Ep #94: How to Start Feeling More Rested and Recharged as a Busy Parent

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | How to Start Feeling More Rested and Recharged as a Busy Parent

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | How to Start Feeling More Rested and Recharged as a Busy Parent

Parenting can be exhausting, right? There is always so much to do and get done, and it feels like there is a never-ending to-do list we have to contend with. With constant permission slips to sign, laundry to do, lunches to make – let alone working and trying to stay in touch with people – life is busy.

There seems to always be a million things we need to do and think about at the same time, and it can lead us to storm alongside our kids because we’re not getting enough rest. But I have the key to feeling more rested, staying regulated, and being less stressed, and I can’t wait to share this with you today.

In this episode, I’m sharing the concept of The Productivity Quadrant and showing you how to use it to start feeling more recharged, refreshed, and rejuvenated in your life. Find out how you may be doing things that you think are productive but are actually robbing you of your energy and restoration, and some examples of how you can apply this work in your own life to start feeling more energized.


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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How The Productivity Quadrant works and how to use it in your life.
  • What it means to be intentionally productive.
  • How you could be robbing yourself of opportunities to connect with your loved ones.
  • The benefits of being intentionally unproductive.
  • Why not having enough rest leads to you feeling depleted and resentful, and how to change it.


Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Click here to sign up for my free Peaceful Parenting mini-course! You’ll find everything you need to continue on the path to peaceful parenting over there just waiting for you. 
  • If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us or message us on Instagram
  • DM me on Instagram with your favorite planner recommendations!
  • Click here to see The Productivity Quadrant.


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome to today’s episode. I am so excited today to share with you what I think could be one of the greatest tools and moving you down the path of peaceful parenting. Now, let me ask you, parenting can be exhausting, right. Life in this day and age is so busy. There is so much to do and get done. It feels like a never ending to do list. I have to squirrel away any downtime I have, right?

I mean, come on. There’s permission slips to sign and laundry to do and lunches to make and dinner to prepare and soccer practice to get to and trying to get my kids off gaming. That’s even without a job and shopping for presents and staying in touch with people. I mean, life is busy.

As parents, how often do we storm alongside our kids because we simply do not have enough rest. We always seem to be rushed. There always seems to be a million things we need to do and think about all at the same time. Right? Are you part of this group? I know I am. Well, let me tell you, I think I found the key to feeling more rested, staying more regulated, and being less stressed about everything that needs to get done. I cannot wait to share this with you today. I’m so excited to bring you today’s episode.

Now if you know me at all personally, you know that I am a time management geek. I love it. I study it. I read books. I’m always working on ways to be more efficient. Like one of my favorite days is a day when I just feel efficient all day, and I get to check things off my to do list. Like I am a check off the to do list kind of girl.

I also totally geek out on planners. If you use a planner, chances are I’ve used it, I bought it. I have an opinion about it, and I just love planners. If you think you have the perfect planner, slide over to the_peaceful_parent, and leave me a DM with your favorite planner. I would just love. I love talking about planners. Honestly, I should have been a planner designer because really time management, planners, to do lists, lists. Oh my goodness, it’s my jam.

I think, again, that I have found the key for you to feel, now get this, more rested, more regulated, and less stressed about everything that needs to get done. I’ve developed something that I call the productivity quadrant. If you look at the picture that we’ve attached to this podcast, you’ll see my productivity quadrant, all right. It works like this. In the top, you basically take a piece of paper, and you make four boxes all touching each other.

In the upper left, or quadrant one, is intentionally productive. Okay, and quadrant two to the left of it moving from left to right in the top part of the paper, quadrant two is intentionally unproductive. Then we move to the bottom half of the paper. Quadrant three, again, moving left to right is unintentionally productive. Quadrant four is unintentionally unproductive. What I want to talk about today, and what I want to encourage you to do is live in the top half of the paper, intentionally productive and intentionally unproductive.

So let me state my case here. The joy, the rest, the regulation, everything that you’re looking for falls in quadrant one and quadrant two. So living in the top half of the paper. Okay. So let me break this down for you. Intentionally productive. It’s when we spend our time as being purposely productive. Right?

This is easy to figure out, easy to understand. You’re being intentionally productive, right? It’s when we have a schedule, or we know what we want to get done each day. Or we’re living off a to do list, right? We’re focused, and we can crank through the work that we had planned to do that day. We’re being intentionally productive. We’re being productive on purpose.

Like I know what I’m doing all day today. I’ve had an incredibly scheduled day. It’s one of my favorite days, and I’m just going through the schedule. I started the morning with the client, then I taught a class on sibling fighting. Then I had a meeting with my team, then I had a doctor’s appointment. Now I’m recording the podcast, which I’ve planned all day. Then I have my group coaching happening after this. I’m being intentionally productive today because I’m following a schedule.

