are more cost effective.

Spend time brainstorming goals thoroughly into simple steps

When brainstorming goals you want to achieve, make the goals easier to obtain by breaking them down into bite size tasks or simple steps you can take.  Put the task into order of what needs to be done then write the tasks on your to-do list in an achievable way, maybe even spreading them out over several days or months so you guarantee they will happen rather than sabotaging your efforts because they are too big and hard.

Write your list of tasks the night before

Each evening before you leave the office, sit and work out what needs to happen the following day so when you enter the office you can just start working with direction of what needs to be done for the day, you may also have extra jobs to add that have come to you overnight.  Non essential or useless tasks can also be assessed by making the list, these may be eliminated if necessary.

Be honest with yourself

When listing a job, be honest with yourself, if it is a job that isn’t easy, needs time or you have no motivation to do and know you probably will struggle doing it, think about what time you will require to do it, how you can do it differently or who you can get to help you with it, or if you are even going to do it.  Don’t put jobs on the list you know won’t get done as you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Marking the tasks as completed or ticking them off or crossing them off gives you the sense of achievement  showing you the progress you have made, it keeps me accountable to doing the important things that have to get done and helps you achieve your goals and motivates you to get everything done reducing the time it takes to obtain success.

Technology versus A Physical Diary

 I use the old school physical diary and write my list in my diary and tick off the jobs as I complete them, I do the quickest ones first so I feel a sense of achievement and all the things I don’t get done at the end of the day I have to be complete the following day.

I like to visually see my achievements that I have done that day and that week. A visual diary meets my need for satisfaction and achievement by being able to see everything I’ve done for not only the day, but week and month previously, it gives me the opportunity to have something tactile that I can touch and in my own way I can be creative about the way it looks too.

Physical Diary for improving Productivity

My physical diary is an A4 page to a day.  I always buy one with monthly tabs so navigating the dates is much easier and it always has a nice soft cover, this may seem silly, but it is important to me as it is nice to feel when I grab it and carry it around, also being large I always carry it to the car when I’m going to appointments as it has the address and all the contact details I need.

The reason I love my physical diary is because it sits on my desk and I see it all the time, it is always open to the current page and visible so I can’t ignore it.  It keeps me honest and accountable, you have to physically write the tasks in the diary they can’t be rubbed out easily and it is so rewarding and satisfying to cross them off or marked as completed.

I love my physical diary……it keeps me honest and accountable

I have a friend who uses a blank note book, she just has a long list which she constantly adds to, sometimes she starts a new page and dates it, so she has a reference and this can last for the week, then she starts a new page again.  Things then just get rolled over from day to day, but at the end of the week you will see what didn’t get done and what needed to be done before the week was out.

Technology and Apps for Productivity

For those that love technology and only use electronic devices then a great task manager program is essential and the best tool ever.  It is much easier to just carry around your phone, tablet or laptop and have everything you are working on, on the one device where as a physical diary can be cumbersome and you don’t necessarily have it with you if it is large.   But these tools must have benefits that exceed the cost of using the tool and the gains should outweigh the time you spend using these apps.

Some people just use Notes to enter their list of things to do and delete the things as they do them.  You will have to be dedicated to staying using notes and it is really easy to get lazy and not enter things then delete things that you haven’t done.

An example of a Productivity App is Todoist.com. It is a great basic program which is user friendly with 10+ apps and is good on all your devices.  It’s easy and quick to enter new tasks and has a recurring task function for tasks that are regularly required and connects to your email, calendar and files.  You can also upload different project templates to keep you on target.  The premium version is also quite affordable at only $4 a month.

Another example is Asana. It is a good program I’ve used myself, that helps people easily track their daily tasks and set priorities for projects, it has a free user-friendly smaller version that is good for the basic needs of the small business owner and as you grow your teams you can upgrade to get the increased features of the professional level.

Programs such as Monday.com is a great project management program but can cost considerably each month with minimum charges starting from $67 a month, this can be good if you have teams of people working for you and you want to see that everyone is on track and doing what they need to be, but it’s an expensive program for single small business owners.

 

A good To-Do List organiser if used properly will keep your business and personal life on track! It will fast track all the steps you need to take for success by organising your life and work, helping you easily stay on top of a busy schedule.  You will also be able to see or preview what is coming up and adjust your schedule to fit everything so you feel more in control of everything in your life. A physical diary, blank pages or an Electronic App are regularly used by super productive work at home mums. Choose the one that suits your style.  Need more help brainstorming your To-Do List? Have a look at  Best ways to brainstorm your goals

 

Lorene Roberts has been involved in Working at Home Businesses since her children were young and living in Regional Australia. Now living in Melbourne she operates a Business in Construction while encouraging, mentoring and coaching other women to fulfill their dreams

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