That was going to be the week.
The week when you got up early every day to do your devotions before the kids got up.
The week that you had “sort and organize the kids clothes” written in your planner (so it was going to get done!)
The week you were finally going to make workouts a part of your daily life before you started your day.
And then, of course, life happened. Again.
A friend from church needed you to sub in Sunday School.
Your child’s teacher needed you to help at the classroom party.
Everyone was crabby at home, nobody napped and you spent most of the day breaking up fights between the toddler and preschooler.
And you know it’s important to be present for your kids and you enjoyed being in your child’s classroom and liked being helpful at church, but you felt like you were back to square one again on the things you’d set out to do and the habits you promised yourself you’d follow through on.
Life has interruptions, and they’re not always unpleasant ones! Many of the things we squeeze into our days are beneficial, to someone.
At the same time, it’s easy to get caught in an endless cycle of just reacting to situations as they come up, rather than finding a rhythm that actually moves us forward in areas of our home, work and private lives where we want to see change while ALSO giving us time for spontaneous activities!
Part of the trouble is that sometimes we view our time with the wrong perspective.
We schedule new habit and goals into our day (exercise, devotions, etc) without actually finding a way to make time for these things to really happen.
We keep adding to our day, rather than removing what might be standing in our way.
Or we assume that everything we’re already doing isn’t enough, because it’s not our definition of perfect.
So is the solution to just throw up our hands in discouragement and frustration?
Because I’m guessing you’ve been there. And that you’ve gotten stuck and aren’t always sure what step to take next.
Maybe it’s not even goals that you’re aiming for. You’re thinking “Goals?? I’m just trying to figure out what to make for dinner every night!”
I don’t want you to let another year go by frustrated and not feeling like you are giving your family the best while also taking care of yourself!
Rather, you should be able to feel like you are able to set a better example for your kids and incorporate more consistency in your lives where it’s needed.
And also to give yourself grace.
So let’s sit down, evaluate and make some choices so that we can finally figure out where to start and move forward toward our goals: whether it’s toward personal development, a better devotional life or just the goal of knowing what you’re going to make for dinner (before 5 pm).
To do that, we first need to take a hard look at WHY we’re not productive as a Christian mom and a homemaker.
These seven reasons will hopefully give you some insight into your own heart and mind! Plus some action steps to help make a change!
7 Reasons You’re Not Productive as a Mom
1) You keep trying to fly by the seat of your pants “like you used to.”
There was probably a point in everyone’s life (either before being a mom or when you just had one child) that you can kind-of fly by the seat of your pants as far as planning your day.
And if you’ve got a weird personality combination of being Type-A but also loving spontaneity like me, the idea of having a plan probably feels a bit smothering.
Yet at the same time, there comes a point in life where we can’t just wing it. Maybe you’ve added more kids, gone back to work or started incorporating more activities into your family’s life.
Whatever it is that’s added more pieces to your life means that there’s more to remember….and also more that you’ll likely forget.
So perhaps you need to evaluate your life’s activities and admit to yourself….
2) You don’t have a plan…and that’s keeping you from getting things done.
Even if you could wing it before and now you need a plan to keep you productive, this doesn’t make you a failure!
So many studies show that when we write things down and have a schedule and daily, weekly and monthly plans made, we are 10X more productive!
Take this as a comfort and encouragement: you don’t have to keep dropping plates as you juggle them! You can develop a plan that is helpful for YOUR personality and situation.
And it doesn’t have to take forever. It can just be a simple system, like a daily, weekly and monthly to-do list that you make on a piece of paper. Really!
Related: My Favorite Planner that Fits in Your Purse and Keeps You Organized
But what if you need more? This could be another reason you’re not productive…
3) You haven’t found a system that works for you.
The concept of simplicity does beg the question: but what if my family’s life really is in need of more complex planning, but I haven’t found a productivity/time management system that works for me?
The good thing is, there are SO many out there! Planners, calendars, online systems, just about anything for any person’s situation and personality!
But how do you choose?
ACTION STEP: My biggest tip for choosing is to take stock of your personality and figure out what appeals to you. Is it bullet journaling, where you make decorative lists and cross things off as you go? Could it be a dated planner with lots of different boxes for meal planning, exercising, organization and schedules? An online resource, like a Google calendar that you can have access to on your phone and can share with other family members?
No single planning and productivity system works for everyone. The best way you can solve this is to do some research and try a few things to find out what keeps you organized–not just what works for someone else.
Related: How I Finally Got Organized So I Could Enjoy my Family
4) You get easily distracted.
If you’ve seen the movie UP!, you’ll recall that Doug and the other dogs had a weakness when it came to being focused: squirrels. Whenever they saw a squirrel, regardless of what they were chasing, they’d immediately be distracted and go after the squirrel.
