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I’ve been a work from home mom for almost a year now and I still haven’t mastered time management perfectly. And anyone who claims they have must have the chillest kids ever.
Even though as my son grows older I’ll have to switch my time management strategies around a bit, there are a few consistent things I do that make my working days just so much easier.
This little guide will help any mom that works from home but this can also help anyone who needs help knowing when to play with their kids, when to clean and when to not do a darn thing.
So let’s dive right in…
TIP 1 – Know Your Windows
When I refer to your “windows” I’m talking about your open time slots. These are the times during the day that you know not much is happening. This could be nap time, independent play time, when your husband isn’t doing anything and he can watch the kiddos, etc.
During these windows you don’t HAVE to clean, cook, shower, workout or anything else you find important so they’re optimal for getting your priority work done.
So for example, when my son is taking one of his two daily naps, I take that 1-1.5 hours to create/manage social media or Google advertisements rather than scheduling content (I’m a social media manager, btw).
This is because I know I can easily schedule content from my phone without missing anything important or making mistakes. Ads, however, are not a place worth making even a small mistake.
These time frames are also great for writing. My mind is clear when my son is napping because everything is pretty much done so my creativity can flow much more easily. This leads me to my next tip…
TIP 2 – Don’t Procrastinate
Ah, it sounds so simple. Just wash the dishes now, shower now, do yoga now – rather than waiting until your “window”.
Here’s the thing. You know as well as I know that when you’re home taking care of kids, you do not have a lot of down time.
This means that if you want to work from home efficiently you have to learn how to get those annoying daily tasks done while the kids are awake and being crazy.
Here’s a rough schedule of how I fit everything into my day to open my windows for work assuming no one’s around to help with Oliver:
5:30 AM – Wake up, drink some warm lemon water and do some yoga.
6-6:30 AM – I’ll take a quick shower & put on some makeup if I feel like it.
6:45 AM – Make coffee and wait for Oliver to wake up (usually 7-ish)
7-8:30 AM – Oliver gets his first bottle then later breakfast solids + coffee then breakfast for me (coffee addict over here!)
8:30-9:30/10 AM – Enjoy playing and bonding! When it gets closer to 10 I give Oliver another bottle and while he chugs that, I wash dishes and clean up his toys in the living room.
10-11/11:30 AM – Nap time = Work time!! This 1-1.5 hour stretch is my first work block of the day! This is when I knock out the most important stuff on my to-do list.
11:30 AM – Oliver wakes up and gets lunch solids and I eat my lunch as well.
12-3 PM – This time I usually use for running errands, grocery shopping, letting Oliver play independently so I can clean, prep for dinner, randomly schedule posts for social media on my phone, etc.
If it’s nice out I may also take Oliver on a walk or go to the park! Oliver will also get his 3rd bottle of the day around 3.
3-4:30/5 PM – Oliver goes down for nap #2 and this one is usually a little longer. This is when I finish up any important tasks and schedule content, create graphics and things like that.
Once all that’s done I’m more relaxed and I usually enjoy some tea while researching blog post ideas, creating pins for Pinterest, reading blog posts, watching bloggers on YouTube, and really anything that I feel inspired to watch/do that is semi-work related but still enjoyable!
5-8 PM – This is our time to really relax as a family. My husband works nights at the moment so half the time I’m doing everything on my own. Oliver will get his dinner and I’ll eat mine. We’ll enjoy a little TV and then Oliver gets a bath. We’ll play, he’ll slowly drink his last bottle and we’ll just really enjoy our time together.
I’ll go ahead and clean up any dishes that are left and do a quick clean of the kitchen. He’ll start getting tired around 7:45 and he’s generally asleep by 8 but no later than 8:30.
Because everything is already clean and picked up I can go straight to my bedroom, finish any last minute work tasks on my laptop, get a little reading done and then it’s lights off by 10 PM!
It took me a while to find a routine that works for us. My son despises naps and it wasn’t until we cut him down to 2 naps a day that he started sleeping more then 15-30 minutes at a time. Now that he’s sleeping like a normal 11 month old my days are much easier!
Before he slept normally, I would essentially get work done in 30 minute spurts throughout the day. So for any mama’s with newer babies, I promise it can be done! Once they get a little more independent you’ll start finding more time.
TIP 3 – Just Get It Done!
I can’t speak for you but I know that it’s taken me a long time to actually work efficiently. I would procrastinate, forget tasks and then when it was time to work I would mindlessly scroll Pinterest.
A huge part of managing your time as a work from home mom is going to be making sure that you pay attention and just get the work done. You only have so much time to dedicate just to your job so take full advantage of it, remove all other distractions and really focus.
If it helps, when you’re sipping on your tea/coffee/lemon water in the morning, make two lists of things you want to get done that day. One side for work and the other for the home.
Prioritize as well! Use the letter ‘A’ for things that HAVE to get done today, ‘B’ for things that are important but not priority and ‘C’ for things that aren’t as big of a deal and don’t necessarily have to get done today. At the end of every day just start moving things up on the list and add as needed!
TIP 4 – Be Nice To Yourself
Everything is not going to be smooth and easy every day. You will have lots of ups and plenty of downs.
That’s totally normal!
Don’t let those mom bloggers with 5 kids, gorgeous Instagram feeds, crazy fit 3 month postpartum bods and 5 figure months make you feel like you aren’t working hard enough. There is no prize for being the most stressed out mom.
If you don’t accomplish everything on your list or your kids were cranky as all heck or you had a super short temper, just breathe and let it go. When the kids are asleep, take a bath, read a book, sleep or just binge watch a TV show with a big glass of wine in your hand.
There’s no shame in the mom game.
Also, ask for help if you can! This has been a huge thing for me as I’m generally an anxious person and definitely experience overwhelm from time to time. If you don’t have family or friends who can watch your little one(s) see if there are any gyms nearby that offer care while you burn off some steam.
Looking for more Time Management Tips?
Download my free Time Management Bundle and read my post all about the effectiveness of Time Blocking.