If we move to the next quadrant, which is quadrant number two, then we’re being intentionally unproductive. This one is like what the what. But I have found that if I scheduled time each week to be intentionally unproductive, to be intentional with doing nothing, it helps me feel energized, focused, regulated and ready to take on the world. This doesn’t have to be hours upon hours of the day. It can be just 15 or 20 minutes that you schedule. So that’s the intentional part. It isn’t just cropping up out of the blue. It’s scheduled, and you’re doing nothing productive.

Now, hopefully, a light bulb is going on right now. Let me say that in intentionally unproductive time, we’re not using that time to get caught up on peaceful parenting podcasts. We’re not reading Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart. We’re not diving down into thought work. We’re not folding laundry. This is the time to do absolutely nothing productive.

It’s important for you to find activities that restore you during this downtime. It might be sitting on the couch and reading a book. It might be sitting on the couch and staring at a wall. It might be watching YouTube videos about cats who see cucumbers. It might be striking a couple yoga poses. It might be listening to a relaxation app. It might be taking a drive to nowhere and back.

It might be sitting in the school parking lot, waiting for your kids to get out of school, and closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths while listening to classical music. Rather than getting out of the car and listening to other moms complain. It might be listening to an episode of your guilty pleasure on Netflix. It might be taking a walk. It might be texting memes to your bestie. I want you to think about what is it that restores you, body and soul. I want you to consider scheduling 15 to 20 minutes a day at a time that works really well for you to be intentionally unproductive.

When you do this, you avoid getting down into the bottom quadrant, which is unintentionally productive. Unintentionally productive is the quadrant that we want to stay out of. Right? This is where you’re bored or you’re procrastinating doing something, and you hit a brick wall of not knowing what to do. So maybe you feel like well, if I’m not working on that project at work then I need to go do something like start a load of laundry. Or I know I’m procrastinating and I’m bored, but I feel obligated, that’s the key word, to still be productive somehow.

So instead of taking time to renew or refresh or restore ourselves, we start digging into something that randomly catches our eye, like cleaning out a closet or a junk drawer or throwing in a load of laundry or washing the car or reading a self-help book that we didn’t plan on reading to justify being restful because you’re reading, but it’s not productive. Because you’re trying to be unintentionally productive. You’re avoiding doing something you should be doing. And instead of saying you know what? I need some downtime. You’re replacing it with something that’s productive, but not necessary or helpful.

When you engage in unintentionally unproductive activities, it robs you of your energy, and it doesn’t fill the cup or restore you. So many of us parents get caught up in this. We’re doing things because instead of being intentionally productive or because we need a break from the day, we’re doing things that are not restorative. I really want to encourage you to think about this and move away from spending time in quadrant three known as unintentionally productive. Yeah.

Okay. Then the other one that’s a real problem is unintentionally unproductive. This is when in our boredom or when we hit the brick wall, and we just can’t take another minute, we start doing something that isn’t planned and isn’t productive. So we’re being unintentionally unproductive. All of a sudden we’re scrolling Facebook or YouTube or Amazon or we’re playing Candy Crush, or we go to the refrigerator or the cabinet to see what there is to snack on.

It’s unplanned. It’s unproductive. For many of us, at the end of the day, it leaves us feeling guilty and ashamed of the time we wasted. That is why I want to encourage you to stay out of quadrant four because of the guilt and the shame that come up, of the time wasted, and because at the end of it, we don’t feel replenished, restored, revitalized. If we do this right before we interact with our kids, what I know is we’re much, much, much, much more likely to end up triggered and storming alongside our kids. Much more often.

I used to spend a lot of time in unintentionally unproductive. A lot of time. It led to a lot of feelings of feeling bad about myself and my parenting and my job and how I show up in the world. When I started scheduling 15 minutes of intentionally unproductive time, oh, it was an absolute game changer for me.

So my son comes home every day about five o’clock. At about 20 to five, I scheduled 20 minutes of just sitting on the couch, and intentionally resting, meditating, and letting my mind wander. So when he walks in the door. I’m restored. I’m calm. I don’t have guilt. I planned it into my day, and I’ve taken a few minutes for myself before I begin the job of connecting and parenting and seeking cooperation from him.

Now, let me tell you how this kind of came about. I started considering these quadrants one Saturday morning when I found myself being resentful of my husband as he sat on the couch comfortably with no shame guilt being intentionally unproductive and watching a movie. I know, on a Saturday morning.

