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Productivity

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Manage Your Mind

Inspired by this week’s episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with Brooke Paulin who believes in the practice of managing your mind and the small daily habits that lead to great success over time.


 In a world where we are inundated with more information and more access to it than ever before, we are faced with new challenges like ‘consumer fatigue’, information overwhelm and digital burnout.  The media and social media industries are designed to be addictive in nature, releasing dopamine or cortisol dependent on the nature of the content, that keeps us coming back for more and ultimately conditions our behavior.  Information, and the way in which we access it is not the enemy, instead it is our passive consumption of that content that can wreak havoc, particularly when we are bombarded with negativity, click-bait headlines, and divisive rhetoric.  Just as we fuel our bodies and health with nutrition and exercise, we must manage our mind and the information we choose to fill it with.

With nearly 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the US using social media, it is time for us to become active participants in managing our minds, our mental states, and our mental health.  Here are a few small changes you can make to be better prepared and intentional with the information and inputs you choose.


Reality Check

We would never let our children sit for hours on end, absent-mindedly in front of screens and we shouldn’t allow it for ourselves either.  While it may not seem like you’re spending that much time on devices outside of necessity, your Weekly Activity Report likely shows something different.

Start by taking an inventory of the current time you spend consuming content intentionally vs. out of habit or boredom.  Once you have begun to inventory your passive or active consumption tendencies, track for a day (or longer) every piece of information you digest with a “+” if it is beneficial to your personal life, work life, or overall well being, a ”–“ if it negatively impacted or took away from your personal life, work life, or overall well being, and an “=” for no impact other than time lost.

Seeing our habits in black and white allows us to see where our own struggles actually exist.  It takes five positive interactions to offset each negative interaction; is it any wonder we are more anxious, depressed, and lonely than ever before?

Schedule (and plan) Your Screen time

Self-monitoring and scheduling your consumption habits can change not only your perception of the information you digest, but also, your behaviors.  In 2018 the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that observed the behaviors of 143 undergraduates.  One group was asked to limit all social media activity to only 10 minutes per platform, per day, while the second was allowed to use their social media as usual for three weeks.   The group that limited their scrolling “showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression during those three weeks over the group that continued using social media.”

As Brooke pointed out in this week’s podcast, “I don’t think that some of the top CEO’s, and, you know, multi-million dollar female business owners … I don’t think that they’re scrolling through social media that’s not feeding their mind. There’s no room for that.”  What would you be able to accomplish in a week of limiting your scrolling habits?

Empty the Junk Folder

Once you’ve taken inventory of the information and input you’re allowing in, and you’ve refined your mindless scrolling by replacing it with intentionally scheduled time for content consumption, get rid of anything that isn’t serving you, your mental health, your professional life, or your personal life.

Once you’ve emptied the Junk Folder, take note from some of the most successful people and follow suit by replacing what wasn’t serving you with content that does.  According to research, what makes highly successful people less stressed, happier, and more productive is scheduling their personal priorities before tending to other people’s priorities.  That goes for what you’re consuming too.  Instead of starting your day by checking email, dedicate an hour of your morning hour to be your Power Hour where you replenish your motivation with podcasts, books and curated content that supports your goals, challenges you, and leaves you feeling ready to tackle the day.  Ask your mentors what they listen to, what they read, and who they follow on social media to begin refining your palate.


In order to be successful in managing our mind, our mental state and our mental health, we must be intentional about what we consume and prepare our daily activity and schedules with discernment.  Just as nutrition is fundamental to achieving our health and wellness goals, so is the information we consume.  We avoid pitfalls of hunger by meal planning and preparation, and we can avoid the pitfalls of media and social media by planning and being thoughtful consumers.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell

Productivity sleep

How to Sleep Your To-Do List Away: Part I

For us moms, it’s always a balancing act to get enough sleep to function throughout the day and still accomplish enough on our to-do lists.

Many of us think that in order to be successful, we need to wake up early and burn the midnight oil. But we’ve also been told that getting sufficient sleep is essential to our overall health. So, what if we want both, productivity and improved health?

Well, we can have both—because more sleep leads to increased productivity! Science has shown that we need a healthy amount of sleep every night to be productive during the day.

In the next two articles, we’ll tackle the tough topic (for moms!) of sleep—why it’s so important, and how to get more done while still getting more sleep!

First things first: Here’s why sleep matters so much.

Why More Sleep Helps You Get More Done

Sleep Supports Optimum Brain Function

If you’ve had a newborn, then you’re familiar with the negative impact that lack of sleep has on your energy level and productivity! We all have days when we drag ourselves through the endless hours with lots of caffeine and still struggle to focus.

According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), sleep deprivation impairs our alertness and attention, negatively affecting certain brain structures and functions. All of these adverse neurological impacts also have an effect on our productivity. If we’re constantly drowsy and our attention is fleeting, no wonder we’re accomplishing so little during the day!

