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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Bruce Harpham

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

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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