Mompreneurs And Pandemics
It’s 6:00 am, and I’m writing this article knowing that I had to get it done in an hour before the kids wake up and our day starts. Nowadays, I wake up around 5:00 am because I know that it’s the only time when I can do my creative work i.e writing, brainstorming, content creation, etc. With the pandemic having disrupted our daily routine and created drastic changes in our day to day life, I, as a parent and an entrepreneur, have no other choice but to be strict with my time if I were to get things done.
With homeschooling, constantly trying to come up with ideas to keep the kids entertained, thinking about what meal to prepare next (the topic of the day nowadays!), in addition to having a work-related to-do-list running through my mind all day, it can be stressful, and I literally run out of time, especially if I want to sneak in an episode or two of a Netflix series in the evening.
Some days, I feel like supermom, having Zoom calls, filming a video for my social media account, going through the phonics alphabet song ( “A is for apple A A apple”) with a smile. Yet, other days I feel that all the energy in me has been sucked out and all I want to do is just snuggle under a blanket and beat myself up for not getting “enough” done or not being as productive because yes, we have 50 waking hours a day – so we think.
“Work from home” is a popular term that we have been hearing a lot these days. It is a new working arrangement that is not everyone’s best choice. This is mainly because many have been feeling that they are not being as productive as they used to be when they had a clear schedule, worked around other people, and were away from home distractions.
Productivity has always been a topic of interest to many. If you type in the Google search box: “Ways to be more productive”, you get about 312,000,000 results (in 0.60 seconds). That is because people struggle with this all the time and for different reasons. Take for example, someone overwhelmed by emotions after having a big fight with their partner; how likely are they going to be able to get things done with a clear mind? Or someone who has lost motivation toward their work, or lost a sense of purpose, and repeatedly asks, “What’s the point anyway?” or “Is it really that important?”
Nowadays, the problems might be that employees are in their pajamas all day and miss getting dressed and being in the dynamic environment of the office so they find themselves not as motivated as they used to be. Freelancers are worried and affected by the situation around them and it might be stirring up emotions of hopelessness and despair. Productivity ups and downs are normal and we all operate in different ways, get triggered by different motives, and have specific times and situations where we are more productive.
These are unprecedented times and now more than ever we need to build that resilience to pass through this difficult time keeping in mind that nothing ever stays the same and that it will pass, eventually.
As we admit and realize the problem, we must then focus on the solution and how to assist ourselves through it. I found that asking these 3 questions on a daily basis will help in both time management and boosting motivation:
- Why is this important to me?
Whenever you are preparing your to-do list, make sure that what you decide to do that day has a clear and strong WHY behind it. If it doesn’t, then it simply doesn’t go on the list, and this applies to all areas of your life. For example:
To do: I want to cook lunch.
Why: Because it is important for me that my family eats a healthy home-cooked meal.
To do: I want to attend this webinar.
Why: Because it will help me in my writing skills, which I need for my new position at work.
To do: I want to call my friend at 5:00 pm.
Why: because I need to connect with the people I love.
You get my point.
Only a strong WHY will give us that strong pull to do something, even when it’s challenging, and will help us to filter out beneficial tasks and activities.
- How am I measuring productivity?
I was having a call with my sister the other day and she was feeling a bit down for not being productive. I asked her why she felt that way and she described her day that starts from 6:00 am and ends at 10:00 pm. A day that consists of no breaks; knowing that she has a full time job, one child and a baby, and yes she did not feel productive .
Before we jump to conclusions about how unproductive we have been, it is important for us to determine what it means to be productive and how we would know that we are, instead of focusing on the word itself and on a feeling. Is it 3 hours or 10 hours of work per day? What is included in the “productive tasks” list?
Do you consider folding the clothes, shopping for groceries, reading a book, and helping a friend in need, productive? Most of the time, we take a lot of things we do for granted and by acknowledging everything we have done, we will feel a sense of accomplishment which will give us a boost in confidence and energy. Be gentle with yourself.
- How can I make it easier for me to be productive?
Look at your schedule or time management approach. Scan energy drainers like clutter, conversations with certain people, or time spent on social media. Ask yourself: “How much of my time is spent on unimportant and not urgent tasks?” then Restructure your day to serve you better.
You might find that you are overwhelming yourself with a lot of work or that you take on a lot of responsibility. In that case, look for support like your partner or family members. Join groups with like-minded people or form a mastermind that consists of individuals with similar visions and/or passion to connect with other people that can support and inspire you.
The point is, I am writing this to remind you that what we are going through is exceptional and this is not a time for neither rushing nor beating ourselves up, it’s a time to be more mindful and realistic and to design our day and expectations accordingly. I just had my last sip of coffee; my kids are standing by the door reminding me that “ME” time is over. I guess I’ll be waiting for the next shift to think of a title.
By, Loubna Sabbah, Career & Life Direction Coach.