Ever feel like you’re running on empty? That your days are a blur of working, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. At some point it feels like something has to give. On top of all of that, creating a working mom schedule can feel like the most impossible thing to do. It’s already hard enough to find time for yourself in between all the responsibilities that come with being a mom, add a career to that, and you’re basically burning your candle at both ends.
You are in luck though because I’m here to tell you that finding time for yourself doesn’t have to be difficult! A daily routine can help immensely by giving you some structure and clarity when determining what needs to get done each day.
This blog post will provide a complete guide on how to create a daily routine as a working mom. Whether it’s finding the perfect balance of work and family life or just getting your sanity back, this blog is for you! Let’s get started!
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Why should working moms have a daily schedule?
If you are like I used, perhaps you have been winging it! Instead of setting a daily schedule you go with the flow like you did pre spouse and kids. But, if you are like me then you are likely barreling towards burnout.
Living on coffee and a prayer is perfect when you are only responsible for yourself, maybe you thrive on that drama, but as a working woman with children, it becomes a lot harder to stay on top of all the tasks you are manage. And you know there is a lot of mental tasks you are managing as a working mom.
Daily schedules are so important for working moms because they build routine into what could be complete chaos. Routines are also beneficial because they provide structure, direction and they create an opportunity to improve efficiency. When you are juggling children, work and home responsibilities, having some order is beneficial for your physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Routines are the key to productivity and sustainably being able to manage the things that you manage as a working mom. A well defined working mom schedule also increases your ability to set healthy boundaries around your time and energy! Successful parenting as a working mom through sustainable scheduling is just a few paragraphs away!
How to create a realistic working mom schedule?
So how does one actually create a sustainable working mom schedule? Well it starts with making a commitment to simplifying life! Routines and schedules automatically simplify the mental load of motherhood because once created you can begin placing ownership of different tasks on your loved ones and others in the household.
Now lets dig into my simple 4 step process of creating a sustainable daily routine.
Define your priority tasks
The first thing you want to do before actually creating your schedule is to define your priorities. I call this my non-negotiable list. These are the tasks that you would want as part of you ideal day! I talk more about your ideal day in my book Finding Time, but in short, this is what a realistic day would look like if you had time to do all the things you want to do and the things you need to do.
Non-negotiable priority tasks are things like:
- spending time with children/family
Essentially they are tasks that help you steward your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health well. List these, there should be between 2-5. More than this makes for an unrealistic schedule.
Minimize tasks that you need to manage
The next thing you want to do is to evaluate your schedule and minimize the things that you have to manage. That is to say, cutting out the distractions and tasks that can either be delegated, automated, or outsourced. You are in essence trimming the fat away from your schedule.
In order to do this, you would ideally evaluate your current schedule over a week, listing out all of the tasks that you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed. If however you are ready to dive right into a better schedule right now, simply try to list out everything that you did today.
Can you pinpoint spaces where your time was wasted? Points in the day where you felt obligated to complete tasks? Listing this and seeing exactly how your day matches up to the ideal day we spoke about earlier can be quite eye opening!
Learn God’s intention for Time Stewardship
Embrace a rhythm of working and resting and get more done! Take our Purposeful Productivity Challenge and find more time for the daily tasks that matter and quickly begin creating routines that prioritize rest.
Plan by the weekly and daily
The next thing you will want to do to create a realistic working mom schedule is to list out all the tasks you have for the week to complete and then plan out your days based on those tasks. This can include creating space for cleaning, cooking, and self-care.
I like to use a block schedule to actually create my daily routine. This makes it easy to place my non-negotiable tasks in my daily routine.
Test out a daily routine and assess as needed
The last thing that you will want to do is to test out this routine. You will find quite quickly if there is tension that does not subside. This will provide the catalyst to adjust the schedule.
This is also an opportunity for you to practice time management skills that I talk about in my book Finding Time. Usually during this process of creating a working mom schedule, you will find one or two days where you cannot complete all your tasks. If there are only few instances like this it likely does not pose a problem. If however you find yourself struggling to complete something daily, you may want to evaluate how much time it is really worth spending on that task!
This is crucial! We want to create schedules that are realistic and sustainable, that means being realistic about the time it takes to complete a task and the priority that task has in your day.
