Have you ever read an article on productivity and thought it would be great for someone without a family, but with a family, you couldn’t really implement most of it?
I’ve been married for almost 9 years. My wife and I have 4 kids. I’ve been there before.
I’m always looking for ways to increase my productivity, but I admit, it’s not very motivating to read an article about having a 3 hour long morning routine.
Don’t get me wrong, that sounds awesome! And I would love to that, but unfortunately, I work, spend time with my family, exercise and, oh yeah…sleep (when I’m free to do so).
I don’t have 3 hours for a morning routine and as much as I would like to, it’s just not going to happen right now.
That doesn’t mean we can’t be productive. I’m very productive and so is my family.
I have found some things that work. It’s possible to be productive, even with a big family.
Let me share what has worked for me…
Understand Your Season
Know where you’re at in life.
When you’re single, you have all the time in the world. It may not feel like it at the time, but once you get a family, you’ll look back and say “wow, I had all the time in world”. When you’re single, you have time to devote to work, friends and hobbies. They may take all your time, but the time is there to spend.
When you get married and start having children, things change. It’s that simple.
It’s not bad, it’s awesome, but it’s different and you have to accept that.
The amount of free time you have changes when you have a family. Because your priorities change. You have to accept the fact that you don’t have as much “you time” as you used to and you’ll have to learn to manage your new life. It won’t be like this forever.
Before we move on to family productivity, let’s talk about marriage…
How to Be Productive in Marriage
At first, marriage is a lot like being single. You live with someone, but you still have quite a bit of time. If you want to go to IHOP at 2:00am, you have that option. You can both hop in the car and hop into IHOP.
When children come along, things change a little more, but we’ll talk about that in a moment.
Here are some tips to be productive in marriage:
- Get on the same page. Communicate with your spouse about the things you want to accomplish. It will help them to understand why you’re spending time on certain things and it will help you gain their support.
- Set a schedule together. It doesn’t help you to set a schedule if your spouse has no idea what’s on it. Get together at the end of each week and prepare your schedule for the next week.
- Get into what they do. You should strive to understand the things that are important to your spouse and vice versa. When you understand what the other is into, it makes both of you more likely to make time for it.
- Improve productivity together. Get your spouse interested in being more productive. If they aren’t interested already, you’ll need to show them how great it is with your actions. Read or listen to books and teaching together.
You can be extremely productive in marriage, but when you begin to have children, you may feel overwhelmed…
How to Be Productive With Children
Like I said in the beginning, you have to understand the season you’re in. Don’t use it as an excuse, but understand that having children means you have less time for yourself.
Learning to be productive with kids in the house isn’t about finding ways to avoid spending time with them, it’s about spending your time on the rights things. The important things.
Here are some tips…
- Delegate family tasks to your children. This is vital. Once your children are old enough, they can help with things like laundry, dishes and other household chores. It may take them some time to learn how to do it, but that time is an investment in your children that will not only help them in life, but free up your time in the future.
- Teach your children how to be productive. Believe or not, there are children’s books on productivity. How great would it be if your children already knew how to manage their time and maximize their productivity before they entered the “real world”? It’s rare for kids to understand this, but it’s such an important skill.
- Teach your children to problem-solve. My wife and I used to hear “I’m telling on you” screamed from the bedrooms and then the kids would come running in to follow through with their claim. But we started asked them “is this something you guys can work out?” and more often than not, they could work it out without our help. Problem solving can be taught.
- Make unproductive things productive. Find ways to make the things you do more productive. Instead of watching cartoons, try watching an educational movie. Not only will they learn from it, but it gives you more to talk about with them while you’re watching it. We also like to get kid-friendly educational audiobooks for road trips.
Never miss an opportunity to spend time with your kids because you’re trying to be more productive. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be spending hours taking care of chores that they are fully capable of doing. There is a healthy balance.
I believe that productivity means accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.
If you set out to accomplish a day full of watching cartoons with your kids and you accomplish that, then that’s productive. Sometimes you just need to watch some cartoons.
Don’t stress about not being productive, but it’s great to always be looking for ways to improve it and that’s exactly what you’re doing here.
It’s great that you’re here finding ways to be productive in your life instead of making excuses about why you can’t be productive with a family. Now go be productive and have fun with it!
Want to make this your most productive week ever? You’ll want to read this.
Photo Credit: Photoflurry, Allan