Fill Your Bucket: Productivity and Balance

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By: Beth Cox Hollingsworth, Director of Operations, VGM Marketing

When the Essentially Women team asked me write about productivity and balance, I half wondered if they remembered that I was a new mom learning how to juggle it all. With the adoption of our beautiful boy complete, my husband and I thought that maybe it would all slow down a little bit. Nope. We were wrong. Preschool, doctors’ appointments, playdates, family time, date nights, work obligations, and oh yes, how about the never-ending laundry pile, cooking and cleaning, and meeting everyday basic needs. How were we supposed to do it all? Here are some #MomHacks that could help you at work and home. 

Take a few minutes and physically write down your priorities. Start by writing all of them down and then go back and reorder accordingly and assign a percentage to each one. What percentage of time do you think you should be spending on each one of those priorities or would you like be spending on each priority during the week? This will help you focus and cut out activities that don’t align with your priorities.  

Schedule It! Or it doesn’t happen. 
It has taken me too many years to realize that if I don’t have it in my daily planner, it won’t happen. If you aren’t a planner person, you need to be. Whether it is electronic or pen and paper, you need something to refer to when you feel like you’ve lost all sense of time and direction. I schedule it “all” in my personal planner, and important appointments (usually kid appointments) make both my work and my personal planner. Here are some tasks that could be in your “all” category:

  • Cleaning (I break it up and do one or two things at a time to make it more manageable) 
  • Laundry night
  • Date night
  • Family time
  • ME time (please don’t forget this one!)
  • Exercise
  • Devotional/meditation/goal setting
  • Grocery shopping
  • Appointments (doctor, dentist, etc.)
  • Volunteering
  • Paying bills/budgeting

You can add more tasks as needed, but make sure they fit into your priorities. 

OOO. It’s not what you think it stands for.
Corporate America knows OOO as Out of Office. In this case, it stands for Outsource, Online, and Off the grid. 

You might be raising your eyebrow when you read Outsource. Yes! You can use this in your personal life as well! My favorite task to outsource is grocery shopping. I will absolutely let someone else wonder around the store and pick my items up for me so I do not have to fight crowds while keeping my little one happy. I schedule 40 minutes each week to order my groceries online and then pick them up after work. 

Online can apply to your groceries, but as you know, so much more can be done online to save you time and energy. Online banking tops my favorite list of online activities (ties with ordering groceries). I can’t even tell you the last time I went into a bank, and it isn’t because I don’t like banks, I do! I just can’t get to them when they are open. Cash checks, transfer money, pull transaction reports, budget, you can do it all with online banking. Amazon Prime is another go-to for my household. It is great for times when I know I will not be able to make it to any store but need something fast! And, did you know that you can take Amazon returns to your local Kohls stores? Return your Amazon items and use your Kohls Cash—now that is a win!

Off the grid might be the most important “O.” As much as I rely on technology for not only my job, but my mom life, I have to step away. If you need to, put it on your calendar to remind you to put down your phone and enjoy your hectic life. A dear friend of mine started a phone basket policy at her home when her boys were old enough for phones. If the basket was out, all phones needed to be in the basket, including hers and her husband’s. I love this idea! You and your family all need to be off the grid at times and doing it together is a great place to start. 

While I do not claim to have it all figured out, not even for a second, I hope these ideas are helpful for your every-day life. 

1 comment

  • Mary Foster | Dec 18th 2019 @ 11:48 AM

    Appreciate the article very much. Working women have so much to juggle; scheduled or planned activities are the most effective. The only issue I have is the endorsement for Amazon. They are killing our small businesses. It's pretty discouraging to be an authorized dealer for a particular manufacturer and then see the lower price on Amazon, where anyone can buy for less.

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