We often think of productivity as only “work” related. But it can be about work product, or about home-and-family-related tasks.
It can be you trying to get the laundry washed (and dried! and folded! and, gasp, put away!!) while your newborn and toddler nap at the same time.
(Just kidding. That never happens, #amiright?)
It could also be about you trying to get a proposal out the door before COB.
Or all of the above.
Whatever your goal, here are 3 super-practical self-care tips to help you be more productive:
Use white (or “pink”) noise.
PRO TIP: Don’t Google “white noise” or “pink noise.” You’ll get super-technical definitions about frequency spectrums and density that don’t make any sense to us amateurs. I’ll stick with my basic definition of this is “nature sounds that drown everything else out.” And I love it.
I use this Ocean Waves track, and I listen to it on repeat when I need to focus. Generally, I can only work when my kids are asleep, so I keep it high enough to make outside sounds less jarring, but low enough to be able to hear if one of them gets too upset. (I also use a monitor.)
Add essential oils.
Pure lavender is a classic fave. It’s soothing, and calming, and gives me a way to always keep Provence with me, even when we’re in Paris or in the US. I also like pure peppermint, which has been shown to improve focus, awareness, and test performance.
“Prime” your space.
This means to create an environment you love. Clear away clutter and make your surroundings more mindful.
For me, it also means that I usually sit at a proper desk — like my new/old traditional schoolhouse desk that I found in a shed when we moved into our home, originally built in 1750 (shown in the photo above).
When I’m priming the rest of my work space, I use this quick mental checklist:
* Love your lighting. This is the first change I make, because it’s so simple and subtle. Both of my current office spaces in Provence and Paris have abundant natural light, and I make sure it pours into where I’m working at home. When I work at night, though (or from a traditional office), I always opt for softer lamps and never use harsh overhead lighting.
* Tidy up. Even before the Marie Kondo craze, I was a tidy-er. Take 5 minutes to clear out your space — or if it feels overwhelming, skip the detailed organizing and create “batches” of stuff by just putting them into baskets or even old boxes. Just get it off of your work area for a while.
* Add nature. After you’ve cleared space, it’s time to add something that brings life. Literally. A small green succulent plant and/or flowers are ideal for your desk, bookshelves, windows, etc. A terrarium is great, too. Nature inspires creativity.
* Incorporate 1-2 personal objects of pure beauty or play. I love a good painting (usually by my toddler), one sculpture or vase, or a single photograph that make your heart soar high. Less is more, so if you have lots, switch them out every now and then for a change.
In the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing more about how I work from home with a baby, a toddler, and a husband who lives in another country but pops back in every weekend (when my 3 bonus teenagers also come over). Yeah, it’s just too much for one blog post. Stay tuned.
Making these small, simple shifts can make a world of difference in how much you accomplish day-to-day… and how positive and productive you feel.