Life with a small child is a lot of things: It is messy. It is exhausting. It is frustrating. It can be very loud. And in some moments, life with a little one is so sweet and fulfilling that it feels like your heart could burst right open (because, truly, you’re not sure if it can contain the overwhelming love you feel).
Oh, yes, and it is also definitely very busy, too.
There is one thing, however, that life is definitely not when you are the parent of a baby, toddler, or small child: Productive. At least not in a check-stuff-off-your-to-do-list-like-a-boss kind of way. It is definitely not that most of the time. There are times that that really bothers me. I feel sorry for myself because it’s like my ability to be the tiniest bit competent, organized, productive, member of society left my body sometime while I was giving birth to my daughter. Like, maybe it came out with the placenta or something? I don’t know what happened to it. But I certainly don’t have it any more.
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It regularly takes me several hours to do simple tasks that once took me 30 minutes. When had a baby, I couldn’t get things done very well because I had the kind of baby who wanted to be held every second of every day. (And, let’s be honest, I’m the kind of mom who kind of wants to hold her baby every second of every day and let everything slide.)
When my girl was learning to stand on her own and walk, I’d pile laundry up on the couch to fold and put away. When I turned my back for a second to pick up something, I’d see that the entire pile (both folded and unfolded piles, mind you) had been pulled into a big heap on the floor.
Now that my daughter is in preschool, she says, “I just want you to PLAY with me,” literally no less than 28 times a day. (I counted once.)
I’m not going to lie. I’ve given up on getting shit done more than a few times in the 3 1/2 years I’ve been a mama. What’s the point?
Sometimes I need to remind myself of this: I feel better about myself (more confident, more energetic, and less stressed out) when my life isn’t in a constant state of havoc. Feel better when I’m getting things done that are important to me and I feel like I’m making some progress, both as a mom, a yoga teacher, a writer, a business owner, and all the 15,003 other things I want to be in life.
How do I manage to make time for it all?
I’ve found a secret sauce that helps me get my head on straight and get. shit. done. It doesn’t require me to keep a calendar or any complicated list system (though I do love a good to-do list). It isn’t about dropping everything that’s important to my family and home life in order to
5 Ways to Use Yoga for Increased Productivity
1. Yoga teaches you to focus on one thing at a time. You can’t think about other things when you’re in the middle of a challenging yoga pose. You just can’t. The better I get at focusing on one thing at a time, the more often I manage to find that sweet spot of intense concentration when I am able to get things done quickly and efficiently. I’ve noticed the more frequently I practice yoga, the more frequently that happens.
2. Yoga gives you more energy. Sometimes it seems to give me more energy simply because it’s a way for me to spend some time alone and focus on my own needs for once (something that mamas don’t do nearly enough!). But when I’m feeling particularly sluggish, I practice a yoga for energy—sun salutations with some hopping, backbends, and an inversion or two, and I’m usually rearing to go on whatever project I need to work on.
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3. Yoga is a natural mood enhancer. When was the last time you were feeling down-in-the-dumps depressed, but you still managed to fly through the tasks on your to-do list? Never? Yeah, me too. When I’m in a good mood, I naturally just have more energy for the things that inspire me, which gives me more energy to do even more (it’s the best kind of slippery slope!)
4. Yoga teaches you to stop wasting your energy on things that don’t matter. How often does your yoga teacher tell you to “soften your eyes” or “relax your jaw”? Pretty often, probably. That’s because most of us are pros at using our energy in all the wrong ways. If you’re tensing your shoulders during a standing pose, you’re creating unnecessary tension and wasting energy. It took some time for me to bring this lesson into my daily life, but I’m slowly becoming more aware of all the ways I create unnecessary tension and waste my energy in my life. When I’m not wasting my energy on things that don’t matter (worrying about what other people think, for instance) I have more to use on the things I want or need to accomplish. And, I have yoga to thank for that.
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5. Yoga will help you get better sleep. I know, I know. If you’re a mama, sleep as you once knew it is a thing of the past. Maybe your little one is up every hour to nurse or maybe you’re just still on high alert on night, listening for any noise that might need your attention. But think about it. Yoga helps you exert some excess energy physically, tire your muscles, and help your brain chill the heck out. If that doesn’t give you the best chance at some decent shut eye (at least between feedings) I don’t know what will. A good night’s sleep is essential to a productive day in the morning.
Now, I want to hear from you. Does yoga help you get more checked off your to-do list? Do you practice yoga for increased productivity? Tell me how by commenting below.