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How Good Habits Can Make You a Highly Productive Parent

How Good Habits Can Make You a Highly Productive Parent

    Often I come across highly productive people in their business environment whose home life can only be described as horrendous chaos. They are in control at work but the minute they step through the door in the evening, their control, order and discipline eludes them. The work habits and ethics don’t carry through.

    How can you change this chaotic home life into a more efficient flow?

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    It can be done by creating positive productive habits which will create more time to enjoy the more important things in life.

    Plan, Plan, and Plan Again

    Plan your menus for the week in advance. Have a plan for normal activities and have a plan for “one-off” events. Get a planner or calendar for the kitchen or living area so that everyone is aware of their own (plus others’) activities. Children should be encouraged to check the planner each day and ensure that their own activities and parties are put on the planner. Simple things like making sure the children’s clothes are ready to go in the morning will help you avoid starting your day rushing around searching for socks and underwear. This causes stress and conflict in the morning, which is best avoided.

    Routine

    Create routines and habits — psychologists say that children feel safer with routines. They like to know what’s coming next. Even though they will fight and rebel against them, it makes for happier and more secure children. Children should always have the same bedtime routine; don’t allow them to fall asleep on the sofa or choose when they go to bed. Meal times should be more or less at the same time each day with enough time for digestion before bedtime. If bath or shower time is at the same time, children know what to expect. It’s essential that the parent is the decision maker. My favorite parenting quotation is from Robin Sharma’s Family Wisdom from the Monk who sold his Ferrari:

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    “Stop doing what’s easy and start doing what is right.”

    Don’t allow them to watch hours of TV or play computer games just because it makes your life easier. Discipline and routine will pay off in the long run. A little bit of effort now will be repaid to you tenfold when the routines are established.

    Routines are also important for teenagers. They will say they “hate you” for the imposed boundaries, but somewhere very deep down they realize that these boundaries mean that you care.

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    Make everyone pull their weight

    Give all children chores — even the youngest should get into the habit of being responsible for some area of the house. In this way not only are you creating positive habits of responsibility and organization, you are also reducing your own personal workload. (But, of course, don’t let them know that!)

    Get Organized

    The more organized the household is the easier it will be when it comes to tidying up. Buy storage containers for the children’s toys and shelves for their books. Encourage them to tidy their room every night and put the toys back in their place. Ask them for their input on how they want their rooms organized. The more input you get from the children the more likely they will take part in the clean up, as they will feel more attached to the outcome. Organize your cupboards. Have a place for everything. One of the chief causes of clutter is not having somewhere to put things. You move things from counter space to table to chair without having made a decision where it should go. Make sure everything has a place.

    Get up early

    Getting up earlier than my children has been the savior of my sanity over the past few years. Having that time to exercise, meditate or do yoga has helped me to remain calm and feel one step ahead of the rest of the family. Rushing in the morning is the worst way to start your day. Having everything ready before the children get up will encourage smooth sailing when the little ones break the silence for the day.

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    “Me” Time

    And most importantly, make sure you have time for yourself. Time to exercise, time to relax, time for your relationship, time to think and time to just “be”. If you want to have a happy household, the head of the household should be calm and in control. So make sure you make time for yourself.

    By having a life outside the family you are being a positive role model for your children. Children learn much more from what they see rather than what you say — so give them a good example. Create positive, organized and loving habits for the whole household. Not only will they appreciate it when they are adults, but it will make for a healthier, happier more organized and harmonious household.

    (Photo credit: Father and Son via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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