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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 August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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