Hello and welcome back to another episode of The Hippie Homeschooler podcast! Today’s episode is about 6 tips for staying productive while homeschooling.
When I first started in my homeschooling journey, I found myself easily sucked into what I like to call “the comfort bubble”. I was stuck in this routine of doing only things I was comfortable with. Wake up, breakfast, homeschool, chores, watch television, get ready for bed, sleep, and repeat.
I was so exhausted by the end of the day, it was very rare that I pushed myself to do anything ACTUALLY productive with my downtime. I was often left with this feeling that there were not enough hours in the day which trickled into a deep depression. There’s got to be more to life than that, right?
With the help of a few great books, YouTube videos, and historical figures, I found several tricks that have worked to get me out of “the comfort bubble” and into a life that I feel proud of. I’ve gone from being a lazy homebody to building up a small yoga business and restarting my blog/podcast all while improving my relationship with myself.
I’m sure at least one person out there is feeling stuck in some kind of mundane routine so I thought it would be really beneficial to share these tips with you all. So with all that being said, let’s dive right into my 6 tips for staying productive while homeschooling.
#1: Create A Vision Board
Unless you have been under a rock for the last year or so, I’m sure you’ve heard someone, somewhere raving about the efficacy of vision boards.
What is a vision board? Basically it’s like an old school collage where you cut out pictures or phrases from magazines that correspond to goals you have. Here is an example of my personal vision board.
As you can see my board includes some short term goals like connecting with my kids by spending less time on my phone and finding my yoga teacher voice. I also have long term goals of starting up my own business, living a more sustainable life, and loving myself and my body.
Since this board is somewhere I can see it first thing every day, these goals are at the forefront of my mind every day. It didn’t dawn on me until I recorded this podcast, but I’ve hit every single one of these goals in just 6 months since making this board.
I’ve gone from being terrified to teach a yoga class to running my own small business out of my garage. I’ve gone from wasting a ton of plastic to being the crazy person at the bulk section of the store with mason jars and reusable bags out the wazoo.
Having a vision board is a great way to visualize what it is you are working toward and to passively remind yourself of these goals daily. Even if arts and crafts aren’t your jam, you can still create a vision board. Change the background of your phone or computer to something you are trying to accomplish. Make a Pinterest board. Whatever way you can corral all your goals into one space, do that and reflect on it daily!
#2: Write Down Your Monthly Goals (And Share Them!)
This tip for staying productive while homeschooling is inspired by a really good friend of mine named Lauren. At the beginning of every month, she comes up with a handful of goals she wants to accomplish over the next 30 days then shares it social media.
At first I would just sit back and admire how driven she was until one day I realized I should probably start doing that, too! The next month that rolled around, I made myself a list of 5 things I wanted to accomplish over the next 30 days and wrote it down in my journal.
The first few months, I set the bar WAAAAY too high for myself so I was left with this feeling of being more of a failure than before. I took that negative emotion to YouTube and tried to find way to create goals and actually stick to them.
I’ve find tons of great videos for sticking to goals, but the one that stuck with me the most was about breaking down goals into sizable steps (click here to view the video for yourself).
Basically, instead of trying to meditate for 60 minutes a day and squeeze in a 75 minute vinyasa flow, I broke my goals down to a quick 5 minute yoga session followed by 5 minutes of meditation.
The first thing you will notice when you break your goals down into these small, sizeable chunks is it’s not as hard to find the motivation to start the habit in the first place. Everyone has 5 minutes they can set aside to meditate, but 60 minutes can feel really daunting after a particularly trying day.
The next thing you will notice is once you start your habit, it’s easier to keep going past the alloted time you gave yourself. Most times my vinyasa flows wind up lasting 30 minutes. BUT even if I’m only able to accomplish 5 minutes, I’ve still completed my goal for the day so I don’t feel like a failure.
#3: Create A Benjamin Franklin Journal
As promised in the podcast, here is a photo inside my own personal journal. It’s not pretty, but you get the point.
As you can see, I have 11 goals I try to accomplish every single day.
Some of these are small, self care related things like washing my face every night before I go to bed. Others are more spiritual and meaningful to me like keeping up my yoga practice and meditation.
