Time management for work at home moms is one of the hardest things to figure out when it comes to working at home. Children are unpredictable and you never know what each day will hold but you still have to get things done. This is where having a routine comes in. We will talk more about the routine later in the post but we are going to talk all about how to get things done as a work at home mom.
First things first…
Let’s talk about setting realistic expectations. Working from home with children is no easy feat but what makes it worse is having unrealistic expectations.
If you have a toddler at home who won’t play by themselves then you have to schedule work time when they aren’t around.
If you expect to get work done while they are around and then you can’t, it’s just going to make you more frustrated. You know your children and how they act so use that to plan out your work day.
Let’s hop into the tips for moms who work from home.
This helps so much. Everyone knows that you are more productive when you are dressed and out of your pajamas. For some people getting dressed might mean putting on leggings and a t-shirt and for others, it might be putting on business attire. Do whatever works best for you.
Getting dressed gets you in the mindset of getting things done. When we sit around in our pajamas all day it makes it easier to sit on the couch or go lay down and not get as much done. There’s nothing wrong with those things but it’s just more productive to get dressed and ready for the day.
Related: 10 Daily Habits You Need To Have
Work when you are most productive
For most people, there is a time of day that you are more productive.
For me, it’s at night. I’m much more productive at night than in the morning. For you, it might be that you are better in the morning or during the middle of the day.
Try to schedule as much work time as you can during your peak productivity hours.
Cut out what you can
This one is probably obvious but a lot of us take on way more than we can handle.
Cut out any jobs or tasks that you can to make your life easier. This might mean hiring an assistant or cutting back some things. Find a balance where you don’t feel overwhelmed by your work.
Break things down
The next big tip is to break things down into smaller parts. If you are working on a large task then break it down into smaller pieces to make it more doable. You can do this through what is called mind mapping.
One way to do it is to grab a poster board and some sticky notes. You will want to write your big idea down and then use the sticky notes to break it down into smaller parts. Then you can check off the sticky notes as you go.
If you create a big to-do list then break that down into a daily to-do list so you don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve created a printable to help you do just that!
My tip is for you to take the big to-do list sheet and write out your to-dos for the week and then take the weekly breakdown sheet and break the massive list into smaller parts throughout the week. This will help you from getting overwhelmed and then in turn getting less done because you don’t know where to start.
You could even take it a step further and have a to-do list for home stuff and a to-do list for work stuff, this way you can focus on each when it’s time.
It’s also a good idea to make your to-do list at night. This way you can wake up in the morning and know exactly what you need to get done and not have to worry about sitting down to make a list with all the kids around.
Block out times to work
Have you heard of a block schedule? I know some people swear by it so it’s worth giving it a try.
I’ve never been able to stick to it but truthfully I haven’t tried that hard. I need to get better at it but I definitely say it’s worth a try.
Even if you don’t use the block schedule, it’s important to schedule times when you are going to work.
This might be during nap time or in the morning before your kids wake up.
Make a routine
If you don’t follow the block schedule you should at least follow a routine. This will help you get more done since you know what is coming next.
When you just wing it every day you are less likely to be productive because you’re too busy focused on what comes next.
I know some people aren’t schedule people, that’s why I said routine. You can have a routine of things that you get done each day that aren’t time oriented like a schedule.
Get rid of distractions
During your block of time to do work you need to make sure that you block out any distractions.
Put your phone on airplane mode so it doesn’t distract you.
You might even want to look into buying noise-canceling headphones to help you stay focused. This all depends on your personality and how you function best when trying to get things done.
Set a timer
This tip has been a game-changer for me. When I make my to-do list I like to write time estimates beside each thing.
Then when I sit down to do that thing I’ll set a timer and allow myself to only work on it for that long.
If it doesn’t get done then I’ll come back to it later. This helps me stay focused because I feel more motivated to get things done in the time that I’ve allotted for them.
I know, I know, you work from home so you can stay home with your kids but just hear me out.
It might be beneficial to have someone watch your child for a few hours a week so that you can focus on work and get more done.
This way you are more engaged with your child when they are home because you aren’t having to worry about getting work done.
Having focused work time with no children can mean you have more focused and meaningful time with your children.
Do what works for you
This is the most important tip but do what works best for you. There might be some trial and error but you need to make sure you do what works best for you and your personality.
Being productive is going to look different for everyone and it’s even going to look different during different seasons of life. Find what works best for you and then stick to it.
What are some of your tips for being productive when working from home?