An example of this is cooking for me. I LOVE cooking, I love elaborate meals and offering healthy options for my family. I also have a picky 9 year old who only eats 7-8 different items. I could spend my time making elaborate meals that take up time and then end up feeding my child cereal because he would go hungry vs eating anything but his staples, or I can make the simple balanced meal he likes and keep it moving.
Obviously, I chose the later and we have new food saturday when there is more time available for me to cook. Cooking is a necessity, but elaborate meals was an option. Choosing to minimize this task helped clear space for things that did matter.
Tips for maintaining a realistic Schedule
After you have created and reassessed your daily routine life’s grand right? Well, its not quite that easy. One of the questions I get most often when helping working moms create realistic schedules is, “How do I maintain this schedule?”
And honestly, this question is the most honest, because that’s motherhood right? You try your hardest to keep everything straight, and then here comes a curveball (read: sick child, volunteering requirement, school projects). Life gets messy, but I do have a few tricks that can help you maintain your routine.
Create Schedules that Prioritize Rest
This tip is first because for me, this is the most important thing for cultivating calm as a working mom. When your schedule prioritizes rest, you are less likely to overbook your plans or overcommit yourself.
You want to create a schedule that gives you permission to rest. This means scheduling in breaks, a stopping point for your day, and cushion. This way you can recharge and stay present.
This is why I like to schedule in my non-negotiables, this enables me to stop at a stopping point (specifically the end of the day) and know these tasks MUST be completed before anything else!
Looking for more tips on time management? Check out all of our productivity resources
Maintain Margins in your day
It is impossible to stay consistent with a realistic schedule if you are constantly filling every spare moment in your day with tasks. Constantly trying to add one more check mark to your to do list! This tip for creating a sustainable mom schedule encourages you to maintain the breaks.
You want to resist the urge to always be doing something. Society has made us believe that if we are not doing a task then we can not be productive, but this is so far from the actual truth!
The truth is, when you are working on a task, your brain is focusing on that so very intensely. Taking a break gives your brain the rest it needs to come back fresh and ready for more!
Try time block scheduling
Another way to maintain your daily routine is to create it using time blocking. That is dedicating a specific block of time to doing a single task. This allows you to focus on that particular task or sets of tasks, but also keeps you from overworking on any one task or part of your daily routine.
Time blocking keeps your day moving along. It gives you dedicated space for a particular task and then gives you the freedom to move on to others. It also keeps you from being distracted by time sucking tasks like emails.
Learn to say no
Setting healthy boundaries is a skill that every working mom should have for life, but it is particularly important when it comes to maintaining your schedules and routines. It requires that you assess the situation from all angles and determine its importance for your day or life.
Is it going to help me through my day? Is this a task I need to complete? Is this a responsibility I can pass on, or is it important for me to do this.
Once you have determined the items importance for your daily routine figure out how they can fit into your schedule.
Simplify your life
One of our steps for creating a working mom schedule was to minimize the things that we have to manage. This is something we want to do in every aspect of our lives. If you have less items in your home, there are less things to clean.
Less afterschool activities, means more time for free meaningful activities together as a family. In truth, less is more when it comes to time management. The less you have to do, the more time you have to do it!
Use a Planner
One of the biggest mistakes moms make with their schedules is not writing it down. Now, while the world may consider us superwomen, we know that we are all just trying our best. With that said, when we try our best but forget to actually write things down, we have at least a 50/50 chance that we will forget the task, schedule, or routine. Do yourself a favor and just write it down.
This is not a slight to us, in fact it shows our humanity to our children and allows them to also pick up great habits like using a planner.
Realistic Working Mom Daily Schedules
Creating a sustainable schedule as a working mom is not easy, but it can be done with some planning and consistency. The first step to creating an effective time management plan for the work-at-home parent requires defining your priorities. What are you committed to? Your family? Your career? Both? Once you know what matters most, you should minimize those tasks that don’t have high priority by delegating them or outsourcing them altogether.
Next, create a realistic weekly schedule based on days of the week instead of just relying on monthly calendars which often leave too many open spaces in each day’s timeline. Finally, reassess your daily routine consistently – even if it means putting down your phone for 15 minutes every hour so that you can reset.
If these tips resonated with you, we recommend you purchase our book Finding Time which has been designed specifically with working moms in mind! We hope these strategies help make managing your days easier so that both yourself and those around you benefit from a happier home environment.