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I’m excited to kick off a new series today entitled “How She Actually Does It”, sharing the
If you have ever complained about how little time you have to work on your goals, you’re going to want to check out this interview with Lauren from Live Happier Lauren who is a rockstar at being efficient with her time. Lauren is a coach and new mom and she shares below how her approach to productivity has completely changed since having her daughter and how she is now able to get more done in less time.
How often and when do you set goals for yourself?
Constantly. Every day I make sure I have a touch point on my goals. I have two major times of year that I do a bigger check in with myself: New Years and in September (which always feels like a new start to me). I also like to check in on my goals on my birthday. When planning my goals for the year, I create a vision board. I then put the board up on the wall, broken into four quadrants for each area of my life.
For each of these quadrants of my life, I then create a mantra representing what I want to achieve in each area. I say this mantra every morning, keeping my goals fully present in my life.
On a day-to-day basis, I also keep track of my goals by using my iPhone Notes app. I use the Notes app to write down smaller goals as well as everything that is in my head.
Talk me through your weekly planning process.
Before having a baby, I would go into my calendar on Sunday and look at everything I wanted to do and then schedule it for the week. After having a baby, I have so little control of my schedule. I have had to learn to have patience around that. I can’t plan the timing of things anymore. In my phone I keep a list of recurring things that I want to do every week. I then look at where those things could possibly fit in to my schedule and what child care I might have available. I then look for those pockets of time, for example two hours in a day, that I could have child care support and work on my tasks.
What tools do you find indispensable for staying organized?
My Notes app on my phone is the main thing I use. My only downtime is when my daughter naps and because she needs to nap on me in order to sleep, my phone is the only tool I have available to me. I organize my notes into different folders, for
My other favorite tool recently is putting my phone in airplane mode. During the one to two hour time period when someone is watching my daughter, time is of the essence. I’ve realized that sometimes when I am stuck on something I am working on, I reach for my phone because it is easier than whatever I am doing. When I grab my phone and see that I put it in airplane mode, it makes me stop and question that automatic behavior.
How do you structure your work days?
At the beginning of the week, I list out all the thing I want to accomplish. I break this list into personal and business items. The day before I have a pocket of time to work, I pick which things I want to get done. Because of my limited time, I have found it so important to pick things ahead of time, so I can just dive in when I sit down to work.
I also try to batch my work as much as possible. For example, if I am writing a blog post, during my work session I will only focus on writing blog posts or looking at a series of posts overall. I finally made it a priority to batch work social media posts. I make a calendar and write my posts for a full week in one session.
What do you do when you feel stuck or overwhelmed?
I try to ask myself, “what is the most helpful thing that can be done right now?” I also like to ask myself “Am I doing this because it is easier or helpful? What would be most impactful right now?”. Sometimes if I am stuck on what to do, actually taking the time to reorganize and reprioritize is the most important thing I need to do in that moment.
What is your favorite productivity book or who is your favorite productivity teachers?
Gretchen Rubin. She is the person that got me started in personal growth. I love her books and her podcasts.
I also like Jenna Kutcher’s podcast for business advice. I listen to her once a week and she is the person who taught me how to batch my work.
Brooke Castillo’s podcast is another one I like. She is not about productivity specifically, but the mindset topics she focuses on lend themselves to help me to be more productive.
Listening to podcasts is my favorite thing. I am so grateful that they exist. I listen to them when my daughter goes to bed. When she goes to bed, I have to go to bed with her, so it is perfect for podcast and audio book time.
How has your approach to productivity changed over time?
It’s been a complete 180 for me since having my daughter. When I was working my corporate job, I took a training for coaching and then eventually quit my corporate job and started taking clients. I also started IVF treatments at that time. This took about six months, so I had a lot of time to work on my business…almost too much time to focus! I have gotten 100% more work done since having my daughter, even though I have significantly less time.
In the beginning, I had…almost a process of grieving right after I had my daughter. I thought it would be really different. I thought she would take naps and go to bed and I would be able to work during that time. I remember thinking, “What is happening? This is not what I thought this would be like”.
I realized I had to give myself time and grace. Time to be new in this motherhood thing. I eased myself back into doing little things. I realized at this time that I wanted to switch things up in my work and move away from being a health coach to building my new community based personal growth company, Live Happier. I had to look at what I have and I told myself “it’s not going to be on the timeline I want, but I’m going to use what I have and that’s going to be part of my story”.
My limited time has forced me to be extremely intentional and disciplined. I realized that if I want this to work, I have to be scrappy with my time. I realize now looking back, I didn’t use my time before as well as I could have. I have gotten more done with constraints.
Bonus Questions!What is your favorite kind of pen to write with?
I like the white Papermate pens that write really well. They aren’t super fancy, but a step above the basic. They are my favorite and always the ones my husband ends up taking!
More about Lauren!
Lauren is mom to her ‘SweetPea’. Wife to her high school sweetheart and passionate owner of Live Happier – a community based personal growth company. She loves to daydream and listen to podcasts on long walks and watch pretty much anything on Bravo. Find her at http://www.livehappierlauren.com.
PS: If you also love podcasts, you need to check out my Top Five Personal Development Podcasts guide for some inspiration!