Are you looking for some time management tips that can help you get more done as a work at home mom?
Working from home is a great way to boost your family’s income and still cover mom duties. But getting everything done can be a real struggle.
Especially if you’re working from home with kids in the picture all day.
Because while you can come up with ways to keep them busy, you can’t just leave them to your own devices all the time. And even if your kids are in school, you may still be juggling to get your work tasks handled before they get home.
Bottom line? Being a work at home mom means you need to be a time management master.
Because here’s what happens when you aren’t managing your time wisely:
- You lose focus and end up distracted.
- Instead of being more productive, you’re constantly struggling to keep up with your to-do list.
- You’re not intentional with your time so you end up wasting a lot of it.
- Things fall through the cracks and some part of your life ends up suffering.
- You get stressed out and frustrated with what you’re not able to do.
All those things? They’re bad.
But you don’t have to be stuck. I’ve got some time management tips that can help you make the most of your days.
1. Start with a planner
Having a planner is insanely helpful when you struggle with time management as a work at home mom.
A planner–whether you prefer paper versions or digital planners–can help you create a roadmap to follow every day.
For example, you can use the time-blocking technique to build chunks of time into your day for work, mom stuff, kid stuff, etc. And you can also use your planner to keep track of doctor’s appointments, play days, birthdays–anything else you have going on.
2. Ditch time-wasters
I’m not afraid to admit that Facebook is hands-down my biggest time-waster. It’s so easy to just scroll, scroll, scroll the minutes away and never get a thing done.
If you’re trying to incorporate time management tips as a work at home mom, figure out what your biggest time drains are.
For example, how well is your morning routine working? What about in the evenings when you’re making dinner and picking up the house?
Breaking down your day using a time tracking app is a good way to find the weak spots in your schedule. Or you could just go old school and keep a time diary where you write down what you do throughout the day.
The method you use isn’t as important as figuring out what you’re wasting time on. Once you do that, you can start reshaping your days.
3. Break up your to-do list
To-do lists are great until they become overwhelming.
If you have too many things to do, either at work or at home, you might just feel like walking away from your list altogether.
The problem is that nothing gets done that way. And all the time management tips in the world won’t help if you feel completely swamped.
Looking at your list differently can help you get over the mental hump and start making progress. The key is prioritizing what’s on your list.
Ask yourself what the most important things are that you need to get done that day and what can wait. Then, consider how much time it’s going to take you to do each one.
Look at your schedule to see how much time you actually have available, then assign specific blocks of time for each task.
And don’t get caught up in trying to do everything perfectly, ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that, literally.
Pick the most critical things you need to focus on for that day, do the very best you can with each of them and move on to the next item on the list.
4. Batch tasks
Batching isn’t a new concept. But it’s one of the most helpful time management tips to know when you work at home.
It’s not complicated, either. All it really means is grouping similar activities together and doing them in the same window of time.
If you’re a freelance writer, for instance, you might batch answering emails or editing or sending out pitches to your editors.
If you’re a blogger, your batch list might include a block of time for writing blog posts, another for drafting and editing them and another for creating Pinterest images.
Batching works because it keeps you zeroed in on tasks that have a related theme.
You’re not switching back and forth between things that are completely different, making you more efficient because it’s easier to stay on task.
5. Pick the right frog to eat first
“Eat the frog” is a piece of productivity advice that says you should always start your day by doing the thing that you don’t really want to do first. By getting it out of the way, you can theoretically destress the rest of your day.
So, that’s great advice but…. here’s a slightly different strategy you can try instead. Go for the quick win right out of the gate.
For example, if you have three items on your to-do list and you know that you can knock one of them out quickly, tackle that one first. Then turn your attention to what’s left.
This works for me because I’m the I-work-better-under-pressure type. And if you’re the same way, it could give you a motivational boost to get the rest of your to-do list done.
6. Stop multitasking
Here’s a nice little truth bomb for you: multitasking doesn’t work.
Humans just aren’t wired that way; we’re better at getting things done when we’re focused on thing at a time.
But as a busy work at home mom who’s doing all the things, it can be hard to break out of the multitasking mentality.
So here’s what I suggest: set a timer for 20 minutes and commit to doing just one thing until your time is up. Take a quick break then reset the timer and pick up where you left off. This is called the Pomodoro Technique.
By doing one thing for a set window of time, you can train your mind to get in the habit of working on tasks quickly, without distractions.
7. Think ahead
Here’s one of the best time management tips to know as a work at home mom: planning ahead wins the day.
Thinking and planning ahead can help you out with managing the big things and the small things.
It can be as simple as writing down the things you need to do the next day the night before or prepping all your meals for the week.
Just remember that if you’re planning something for a way out in the future, to leave room in your plan for any curve balls life might throw at you.
8. Get the kids to pitch in
Running a household and running a business at the same time is pretty much one of the hardest things ever.
The great thing about being a working from home is that you’ve got built-in helpers in the form of your kids.
My kids do their own laundry, take care of our pets, clean their rooms and help with yard work. That’s probably not a lot compared to what other kids might be doing but every little thing they do that I don’t have to is huge.
It’s not just the housework that kids can get involved with either. There might be ways that you can get them to help with your business.
If you have an older child, they can keep younger ones occupied while you work. Your teenage son or daughter could be your go-to source for tech support or social media advice. Even younger kids can help with things like filing or sorting.
Just remember when you’re delegating tasks to keep them age-appropriate so you don’t have to go back later and spend time redoing something.
Outsourcing is a good way to free up valuable time in your day and help you ditch chores or tasks that aren’t your favorite.
What you outsource depends largely on your budget.
Not every mom can afford to hire a maid and a virtual assistant and a lawn care service while sending their clothes to the dry cleaner every week and having pre-made meals delivered daily. (And if you can, I want to know your money secret!)
If you can only outsource one or two things, pick the ones that are going to give you the best return on your investment, in terms of money spent vs. time saved.
10. Make the most of kid-free time
If you’re a work at home mom who’s doing it all, sometimes you just need a break from your kids.
That could be when they’re in school if you work from home or while they’re spending the night at a friend’s.
When the kids are away, you might have a prime opportunity to get some work done or get caught up around the house. So pick one or two things that will have the most impact business-wise or at home and work on those during that time.
Don’t commit all your kid-free time to work or cleaning or catching up on laundry, though.
Take some of that time, even if it’s just a few minutes, for some self-care. It’s so important to spend a little time on yourself and you’ll feel so much better for it afterward.
What are your best time management tips for work at home moms?
Working from home can be completely awesome but it can also be exhausting. That’s where time management tips can be your best friend for cutting down the chaos in your days.
So over to you!
Do you have a killer hack or tip for keeping your schedule in check? Share your best time management tips in the comments.
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