Each day before I go to bed, I open my journal and put a little dot next to each habit I accomplished that day. This idea was largely inspired by Benjamin Franklin himself who would keep track of his virtues in a journal pretty similar to this.
The reason I love this journaling method so much is it provides a beautiful depiction of how much I am able stay on track. I am totally the type of person that misses 3 days in a row and then feels SO bogged down that I lie to myself and say it will be easier to just give up and start fresh the next month.
As you can see in my journal, I very rarely have a perfect day. Instead of feeling defeated, I can look at the big picture and see those 2 or 3 days I missed throughout the month are nothing compared to the amount of times I was able to stay on track.
This is such a small thing, but honestly it is one of the most effective tips for staying productive while homeschooling. I promise if you start one of these lists you will find huge source of motivation to keep going even if you drop the ball here and there.
#4: Find Something To Motivate You Out Of The Inevitable Rut
Even with my Benjamin Franklin inspired journaling, I still find myself falling into ruts where I miss a few days of reaching for my goals and feel like giving up. It’s that classic scenario where life gets in the way and instead of just picking back up where I left off, I figure it will be easier to wait until next month and try again.
The problem with this way of thinking is THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A RUT. Whether it’s an illness you suddenly come down with, a family emergency, a change in work schedule, something unexpected will ALWAYS happen. So instead of relying on these old and useless ideas, why not find a way to motivate yourself back toward working for your goals as soon as possible?
In yogic philosophy, there is a term called Samskara. Basically it’s a subconscious neuropathway that keeps you falling back into the same negative habits over and over again. In order to break out of these debilitating habits, you have to change the way your brain processes set backs and motivate yourself to move on.
One of my all time favorite self improvement books is called Mind Hacking by Sir John Hargrave. He not only addresses this concept of Samskara, but gives excellent practices to try in your own time to break the cycle and find motivation out of these “down” times.
I highly recommend checking out this book or heading to your local library and finding a book that resonates with you. Take notes, be proactive, DO the work these books suggest. It’s hard at first, but if you actually put in the work, you will change your ability to stay productive for the rest of your life.
#5: Make A Bucket List
If it hasn’t already become abundantly clear, I am a huge fan of lists and writing stuff down. This tip for staying productive while homeschooling is no exception.
Take 5 or 10 minutes to create a bucket list for you and your family. Make it as crazy as you want. Include things you don’t think will be possible in this lifetime or thing that scare the living shit out of you, but still sound interesting.
After you complete this list, make a second bucket list of things you want to do in your area (or within a reasonable driving distance) that you and your family have never done before. Just like with your vision board, keep this list somewhere you can access it often.
Whenever you feel like you are starting to hit a productivity rut or maybe you hit a creative block, bring out the second bucket list and go do something on it.
I realize this sounds really silly, but one thing I have learned on this productivity journey is when you mix up your normal day to day routine with things that you’ve been meaning to get done, it invites in a new sense of creativity.
This is one of the reasons why I am such a huge advocate of outdoor schooling. I truly think that by mixing up your normal routine and getting out of the house, you are inviting room for more creativity which in turn leads to more productivity.
#6: Do One Thing That Scares You Every Month
The last tip I have for staying productive while homeschooling kind of piggy backs right off #5. Instead of just breaking out of your comfort zone and doing something you want to do, go do something that’s really scary for you.
I truly believe that creativity sparks productivity. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to invite creative energy into my system is to do something I’m scared to do.
Doing something that scares you doesn’t always have to look like running a marathon because your husband watched a Yes Theory video on YouTube and convinces you it’s possible. Your something scary could be telling someone no, asking for that raise, or leaving the job that you hate.
Once you break through the wall of fear and come out on the other side alive, you will be met with a wave of positive and creative energy. Harness that moment. Write down every idea that comes to you or finish carrying out part of a project. Don’t let that good creative juice go to waste.
That Wraps Up My Tips For Staying Productive While Homeschooling
As you can see, you are totally not alone if you are stuck in a productivity rut. I hope these tips will be beneficial to you to break out of your “comfort bubble” and start living a life that makes you feel fulfilled.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions for either staying productive or harnessing productive energy. Also, let me know what your favorite self improvement books are. I’m always looking for new reads so suggestions are appreciated!
Thank you so much for tuning in and listen to my advice. I truly appreciate your continued support. Until next time. Peace out, homies!