24 Help Time Management Tips for Busy Moms
Ever feel like there aren't enough hours in one day? I get you. I totally do. Time management is a tricky thing. When I started on my work-at-home journey, the biggest struggle I had was time management. I don't have regular working hours. Sure, I don't have to commute, but being a work-at-home mom means I am also in charge of keeping the household running while keeping my business up and running at the same time.
For the first few months it was hard. I would start working when my husband, my mother, and my son took off, only to get interrupted when my daughter would wake up and I needed to give her breakfast and get her day started. Before I knew it, my son would come home from school and the kids would want a snack. Then the time came to make dinner and before I knew it was 6 PM and I had a feeling like I haven't done anything.
It took me a while to come up with a system and make changes. And let me tell you, it has made a world of difference. One thing I learned while I was experimenting is that time management is more of a habit than a science. It is a habit that you nurture, build on, tweak and play with. Studies show that for a habit to become a habit it takes 21 days. I’d suggest you pick any one of the time management tips in this post and practice it for 21 days at a stretch.
Time Management Tips
Credit: Jamie in Bytown.
1. Set Your Alarm for 15 minutes Earlier Than Usual
I used to scoff at this idea thinking how is 15 minutes extra going to help me at all. Until I tried it. Whether it's to check my to do list, or just spend some time to myself in peace and quiet (and we all know moms can use some peace and quiet from time to time!), those extra 15 minutes really do make a difference!
2. Use a Timer
A timer is a great way to keep you on track and motivate you to work faster. But there is no point in setting the timer for any amount of time until you know how much time you actually need to complete a task. So experiment for a few days, and then get down to business, divide your task into Heavy, Big, and Small and set your timer accordingly. You can also try the Pomodoro technique and variations of it.
3. Learn to Focus
Sometimes your biggest distraction can be you! If you are working, whether it's writing a blog post or coming up with a product, resist the temptation to check your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. I found it hard to work on a project and constantly check my email. The timer comes in handy; if you set it for 45 minutes to work on your blog post, don't do anything else in those 45 minutes. You'll be surprised how often you find yourself finishing the task even before the time is up.
4. Practice Smart Multi-tasking
I am a HUGE fan of just doing the one thing at a time. However, smart multi-tasking can be possible and can make your life so much simpler, especially when dealing with distractions that involve other people or household chores. The idea is to make multitasking intentional and purposeful and not leave you feeling overwhelmed.
5. Expect The Unexpected
As a work-at-home mom, I quickly learned that there will be distractions. I've come to know what can happen and what to expect so I learned to plan accordingly. You CAN do the same. In fact, you have to. For the next week, pay attention to your most common distractions and then over the weekend, brainstorm ways to handle those distractions.
6. Divide And Delegate
Think about everything you need to do in one day. If need be, write it all down on one massive TO DO list. Now be brutally honest: Which of these things can be done by someone else? If you have kids, are there any easy chores that they can do? Picking up toys, or even laundry can be done by kids, even younger ones. For parents of tweens, they can help you out by sweeping the floors or even dusting and vacuuming—at least their room, or taking out the trash. Can your husband make the bed in the morning? You don't have to be a wonder woman to be a great mom and wife.
7. Get Organized the Night Before
Want an easy, stress-free morning?
- Lay out clothes for yourself and the kids.
- Check homework and projects to see everything is completed and in the backpack.
- Place backpacks near the door.
- Plan lunchbox menu and if possible, pack lunches and put in the refrigerator.
- Check fuel in the car.
- Prepare the kitchen table for breakfast—set up your coffee maker, put out plates and cups, cereal, pancake mix. That way the only thing you have to grab is milk and eggs from the fridge in the morning.
8. Go to Bed on Time
Part of why I stress going to bed on time is that I also stress waking up early. While there are many benefits to waking up early, the most important for me during school days is that I get a head start on both chores and work well before it is time for my daughter to wake up.