We’re also more likely to make mistakes when we’re tired, meaning that we spend more time correcting our errors. Getting enough sleep in the first place keeps us from having to backtrack to fix something and waste precious time!

Sleep Reduces Procrastination

If you’re like me, when you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is make decisions and deal with a never-ending list of daily responsibilities like work, chores, and helping the kids with homework. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

When we wake up tired, we’re much more likely to push off difficult tasks for another day, which just means more work is piling up and adding to our ongoing overwhelm.

When we’re well-rested, on the other hand, we’re more likely to tackle the day’s tasks instead of procrastinating. We’ll also be much more willing to attempt the more difficult, important tasks on our to-do list when we’ve had enough sleep—like taking the car in for service, filing that health insurance claim we’ve been putting off, or helping our child with their science project.

But HOW Do I Get More Sleep?!

I get it, there are only 24 hours in a day and something has to give, right? Well, not if you’re strategic about managing your waking, and sleeping, hours. In my next post, I’ll share some helpful tips for getting more sleep and getting more done while you’re at it. Yes, it is possible, I promise!

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Maximize your Busyness and Become More Productive!

Are You More Productive When You’re Busier?

Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day?

As working moms, our days are stacked with responsibilities—pick up and drop off the kids, make that work meeting, finish a work project by the deadline, cook dinner, and more. With all this stuff to do, we’re always too busy, and productivity tends to fall to the wayside. All our energy is focused on the day-to-day tasks just to get the bare minimum done.

Being “too busy” becomes a regular excuse—a crutch to avoid the hard tasks that might actually bring about positive change in our lives. We get caught up in an endless cycle of being busy, stressed, and exhausted as we just try to make it through the day.

No shame, moms. There’s nothing wrong with being busy (it’s kinda hard to avoid it with all the multi-tasking we do!). But if we shift our mentality from “busy” to “productive,” we can get a lot more done and be happier while doing it!

Busy People are More Productive

According to recent studies conducted by researchers from Columbia University and three other institutions, keeping busy helps keep people motivated, despite time limitations.

Think back to the last time you missed a deadline—not because you were too busy, but because you simply were too tired or lazy to do it. You probably felt pretty bad about it, but you didn’t necessarily make an effort to follow up on the task. According to research, the busier you are, the more likely you are to feel like you’re using your time effectively, even if you miss deadlines. And if you do miss deadlines, you’re more likely to return to those tasks sooner and actually get them done.

So, if you really want to tap into those mom superpowers (you know you have them!) and get more stuff done, you need to stay busy and productive. This doesn’t have to involve stress, though. All you have to do is change your mindset and get organized.

How to Be More Productive

1. Write a Daily To-Do List

This list is strictly for things that absolutely have to get done today. Do your best to write out the list the night before. And don’t make the mistake of adding more items. Forget about what you want or wish to do. Focus only on what must be done, but what will bring you closer to your goal.

Let’s say your goal is to leave your job and start a business from home. Something you could put on your list is, “research how to become a work-at-home-mom.” This is something that’s steering you towards your goals. You don’t need to write down “pick up the kids” since that’s something you were going to do anyway.

2. Work Smarter

Working harder is good, but if you want to be productive you have to work smarter. But how?

Up Your Time Management Game: Apart from writing a list, get rid of distractions. Switch off (or silence) your phone (okay, you still want to be available in case of an emergency, so settle on a reasonable amount of time to go without checking your phone and set an alarm reminder to check for urgent messages at each time interval). Disable your social media apps. And minimize multi-tasking! While multi-tasking can be unavoidable at times, focusing on one thing at a time will help you accomplish tasks more efficiently, which in turn will reduce stress.

Take Frequent Breaks: Working hard can be draining. Take time to refuel and refocus. Do fun stuff with the kids. Go for a walk around the block. Giving yourself a break will leave you feeling energized and motivated. Why keep plodding along for three hours when you could take a 5-minute break, return to the task at hand, and be done in one hour?

Be Flexible. Keeping a list and planning things out meticulously is great. But life happens, especially when you’re a mom. You’ll soon find that being rigid with your plans will not result in productivity. Be willing to modify your day if something unexpected arises, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Similarly, if you’re making great progress on a task and you can afford to invest another hour into it, don’t stop because you’ve hit your original time limit. Use that momentum to your advantage!

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Productivity is something we all aspire to, but it can sometimes feel daunting. When we set our minds to do something but fail to accomplish it, we often become demoralized and abandon the goal altogether. Don’t give up so easily!

As working moms and corporate women, we have a lot on our plate. Remember, you’re already doing a great job—don’t discredit yourself. Spend a little time getting focused, and soon the days of “I don’t have time” and “I’m too busy” will be behind you!