Here are six of my favorite productivity tips for work at home moms. I use these all the time! My husband is in the army but the pay he receives does not cover our bills – not even close! Chipping in and helping with our expenses is a lot easier for me with these free tools. I adore being a work at home mom, but it can get difficult at times. Productivity is essential. I hope one of these tips helps you regain a little bit of lost time and stay on track as a work at home mom.
1.) Dictation/voice to text
If you’re someone who writes, blogs, or does anything with words for a living, I recommend that you start using dictation software.
I’m an extreme introvert and I never understood why people would dictate instead of write, but now I completely get it.
I can’t stand hearing my voice out loud but when I became a mom I started a blog and I also did some freelance writing jobs. Until I started using dictation I stressed out on a daily basis.
If I was lucky, I was able to put up a blog post a week when writing them manually. There was no way that I could do everything that I wanted to and that led to me becoming very discouraged. I felt terrible that I was lagging behind, as my husband has a fixed income and can’t cover our bills alone.
Dictation does not result in perfect blog posts or text. It’s often quite the opposite! Just walls of text with errors here and there. You don’t get the same smooth flow as you would get manually writing, but prior to dictating I was getting almost nothing done. The first day I started dictating into Google docs I created 10 new blog post drafts.
That’s a 1000% productivity increase from the week before! Dictating does get some take some getting used to because if you’re a natural writer a lot of times you’re not a natural speaker. This is the case for me, but after speaking aloud to my phone for hours it became a lot easier than it was the first time.
I’m not sure how I ever got anything done without dictation! I know a lot of people use it, but it’s just something that I never thought was for me. Now I can’t see myself living without dictation. This is one of my favorite productivity tips for work at home moms. It’s incredibly helpful when my hands are tied up, doing general mom stuff.
I am a terrible artist. I’ve downloaded a trial of Adobe Photoshop and tried to create my own graphics many times over the last few years. While I was able to understand how to use Photoshop, I was unable to create anything aesthetically pleasing. With Canva I can mess around until I create templates that suit the purposes of whatever project I’m working on. Then, I can use the templates over and over again to create images for blog posts, Instagram content, or whatever it is I need for the project.
I’m now able to efficiently create nice looking images. It only takes me a couple of minutes to make a Pinterest pin, whereas before it would’ve taken me considerably longer.
3.) Actually sleeping when the baby sleeps at least half the time
I know – everyone says it! Who actually follows through with it, though? Especially if you have things to do!
If you’re someone who enjoys getting work done and reaching goals, it will be hard for you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Trust me: if you don’t do this you will exhaust yourself. You’ll be less productive than you would be if you were constantly trying to work while the baby is asleep.
There have been days that I’ve tried staying awake throughout the night while the baby sleeps to get ahead on my jobs, but unless I had slept that day while the baby was sleeping, I didn’t get much done. The days I avoided sleep, I wasn’t productive at all even though I was working more hours than ever before. I ended up doing low-quality work and then being almost nonfunctional the next day.
This is a negative thing not only for yourself and for your productivity, but also for your baby. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep so that you have the energy to take care of yourself, the baby. If you’re not doing that, how are you supposed to get any work done?
If this means that some days you don’t get much done at all, try not to worry. Some days you will get a little more work done than you planned to. Sometimes the baby will take a longer nap or will be content playing with her toys. There will be easy days and that will be tough days. It’s easy to get discouraged on a day that doesn’t go well and you get nothing done. But if you let yourself get stressed out about it you’ll make it harder on yourself. Try again tomorrow! It’s OK.
As long as you can accept that you’ll have good days and bad days, you will do well. Sleep when you can. Just make sure you’re making good use of the time that you have available. Always limit distractions like TV, video games, and household chores when you can. That leads me to the next tip:
4.) Try to forget about the household chores as often as possible.
