THE BLOG
11/21/2014 12:02 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2015

Want To Be More Productive? Have Kids.

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It's tongue-in-cheek advice, but if you do have kids, you know what I am talking about. Your time becomes compressed and you don't have the luxury of wasting even a minute. With kids comes a laser-focus and sense of urgency to get stuff done whenever you can. The ROI of sleep goes up immeasurably, too. When you are a parent, you simply have more things to do. The only way to get anything done is to identify what is important, prepare what you need, schedule the task and execute. Then repeat.

You can maintain productivity by working in short spurts. Get 20 to 30 minutes of work done at a time and then take a five-minute break. Each time you complete a work period, mark it on a piece of paper. At the end of the day, assess your X's and see what you have been able to accomplish and what you need to do the next day. Getting work done in small chunks will help you stay on track, while each successful period of work will motivate you to complete even more.

Here are ways you become more productive when you have kids:

1. You have less time, meaning more focus.
You don't dawdle -- you set your priorities, make decisive decisions and accomplish more things in a shorter amount of time.

2. You value time to 'think things over.'
You consciously allocate some creative thinking time. Your shower time becomes a never-ending source of fresh ideas, as that's one of a few times you get to be by yourself, surrounded by the soothing sounds of water, letting your brain come up with answers to your big questions. Even better: Meditate for a few minutes before going to bed each night.

3. You become more strategic about where you spend your time.
You stop going to large networking events or meeting with numerous people for 'coffee.' You start tracking what activities generate the most impact for your business and personal life and let go of those that don't.

4. You learn to say 'no' without guilt.
You embrace 'no' and get comfortable with it. You also find creative ways to say 'no' by reframing it as a suggestion that works better for you and gives a viable option or a way out to the one who is asking.

5. You learn to value getting things right and not always perfect.
You start appreciating finalizing things on your to-do list and forgiving yourself if some of them are not up to your standard of perfection. Good enough becomes your gold standard.

Having kids has made me much more focused and productive. I usually set an intention for the next day a night before and when I wake up, I run though how I intend my day to unfold before getting out of bed. The day goes much smoother this way.

To close out: re-evaluate how you frame 'productivity.' Being a parent is one of the most meaningfully productive roles you can have. Being there for your child is what matters -- if you can view your work as a supporter of that ultimate goal, everything else will fall into place.