Productive Solutions: Part 2. Being able to get it all done in home daycare without losing your mind and still have a life outside of work can be harder than people realize. But you can do it if you work smarter and not harder.
How to get it all done in home daycare without losing your mind and still have a life
Getting things done in the daycare business can be harder than people realize. There’s paperwork, paperwork, cleaning, planning, prepping, cooking, paperwork, managing all of the supplies and so much more. Parents see what we do with their kids, but they don’t often see all the work it takes to get there.
Working from home is difficult because clients come in and out twice daily and our environment needs to look presentable. So, you can be in the middle of a big project, but if it’s time to open, that mess needs to be cleaned up. People come home from a trip tired and bring in their luggage but ours has to be unpacked and put away so we can work. Living in your workplace means you always have to be on.
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Efficiency vs productivity
Pushing yourself to do more and more is an easy thing to do with an all-encompassing job like home daycare. But doing more in less time and focusing on efficiency and getting a lot done in a little time is a better route.
My nature is to be super productive. I was raised in a family of procrastinators but I’m not one at all. Get things done, don’t hesitate, work it out. I want to be on top of everything because if I feel unprepared it causes me a great deal of anxiety. So, I treat myself nice and try to stay ahead of the game. The way I produce a ton of results is through time management!
Time management is using the time you have wisely. People always ask me how I get so much done. Managing your time is an art form. There are so many things in today’s world that compete for our time and distract us from getting things done.
Time management tools to get it all done in home daycare
Delegation: Are you doing things you could have someone else do? Is your family all watching tv while you are cleaning the kitchen? How about handing them some laundry to fold while they sit there. Can someone be doing something to free up your time for things they can’t do?
Don’t procrastinate: If you have a task that you have to get done, don’t wait around. Get it done right away and free up time for you. You won’t have to be thinking about what’s left to be done.
Prioritize: Make sure to get the most pressing things done first. Maybe some of the other things can be omitted if you need some downtime for yourself after the must-dos are done.
Create goals or lists: If you have something you really want to accomplish such as decluttering your bedroom closet, write down a goal of how much you want to do each day or whatever your goals are. Make lists when you have a ton to accomplish and mark off what you get done. I LOVE marking off stuff.
If I’m making a list, I’ll add stuff like, eat lunch or turn on the dishwasher, that are a given, but I want to feel like I’m marking a lot off. It makes it more fun.
Productivity increases when
Productivity increases when we limit distractions. Two BIG distractions that people don’t realize suck hours from every day are TV and Facebook! Talk about a way to get lost. Other phone or computer distractions such as games or Pinterest are a time suck too. It’s okay to do those things, but if you have a plan to get a ton done on Saturday, wait until the evening when your work is done to start playing.
I feel like limiting my screen time is the biggest way I accomplish a lot. Personally, I have an anxiety disorder and sitting around not accomplishing stuff makes me a little unsettled. I think that’s why I push myself all the time. People always say, I wish I had your energy, but it’s a nervous energy. I am unable to sit and relax like most people do. So, I figure, why not make the best of that energy and use it for production instead of Facebooking or something else. Then I have something to show for all my hard work.
Work hard work smart
When you are working, make sure you work with reasoning. I have seen people empty out a bunch of drawers to clean out but then go do something else and have that big mess left to take care of. That’s so overwhelming. Just empty one drawer, clean everything up and then put it back. Then if you get distracted, that’s fine, one drawer is done and there’s no mess.
Another thing I see people do is declutter, but then not take care of the stuff they need to get rid of. If you are downsizing, make a bag for donations and a bag for trash. Empty the area, sort the items and THEN put the trash out and the donations IN THE CAR. There’s no reason to walk around them for days making life in the house harder. Once you pass a donation center, just drop them off. There’s no need to procrastinate about getting it done.
When you start something, finish it. When you finish it, put everything away. Then when you’re ready to move on to fun stuff or start something next time, you have a clean slate. It feels so good to have everything dealt with.
100 days of productivity
For the first few months of the year, I am going to post weekly to help you get your year started off well. Last week I posted about getting everything in order for tax time so check that out if you need it.
Over the following weeks, I’ll be talking about how to get all the cleaning done, how to store all of the supplies needed for daycare, how to deal with all the paperwork, how to get things planned for the kids to do and how to downsize and declutter your home with a plan to work on it.
I hope you’ll come back and read all of those. And I hope they help you have the best year ever!
