These time management tips for moms will help you keep overwhelm to a minimum. Whether you’re a working mom, stay at home mom, or work from home mom you’ll find these time management tips beneficial.
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Spending all day on my laptop while my daughter watched reruns of Blue’s Clues was not the type of mom I envisioned myself to be.
When I started working from home my daughter was only 6 weeks old. It was so much easier to put her in the Baby K’tan carrier and do whatever needed to be done while she slept.
Now that she’s a toddler, working while she’s awake is like putting on lipstick while driving down a gravel road full of potholes.
I was working all day and felt terrible for not interacting with her more. But then I realized something…
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law?
It states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” I know, I know, what the heck does that even mean?
Basically, if you give yourself a week to clean the pantry it’ll take you a week. But if you only give yourself one day, it’ll take one day.
I was giving myself all day to work, therefore, simple tasks were taking me all day to complete.
When I started waking up at 5:30am and only giving myself 2 hours to work before my daughter woke up at 7:30am, I accomplished more in those 2 hours then I usually did all week!
If you want results like those by making simple tweaks to how you’re managing your time, then you’ve come to the right place.
These 24 time management tips for moms will stop you from always feeling busy so you can start being productive.
1. Take a time assessment
Do you really know how you’re spending your time? Maybe you think you spend most of your day cleaning, but do you know how much of your time you spend cleaning? No guesses, an actual number.
For most of us the answer is no.
Stop guessing how you’re spending your time and document your time management for an entire week.
Using a free app called Google Docs, keep track of all the tasks you do throughout the day. Here’s what mine looked like before I established work hours.
What I realized from documenting how I was spending my time was that I was spending too much time working when that’s valuable time I could be spending with my family.
Even though I had 2 hours to work in the morning, I only worked for an hour and a half. I didn’t take that time seriously because I knew I had all day to work on something.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself.
If you spend 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram while your son is talking to you don’t label that as family time, label it ‘scrolling through IG while Adam was talking to me’.
Pay attention to where you’re spending most of your time and take advantage of these time saving hacks to simplify and streamline your day even more.
2. Get organized
Being an organized mom doesn’t have to be complex and impossible. Simply keeping a meal plan or having a designated area for car keys increases your organization and saves time.
If you find yourself forgetting appointments or trying to clean but everything is so cluttered that even after you’re finished cleaning it still doesn’t feel clean, you should implement this time management tip.
A few ways to increase your organization is:
- Using your phone calendar to remember important dates
- Keeping a shoe rack and coat hangers in the entryway (or by whatever door your family uses most)
- Sitting out school clothes the night before
- Creating a bedtime routine for your toddler
When your household and schedule is organized, you’ll learn better discipline because you know that if you deviate from this organization your day will go to hell in a handbasket.
At first, it may be difficult to get organized, but once you figure out what methods and systems work best for your family it’ll make life much easier.
Related: 9 time-saving laundry hacks for when you’re overwhelmed
3. Create realistic routines
Routines are great because you can do them on autopilot which saves mental energy and time.
Some simple routines to implement during your day could be:
- Meal prepping every Sunday
- A daily cleaning schedule
- Going through your finances at the end of each month
- Getting dressed every morning even though you’re a stay at home mom
- Taking a family walk every evening
When you have routines set in place you’re not recreating the wheel every single day. You no longer have to waste time debating about whether you should deep clean the kitchen on Tuesday because you do it every single Tuesday so there’s nothing to think about.
Think of your brain like Walgreens or CVS. Most of the time they’re on a corner. So when someone tries to tell them about an empty location in the middle of a shopping center there’s nothing to think about because it’s not a corner location.
See how much time that saves?
No debating. No thinking. It’s done and over with.
So if you deep clean the kitchen every Tuesday, don’t debate with yourself, just do it every Tuesday.
4. Shortcuts aren’t always bad
Maybe you’ve learned that you shouldn’t take shortcuts in life and that may be true…to an extent.
As a busy mom, you’ve gotta eliminate as many unnecessary tasks and steps as possible. A few shortcuts to consider adding to your day are:
- Keep non-perishable snacks in the car
- Cutting veggies for the entire week
- Listening to audiobooks
- Buying canned sauce
- Not folding the clothes
- Keeping cleaning supplies in a basket
Anything that can make your life even in a tad bit simpler is worth creating a shortcut.
5. Plan ahead
The reason you’re a rockstar is because 9 times out of 10 you already know what’s about to happen before it happens AND you’re prepared.
You know that your toddler is going to throw a fit when it’s time to leave the park so you have his favorite toys ready as soon as you get him in the car.
Or you know your husband will never find his keys that he laid down on the bathroom countertop so you put them on the kitchen table where he’ll see them (this happens every week).
Planning ahead for yourself may include sitting out your workout clothes the night before or setting your coffee pot to start at whatever time you want to wake up in the morning so the smell of fresh brewed coffee will help you peel yourself out of bed.
6. Set realistic goals
Do you wanna know the #1 mistake I see moms making when it comes to productivity?
We make to-do lists that are impossible to-do!
I know you have so many things you want to get done, but there’s a better way than just piling 6 months worth of chores and activities into one day or even one week.
