Wednesday, August 1, 2007

12 Tips for Living Productively

  1. Start each day with Prayer. It works best for me if I get up before my kids and have my quiet time with God. If I miss this time my day never seems to go quite as well. When I am praying I almost always pray asking God to help me to use my time wisely and to know best how to use my day.

  2. Have a nap time. Nap time is for all of the kids (ages 7-1) and me. Nobody is required to sleep but they are required to be quiet on their beds. They are allowed to read or look at books. I read to them before naps and then I read myself while laying down and breast feeding my baby for about 1/2 hour and then I usually nap for 20-30 minutes. I set an alarm clock to make sure I wake up (because if I don't I can over sleep which causes me to feel drowsy afterwards.) Nap time makes me far more energetic and the kids far less crabby.
  3. Have kids help. My kids are ages 7-1 and so aren't yet able to run the house on their own but they are able to do a surprisingly lot of work. They have jobs that they are expected to do each day and then they also help me with other chores or projects. Something I do that helps to my kids to be more eager to work is to have a pep talk at the breakfast table. I will outline all the things we want to get done that day and then the reason we want to get it all done (examples: to surprise daddy with an extra clean house, to get ready for company, to get ready for a trip, etc.). If the kids know the reason to work hard they do it much better.
  4. Multitask. I love doing this, I feel so productive when I can get two or three different things done at once. Here are some examples of how I multitask: I clean the bathroom and watch little kids in their bath, I read while I breast feed, I knit and crochet while I visit with company, read or ride in the car, I listen to music that I am trying to learn while doing other things, I wash dishes or sweep or fold clothes while talking on the phone, I help my daughter with spelling words or other similar schoolwork while working in the kitchen or folding clothes and I get my exercise by running up and down the stairs during my daily chores or gardening energetically. I also like to get my washer, dishwasher, dryer and oven all going early in the day and then it really feels like I am getting a lot done at once.
  5. Have an easy care look. I do not spend very much time on my appearance. I have never worn makeup and am very thankful that I have never felt like I needed to. I can only imagine how much time and money that I have saved by making that choice. I also have chosen to have an easy hairstyle that I don't have to blow dry, curl or straighten. I have found it very helpful to have an easy look, but I would also council that you make sure to look in a way that pleases your husband.
  6. Have a routine or schedule. We have a daily routine that we follow when we are home. Kids thrive on routine and so do I, we get through days much easier if we know what we are doing. I also find having a schedule written out helps me to accomplish more. I don't spend time trying to decide what to do because I already have it written out. I also make lists of unique tasks that need to be done. Crossing stuff off of lists is a motivator for me.
  7. Plan a menu. This is nice because then I can shop ahead of time (I do my main shopping only every two weeks though I will go to the store to catch a good sale) also I don't have to spend time every day wondering what we are going to eat and I can pull the meat out ahead of time to thaw or do other things that need to be done ahead of time. I like a menu but I am not a slave to it, there are things that will come up and will change things, but I still appreciate having the menu for most of the time.
  8. Cook simply. For the most part I don't have time to cook 7 course meals or even to cook things that put me in the kitchen for an hour. I will make more elaborate things for special occasions but for most days I spend about 20 minutes on breakfast, eat leftovers for lunch and spend about 1/2 hour (or less) on supper. (not counting cooking time).
  9. Have kids get things for themselves. This is something I have especially done with getting drinks of water. We have cups on a low shelf so that even the 3 year old can reach and we have a water dispenser on the fridge. (We also have a place they can set their water glasses so they can reuse them all day). We also are training them to be independent in many other areas.
  10. I do laundry just twice a week. It helps me to be able to devote Monday and Thursday to doing laundry and then not to worry about it on other days. (A note or caution though; I have heard that it is better for your septic system if you spread out your water usage.) Other ways that I save time on laundry is by sending things that need ironing through the dryer and pulling them out while hot and hanging them up. I do very little ironing that way but we don't walk around all wrinkled. (My husband wears dress clothes every day so that is a big thing for us.) Another way to save time is by re wearing clothes. Especially with pants and skirts and sweaters, they are often not visibly dirty so we wear them another day. This saves on laundry time. Even sometimes something that is visibly dirty that I used for gardening or painting I will save for the next day if I am going to do the same thing again. We also only wash towels once a week.
  11. No TV. We do have a TV in our house but neither I or the kids turn it on. Henceforth we don't waste time sitting in front of it. My husband watches it some in the evenings but generally not very much as he is busy working around the house or spending time with us.
  12. I am not an entertainer. I have 4 young happy children but I do not spend my day entertaining them. They work with me or play around me or play with and entertain each other. They don't expect me to be the entertainer. I do read to them (and now my oldest will read to the younger ones) and I visit with them a lot while I work. We do also do fun stuff together like take walks, go to the library, ride bikes or get wet, etc.

These are some methods that have worked very well for me to be able to be productive each day. I hope that some ideas might work for you as well. I would love to hear ways that you save time or are able to get more done each day.


Amy Walker said...

This is so good! We're almost no T.V. (we occasionally watch PBS on Sunday evening and movies from time to time) and it's AMAZING how much more you can accomplish!!

Louise Marie said...

Hi! i am brand new to your blog today, and i love it!!!
You are truly a Proverbs 31 woman. That has always been my desire. i am now a grandma, so do you think i can still be a Proverbs 31 woman?
I want to thank you for keeping this blog. You are spreading the Word and spreading the joy.
I will be back.
Louise Marie

Abbi said...

Amy and Louise,
Thanks so much for your kind words!

Louise, I am sure you still can (and I would guess you are in many, many ways!) be a Proverbs 31 woman. I think it is something that we can be constantly working towards.

Tepreene said...

Hi abbi I am new to your blog and I am encouraged to see your blog remember to stay strong and continue to encourage other women like you are doing. it reminds me of Philippians 4:3. My life verse Is Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path. Proverbs3:5-6 I am encouraged about the time schedule andtelling the kids what you are doing for the day: then they know what to expect. I am going to try this and I am courting a guy right now, we have been courting for a year now and I have 3 kids and was a single mom, homeschooling and holding a partime job so this sight will help me with Ideas. so thanks I will continue to pray that God keeps giving you new vision to write about Thanks Tepreene

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

What great methods. I love the one about not being a entertainer. I appreciate that because I am not either and sometimes I feel like I should be spending every waking moment with them entertaining. NO MORE GULIT for me! Smiles.

I say that but I do the same as you..I read, school, snuggle, laugh, tickle, and such. So they are for sure not neglected. Smiles.

Abbi said...

Mrs Chrissy,
I am glad that my post with God's help has been able to encourage you. The not being an entertainer has been a huge help for me. Yes I do love spending time with my kids and reading to them and things like that but they are part of my life and all the things that need to get done. They are my fellow workers not someone that sits around waiting to be entertained.


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