Getting things done
Getting things done in daycare can be difficult. There is so much to juggle and living in your workplace can make that difficult. The first thing you need to do is find a way to separate work from home. For me, I have a big shade on each of my front windows of the house. I close those when I’m closed and open them when I’m open.
Separating work from home in a home daycare
For me, mentally, it’s like an open and closed sign. It ends the day and starts family time. My husband likes to see out, so on the back side of our house, I have the windows open and airy. Just a little ruffle of lace at the top of each window is all we use to cover those, so he can see outside all the time.
When I’m not home, he still opens the front shades, and that’s fine, but I love the feeling when they are closed and it’s time to relax. Some providers put away their bulletin board of required papers to post. And some providers drink a glass of wine. Some providers put the toy baskets away. For me, I close the playroom door and the front shade and I feel closed. Do what feels good for you.
Finding time to get things done
When you work 10 or more hours a day like we have to in home daycare, it’s hard to find time to get it all done. I like to steal small pieces of time to be productive and get it all done. My most productive time is mornings and I always wake up early. So, I just lay in bed and pray for a few minutes, but then I get up, shower and start working. I blog, do paperwork, or get activities ready for the kids in the hours before they come.
If that works for you, do it, if you’re a night owl, do it before bed. It doesn’t have to be two hours like I do. But if you got up 15 minutes early or stayed up 15 minutes late when everyone else is in bed. You’d be surprised at how much you could get done. You can do a lot more than you think in 15 minutes.
If you have big jobs that are overwhelming, set a timer and just do it for 15 minutes a day. If you have a lot of decluttering, or paperwork, taxes, whatever to do, just set a time every day and get that time in. It will be done before you know it.
Turn off the tv, music, computer, phone and focus on your tasks before you let those things distract you. This is one of the best time management tips to get things done that I can tell you. Some people work better with music. If I’m cleaning, yes, music motivates. But if I’m writing or reading or any focused work, it distracts me. Do what works for you.
Steal minutes in the day to get it all done in home daycare
What about nap time. I don’t know about you, but when the kids go down for nap, I NEED that quiet time for my brain to rest. When I put my kids down, before I start relaxing, I spend about 45 minutes working on things for my blog. I still have about an hour and 15 minutes to chill, but I’m worked on getting things done first.
Save time by bulk tasking
I save a ton of time by bulk tasking. If I cook, I cook in bulk. And if I clean, I clean several things at once. When I plan activities, I plan a lot and make lists of what I need to buy and have ready. Working on something all at once helps you get focused and get a lot done and then have time left for you.
I might spend 2 hours one day making lesson plans, but then they are made for a while and I don’t have to spend time on it daily. I just get up, look at what we’re doing, get out the stuff I already bought and enjoy.
Set a phone reminder to work on your tasks each day. I like to set a schedule for what I need to get done each day. My husband and I both have Monday chores, Tuesday chores, Wednesday chores, Thursday chores, Friday chores, and Sunday chores and we already know what they are. It saves time in planning when you have a routine.
I have the same thing for my daycare activities and lesson plans. Mondays we do “school”, Tuesdays we do science or math, Wednesday is music and free art, Thursdays is crafts or art, and Fridays is fun Friday. I know that coming into the week and that I need to make preparations for the plans for Tuesday and Thursday. This is how I get things done and stay organized.
Break up big tasks to get things done
If I have a big task I need to get done, I will write it on my planning sheet for different days. For instance, let’s say I want to deep clean the kitchen.
I’ll schedule out 15 minutes on Monday for surfaces and scratch all the food and handprints off the front of all the cabinets and appliances, wipe down the tops, move everything and get behind it, and wipe out the microwave. Tuesday I’ll schedule clean out the fridge and freezer.
Wednesday I’ll schedule organize the busiest cabinets and put everything back in place. Thursday I’ll schedule to grab a box and fill it with things I rarely use and donate them and Friday I will schedule sweeping and deep mopping the floor.
Bam, everything is cleaned and I only did a few minutes a day. It doesn’t seem as difficult that way. And believe me, I HATE cleaning. I have to get it done in order to have a successful home daycare, but I really hate it. So, this helps me get it done!
We all have things we hate to do and times when we just don’t wanna. But I have heard the phrase eat the frog first and everything else you do that day won’t seem that bad. So do the worst part first and the day gets easier from there.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find small ways of increasing your productivity and get things done. And check out preparing for tax time and the rest of the articles to come as I get more specific on how to keep managing your time.
For more tips for daycare providers, click here.
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