They are not that important. Unless someone’s coming over or there’s a legitimate reason for you to have a spotless home, try to not focus on chores. I know it’s hard especially being a new mom or a mom in general. But trust me when I say that looking back at your life a year from now, it’s unlikely that you will remember doing chores. You won’t be thankful that you did those chores. You would, however, be thankful for a project you worked on that led you to more frequent successful opportunities.
If you’re constantly worried about whether your home is spotless, you’ll never get anything done, trust me. Once I shifted my focus to getting things done that I cared about and building my skills with relevant software and technologies and getting jobs done for clients, I was so much more motivated.
Getting things done and being able to make money as a full-time, stay-at-home mom is extremely fulfilling. It’s such a challenge. The fact that I can take care of this tiny human being as well as supplement my family’s income means more to me than always getting the laundry done immediately or having a spotless kitchen sink.
That’s not to say that I completely forgot about chores or never did anything in relation to cleaning. I definitely go on a cleaning spree once in a while to keep things in check (or if my mother-in-law is coming over).
After a couple months of relentlessly trying to keep my apartment spotless, I decided that it wasn’t something that was going to bring me any value or opportunities.
5.) Meal prepping food, making freezer meals, or buying pre-made meals
If you’re not someone who is completely against the idea of freezer meals I highly recommend making them both before you give birth and after. This is one of the most time-saving productivity tips for work at home moms out there. It literally saves me HOURS each day.
Even as someone who loves to cook, after my daughter arrived, I was never in the mood to cook. Nor did I have the time! Once every two weeks or so (sometimes even once a month) I’ll make a batch of breakfast sandwiches. Doing this means that I eat breakfast way more often than I would if I did not freeze meals.
I love food. But with all the stress that comes with having a new baby, being a new mom, and trying to work from home means that I would forget to eat and my first meal would often be at 7 PM. Don’t let this happen to you!
Before my daughter arrived, I made a lot of frozen meals in advance to eat the first month or two after my daughter was born. Once they were gone, I didn’t understand that I would need to keep prepping food to stay productive. It’s a lot easier to throw a breakfast sandwich in the microwave in the morning for a minute or two then it is to make your own breakfast, especially if there’s no one there to help you.
My eating habits are so much healthier right now than they’ve ever been because by making my food in advance I’m limiting what I can have to what I prep. More importantly, I’m also making sure that I do eat rather than starve myself all day and forget.
If you’re breastfeeding, this is especially important for you to do because you want to make sure that you are getting enough protein and nutrients so that your breastmilk is as beneficial as possible for your baby. If you’re not eating regularly, then you’re not only doing yourself a disservice but your baby as well.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to freeze or meal prep for the first year of your babies life.
If you’re somebody who cannot meal prep, doesn’t want to, or can’t see yourself making freezer meals on a regular basis, don’t stress! You can always get your groceries delivered and choose to buy fully or partially premade meals. Apps like Instacart can be extremely helpful as a mom when you don’t want to go out with a screaming baby (or two or three). There are also services like Hello Fresh if you really do want to cook, but just don’t want to go out and spend an hour in the grocery store on a weekly basis. It’s a little pricey for me, but I can speak to the quality and experience because my dad ordered me a week’s worth of Hello Fresh when I was pregnant. Their meals are high-quality and don’t take long to make. They also taste amazing. So, if you have a bigger budget to work with, Hello Fresh could be a great solution for you.
6.) Say yes to people who offer to help you.
If somebody you trust offers to help you by taking your child for a few hours every Saturday so that you can get things done, accept the help! If you’re not someone who would regularly accept help, I’m talking directly to you. It was very hard for me to start accepting help but especially in the beginning, I recognized that I did need help and it was something that could benefit me, my baby, and my family enough that I just had to start saying yes.
If someone is offering to make a meal for you, drive you somewhere, or even watch your child while you take a nap – say yes as often as possible! Especially while you get into the swing of things or get back on track after you’ve gotten in over your head a little. Make sure you’re not denying these kinds of opportunities when they pop up. Eventually, they will go away and you’ll wish you had taken advantage of them!
Think of it from the other person’s perspective. If someone close to you just had a baby and you knew very well that there were plenty things that you could do to help out – you would want to help them, wouldn’t you?
