Advertising
Advertising

9 Reasons Working Moms Are Highly Productive

9 Reasons Working Moms Are Highly Productive

Working mothers face many challenges in life and yet they are often highly productive people. Discover the productivity secrets working moms use to win at the office and at home.

1. They Know How To Manage Trade Offs

In the working world, we constantly face trade off decisions – whether to do choose option A or option B for a product launch event, for example. Working mothers are highly skilled and capable when it comes to managing trade offs. This skill is developed at home as an infant is raised. For example, when a baby finally gets a few hours sleep in the afternoon, a working mother knows that is a great time to catch up on some tasks.

2. They Know How To Focus At Work

Working mothers tend to have a great ability to focus at work because they cannot afford to stay late at the office every day. From the moment they arrive at the office until they depart, they manage each hour effectively. In fact, a 2013 study by Ernst and Young Australia, found the following: Women in flexible roles waste only 11.1% of their working time, compared to an average of 14.5% for the rest of the working population. This finding also suggests that flexible working arrangements contribute to productivity.

3. They Understand The Power of Relationships

As matrix organizations become more common, it is no longer enough to have a command and control approach to work. Instead, working moms know the importance of nurturing relationships. They know that results in the professional world have a much greater impact when the needs of people are taken into account. A 2007 article in Forbes magazine reported that parents often perform very well at work as some of their parenting skills apply to the work environment.

Advertising

4. They Use Top Notch Productivity Techniques

Working mothers have no time to waste on rework and related activities. That’s why working mothers become masters of habits to improve their results. For example, many working mothers have learned how to build a checklist to prepare for the school year (e.g. check school times, buy school supplies, plan school transportation). That attention to detail and logistics pays off in the business world. Working mothers know the importance of working through each step of a process. That same skill set can be used to create a great customer experience.

5. They Use Benefits To Improve Their Health

Some people have a view that they should simply work all the time to deliver results. Unfortunately, that approach only works for a limited period of time. Working mothers, on the other hand, know their limits. If their employer offers health benefits, they understand the importance of fully using those benefits. That means less stress and fewer sick days. After all, you cannot be productive if you are sick! Working mothers also tend to be proactive in their approach to health by visiting their doctor and dentist regularly.

Here are some of the health benefits that working moms know to use:

Flexible work time: they may arrive at 8am and depart at 4pm in order to deliver their work and manage their family needs.

Advertising

Extended Health Care: some companies provide insurance coverage for massages and other stress relief practices

6. They Know How To Get Help

They know that sometimes you just need someone to lean on when you’re working hard. Working mothers are highly capable in seeking out support to get through the day. For many working moms, that means calling on family (including the grandparents) for help at home. For working mothers with higher incomes, additional options are available: hiring a nanny, taking a spa day and spending on other purchases to manage life and reduce stress.

At work, working moms are ready and willing to seek help when they need it rather than continuing to struggle by themselves.

7. They Know How To Say No

They know the great power of saying no. A key productivity skill is saying no to low value tasks that do not contribute to your goals at work or at home. For example, consider the case of being asked to serve on a committee at the office. Start by taking a few minutes to look for connections to your job’s requirements (e.g. does this committee help you make sales?) or your personal goals (e.g. does the committee grow your network or help you learn new skills?). If there is no connection, it is time to decline.

Advertising

Use the following resources to improve your No skills

The Gentle Art of Saying No

9 Ways To Say No To Work Stress

8. They Create Solutions Rather Than Demanding Company Concessions

Many successful working mothers take responsibility for their commitments. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, explains that constantly demanding accommodation and assistance from your employer is a negative in his book “Winning.” In Welch’s view, it is easier to obtain flexibility and concessions once one delivers great performance. This tip is all about taking a proactive approach to productivity, rather than passively waiting for solutions to appear.

Advertising

9. They Keep Drinking Water To Stay Productive

They know that the quality and quantity of their work output is impacted by their mental state. That’s why working mothers drink plenty of water. A 2013 study by the University of East London recently found that drinking water increases productivity by 14% (i.e. completed tasks faster). If you are frustrated with the time needed to complete a task, get yourself a tall glass of water! This tip is especially important for coffee and tea drinkers – caffeine has been considered a diuretic (i.e. it dehydrates you)

Drinking water is all about giving your body the fuel it needs to keep you productive.

Featured photo credit: Startup Woman/StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

Young Woman Reading Book 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not Miss 20 Life Hacks Put To The Test 20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified) The 15 Healthiest Companies In America That Everyone Longs To Work For 7 Reasons Why People Who Draw Mind Maps Are More Hireable No One Told You the Book List for Improving Leadership Skills? I Will

Trending in Productivity

1 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 2 How Your Attitude Determines Your Success 3 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 4 How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? 5 Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

Advertising

But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

Advertising

The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

Advertising

I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

Advertising

More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

Read Next