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7 Common Mistakes That Keep Most Parents Unproductive (#3 is the One I’m Most Guilty Of)

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

Let’s face it. No matter how productive we wish and vow to be, as parents, a lot of those good intentions end up down the drains…

Productivity Tips for Parents - Confused MomCooking gets done, but laundry piles up. Kids get dropped off and picked up, but the grocery trip gets nixed. You manage to prepare for that all-important meeting, but just can’t find the time to file that expense report.

I bet you’ve been there at some point or the other.

Have you ever wondered why this happens though? Why is it that we parents seem prone to being unproductive in spite of the desperate need to be as efficient and effective as possible?

Here are some of the common mistakes I believe are the culprits, and some possible fixes. Check it out and see if any of them are bringing you down. And if you have other reasons for your productivity slumps, do let us know in the comments below –

#1 Trying to be a super parent

There are so many times when I’m going about my day that I wonder “What did I do with all my time before having my daughter?”

There seems to be an exponential relationship between the size of your family, and the size of your to-do list – for every new addition to your family, the to-do list multiplies a hundred fold.

Add to that the unreasonable expectations that are placed on parents, either by the world around us, or our own aspirations to be awesome parents, and we trap ourselves in the unattainable goal of becoming super parents. And that doesn’t bode too well for our productivity.

The fix:

[Read More...]

13 Insanely Productive Parents, And a Sneak Peek at Their Favorite Productivity Apps

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

13 Insanely Productive Parents, And a Sneak Peek at Their Favorite Productivity Apps

Do you use any productivity apps on your phone?

Would you like to know what some of the most insanely productive parents are using on their phones?

Me too :)

So, I reached out to a bunch of highly accomplished parents – founders of successful companies, authors of bestselling books, globe-trotting public speakers, high-demand consultants, bloggers who have bigger audience than a regular television station, and in many cases a combination of several of these, all while raising great kids — and asked them two simple questions -

Do you have any favorite productivity apps on your phone? Why do you find yourself using these regularly?

Here’s what they said -

(PS: Do your future self a favor and bookmark this page now. If you have any interest in the topic of productivity, you’ll come back to this page again. And again. And again.)

OK, in no particular order…

[Read More...]

Pomodoro Technique: Simple Time Management for Surviving in a World of Never Ending Distractions

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

Pomodoro Technique: Simple Time Management for a World Full of DistractionsRaise your hands if you know exactly what you should do on any given day, but somehow the day slips by before you can knock even half the items off your list…

Maybe today was your day to be super productive, but just as you were getting started an important email interrupted you and threw you off the track. Or perhaps, you wanted to just check some news and blogs before getting started, but somehow half the day was gone before you knew it. Or was it one of those days that you actually did get started bright and early, but just as you were getting in the flow, a friend messaged you on Facebook, or Whatsapp, and it was all downhill from there?

Either ways, as you lay your head on the pillow at night, there’s a sick feeling in your stomach. Another day gone by. Another resolve to knock things off your “Get it Done” list failed.

How could you let this happen so often?

We the people of the information generation… we’re both blessed and cursed, don’t you think?

On the one hand, it’s amazing — we have more opportunities to learn, be entertained and stay connected than the generations before us could even imagine.

On the other, it’s downright evil — it creates enough distraction that no man, woman or child without a plan could ever hope to escape.

How do we tame this beast? How can we utilize the beautiful opportunities offered to us by the information age, without being so distracted by it that nothing ever gets done?  [Read More...]

Simplified-GTD: How to Get Things Done in 4 Easy Steps

(This article is part of the Productivity series. Get free article updates here.)

How to Get Things Done - Simplified-GTDTell me if you’ve ever been in a situation like this -

It’s been a long day. You stop for a moment to catch your breath.

But instead of relaxing, you notice how messy your home is and it starts to niggle at you. “Clean the house” has been on your To-Do list for far longer than you care to admit.

Before you can even decide when/how to tackle the mess though, your child calls you for homework help. “Homework help” isn’t exactly on the To-Do list, but hey, you couldn’t possibly ignore that!

As you walk up to his desk, you suddenly remember that you forgot to pick up milk on your way home. “Pick up milk” was something you meant to add to your To-Do list, but never actually got around to.

When you pull your phone out to send a quick reminder to your spouse to grab the milk, you realize there’s a new mail (or facebook update) notification. “Check mail/facebook” is something definitely NOT on your To-Do list, but you obsessively do it anyway.

While trying to decide whether to send the reminder or check your mail/facebook first, you notice that the battery on the phone is almost out. Forget all that banter about the To-Do list… you need to find a charger. Fast.

Sounds familiar?

You’re not alone.

Millions around the world are casualties of the spinning-the-wheels-itis epidemic. The biggest symptom of this nasty pandemic is staying busy and stressed all the time, without actually getting much done.

As someone recovering from this scourge myself, I have some good news for you… there is a cure.

Unless you are in the terminal stages, usually you can find some quick relief and keep from ever falling victim to this endemic again by following a few simple steps. Inspired by the popular book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and simplified to fit busy lifestyles, these steps are aimed at creating habits that help tackle everything life slings at us, and actually get most of what matters done.

(P.S.: If you are in the terminal stages though, you should grab a copy of the book and spend some time implementing each suggestion diligently. It’s some seriously good stuff!)

OK, here we go -  [Read More...]

Creating a Wonderful New Reality Out of Pain and Anguish: The Inspiring Story of Suzanne Rico

(This article is a part of our series on Inspiring Stories and is a gracious contribution by Suzanne Rico from Please contact me if you have a great story to share with our fine parents community!)

When the wind blows from the east in the town where I live in Southern Spain—called a Levante—and the tide from the Bay of Cadiz pushes back up the Rio Guadalete, the strong smell of sewer wafts from our bathroom’s ancient pipes. Since this is a windy area and our apartment is small, I bark at my children if they leave the door ajar and then feel guilty about my bad mood; they have done a better job at adjusting to living in a place that smells like crap than I have.

Suzanne Rico with Her MomWe moved to Spain last summer after my mom died from cancer. It was an impulsive decision, spurred by a grief so great I felt I had no choice but to try to outrun it. My husband understood that the memories in every corner of our house in Los Angeles–where we had brought my mom to live when she got sick–were salt on an open wound and went along willingly. But our two boys, who were five and seven years old at the time, didn’t have a choice.

We moved from our large, comfortable suburban home into a faded but still grand Spanish palacio in the middle of an old port town famous for being the place where Christopher Columbus once sailed for the Americas. My sister Stephanie had moved there two years earlier with her two pre-teen daughters and husband, a surgeon for the U.S. Navy, and had managed to secure for use the last bit of space in her building—a small, charming cluster of rooms with no kitchen and only a half bath. [Read More...]