Don’t feel bad for accepting help from somebody who genuinely wants to help you. It will make the other person feel good. And you would probably do the same for them! I know it’s hard but just try it out and it’ll probably be something that both parties will get a benefit from.
Do you have any other favorite productivity tips for stay at home moms? Let me know! I’d love to hear your ideas. Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you decide to purchase something I recommend, I receive a small cut of that at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog and pay for web hosting fees. I’d never recommend anything on this blog unless it’s a great value and I’d feel comfortable recommending it to a friend.
So, you’ve got a new arrival on the way – congratulations!
If this is your first child, you may be slightly overwhelmed when thinking of all of the shopping you need to do before your baby arrives. Alternatively, you might be stoked and can’t wait to hit the store. Either way, here’s how you can save some money while stocking up for baby.
1.) Be realistic about what is necessary and what may not be.
My first tip is probably the most obvious, especially if this isn’t your first child, but you absolutely do NOTneed everything you’ve been led to believe you need for a baby! It might be tempting to buy as must as humanly possible to prepare for your baby’s arrival, but you and your baby’s needs will be unique and in some situations, you won’t know exactly what you’ll need or want until the baby has arrived.
For example, you may buy a million and a half adorable swaddle blankets only to find that your baby hates being swaddled. Or you may invest in a set of nice bottles and when your baby arrives, he or she doesn’t take to them well. You know that you will need diapers, wipes, feeding supplies, a car seat, and anything else you view as necessary. Unless you simply have enough disposable income that you are comfortable making expensive purchases that you may not get use out of, try to stick to the very basics and then do some more shopping once baby has arrived and you’ve gotten to know them a little better!
2.) Shop at discount retailers.
This is probably a no-brainer for a lot of moms-to-be out there, but try to get some of your essentials at discount stores! Stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Burlington, and Marshalls carry some new mom and baby essentials – like baby clothes, nursing pads, bras, maternity clothes, and other misc. baby gear. And it’s all at a much better price than you’d get walking into BuyBuyBaby or Babies R Us or Target. Just to give you an idea of potential savings – I found boxes of 100 nursing pads, regularly $7.99 at Kroger for $4.99 at Ross. I needed tons of these, personally, so this was a great find.
Other than diapering necessities, almost anything you can think of that you’ll need or want for your baby can be found at these places. Especially if you do not have your heart set on a certain brand for every piece of baby gear, you can expect to snag things like baby wraps and carriers, swings, toys, nursery furniture and decor, and other baby gear for 40-60% off retail prices and sometimes more if you hit the clearance section.
3.) Shop at secondhand stores.
Even if you’re someone who doesn’t normally shop secondhand, you should know that you can find a TON of brand new baby items at secondhand stores. These stores are a convenient way for parents to unload any items they bought or received that didn’t work for their baby. It’s easy to over-buy for babies… and they grow so quickly! A lot of brand new clothing is sold or donated to thrift stores because the baby grew out of the size before the got to wear it. You can find baby gear like strollers, swings, toys, and furniture at some of these places as well.
Some great stores to consider are Kid to Kid, Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, and Salvation Army to start. Do a google search for other secondhand stores in your area and call them to see if they carry baby clothing or gear! Kid to Kid has a 10% military discount and a 10% foster parent discount. They also have a loyalty program. Once Upon a Child has a loyalty program as well and they periodically send out coupons via email and text if you opt-in.
If you’re eyeing a particularly expensive baby item, such as the 4moms mamaroo, you might consider buying it at a secondhand store. It’s $219 retail right now at Amazon, BuyBuyBaby, and BabiesRUs. I know someone who got an almost-new one at Once Upon a Child for $100. eBay has tons of new-in-box mamaroos for significantly cheaper than retail as well and has some used ones in good condition for as cheap as $70.