The key to getting more done everyday is to set realistic daily goals. And ONLY choose your 3 most important tasks.
Wouldn’t you much rather tackle a to-do list with only 3 tasks rather than the list with 27 tasks?
Okay so maybe you’re thinking, “I have way too much to get done and only doing 3 tasks a day would take me centuries!”
Here’s the thing — you’ll get more done by only planning to do 3 tasks than you would if you plan to complete 27 tasks.
When you create a small to-do list it’s more realistic and doesn’t feel overwhelming which helps you be consistent. Plus, when you’re done with those 3 tasks you can always add more.
But once you finish those 3 tasks you’ll have a sense of accomplishment which encourages you to remain consistent and creates a snowball effect for your productivity.
7. Multitask the smart way
It’s been proven that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40%! But as a busy mom multitasking may be the only way you can get anything done.
A few ways to make multitasking more efficient is to:
- Wear your baby while doing the laundry
- Listen to a podcast while washing the dishes
- Type using voice to text while nursing your baby
- Check your email while eating breakfast
Of course we’d love to give these tasks 100% of our attention but we also have small humans that require much more of our attention.
Finding ways to multitask that doesn’t affect the outcome of either task is how to multitask the smart way.
Related: How To Be Intentional With Your Time To Control Your Life
8. Delegate without debate
Have you ever heard the saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”? I used to live by that saying until I burned myself out and didn’t work on my business for an entire month and barely kept my family alive.
As much as you would rather do things yourself so you know they get done and get done right, it’s time to hand over the reigns of control and let your family or someone else help.
Have your family help you with chores. Hire a maid to deep clean once a month. Outsource routine tasks to an assistant.
You’re not a superhero. It’s okay to ask for help.
And the key to making this work is to not go back and still do things yourself because they didn’t do a good enough job.
Educate them on how it should be done rather than doing it yourself.
9. Saying ‘no’ is a good thing
If you’re a people pleaser this one may be a bit harder for you but even more crucial.
You’re always bombarded with favor requests and you feel like you’re letting someone down if you say ‘no’ even if it’s for a good and credible reason. But do you know that when you say ‘yes’ to someone else you’re saying ‘no’ to yourself?
When you say ‘yes’ to Susan asking you to pick up her child from school when you pick up yours even though he goes to school all the way across town, that’s you saying ‘no’ to spending more quality time with your child.
And it’s not that you’re mean and don’t want to help anyone. It’s that you know you’re priorities and value your time.
But you also have to acknowledge when someone is taking your kindness for weakness. If Susan asks you to pick up her kid three times a week because she knows you always say ‘yes,’ that’s a problem.
Try exchanging favors instead. Set up a schedule where you and Susan will pick up each others’ children a couple times a week so you can both save time and work together.
Helping someone shouldn’t be a one-way street.
Always saying ‘yes’ to every request or favor is a recipe for spreading yourself too thin and burning yourself out.
10. Be present and mindful
In this digital age it’s becoming more and more difficult to be present and enjoy the small moments.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to stay grounded and grateful for the many blessings you may overlook.
A few ways to practice mindfulness are:
Living in the moment means putting the phone down when your child is talking to you. Or taking a walk and appreciating the small things we often take for granted like the sound of nature or the breeze that’s keeping you from looking like you stepped out of a swimming pool.
When you practice mindfulness the world slows down and you realize your to-do list may not be so important after all.
11. Embrace technology
Social media often gets a bad wrap because you pick up your phone to see what time it is and 39 minutes later realize you’ve been scrolling down Facebook. But technology is so helpful.
A few ways to use this to your advantage is to:
- Schedule your bills for autopay
- Network on social media to find an assistant
- Shop online so you’re not fighting crowds
- Use Amazon Family to get common household items auto-delivered
- Have your groceries delivered or schedule a pick-up
- Listen to audiobooks while you do other tasks
As long as you set app limits on time-sucking apps like social media and email, you can use technology to your advantage and save loads of time.
12. Perfection is overrated
So many times tasks aren’t even started because you plan, plan, and plan some more and still don’t come up with an acceptable plan of action so you do nothing.
Your house doesn’t need to be spotless. That one strand of hair looks perfect. Your toddler walking around with one sock on is fine.
Stop wasting your time striving for perfection.
In nursing school we would always say, “C’s get degrees” because we knew the test was going to be hard as heck. Of course, we would love to get all A’s, but knowing that we would still pass the test without getting a perfect score took some of the pressure and tension away.
In the online business world we always say, “done is better than perfect.” If we all waited until our website looked perfect or our online course was perfect nobody would ever get anywhere.
So the next time perfectionism is stopping you from moving forward just remember, done is better than perfect.
13. Flexibility isn’t just for your body
Yesterday I had my alarm clock set to wake me up at 5:50am so I could be in the office working by 6am. In typical mom style, my toddler decided to wake up at 3:30am and stay up until 4:30am.
Alarm clock off.
I could’ve made up a bunch of stories about how I don’t stick to my commitments or how I’m so unproductive, but I chose to be flexible and move my schedule around. So that meant still waking up before her, just at a new time.
