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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 July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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