top of page
  • @vicbwrites

Anti-Productivity Secrets to Help You Get Something Done

A pencil sketch of birds. It says: play with me? and the answer is no.

I mentioned it in other articles, but productivity and motherhood, as well as consistency and motherhood, don’t go together.

Parents wing it. Parents hope for the best. And parents remember to always be flexible. And that’s the biggest secret there is.

If you want to achieve anything, as a writer, mother, employee, you need to learn to be flexible. You need to learn to adapt and be ok with throwing things out of the window at a very last minute. You cannot afford to be of a fixed mindset. It’s not a good idea to have high expectations about anything.

But apart from that, nothing is impossible and here is what you can do.

Have a fluid plan

Instead of planning as per usual, you need to have a list of tasks or activities that you would like to accomplish. As a mum, I cannot rely on a fixed plan that I come up with because something will happen and I won't be able to stick with it.

Hence I encourage you, my busy friend, to have a plan that you can change, mix and match, reshape or throw in the bin.

You need to have an idea what you would like to be working on, but be prepared to change it.

You also need to know your priorities.

Daily highlight

Daily highlight is one of the crucial productivity tools for parents. You need to know what is the most important thing that you need to accomplish.

Create a list of things that you would like to work on. Then go through with a highlighter and highlight those that seem important to you. Choose a different highlighter and pick one that feels crucial. Stick with this task. And trust me, if you do this exercise again, something else might attract your attention. So you need to agree to go with this one highlighted activity.

Nothing is more important than anything else. -

I highly recommend this Ali Abdal's video where he shares a few productivity hacks.

Divide your task into 5-minute tasks

Now that you know what your priority task is, divide it into manageable chunks. What are manageable chunks? I’d say anything that could be completed in 5 minutes. Why 5 minutes? Because sometimes that’s all we have.

For example, you have an essay to write, your chunking might look like this:

  • General brain dump

  • Brainstorm thoughts and ideas

  • Write an outline

  • Write an introduction

  • Write argument 1

  • Etc.

It might take time to begin with, but once you know what you are doing and why, this task will become a 5 minute task.

Prepare your work space

As a parent, you cannot afford to have a dedicated place where you would get into the zone for an extended period. I wish. Instead, you scatter things you might need around the room.

Leave your notebook on the table, laptop on a kitchen surface. And every time you move from room to room, you contribute to your project, your daily highlight.

I know it sounds painful, especially to those of us who are used to noise cancelling earphones and no distraction whatsoever. Sorry. Different article.

And a perfectionist in you might rebel - how can I achieve anything worthy in these conditions?! You might not create a masterpiece, but you also won’t do nothing. That’s the worst enemy of productivity. Wouldn’t you agree? Idleness, inactivity, and waiting for better times.

Analyse and re-plan

Once you’ve done a few bursts of 5-minute activities, use your next slot to analyse what you’ve done and what needs to be done next.

This is an important step where you look at all those scattered chaotic notes and see where you are.

Don’t despair if you haven’t moved a lot. Also, don’t get upset if you have been moving in the wrong direction all this time. That’s why you are completing this step, to keep yourself honest.

Treat it as a practice and identify mini-tasks that you can do next.

In my experience, after a few false starts, you get so determined to do something useful that you actually do it in your next 5 minute slot. Anger, frustration, impatience fuels you. These are good things to help you work on your project.

And listen, don’t expect to produce something outstanding at the end. Your aim is to have a chaotic first draft. But it’s better than nothing.

The secret sauce

This exercise might help you appreciate those quiet moments when you can work on your project uninterrupted. I know I cannot wait for the time when kids are asleep to work on my project for 30 minutes. I can rarely do more because I am exhausted.

But all that prep work during the day would have kept my brain going. It gave me ideas and thoughts. I wrote those ideas, so now I have something to work with. I don’t start with a blank page. And believe me, working at the end of a very long day when you start with nothing - it’s discouraging to say the least.

Key takeaways

  1. Have a fluid plan

  2. Identify the most important task, aka daily highlight

  3. Divide your task into 5-minute tasks

  4. Prepare your workspace aka scatter things you need around the house

  5. Analyse what you’ve done every hour or so

  6. Re-plan your mini-tasks

12 views0 comments
bottom of page