Feeling overwhelmed, overcommitted, generally over it? This is a common theme for many working moms I talk to and if I’m honest women in general. We seem to collect tasks on our to do list like busyness is going out of style. Often in the name of “women are excellent multitaskers!” But just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should! And Just because we are getting things done on our to do list, does not mean that we are actually being productive!
Time management is a struggle for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for busy moms. If you feel like your days are filled with errands and tasks, try these time management tips to help you get back on track. Whether you have a few minutes or an hour, every little bit of organization helps and these tips will help you maximize the time you have while also making sure to prioritize the rest you need.
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How do working moms manage their time?
Managing your time as working mom can be quite the feat! Trying to manage your career and growth with the schedules of the modern child along with family obligations, it can be tricky! So how do working moms do it?
Well I have found that if I am simply consistent, (with whatever it is that I choose to do) then time management gets to be a little bit easier! Now you may be saying… yea, that’s the part that is tricky for me, and I agree. Consistency with time management and scheduling can be tough, but its not impossible.
The trick is to be consistent at the simple. That is, to create a schedule, routine, and life plan that is simplified down to the basics. Managing life this way, from a place of simplicity and easier living is probably the number one life hack that has really made an impact on how I do our family’s schedule.
The tips that I will share for time management are all coming from a place of simplified life! That’s really the beginning of time management for working moms.
Time management tips for working moms
As I mentioned above, the time management tips for working moms I am about to share all come from a place of simplified living, I am not a minimalist by any stretch, but we have minimized the things that we have to manage so that the things that do require time managing are so much easier to fit into our day and routine.
1. Set deadlines and keep them
I cannot stress enough how important this one time management tip is, and I am constantly reminding myself of it as well. If you have deadlines for something and they aren’t kept, than what good are they? So set a deadline and try your best to keep it. It helps accomplish so much more when we can accomplish our tasks within the time that we set.
This also guarantees that you are not encroaching on time you set for other tasks and responsibilities.
2. Use calendars and daily planners
The next tip for time management is to write your plans down, specifically in a daily planner. Being able to see what you need to do each day is the best way that you do not miss tasks.
My planning process is simple and easily incorporated into anyone’s routine. Each week, I plan out all of the big goals, tasks, and activities I have for the week. Then I divide those tasks into the days of the week, making sure to set aside days that I do not want to do tasks.
Then each day I have an idea of what I want to do and in the morning I simply add any additional tasks that may come up, prioritize all the tasks for the day then plug them into a block schedule.
3. Start the day Early
Starting the day early with a simple but energizing morning routine is a great way you make sure you are ready to tackle the day and your responsibilities. Your morning routine could be as simple as showering and getting dressed or as elaborate as one that incorporates your skin care routine, fitness, and breakfast!
Make this what you can sustainably maintain, but make it a point to have some time before the busyness of the day to yourself.
4. Be sure of your priorities
What do you value? What is most important to you? Having a clear understanding of your priorities is another great step to being more efficient. Why? Because when you know what is important and what is not important you can make better decisions about what you do and do not add to your schedule.
5. Set specific time for emails and returning phone calls
Emails and returning calls can be a black hole for productivity, so to avoid the void, set aside specific time to do these tasks, preferable in the afternoon when you are already slightly in an efficiency slump.
6. Work on one thing at a time
Multitasking is one of the greatest myths to productivity in my book, why? Because it is literally impossible to sustainably do more than one thing at the same time. When you think of all the simple tasks that need to be completed, it is mind blowing to consider trying to do them all at once.
For example, when I am making dinner I sit down and focus solely on cooking or cleaning up afterwards, not checking my email or watching tv while I clean up. Doing one thing at a time is also key to being more efficient in the task at hand.
7. Limit Distractions
First knowing what tasks distract you and then limiting those is the next time management tip for the overwhelmed mom. Those little distractions, like the social media or your chatty work bff, can be really detrimental to your focus when you are trying to get tasks completed.
So limit distractions at the critical time where you need to get stuff done!
Looking for more tips on time management? Check out all of our productivity resources
8. Create a block schedule
Have you heard of using time block scheduling? With this type of schedule creation you make time for specific task or type of task within blocks of time during the day.
