Like a lot of us right now, I have a busy life. I’m a Mother to two children, I run my business, I’m the secretary of two PTAs and on top of / between all of that I also try to take care of myself, have a social life and make space for self care!
I’m not always successful, but I’d say about 80% of the time I manage to keep most of the plates spinning and I get to create a life that feels calm and spacious while I’m at it too. I do often get asked how I do it so I thought I’d share a few tips around organisation and productivity – although like I said, I’m certainly not perfect!
This will hopefully be helpful if you have kids, but even if you don’t there might be some good ideas for you too, let’s dive in!
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What my life looks like
As I said, I have two children, an 8 year old and a 3 year old. I’m the secretary of two school PTA’s, I try to fit in four workouts a week, cook from scratch most nights and have some semblance of a social life too.
Before I share any organisation or productivity tips it’s important to note that I do have quite a lot of support that enables me to have time to get shit done.
For my 3 year old, I have 3 full days of nursery childcare and 1 day of childcare from my parents. I also use wraparound care and after school clubs for my 8 year old. That gives me 4 days a week between about 7.30 and 4pm without childcare responsibilities. I have support from family and my partner is really quite supportive and actively helps out with the kids and household tasks too.
In my business I also have the support of a VA for 5 hours a month.
I’m in the UK so those 3 days of nursery based childcare are subsidised by the government 30 ‘free’ hours scheme and I also use tax free childcare to help with the cost of nursery and wrap around care.
That’s a quick look at what I have going on and the support I have access to. It’s worth noting that a lot of this is set up that way intentionally which I’ll get on to in a sec. I’ve always had a strong vision for the life I wanted to create and I’ve taken steps to make that happen, however I do have certain privileges that have enabled me to do that and again, I feel it’s important to acknowledge that.
Childcare isn’t something to feel guilty about
The first tip I have to share with you is to not feel guilty for accessing child care in order for you to work / exercise / do nothing / have an afternoon bath / do what the fuck you want etc.
We were never meant to raise our children in isolation, in the past we would have had much more support around us. It’s just that nowadays we sometimes need to have paid support instead.
We are not operating in an ideal world, and until the world changes around us we have to work within the structures that exist in the best way we can and aim for the best outcomes for ourselves, our children and our families. For me, that looks like paid child care. My daughter loves it, my son loves wraparound care and everyone thrives including me so it’s a win win!
It’s also worth remembering that when you thrive, that has an enormous positive impact on your kids, family and wider community.
Understanding how my energy works
Something that has really helped me is understanding how my energy works and what I need in place to help me be productive and feel good. This has taken some time to learn and figure out, but I know that I often need large expanses of time to really get into certain tasks and that’s why I now have client free days in my business. I’m also looking at how I can also schedule meeting free weeks occasionally so I can maximise that effect as well.
Another part of getting to know how my energy works is being ok with stopping a task if it’s just not flowing. I now know from experience that if I have to force something it’s going to take me twice as long to get it done. If I have the option and I can switch to a different task, or even just stop completely and take a break, then that’s going to help me be more productive in the long run. I always find that eventually things will start flowing with the original task. Likewise, when I’m in the groove of something and it’s coming easily and everything is flowing, I try and stay in that flow as long as possible.
Planning my life and business with ‘mini seasons’
I talked about this in a recent BTS post, but this year I’ve started to plan my time in 5-7 week mini seasons that link into the school terms because the school holidays have a big impact on what my day to day life looks like. This has worked so well for me so far because instead of just pretending the school holidays don’t exist, I’m actively planning around them. I’ve also noticed that the 6 week period is a bit of a sweet spot for me in terms of managing my time accurately, motivating myself and moving the needle in lots of different areas.
As well as planning business projects and tasks per mini season I also look at life stuff so I try and plan in one big deeper clean, a declutter etc and a house or garden project to focus on too.
Using tools and systems to stay organised
I have personally found that using a tech tool such as Notion has been completely game changing for me. It’s not the right option for everyone, but it makes a huge difference to how I do things in my life and business. I’m in Notion every single day, whether it’s mapping out my tasks, meal planning, keeping track of my workouts and interior design projects – everything goes in Notion.
I think part of this for me is having it like a ‘second brain’ so that I free up more space in my actual brain! I also love Pinterest for this on a more creative side and as well as using Pinterest for my coaching business, I also use it personally for outfit ideas, recipes and more.
Something that has helped me make the most of Notion is having habits connected to that – so for example I’ll do my meal planning in Notion on a Thursday night because I know my grocery order comes the next day and I want to be organised for that. I’ll also plan my week out on a Sunday night in Notion too.
If you want to get started with Notion then check out my Planning Templates for Coaches here.
Batching similar tasks
And then another thing that is really useful is batching similar tasks together. I know this strategy isn’t anything new when it comes to productivity but it’s one I’ve often found a bit tricky. It always takes me some practice to find a way of batching that works for me – if it’s something you’ve tried before and not got on with it might be you just need to experiment with different ways of approaching it.
I’ve finally found a good routine with batching videos for The Wholehearted Business Show and writing these blog posts and it’s made a big difference in how I do things.
Really looking at my life and business and which tasks are repeatable and which tasks are more associated with a project and therefore have a start and an end has been useful in how I build them into my week.
Supercharged self care
Finally, something that’s made a big difference for me is what I like to call ‘supercharged self care’ the best example of which is how I go away with my Mum friends twice a year to a cottage with a hot tub and we bring in a someone to do massages and it’s basically just very indulgent and wonderful. It gives us all that break from having to be or do anything and just rest and it has the great overflow effect into everything else so it has become something that really supports my organisation and productivity in a passive way.
I hope some of the things that help me are in turn useful ideas for you!
Let me know in the comments any tips you have for staying organised and productive, and don’t forget to check out the Planning Templates for Notion if you want to give them a try!
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