Between mom brain, missing your kiddo, and the added responsibilities at home, it is totally understandable that a working mom can be a little scatterbrained. It can be hard to keep the balance between your work life and your home life. Some days it is hard to stay focused and motivated at work – especially if you don’t want to be there at times. If you are anything like me, you have 105738 moments throughout your work day where you have to stop and go “ok, what was I doing?”
Here are the best ways to keep focused on work when you have a million other things going through your mind.
Finish one task at a time
I used to think that I was a really great multitasker. In fact, I thought that was one of my best strengths as a stage manager. I can run a show and deal with any catastrophes backstage all at the same time. A little ways into my career I realized that people are much more responsive when you take the time to listen to them – even if that means that you take a minute longer to get to them because you have to finish what you are doing. Around that time I came across this article from Psychology Today that basically says that the human brain is not capable of multitasking.
A combination of these things lead me to believe that “task triaging” is much better than trying to multitask. When I am working on a task, I keep going until I finish it. When something else comes up, then I decide which is more important to finish first. If whatever pops up is more timely, I stop what I’m doing, write it down to continue later and take care of the new task. If the new task is of lesser importance, then I add that new task to my list and get to it after I finish what I am currently doing. Keep it simple – one thing at a time!
Write a list of things to accomplish
This sounds so simple, but it really is HUGE in keeping yourself focused. When you have a list, then you always know what comes next. As soon as you finish one task, you can refer to your list to continue working. This will keep you from getting distracted. Also, writing tasks down will help you to make sure that you don’t forget to do anything on the list. I do not trust myself to keep track of anything anymore. If I don’t write it down, then there is no guarantee that it will get done.
Write a list of things to at home
The same concept applies to things that you want to remember at home. My tip is to keep your home list with you while you are at work. Then when you are in the middle of writing an e-mail and you remember that you need to pay your water bill, you can just add it to the list for when you get home and keep working. Having Siri set reminders for you also works well. If you have your home location set in your phone, you can just tell Siri “remind me to pay my water bill when I get home” and she will! Isn’t technology crazy? Keeping organized at home will help you to not get distracted by what you may be forgetting while you are at work.
Set times to check on baby
As I said earlier it is important to keep the line between work life and home life separate. At the same time, it is easy to let your mind wander to your little one. Take the time to check in with your childcare or significant other, but make it fit into your schedule. Set aside 5 minutes when you can get coffee and call home, or make a facetime date on your lunch break. You don’t want to be constantly distracted by your child, but wondering how he or she is doing will distract you just as much.
I mean this literally and figuratively. All of the tips above will help you to declutter your mind. The less distractions that you have the better. It will also help you to focus if you are working in a decluttered space. Keep unnecessary items to a minimum so that you can stay calm and focused on the task at hand.
Keep work and home separate
This one is a slippery slope my friends. I will admit that it is a line that I am not great at keeping drawn. As soon as you start working on home tasks at work or work tasks at home, you are going to have trouble focusing on either one. Make sure to set your boundaries and stick to them.
Working moms – what keeps you focused and motivated at work??
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