I Used To Love Productivity.... Then I Had Kids

Let me tell you a little story about a gal and her love of productivity. Once upon a time, there was a girl who made lists like it was her job, reorganized drawers for fun, and gained joy from the feeling of a cleaned out space. Her name was Mel and she really, really loved being productive and organized.

Then she had kids…

And while she still adored being organized and productive, things shifted. She didn’t have the time she used to and the amount of stuff tripled. No quadrupled. She started to find herself in a perfectionist tizzy. Not only was she not getting the things accomplished that she needed, but she was also beating herself up for it.

SPOILER ALERT: That girl is me. I know.. I know… I shocked you.

But in all seriousness... Guys, it was bad. I was anxious all the time about the lack of things I was able to accomplish and the massive amount of stuff that kept accumulating. I started to realize how much of my worth was attached to what I was able to say I did in a day, which (especially as a mom) it’s just not always easy to see on paper what you do with your time.

I also started to realize that when my husband came home if I didn’t have a long list of things to tell him I did, I felt like I had somehow failed us all. I know it’s dramatic. But for me, it had become a huge problem. I didn’t want to feel like I needed to be or do a certain amount of things to feel good about my day or myself. But, I still knew I had to find a way to feel accomplished because it really is a part of me. So where was the line and what was healthy?

Here are a few things I’m finding help me to work at that healthy balance, and in all honesty, it’s still a work in progress. As always, I’d love to hear if this resonates with you and if you have anything helpful to add to the conversation. Join the chat here or here.

  1. I started to make lists that included EVERYTHING ON IT. I mean everything. If I had to shower, it was on the list. If I had to take the kiddos to school and first I needed to make lunches… it was on the list. And if I had to email a potential client back, you better believe I was ready to put that on a list and cross it off. By adding the things I do every day to take care of tiny humans I realized… wow I actually do a ton of things.

  2. I became a repeat purger. As you all know by now I wrote a book called The Confident Closet and in it we talk all things cleaning out your closet. What I’m talking about now is more than just clothes. I’m talking everything in my house is game for the donation or resell pile. If I truly feel like a whole section is getting out of my control, I take it on with intention, grace, and chunk it down so it becomes a doable amount of work.

  3. Speaking of grace, I no longer expect the same things of myself. It’s unrealistic to think I won’t have a long list of things to accomplish, but I now make sure to enjoy the process of getting these things done, and remove the expectation that it HAS to happen or I have somehow done something wrong. Anyone else have to work on this too? Let me know so that this post feels a bit less vulnerable will ya?

  4. I have less stuff. I know, I know this one is a hard one. I have to do lots of check ins to make sure I am only buying things I truly want and that I’m keeping it because I want it not because someone gave it to me or because in a magical alternative universe I think I’ll use it. You KNOW what I mean.

  5. I started to be more focused on enjoying my time with my kids, friends and my husband. Whether I want things to get done or not, making sure I was more focused on having intentional moments than dishes and laundry truly has been a big shift for me. I’m not saying I don’t do those things, because I clearly do, but if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t matter. Ya know?

I hope you realize that this journey is still unfolding. I still catch myself getting frustrated when my to do list is longer than hours in the day. But that usually means I need to do a priorities and realism check. I also am constantly having to go through and reorganize certain areas of my home.  My goal is to be as organized and clutter free as possible. But since having kids, I also have to be realistic with what I can accomplish and that now I’m responsible for a lot more peoples things. This year I’m going to be continuing to share different ways I’m finding help me to stay organized and balanced between my love of productivity and my love of spending time with my family. If this resonates with you, and there is something you’d like to brainstorm or hear more about in future posts, let me know. I’d love to chat!