As moms we never know when someone is going to wake up vomiting like the Exorcist or have an attitude like Squidward.
We have to always be prepared to shift our schedules and our moods to accommodate the chaos around us.
14. You only control your reaction
When my husband and I moved in together we argued…a lot. About everything! One day I left our apartment and went to my parent’s house to calm down and cautiously vent to my mom.
She gave me the best advice that has forever changed my mindset.
She said, “You’ve got to pick your battles. Every action doesn’t require a reaction.”
Since then before I react I stop and think:
- Am I reacting out of frustration?
- Is this worth an argument?
- Is there something else I’m upset about?
Most of the times our arguments were over silly things like him throwing his used paper towels on the counter beside the trash can or him not throwing his dirty clothes in the hamper.
In reality I was probably upset because I felt like we weren’t spending enough time together or that he wasn’t listening to my concerns.
Even as a mom I stop and ask myself those questions because it’s easy to lose your cool and react to your toddlers temper tantrum in a way you’re not proud of later.
So before you react, stop, breathe, and ask yourself those 3 questions.
Related: How To Be Productive As A Stay At Home Mom
15. Always have a plan B (and maybe C)
Have you ever gone into the kitchen to start making spaghetti and realized you don’t have any noodles?
A back up plan is essential for busy moms because it’ll save so much time.
A few things to always have on hand are:
- Pantry staples like pasta and canned goods
- A first-aid kit (for the home and car)
- Grab and go snacks
- An extra outfit in the car (for everyone)
- Extra phone chargers
You never know when things will go sideways so it’s best to stay prepared.
16. Establish practical work hours
As a work from home mom, finding time to work isn’t always easy.
I was always working for short bursts of time throughout the day, but I wasn’t getting much done. So I made a rule that I would only use my laptop while I was sitting at my desk in my office.
This way I wasn’t tempted to work all day in the living room and I could be more present with my family. I also have detailed time blocks and I wake up 2 hours before my daughter Monday- Friday and sometimes on the weekends out of habit.
The only times I permit myself to work is before she wakes up, during naptime, and after she goes to sleep.
Setting these work hours have helped me get even more done for my business without having mom guilt and feeling like I’m neglecting my child.
You may think you’re getting more done by working throughout the day, but setting detailed time blocks and practicing efficiency is the secret to getting the most done.
17. Time blocking IS the best productivity hack
Time blocking is like setting an appointment with yourself. You chose a specific time that you want to get something done and stick to it.
I work in 25 minute time blocks using the Pomodoro technique.
Consider blocking time and using the Pomodoro Technique when you:
- Work out
- Practice self-care
- Have a date night
When you set a time block it’s like you making a commitment to yourself to get it done.
When you only have a to-do list you try to get things done whenever you get to it. But with time blocks you’re designating a time to get it done.
18. Task batching…the other productivity hack
Grouping similar tasks that require similar tools is called task batching. This is like responding to emails every evening or dusting the entire house and not just the living room.
When you switch tasks it takes your brain time to stop thinking about the last task and focus on the new task.
Task batching eliminates that lost time so you can get things done quicker while your mind is on autopilot.
19. Create centralized spaces
Something that can help make task batching even easier (and save even more time) is keeping similar items grouped together.
Examples of this are:
- Sock drawer
- Bin for cleaning supplies
- Coat closet
- Mail organizer
- Key holder
- Shoe organizer
When you know exactly where to look for an item you won’t waste time searching.
Keep a set of storage bins available for when you have a new group of items to store.
20. Simplify your space
If you have less stuff you’ll have less stuff to clean.
You may feel like you’re always cleaning or like your space is always cluttered. Get rid of things that aren’t used often and create a simple space.
21. Batch your meals
Do you spend a lot of time cooking or trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks everyday?
A quick fix is to make sure you cook enough for leftovers every time you make a meal.
The simplest way to do this is with MyFreezEasy. You can batch and freeze a few weeks or a month’s worth of meals so you won’t have to debate about dinner or cook an entire meal every night.
Using disposable dishes and silverware will also save you loads of time in the kitchen.
22. Have a command station
Create a space where everyone can go to find the schedule, menu, chores list, and any other important information you’re asked about multiple times a day.
This way you’ll have a plan of action in place and you’ll know what to expect for the week or even the entire month.
Place a whiteboard somewhere visible, most likely the kitchen, so everyone will walk past it multiple times a day.
23. Keep ongoing lists
Anytime you run out of something have an ongoing grocery list in your phone so you can immediately add the item before you forget.
Depending on the size of your family it may be easier to keep the list on the fridge so everyone can add to it.
24. Make time for yourself
You can’t be the best version of yourself when you’re worn down and exhausted.
Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water.
Improving your health will also increase your productivity because you’ll have more energy and focus.
You have too many people depending on you so it’s crucial to prioritize your health in all aspects.
Take a real look at how you’re spending your time. You may be surprised to find out you’re wasting much more time than you thought.
Spend time setting up systems and creating routines that’ll help your day have more structure.
Somehow, being busy is glorified as a good thing. Well it’s time to change the storyline and glorify being productive.