I’ve always been obsessed with doing things in the most time-efficient way possible.
Back when I had a “real job” I was known as a little bit more than just a time-sensitive manager. When it came to money, I really wanted to find the optimal path that gave me the maximum financial output for minimum time input.
That said, my efforts became a little blurry this spring when we had to pull our kids out of daycare and everyone had to be home ALL. THE. TIME.
But we pulled it off! I can proudly say that not only do I still get to keep my title of obsessively-efficient, I actually became more productive. Here’s how I made it happen.
1. My zen-like to-do list.
Running a blog or having any job while worrying about what your youngest has in his mouth means you have too many moving pieces.
The solution: A Todo list that is flexible. I use one thing that makes it a little more fun and joyful: the Slope. It’s a metal whiteboard that sits right on my desk but slightly elevated. So when I remember a task I have to do, I just jot it down and get on with business. When I run off to deal with my kids, mid-task. It’s still there when I come back keeping me on schedule.
At the end of the day, when the tasks have been done, I erase them. There’s something so zen-like about making those tasks “disappear.”
I at least erase them and make a nice clean new list to end my “workday” because separating work from home is HARD when working remotely and this is my process.
But it gets better. When my wife takes over the home office workspace (we only have one at the moment) she can just take over the main tasks (and get the joy of erasing them.)
Best of all, if my kids have to hang out with us, I let them draw on the Slope, and let them think they’re helping with “bizmuss”.
A total win-win in productivity.
2. I trade off working hours with my wife.
Every day, my wife and I find a way to work, to be with our kids, and to be all together.
Usually, one of us will take our kids out for an adventure while the other gets some work done.
Two hours of work may not seem like much, but when you really zero in on your goals, you don’t give yourself time-wasting tasks. It’s the Pareto law but for family and work time. In the end, I’m actually more productive than I expected.
3. I hired an assistant.
You get to a point in your financial journey where you question “is this really worth my time?” I don’t think it is part of the mindset for making a million dollars but more benefits of being one.
Email responses, lawn-mowing, whatever. If there’s someone willing to do it for less than what I value my time at – you’re hired!
I’ve been sitting on this decision for years, but now that I’ve started I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier.
Now I’d love to hear – any weird productivity tips that made your work from home time a little more joyful?
GUEST BLOGGER: Leif Kristjansen is the co-founder of FiveYearFIREescape.com where he and his wife write about finances and early retirement for busy people. In their early 30s, they even retired from their corporate 9-5 and want to teach you how you can do the same. They have kids and a house in a high cost of living city but managed to succeed via saving skills and rental houses. Follow him on Twitter: @5yearFIREescape