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Meals, laundry, cleaning, household chores, childcare, routines, shopping, house admin, your actual paid work – it can feel like life as a work from home mom is just bursting with things that need to be done.
When you work from home, it can be even trickier to switch off from household and childcare tasks and actually concentrate on paid work. There is always something else that needs to be done.
The reality of being a work from home mom is very different than it sounds on paper! Balancing all the balls in the air and keeping everything running smoothly is no easy feat!
Finding ways to manage time effectively and keep a good work/life balance can be a real struggle. That’s where these time management tips come in.
Not every strategy will work for every mom, but it’s worth trying out a few techniques to see what works for you and fits in with your schedule and family life. Once you have a few time management strategies in place, it can become much easier to be productive in your work time.
1. Start with a schedule
Creating a schedule can help you stay productive throughout the day. This is the best way to make sure that you are maximizing your time. Start by outlining things like meals, errands and other necessities in order of importance so they can be worked into your daily routine. Fill out times when these tasks need to happen- including nap time and bedtime -so nothing slips through the cracks.
It’s important not only knowing what needs done on any given day but also making realistic plans about how long each task will take as well as putting them together according to priority level with regards to their necessity or urgency.
Don’t forget to set aside time for tracking income and expenses too.
2. Work when you are most productive
It’s never too early to get started on your work day. If you’re an early riser, it may be best for you to wake up before the kids and spend some time getting in a few hours of productivity without interruption from children or chores that need tending to around the house.
Others might find it easier to get stuff done in the evenings once it’s quiet in the evenings and the kids are asleep. If you have young children, maybe naptime is your most productive hour.
If you want to be productive, learn what times work best for you and plan your work schedule around when you are most likely to get it done. This will ensure that all of your time is used for completing tasks and not just wasting away! When we’re productive were less likely to be distracted and can make the absolute most of the time available.
3. Prioritize well
It may seem like you’re always busy with different projects on your plate but it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily the most productive or important tasks. Look at today’s schedule and figure out what needs to get done for TODAY, then narrow down those 3 MOST IMPORTANT TASKS of the day (the ones that need to be finished). Focus first on these urgent priorities so you can knock them out faster! Priorities are key.
Anything additional you manage to get done is a bonus.
4. Identify time sucks
Social media can be SO distracting when you’re working from home. One minute you can be super focused and the next your phone dings with a notification , and next thing you know you’ve been scrolling your feeds for an hour! Luckily Google Chrome has extensions to block this time-sucking activity by default, so you can get more done in a shorter amount of time without the temptation to procrastinate when it’s easiest.
Distractions such as TV, social media and so on can really hinder your productivity but if they help you relax you don’t have to give them up entirely! Include times for breaks in your day and enjoy those things then. Set timers so that after this period has elapsed you get back into work mode!
5. Try a timer
Challenge yourself to get things checked off of your to do list efficiently by timing yourself. You can create time blocks for work and then take 5 minute breaks every hour or so when the timer goes off, giving you a chance to stretch, go drink some water or grab something from the fridge!
This kind of working pattern is known as the Pomodoro technique and is said to be a really effective and productive way to work. 25-minute chunks of time are set aside for work with 5 minutes breaks in between each chunk or “pomodor” as they say.
What I find most interesting about this idea is that it doesn’t matter how long your pomorods are – whatever feels right to you works best! It might seem counterintuitive at first but if these periods of time aren’t enough for what needs doing then just lengthen them until your tasks get done quicker than ever before.
6. Brain dump
It’s our own minds that make us unproductive. If we have too much to think about or worry over, our attention will not be focused on what needs to be done in front of us at any given moment. A few times a week, try taking 10 minutes and doing a quick brain dump to get all thoughts and feelings out. You can even add to do lists as well. This helps stop everything building up within your head until they spill out everywhere like an overturned jar! Journaling every once in a while can also help with getting back your focus.
7. Get help when you need it
As moms we tend to do so much for our families. Constantly juggling time and managing the household while still trying to be a good parent and spend quality time as well as getting paid work done. There is nothing wrong in asking others for help when you need it most.
Ask a friend or family member to come over and watch the kids for a bit so you can work uninterrupted. You could even hire a sitter or mothers helper. Make sure your partner and kids take some responsibility for household chores so it’s not all falling on yourself.
8. Don’t forget about yourself
It can be so easy to find your schedule taken up with activities that all involve looking after other people. However, it is just as important that you take care of yourself too! You cannot live a balanced life if there are days when energy levels are low due to lack of sleep or getting caught up on work at home. Try adding self-care time into your routine whether it be an extra 15 minutes in bed, time out to read, or taking some deep breaths outside while drinking coffee while it’s actually hot.
Alongside that, make sure you’re as happy and healthy as the rest of your family. Sit down and eat when they do, take rests as needed so that you can properly recharge yourself to then go on taking care of what you need to.
Make your time work for you
It can be hard to juggle the responsibilities of a work at home mom. But once you have your schedule and techniques in place, it becomes much easier! The best way is through trial and error, figuring out what works well with your lifestyle and personality type. Once you’ve found what works for you, you’ll find managing your time so much less stressful and find yourself able to get much more done in the same amount of time.