8 PRODUCTIVITY HACKS FOR WORKING PARENTS
Business and mindset coach Ruth Kudzi shares her tried-and-tested tips
Working parents are my speciality. I help them set up their businesses and hit their financial goals. In the last year I have become a huge cheerleader for mindset and working on yourself and, although I love daily workouts and green juices, I’m not going to preach to you about those but, rather, give you some easy tried-and-tested tips for increasing your productivity by 30%.
As a parent you are often completely knackered and I found that I was often just ‘getting through’ the day and feeling pretty crap most of the time. My weekends were often a write-off as I needed them simply to claw back some sleep and recharge my batteries.
I would always say I didn’t have time to do anything for me. My daughter was always my priority. But the fact is that half the time I was with her I was so distracted and/or tired that I was checking my phone or struggling to muster a little enthusiasm for the 100th rendition of Dear Zoo.
Last year, I realised that if I was going to be a better parent, friend and still have a partner, I needed to start working on myself a bit more. There are only so many times you can say ‘I am so tired’ without it getting boring.
These are my key hacks to help you feel better and be more productive, which I use and which my clients have been using successfully too. They are based around small changes you can make to your morning and nighttime routine:
1. Integrate self-care into your daily routine. Make it as crucial as brushing your teeth or changing your kids’ nappies. Remember that if you are feeling happy, positive and rested, your relationships will benefit too.
2. Take time for yourself every day. This doesn’t have to be huge – for me it is simple things like going to a yoga class, having a coffee with a friend, walking in the park (on my own!) or reading a book.
3. Be mindful about how you spend your time. Do an audit of what you do on a daily basis and work out whether this is aligned with your priorities. Many of my clients do this and realise how much more time they are spending on social media, for example, than they realised or than they want to.
4. Do whatever you can to get enough sleep (ideally 7-8 hours but everyone is different). This isn’t always possible. But if one of your kids is a nightmare take turns sleeping in separate rooms (it won’t be forever) so at least one of you can function.
5. Work out what time you need to go to bed to get that 8 hours sleep and work backwards, and get rid of all screens half an hour before. Wind down, read a book, talk, meditate, write a journal instead.
6. When you wake up you are dehydrated (even if you haven’t had wine the night before) so keep a massive glass of water by your bed and down it as soon as you wake up.
7. If your schedule permits, start your day with some exercise, even just a short amount of yoga will make a difference to how you feel. When you’re finished, sit down and plan your day, focus on your priority for that day and then think about the people that you need to contact and who you are waiting for. If you are very time-poor, you can do all of this in 10 mins.
I have seen clients increase their productivity by 30% by creating these morning and evening routines. By planning your day and sticking to it, rather than being swayed by other non-urgent emails, you will get everything done that you planned to and, by doing something you love every single day, you are prioritising yourself.
Of course, as parents, we can’t always control what our routines are like, my advice is to aim for the above and when things don’t work out move on. Part of self-care is realising that things will go wrong and accepting that it isn’t the end of the world when they do.