If you’ve found yourself as a mom chasing “squirrel!” throughout the day, you might end your day feeling like you’ve gotten nothing done.
And you’d probably be right. Ask me how I know ;)
ACTION STEP: Take a few minutes and think about what your squirrel is that keeps you distracted and unproductive.
Is it your phone? That you’re looking at your screen when you should be looking at your kids?
Is it looking at photos on Instagram? And then feeling down afterwards because you can’t match up? (This distracts me and keeps me from doing what I can because I want to do the things I cannot!)
Is it something “new and shiny”, like online browsing and getting ideas about things (like decorating or whatever) that you have no money or intention of following through on?
If you’re a work-at-home mom, is it the distraction of emails coming in when you’re supposed to be working?
If you’ve got lots of little ones, is it the endless task of managing chaos? (I truly believe this can be a squirrel if you don’t have some handle on the pace and mood in your home).
Do some digging and figure out what it is that’s keeping you distracted. Just having an awareness will help tremendously in changing these habits.
5) There are too many areas of life to manage and you get overwhelmed.
The longer we live, the more there is to manage. Kids’ schedules, work, husband’s schedule, homemaking, fitness, the list goes on.
Sometimes just the constant availability to our children becomes wearing. I remember when my four kids were 7 and under. There was always something to help them with. Which meant what I needed to do seemed to get left in the dust.
And, like a blog reader shared with me, “Sometimes constantly being around our kids is just too much to cope with, especially if we’re dealing with frustrations or something that needs extra energy in another area of our lives.”
What do we do about this? For my situation, I had to scale back my expectations but it was hard.
I had to find healthier ways to deal with stress and overwhelm.
Perhaps if you’re in this stage of life, it’s something you’ll need to do too.
By the way, I have created a FREE mini eCourse that teaches you how to take one step at a time to reduce overwhelm. I want to help you get started on the right foot as you seek to use your time well! You can sign up for that HERE.
6) You try to tackle too many things at once. (AKA: You’re a perfectionist).
There will always be something we *could* be doing better: healthier cooking, more exercise, drinking more water, teaching our kids the Bible, being a better wife, mom, friend, you name it!
And those pursuits are healthy and biblical for sure!
But if you’re a perfectionist and try to “fix” everything at once, you’ll only find yourself discouraged.
ACTION STEP: Try focusing on one improvement at a time. If you want to be more productive with your mornings, focus on that. Typically they say that it takes 21 days to start a habit, but I’d encourage you just to try for 7 days! And don’t be discouraged if you have to go for a 5 out of 7–nowhere in the Bible does it say that you need to be perfect–only Jesus can do that! :)
7) You may not be viewing productivity from the right perspective.
I think it’s really important to know what productivity really means in the world of motherhood, so that you don’t just get frustrated whenever someone bring up that word!
Sometimes the greatest challenge of motherhood is not the sleepless nights or the tantrums, it’s feeling unproductive so much of the time.
And that definitely occurs, but I think a lot of that is because we measure productivity in terms of jobs permanently completed or checkboxes completely marked off on our to-do list.
But truly, much of productivity in motherhood is simply being faithful to each day. It’s reminding yourself that whatever you do in God’s name and for His glory is fruitful and worthwhile.
I thought this was a really silly viewpoint and I didn’t believe it for the longest time.
But I’ve come around to understanding that how God views productivity is different from the world’s view of it.
You’re productive for the kingdom when you change diapers and a baby’s messy clothes with care.
You’re productive for the kingdom when you cook for your picky eaters, out of love, even if they might complain.
You’re productive for the kingdom when you interrupt your routine and read a few extra minutes with your restless three year old before bed.
You’re productive for the kingdom when you strive your best to balance work and family time for the benefit of those you love.
Biblical productivity is your opportunity to do good for others, no matter what it looks like to the outside world. You reflect the glory of God when you do all the little things!
And this is the beautiful truth: the “glory of God” is God appearing in a unique way to act on behalf of His people, because of His love for them.
That act of God’s love is exactly what you are reflecting when you “practice productivity” each day in your home, acting on behalf of your family :)
And when we can view productivity through a biblical lens, it takes some of the frustration away when we haven’t checked everything off our list at the end of the day, while still giving us the motivation to move forward toward our goals and complete tasks as we’re able.
Do any of these reasons for feeling unproductive as a mom resonate with you?
If so, I’d encourage you to take my FREE mini eCourse that teaches you how to take one step at a time to reduce overwhelm as you seek to use your time well.
It’s called Choosing Well: Making Time for Family, Fun and Goals as a Busy Mom and it’s my prayer that this biblically focused and balanced mini course will get you on the right track to a peaceful and productive year!
You can sign up for that HERE or click the image below to be directed to a page where you can safely enter your email address to receive the eCourse directly to your email inbox each day for six days!