Work-at-home time management is a specialized skill developed through lots of trial and error—repeat….lots of trial and error. Let’s face it, if you’re a mom then your schedule is, by default, already packed. Add a side hustle or a full-blown work-at-home job on top of that and you probably have a schedule that would make a CEO blush.
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Work-at-home time management for moms can be tricky. Which pile is higher, your work or your laundry? Which one calls to you more? Then throw in a kid or two—maybe more—and you have an all-out 3-ring circus. (Ask me how I know!)
Then we grind ourselves to dust trying to be a one-woman show, staying on top of everything. Even though I’m still ironing out some of these issues myself, as it’s an ongoing process, here are my top 6 time management tips for work-at-home-moms. Oh…but before we dive into the meat and potatoes, one thing: if you worked for someone else you’d expect regular time off, correct? Make sure to always schedule that in first.
Work-at-Home Time Management Tips:
TIP 1: QUIT MULTI-TASKING
While it might seem like a smart idea to teach the Pythagorean Theorem while writing an article on wind power at the same time (a-hem, totally random example!) it’s just not. When you divide your attention between multiple tasks, you’re actually slowing yourself down—and making yourself crazy.
Instead, try giving your full attention to each task. Not only will you be able to finish more quickly by devoting yourself to one thing, but the quality of your work will go up.
TIP 2: IDENTIFY TIME-MANAGEMENT ROADBLOCKS
You can’t fix what you haven’t properly identified. What, exactly, are your biggest roadblocks to productivity and time management? Take a moment to sit down and LIST ON PAPER what’s holding you back from being your most productive self. Think both work-related and home-related tasks.
Once you’ve got your list, you can brainstorm solutions. Talk to your spouse, talk to your friends, talk to your mastermind group. For every obstacle, there is a solution that can work for you!
TIP 3: ESTABLISH OFFICE HOURS
You already know this tip, but the question is, have you put it into practice? All legitimate businesses have established office hours. And you are running a legitimate business, right?
Office hours not only protect your business, but they protect your family life! Remember, we don’t want to multi-task, and if we don’t have office hours then multi-tasking is inevitable.
Look for patterns in your family, and then figure out what kind of hours will work best for you. Again, talk to your family and get their input. The more input they have early on, the more they will feel invested in your business! Along with office hours, it sure helps to have a space to work where you can close the door. I KNOW this is not always possible, but definitely something to consider!
Read more about establishing office hours for work-at-home moms.
If you’re as interested in time-management as I am, here are more resources to investigate:
Seize The Day: Time Management for Work at Time Management for Work at Home Moms – and Productivity for Work at Home Moms: How to Be PlanAhead Plan Ahead See It Bigger 2 Year Monthly The Happy Planner My Life 24 Month Box Classic Kit Retro Flowers 2017-2018 2 Year Planner Scheduler
TIP 4: PLAN AHEAD
Everyone who knows me also knows that I’m a big fan of lists. Lists make the world go ’round!
Have you ever sat down to work and realized that you have so much crap on your plate that you don’t know where to start? DON’T fall into that trap! You have to know exactly what needs to be done in order to maximize the time you have available to work.
If you don’t already have a system for planning out your to-do lists…GET ONE! I start with planning out my month, then break everything down by week. From there, I break my tasks down by day. ( I use Post-Its and keep a running to-do list by transferring unfinished tasks to the next day.)
TIP 5: AUTOMATE/OUTSOURCE/DELEGATE
Like I said before, you do NOT have to be a one-woman show! Think about what you can automate/outsource/delegate for both your home life and your work.
First, identify tasks that do not have to be done by you. Seriously, there’s more that can go on this list than you think! Your job is to spend your time on the tasks that ONLY you can do. See the difference?
Second, talk to your spouse and family. How can they contribute? By gathering their input, you are slowing getting them invested in your success. The more you can do that, the better! Point out how your success will improve life for everyone!
You can read more about delegation here.
When it comes to your business, think about what you can outsource. Do you need a virtual assistant to take care of tasks that are tedious and repetitive? Maybe even some higher level work?
If you’re an online entrepreneur, you can automate (really, it’s a form of delegating!) some of your tasks by using Mass Planner, BoardBooster, and Tailwind. While those might not be applicable to your line of work, there are likely tools that will make your job easier. You need to find them!
TIP 6: LEARN TO SAY NO
This is a hard one for me, and if you’re a real go-getter then it might be hard for you too. But we don’t have to say yes to everything, even all the good things. As work-at-home moms, we must prioritize!
*If you have a hard time saying no, try this phrase: in order to keep my current commitments, I can’t take on anything else at this time.*
If your schedule is truly crazy, it really might be time to dial down then number of activities and projects you’re involved in. Take a moment to write down IN ORDER the projects you need to focus on. Slot in everything else after that. There are only so many hours in the day!
If you are looking for other ways to save time, I have another list. (Yup, I’m the List Maker!)
One thing is certain, time management for work-at-home moms is no laughing matter. I’m always hunting for new methods to try and new ways to get one more ball in the air.