I know, I know. Like you maybe my manual says Saturday mornings are for being intentionally productive by cleaning the house or raking the leaves or cleaning the pool or exercising or going grocery shopping. You know cranking through all the weekly household chores.

I remember thinking to myself how dare he sit and watch a movie on a Saturday morning? How dare he? What he didn’t understand is that by being intentionally unproductive, it sets him up to be intentionally productive for the rest of the weekend and feeling restored, revitalized, and in a good mood.

So I was, on this particular Saturday morning, storming around the house huffing and puffing as I’m thinking about how dare he? He simply looked over at me and said, “You know, you could watch a movie on a Saturday morning too. No one’s making you be productive. No one’s making you do these chores.” He said, “No one declares Saturday mornings as national get chores done morning.”

I thought huh, wow. I mean literally I had never considered taking a break on a Saturday morning and being intentionally unproductive. It never dawned on me. To restore means to recharge or refresh or rejuvenate. Many of you may have never experienced this feeling, like me. You’ve never considered what is a good time each day to be intentionally unproductive as a means of restoration, as a means to recharge and refresh.

So for my husband, he finds Saturday mornings as the perfect time to be intentionally unproductive. It really sets him up to feel recharged, refreshed, and rejuvenated all weekend long. Maybe it’s not Saturday morning for you. Maybe it’s at a different time. Maybe it’s not watching a movie. Maybe it’s taking a shower or walking outside to get fresh air or sitting in the warm sun or journaling.

Maybe it’s sitting alone in silence, staring at a wall. Or maybe it’s being in community with people. Maybe it’s making a phone call to your best friend, and just cutting up over the phone. Maybe it’s reading a trashy romance novel? No, just me. Okay, no problem. I do enjoy that.

The point of this is I want to encourage you to ask yourself, what is it that delights your soul? What is it? How would you spend that intentionally unproductive time? And when each day would you do it? Can you give yourself 15 minutes each day? Can you go into curious and ask yourself hmm, I wonder what would happen if I tried this?

Because my guess is if you aren’t setting time to be intentionally unproductive, you’re probably spending a lot of time being unintentionally productive, cleaning out the cabinet under the sink when you shouldn’t be. You’re spending time being unintentionally unproductive endlessly scrolling Facebook when you shouldn’t be. Right? That bottom half of the quadrant is not where we want to live as real world peaceful parents.

Now, if you still can’t find the answer, try asking yourself what things are you typically doing in your downtime that don’t fill your cup? Fill those in, in the quadrants. Go okay, I know what doesn’t work. Scrolling endlessly on Facebook in the middle of the day doesn’t work. But what would work?

If you’re filling your downtime with things that are not restorative, like cleaning out cabinets, or doing laundry, or doing chores when it doesn’t leave you filling up your cup. At the end of it, you feel like you have nothing to give your kids or your spouse, then stop doing them.

These habitual unproductive things are likely robbing you of the opportunity to do things that will restore your soul, replenish your capacity to be regulated, energized, and available for connection with those you love the most. Instead, being intentionally productive can lead to feelings of resentment and anger. It’s hard to be a peaceful parent when you’re walking around with feelings of resentment and anger.

If you’re watching TV or movie that you’re not enjoying, and it’s not filling your cup then stop. If scrolling through social media gives you FOMO, fear of missing out, and makes you feel bad about your current life then stop. If playing Candy Crush on your phone does not relax you and restore you and allow you to connect with your kids then stop. Stop doing the things that don’t serve you. At least stop relying on and expecting these things to restore you.

It’s not that you have to stop finding any pleasure in these activities. My point is question it. Question what you’re doing. Is this an intentionally unproductive activity? Because if it restores you, it will feel that way. Find the activities that fill your cup and restore your capacity for connection, focus, and productivity.

Let me tell you, this has absolutely been a game changer for me. I’m so confident that if you are often feeling resentful, depleted, and storming alongside your kids from sheer exhaustion. Like I never get a minute. I never have any downtime. I never get to do anything for me. Then you need to spend 15 or 20 minutes each day in the intentionally unproductive quadrant.

Spend at least 85-90% of your day in quadrant one and two, and leave quadrant three and four behind. It’s an absolute game changer. I 100% promise. Give it a shot. Let me know how it goes. Jump over to my DM on Instagram and let me know what you think. Until we meet again, I’m wishing you peaceful parenting.

Thank you so much for listening today. I want to personally invite you to head over to thepeacefulparent.com/welcome and sign up for my free peaceful parenting minicourse. You’ll find everything you need to get started on the path to peaceful parenting just waiting for you over there at www.thepeacefulparent.com/welcome. I can’t wait for you to get started.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit thepeacefulparent.com. See you soon.


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About the author

Lisa Smith

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