Doing more with less time
Nobody can do everything, but most of us could use a little boost! I’ve found that cultivating healthy habits has helped me achieve more in any day, despite the chaos! While there’s no one solution for everyone, I hope these tips might help you work through your never-ending to-do list!
The psychology of habit formation
Habits are created when you do the same thing again and again. This repetition creates neural pathways in your brain. The more we repeat the same action, thought or behaviour the stronger your neural pathways become. Over time, what was once hard becomes easy, and eventually, it even becomes automatic.
Once our habits are already ingrained into our brain's routine, we need less energy to perform these actions. The habits take up very little space in our minds, so it’s easier not only mentally, but physically, too! When habits have already formed, there’s no need to think about what needs to be done next – You can just act without thinking twice! This makes life run smoother with fewer bumps along the way!
If this is so great, then why is it so hard to do?
Our brains adapt to new skills and knowledge everyday. Learning something new, however, takes your brain some time. Developing a habit is a lot like learning to play the violin or learning a new language. Just like food takes time to digest, habits need time and repetition to build the neuropathways in our brain that will help them become second nature.
How can I make this process easier?
I have found that the best way to form habits is by starting small and gradually building them up. For example, if I want a healthier lifestyle, then I’ll start with something easy, like drinking water first thing in the morning or going for an evening walk after dinner. Although these are simple things to do, it helps my body to get comfortable with doing something new!
The joys of being a parent and an entrepreneur are undeniable. On the surface, it may seem like you have to sacrifice your children for the sake of your business, but in reality, it’s possible to have both! Many successful entrepreneurs are also parents and they manage to succeed by following these five tips:
1 - Plan your day the night before
Start your day with a clear head and be more productive by planning your day the night before. If you’ve already considered what you need to do the night before, you can just wake up and do it! I’ve also met quite a few people who like to start their day by journalling or goal setting first thing. Whichever way works for you, starting with intention can help you stay focused throughout your day.
When I write out my tasks, I order them based on how important they are. For me, this works because I get up early, and I use that time to do deep work that I can’t do while my kids are awake.
Whatever kind of schedule works for you, I recommend ordering your tasks so that they fit around your life. If you’re busy in the morning, put your tasks that you can multitask at the top, complete those while you run around, and then do your deep work when you can. Or, if you’re like me, put your tasks in order of how vital they are – because you have that time for deep work first. Only you know what you need, and if you plan your tasks around you and your needs you can set yourself up for success.
2 - Start with one habit and work on it everyday
The idea of starting with one habit a day is not complicated. It makes building habits a lot easier to accomplish. In fact, it's so simple that many people choose not to do it because they think the process sounds too boring or uninteresting. However, if you were to take just five minutes each day to work on a new habit, imagine what kinds of improvements you could make in the next month! I have used this method to create solid habits that help me wear multitask just that little bit better.
3 - Set Realistic goals
We are all guilty of setting lofty goals for ourselves and then not sticking to them. It's human nature! However, key to getting to where we want to go is working with the way our brains work. Most of us like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with knowing we've accomplished something. That feeling is dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when we set a goal and complete it. By setting small, realistic goals, we can experience the joy of crossing off an item from our to-do list more often, and stay on track!
Of course, we’re all human, so we need to be kinder to ourselves. When you try something new and it doesn't work out, don't beat yourself up about it. That self-flagellation just leads to procrastination and feelings of hopelessness. Move on, and don’t regret what didn’t work out. Life happens to everyone.
4 - Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management strategy that breaks work into intervals of 25 minutes followed by 5 minute breaks. It was originally designed as a way to combat procrastination and increase productivity, but it has since been used for various other purposes.
I find that as a parent this is the most realistic way to work without interruption because – let’s be honest – someone always needs something from you!
5 - Create a support system to help you can focus
As a mum entrepreneur, I find myself juggling so many things at once! It is important to find ways to get support from others in order to avoid loneliness and echo chambers! For example, joining a group of parents or entrepreneurs who are working towards the same goals as you where you can learn from each other and cheer each other on. If you have the resources, hiring help for your home or for your business can also relieve a lot of the pressure!
As busy people, and as parents especially, a lot of us constantly feel like we’re never quite doing enough. While I definitely hope these tips will help you to do more, even more importantly, I hope that these tips will help you to remember that you are not alone. No matter our Instagram feed, we are depending on using a variety of habits and tips like these to get through the day.
Whatever you are doing is more than enough, and we are all just doing our best to be just that little bit better. You’re working hard to improve, and even if all you do today is think about what you can do better, then at least know that I am proud of you. Keep at it!
I would love for this post to not only inspire other moms, dads, parents, and other busy people, but to also remind you of the tools you can use to develop a healthy habits "system" to help you THRIVE.