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One Habit that Changed my Productivity

Let me guess, you’re reading this and thinking about your to-do list, or what you are going to do as soon as you are done. Like many moms, and women in general, I have a running to-do list in my head. Sometimes it feels completely overwhelming.

As an aspiring minimalist, this feels frustrating because I have minimized much of the physical clutter in my home, yet the mental clutter was still present. In the last month I have made one change that drastically changed my productivity, and in turn, reduced stress. I’m now able to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by my mental to-do list. What is it?

I closed the tabs!

Literally and figuratively.

What I used to do.

I used to leave multiple tabs open on my computer as reminders to check the email, or pay the bill, or post the blog, or five other things. All that was doing was taking away my focus. I’d notice those tabs and my brain would bounce around thinking about all the things I needed to do. I’d click back and forth as a way to escape the tasks I was supposed to be focused on.

What I do now.

When the running to-do list in my head gets overwhelming, I start one item and close all other tabs. I just start! Sometimes that is the hardest part. On my computer, I click the little “x” and close out of everything except what I am working on.

If needed, I write down my reminders on a notepad and flip the notepad over. Keeping it face up was just moving my tabs to paper. I need to get the list out of my vision. Turning the to-do list over keeps me focused on what the priority is right now.

A Mindset Reminder

You are not your to-do list. The tasks you need to complete are tasks, not who you are. Closing the tabs, and flipping the paper over doesn’t make you less productive. It changes what you are producing.

For example, when I get home from work there is a lot of small tasks to complete. Bring the kids inside, unpack my work bag, put my breastmilk in the freezer, let the dogs out, empty my lunch box, feed the dogs, etc. However, when I become overwhelmed with those things, I’m producing a negative atmosphere for my boys.

A stressed mama = stressed out kiddos.

Lately, when I get home, I close the tabs and connect with the boys first! They’ve had a busy day at daycare and spending 10 minutes of dedicated time with them is not making me less productive. I’m producing the present mom I want to be. We all have a choice of how we show up. Ten minutes, in the grand scheme of things, is not a lot and it makes a huge difference in how the evening goes. When I connect first, I am able to complete those small tasks soon after.

I challenge you over the next week or two to close the tabs. The physical ones on your computer, and the mental ones running through your mind. Visualize what it would look like if you were able to click the “x” and focus on the one task that will produce what you need in that moment. Keep in mind, it might be a smaller task, that allows for more productivity later.

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