So you’ve decided to trade in a 9-to-5 office job to be a work-at-home-mom. Or your circumstances have changed so that now you’re a mompreneur working from home. Congratulations, you now have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want to. Just kidding, that was before kids.
Maybe you have little minions running around or an endless to-do list. As a stay-at-home-mom who also works from home, I get that it’s important to stay productive and motivated. It’s easier said than done, but it’s doable, mama!
Here are 8 ways to be more productive as a work at home mom.
#1 Plan, plan, plan
Pick a day (Sunday night usually works for me) to plan out the upcoming week. I use a physical planner, but the calendar app on your phone would work too. Now, before you get overwhelmed with a million things to do, here is how I would tackle to-do lists:
- First, look at the week as a whole and write 3 must-dos for your business, and 3 for your family. I’m not talking about laundry or washing the dishes here; I mean 3 big accomplishments for the whole week.
- Then, write down 3 daily must-dos. Here is where I jot down things like laundry and taking a shower (yes, somedays even that’s an accomplishment!). The idea is, if you can accomplish just those 3 things a day, you’re on top of your to-do list. #winning
- Next, schedule in your kids’ daily routine (naps, feeding, in school, etc). Keep the routine flexible (especially if you have a baby).
- Once you have a general schedule for each day, slot in at least an hour to do some work. This can be either in the morning before your kids wake up, or after they’re asleep to do some work. I’m a night owl, so I’d rather stay up an extra hour than wake up at 5 am, but to each her own.
When it comes time to work on your business, batch your work. This means working on one set of similar tasks at a time. You could research blog post ideas, create pins for Pinterest, or schedule upcoming Instagram posts). I find it easier to focus on one type of task for an hour. If you haven’t tried batching, give it a go and see if you get more done this way.
Remember to plan time for self-care
Don’t forget to include at least 30 minutes each day for ‘you time’. This could be taking a long bath, going for a walk, practicing yoga, reading a book, etc. I do this either while my girls are napping or after my husband gets home from work. Self-care is essential, and I protect me-time fiercely. Slot that time into your schedule, and SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF. If you planned to meet up with a friend at a certain time, you wouldn’t just stand her up. Give yourself the same love! For some ideas on self-care, check out my blog post 8 Ways To Handle Mom Guilt By Practicing Self-Care
#2 Get motivated by listening to podcasts
I was introduced to the world of podcasts in 2016; I got bored listening to the same Spotify playlists on my walk to and from work. Podcasts changed my life.
Now I have an ongoing list of podcasts that I cycle through, depending on my mood for the day. Some are platform-specific (how to market on Pinterest) or about general business, or even fun ones (“My Favorite Murder” amirite?!).
I listen to podcasts while I do housework or while watching my twin girls. Once I hunker down to work on my business, I’m already motivated and itching to get stuff done. If you’re looking for great podcasts, read my post on the Top 10 Entrepreneur Podcasts If You Want To Be Motivated.
#3 Organize your workspace
It’s important to have a dedicated space (or in my case, a small portable IKEA desk) where you work. Technically, you need just enough space to set up your laptop and other necessary items (notebook, water bottle, etc). Keep this space/desk free from distractions – so if you like things neat, then get rid of clutter. Put your phone on silent, or turn notifications off on social media. This way you’re not checking your phone every 5 minutes (*ahem* I SO don’t do that).
#4 Turn off distractions
Yes, I’m talking about Netflix. But also, anything that keeps you from focusing on the task you’re trying to get done. Don’t try to multitask. When I get ideas while I’m working on something, I simply jot it down in a notebook and revisit it.
I know I said no to Netflix, but confession: sometimes I like to put on a show I’ve seen a million times (like FRIENDS) in the background. I don’t have to look at the screen to know what’s happening but have some background noise. And I only put it on when I’m doing non-creative things for my business (such as re-pinning on Pinterest).
#5 Get some work done on the go
It’s impossible to get everyone done in the small amount of time you have to yourself. So plan to get some work done on your phone or tablet. While the kids are playing, I usually take that time to get small tasks done. This includes engaging on Instagram, scheduling social media posts, etc. The key here is to get simple things done that don’t require you sitting in front of your laptop.
#6 Learn on the go
I’m constantly learning about running a business and the easiest way to do this is by listening to podcasts or audiobooks. The great thing about audiobooks is that you can find them through your local library, and listen to them on an app. How convenient!
#7 Childcare options
Depending on your family situation, you may be able to ask a friend, family member, or significant other to watch your kids for a few hours while you get some work done. It’s nice when my husband takes the kids out for a couple of hours so I could hunker down and get things done.
You could also pay for a babysitter or trade time with another parent (you watch their kids another time). Either way, there are potential options for getting more time in a day for your work.
Why do everything manually when you can just automate all the things?! Seriously, there are a ton of apps out there (some free ones too!) to help entrepreneurs get more done.
Apps such as Later and Planoly help you with planning and scheduling social media posts (on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Tailwind is also a great app for Pinterest and Instagram scheduling.
For a list of apps you need in your life, check out my blog post The Best Productivity Apps for Mompreneurs
So there you have it, 8 ways to be more productive as a work at home mom.
Are there any other ways you’ve been able to successfully increase productivity as a work at home mom?