4.) Use couponing apps or coupons
If you’re a regular coupon user, you know the drill. You don’t need me to tell you what’s up! Skip to the next tip. If you’re new to coupons – start getting familiar! You don’t necessarily have to clip coupons anymore if you don’t want to. There are plenty of digital coupons out there for you! Download the coupons.com app to start out and check out all of the deals they have for the stores near you. In many cases, you can add those coupons directly onto your store loyalty card to use next time you shop! No clipping involved.
If you have a store loyalty card, dig deeper into the potential savings. Kroger, for example, has an app you can download and add digital coupons directly to your loyalty card. Target’s app is super fun and I always see loads of awesome offers there, like 20% off Honest Company diapers or spend $100 on baby items and get a $20 gift card. You don’t need to have a Target credit card for this to work! You just need to download the app, select the offers you want, and have the cashier scan your barcode during the transaction.
If couponing still seems like too much work for you, check out apps like Offer Up, Letgo, and look on Facebook Marketplace for diaper/wipe/baby care bundles for sale. Lots of extreme couponers will sell what they don’t need through these platforms. You won’t get them at the prices they’ve paid, but you won’t be paying retail prices and you won’t have to bother with coupons yourself. You’ll probably also save yourself some time this way, you’ll find large quantities of baby supplies here and buying someone’s stash directly from them means you won’t have to wander around the store crunching numbers and comparing brands.
5.) Make a list and stick to it
If you’re trying to save money, the last thing you want to do is not have a list. Walking into a store without a list to buy for baby, when you’re expecting is like walking into a grocery store super hungry. You will leave the store with way more than you need! Make a list – on your phone, on paper, whatever works for you. Stick to it! Your wallet will thank you.
6.) Stockpile diapers (if you are using disposable diapers) and wipes
Start buying them early if you can and use coupons. This way you can get everything at a lower cost than you would be by rushing out and buying diapers last minute because you ran out of them. Also – if you have a tried and true preferred brand of diapers or wipes and you begin stocking up at the beginning of your pregnancy, you have most of a year to wait and jump on the best offers when those specific brands go on sale. Keep in mind that sometimes babies will have a reaction to specific diaper brands. If you can, try to diversify what brands you buy unless you feel confident that your favorite brand will work.
7.) Create a registry or have a baby shower
Having a baby shower is a fun way to celebrate the impending arrival of your little one and cross some items off of your list at the same time. You can easily create a baby registry with Amazon and add items for your friends and family to buy for your new baby. The Amazon baby registry allows you to add items from other websites, offers 90-day returns on most items, and you will receive a 10% completion discount (15% if you have Amazon Prime) for purchasing the remainder of your registry. You can also create registries with Target, BuyBuyBaby, and BabiesRUs.
Consider doing most of your shopping for baby after your baby shower or registry gifting ends, that way you don’t end up with duplicate items and you can exchange unwanted gifts for things that you need.
8.) Consider cloth diapering
Besides being so much more eco-friendly, cloth diapering can save you money. You’ll have a larger up-front cost, as each diaper can cost you up to $17 depending on the brand but obviously, you will not be buying hundreds upon hundreds of diapers. I change my baby about 7-8 times a day – that’s roughly 225 disposable diapers monthly, sometimes more. Yikes! With cloth diapering, you’ll buy wipes, diapers, and inserts, and pay for the utility costs of washing the diapers – which will not only save you cash but a little time as well, since you won’t have to make runs to the store to grab diapers. Cloth diapering is definitely not for everyone! But if you think it might fit you and your baby’s lifestyle, consider purchasing a few before your baby arrives so that you can give cloth diapering a shot.
9.) Use Amazon Family for 20% off diapers by getting them delivered regularly.
Get a hefty discount on diapers for your little one by setting up a diaper subscription through Amazon Family. You’ll save 20% on diapers! Especially if you don’t plan on cutting coupons, this is a great way to save by default with no work involved. You don’t even have to go diaper shopping! It doesn’t get more convenient than that. Here’s a link to join Amazon Family’s free 30-day trial.
Do you have any additional money saving tips to use while shopping for a new baby? Leave them in the comments below!