So lets say you are a work from home mom. You can determine that you will have a 1 hour morning routine block, a 1 hour preparing the children block, and then three two-hour blocks for working with 30 minute breaks in between. The thing here is to create a schedule so that you can focus on a certain task at a certain time
9. Outsource what you can
Another excellent time management strategy is to outsource the things that you can. As moms, we often take on the mental load of all of the tasks that are required for keeping the home running smoothly. This tip simply encourages you to let some of those tasks go.
This could be in the form of chores for the children or handing off more tasks to your spouse. Many other home responsibilities can be outsources such as grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, etc.
10. Set reasonable goals
If you are a dreamer like me, you may find yourself setting quite lofty goals! Doing this can make it hard to keep up with the goals and can set you behind with doing other tasks.
Setting reasonable goals , so you can actually accomplish them, maybe a more appropriate time management strategy for the overwhelmed mom. With this strategy you choose enough of a goal to get your excitement going but also get it done!
11. Automate where you can
The more you can automate some tasks for your work or home schedule, the better. For example, have a weekly meal plan so you don’t have to think about what’s for dinner every night.
There are plenty of ways to automate some parts of your life so that it frees up time for working on other things!
12. Organize your workspace
Clutter is a killer to productivity. If your desk or desktop space is cluttered it can slow down your ability to focus and make your overall work less efficient.
Consider clearing off your desk at the end of each week so that you start the new week fresh and make sure to take the time to create a sustainable organization system on your computer for your files.
13. Minimize the decisions you have to make
This is another big one for me and a tip that I learned from my fellow blogger friend Christy from Do a New Thing. She says that we should find ways to minimize the decisions that we make so that way we have space cleared for other more time consuming tasks and decisions.
For example, the person who is a vegan has automatically cut out several decisions they have to make with meals. Budgeting and sticking to it cuts out time you may spend shopping if that is an issue for you. Ultimately, making decisions ahead of time is a great way to improve your efficiency!
14. Learn to say no
Another underrated time management tip is to learn to say no! Setting boundaries on your time and energy can save you from spending time on tasks that do not fit within your priorities or your goals.
This is also a huge key for work-life balance, simple living, and intentional living.
15. Stop micromanaging
If you have delegated a task, let it go and trust those who you have delegated to complete it. Let go of the need to control how a task gets done and let them work.
This goes for the tasks that need to be done at work and those delegated to people at home. I know I had a terrible habit of micromanaging my husband in the way he did things and then I got mad when he just stopped helping.
You want to empower those around you to do things and to be proactive, but in order to do that, you have to let go of control.
16. Take Advantage of energy bursts
Think about the time when you are most energized, and use those times to your advantage. For most of us that is in the morning before lunch. Taking advantage of these tasks means, doing tasks that are of higher priority, and those tasks that take the most mental strain.
17. Create a priority list of tasks
This brings us to our next time management tip which is to create a priority list. I like to use the 5 by 11 method. That is to list out everything that I want to do for the day, then list the top 5 things that I want to do before 11. The simple act of ticking off 5 things from your to do list before the afternoon slump can do wonders for your feelings of accomplishment and productivity each day.
18. Break up big tasks into smaller tasks
This time management solution ties into our early tip of setting realistic goals. Not every goal is going to be small, but you can make it more realistic by breaking the big task into smaller tasks that are much more manageable in a block of time without taking up the entirety of your day.
19. Set Limits for working on hard or time consuming projects
In the same train of thought, there are times when a particular task becomes bigger than we believed it would be. When this is the case you want to set a limit of time (think block scheduling) and when that time limit is up, you move on to the next task.
20. Create Schedules that Prioritize Rest
The last and I believe the most important time management tip for working moms is to create schedules that prioritize rest. We must understand that rest is not a negotiable thing in our schedule. It isn’t something we put on our to do list for after everything else is done.
No, rest is a requirement for productivity and efficiency. It is the glue that holds our schedules together and the reason we are able to show up as our best.
It all starts with Finding Time
I hope you found these tips useful. Remember, every mom is different and has her own unique challenges to manage in a day. Finding time for yourself can be difficult when juggling everything else that life throws your way, but it’s worth the effort! Get some rest today and start tomorrow with a clear mind and open heart by taking care of YOU first. You deserve it!
If these insights have been helpful to you or if you need more guidance on how to create sustainable schedules, I encourage you to get your hands on my book Finding Time which offers practical advice for creating simple, sustainable and realistic schedules and find time for the things that matter most.