Jun 13, 2011

How to get things done...without trying too hard

Reading: Breaking Point by Pamela Clare
Watching: Law and Order
Listening to: Lion King Soundtrack
Making me smile: My little boy’s smile

As a new mum (with a demanding little person in the house) I have to say it is hard to get everything done during the day. I love spending time reading and playing with my little man, so I don’t let the bulging ironing pile or the teetering pile of dishes on the sink worry me too much.

But as a compulsive reader and writer, I hate not having any time to read (books without pictures or rhymes!) or write. And I’m guessing with today’s busy lifestyles, it isn’t just new mums who can’t find the time to tackle their To Do lists or squeeze out some time to relax with a good book!

Image: Agnieszka Pastuszak - Maksim | Dreamstime.com

That’s why I picked up a little book called How get things done without trying too hard by Richard Templar whilst browsing an airport bookstore recently. It caught my eye and spoke to the busy mum in me.

So, for anyone else who’d love to get more done without expending more effort, here are a few tips that have worked for me:

~Have a routine – the essence of a routine is to do certain tasks at the same time each day. It doesn’t have to make life boring! It’s supposed to help you find more time to do the fun stuff. Having a routine has helped save my sanity these last few weeks!!

~ Don’t get distracted – ah, in the Internet age it is far too easy to get distracted with email, blogging and Twitter. The way to deal with it…admit to yourself you’re getting distracted and stop what you’re doing. For me, if I get distracted I lose my window of opportunity to have a shower, put the laundry on or make my lunch while my baby is sleeping!

Image: Martin Allinger | Dreamstime.com

~ Do things little and often – this is a great tip! So many tasks can pile up until they’re overwhelming. Instead do these tasks a little at a time – for me it’s a little bit of ironing each day, a little bit of tidying each day and a little bit of writing each day. This can be a hard habit to get into, but once you’re there you really notice the difference.

So, does anyone else with busy lives have some good tips to share on getting more done (without too much extra effort!!)?


  1. Great tips, Anna - maybe I should keep an eye out for that book! It's the "don't get distracted" that I have trouble with! My attention span is terrible these days... late on-set ADD maybe??! LOL

    My best tip to stay on track is making a list... of course, that doesn't solve the problem of the jobs I go to great lengths to avoid even when they're on my list!


  2. Ah Anna, such very busy days for you at the moment. I think you are amazing to find time to write a blog, let alone novels!

    I have to admit, I'm a list-maker too. And procrastinator!

  3. Very good ideas Anna

    I get ditracted very easily when I pick up a book LOL and so the housework often waits my kids are all grown up know but I love spending time with the 6 beautiful grandkids I have.
    But I have to find me time somewhere to keep me happy LOL

    Have Fun

  4. Oh, Anna, I have no idea how you fit it all in! Am applauding you madly, and loving your advice.

    Love, love, love routine. When I'm writing my first draft (and subsequent drafts for that matter), routine grounds me and helps me get everything done. And I'm giving a big nod to Sharon and Zana's list-making too. I have a diary that shows the week on a double page and I write down all the things that MUST be done that week. There's a certain sense of satisfaction in being able to cross said tasks off. :-)

  5. I do! Ask your oldest daughter if she wouldn't mind tidying the house (including laundry) while you're out so that when you come home you can say, 'Oh, my, this is all so lovely and clean. Thank you! Thank you!'

    Then sling her some cash. =)

  6. Hi Sharon --
    I couldn't survive without my lists! At work, I'm known to fill many a whiteboard with my To Do lists.

  7. Hi Zana --
    My days are very busy but flying by (my little man is growing so fast!!)

    I'm just easing back into the writing but desparate to get more done (hence why I went looking for good tips for getting more done!)

  8. Hi Helen --
    6 grandkids! How wonderful. A good book is always an excellent distraction (-:

  9. Hi Michelle --
    Hooray for routines! I've had a bit of a challenge convincing my 9 week old he should be in a routine...but now we have one the pay of for both of us (sane mummy and happy, contented baby) is worth it!

    Diaries are another good tip for staying organised and getting things done!

  10. Hi Robyn --
    Excellent tip! I think that one is in the book as well. I can't wait until my son is old enough to do some of the chores. I still have a long way to go though (-:

  11. Hi Anna!!! Great to see you :)

    Love the tips you're sharing ;) and I had really missed my "to-do" lists for the past few weeks... and got distracted by internet in a major way ;) that loads of stuff around the house are in a chaotic state!!!

    Which means I have to follow your pointers to get some push this week :)

    Hope you're having fun with the little one :)

  12. Hi Anna -- thanks for sharing those tips. I've heard the 'do things little and often' tip before, but I have huge difficulty putting it into practice. I must give it another go!

    Enjoy your little man!

  13. Hi Anna,

    I too have routines I follow, though of course those often go out the window depending on what Miss three's day (g).

    I can only imagine how quick your little man is growing, it goes by all too fast! =))

  14. Anna, it amazes me you can get anything done at the moment!

    I'm a huge fan of lists. And not being too hard on yourself if you don't get it all done. :)

  15. Hi Ju!
    Nice to "see" you too. Hope you're well. Best of luck putting those tips into practice! Hope you get lots done.

  16. Hi Emily --
    They can be hard to put into practice. Best thing is to commit to it for at least a week...by the time the week is up you'll probably find you're in the habit.

  17. Hi Mel --
    The best routine has to be flexible -- on the days things go out the window, I just get back on track as soon as I can.

    Before I know it I'll have a Master Three throwing me off schedule (-: I'll come to you for tips then!

  18. Hi Rach --
    It amazes me too, Rach!! Some days are better than others.

    Good tip - don't beat yourself up when things don't get done. Important tip for new mums to take on board (-:

  19. Hi Anna, cool post.

    I'm not the world's best at being organized (luckily, my husband is one of the top ten, though!), but I am getting much better since I had kids. I love lists and I love routine.

    I was talking to my SIL thIs week, who is single, has two kids, and works full time. And her house is always neat & tidy. I asked how she does it, and she said 'routine'. Example - every Sunday at 5:30 pm, she and the kids tidy the floors and vacuum, ready for the week. Inspirational!

    I'm big on doing little things often, but things still pile up. But you know, the awesome thing about about housework is that it will still be there tomorrow, so there's not much point in stressing. And if it's not, yay for you. Head out and buy your fairy a bottle of wine!

    I'm so glad bubs is doing well, enjoy it while you can, they get big quickly. :)

    E x