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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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