Productivity tips for work at home moms! Whether you’re new to working from home or you’ve been doing it for years, you probably have days where you feel overwhelmed. I’ve been there and I frequently end up needing to get myself back on track.
For that reason, I decided to compile a list of everything that’s ever helped keep me on track to reference for the future. I thought I would share it here as well! Here are the productivity tips I use to get stuff done as a work at home mom.
Affiliate disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. On my blog, I only recommend things that I actually use and would recommend to a friend.
1.) Have a game plan
Unless you love what you do, you might feel trapped in your work at home job. When you feel like you can’t escape the daily routine you’ve gotten used to, make a plan for change. Start shifting your career toward something that will bring you more happiness and fulfillment.
This will mean something different for every work at home mom. It might mean starting a blog about something you love and spending an extra hour a day writing articles and creating beautiful Pinterest pins for them. If you currently work in a customer service position from home and you’re an introvert, you might find more happiness working as a freelance writer, copywriter, or clothing reseller. At the end of the day, you have so many amazing opportunities available to you as a work from home mom. Spend your days doing something you enjoy!
Decide on where you want to take your career, make a plan, and I promise that you’ll become more excited about the direction your life is headed.
2.) Spend lots of time with your kids
Spending large chunks of time with your kids before and after work will help them play independently throughout the day. Even though you’re home with them for much of the day, they want your direct attention and they’ll feel more satisfied when you set your work and phone aside for a few hours each day and spend some time focusing on them.
3.) Make your todo list the night before
Start each day on track by spending five or ten minutes the night before writing down and prioritizing your tasks for the next day. You’ll have immediate direction when you sit down to work in the morning and you won’t lose time wondering what to do next. Also, by writing a list before bed you’ll be able to go to sleep with a clear mind rather than a head full of unfinished tasks.
4.) Include your kids when you can
So, this tip isn’t practical for every mom, but you might find more opportunities to use it than you might think. Throughout the day, as your kids for help with your work. They will feel good about being able to help out and you’ll be keeping them occupied. On top of that, helping you out with work will provide them with valuable opportunities to learn! Whether they are giving you a hand with chores or reading an article you wrote out loud to help check for errors, you’ll be helping them feel even more important and keeping them occupied.
5.) Compile a list of independent play ideas
A common misconception about working from home is that it’s easy. You probably have a friend, sibling, parent or parent-in-law who assumes that just because you stay home, you can sit around and play with your kids all day. You know that it’s important to block out time with your kids, but it’s also important to get stuff done.
Create a list of independent play activities that you can rotate out throughout the day. If you haven’t explored independent play ideas, do some research and make a list of the ideas that seem like a good fit for your children. Things like 3D puzzles, normal puzzles, playsets, and educational games and activities can occupy kids for between 20 minutes and 2 hours.
Tip: Get a free month-long trial of Amazon FreeTime, which will give you access to more than 15,000 kid’s books and games. You’ll have parental controls to monitor their experience. You do not need to have Amazon Prime to try this out!
More helpful resources:
- Funbrain: Online games for kids
- Prodigy Math Game: A free, super-fun online math game for grade 1-8. You can create a teacher account and monitor their progress. You can even see what math concepts your child is struggling with and where they’re excelling.
- Search “free educational printables” on Pinterest and you’ll find a ton of crafts, games, and educational resources to choose from.
6.) Make time for things that you want to do
Self-care is incredibly important. Without it, you’ll feel burnt out. What this means for you may be different than what it means for me. Taking my time in the morning to get ready, making myself a cup of coffee or tea, and taking a short break to play one of my favorite video games during the day goes a long way for my mental state. Sometimes, what you may be craving changes from day to day. Some moms use a journal in the morning to help them decide what they need for themselves that day. Make time to work on your passion projects or hobbies – you’ll feel so much more balanced.
I find that self-care, for me, is most effective when I split it up throughout the day. So I’ll get ready and make coffee in the morning, spend time meal prepping during my daughter’s midday nap, and play a video game with my husband after she’s in bed at night. Meal prepping as self-care? Honestly, I love getting things checked off of my todo list – it really helps me feel less overwhelmed!
Related reading: 17 Self-Care Ideas for Work at Home Moms
You’ll become super stressed out if you never allow yourself some fun. Whatever your thing is: Writing, gardening, crafting, creating, or just relaxing, make sure you’re allowing yourself some time for it.
7.) Block out your work week
Use a loose scheduling strategy to prioritize essential tasks. Unless you’re used to using an hour-by-hour scheduling tool, you’ll likely get overwhelmed (I would!)
Shoot for something simpler. Grab your favorite planner (Erin Condren planners make it basically impossible to be disorganized.) and block out your work. If you’re a freelance writer, you can start by setting aside five hours in the morning for writing, before your kids are awake, and four hours in the afternoon.
It’s essential that you’re committing a specific window of time to your work, at the very least. If you feel like blocking out time for specific projects or doing more extensive planning, go for it! If you want to start smaller, try this free printable weekly planner from Mindful Momming that will help you prioritize your most important tasks.
Planning isn’t one size fits all! You probably know this already. There are tons of different tools that you can use to boost your productivity as a work at home mom. Try out these popular solutions and see if one works for you (sometimes it’s a magic combo!) I love using Trello and a detailed planner for daily household, work, and business tasks and Google Calendar for setting appointments and keeping track of project deadlines.
8.) Wake up earlier or stay up later
If you’re a freelancer, get most of your work done during the time of day that works the best for you. If you’re a night owl, stay up super late and knock out as many of your tasks as possible. You’ll work so much better at night than you’ll work during the day and you know it! It doesn’t matter how unconventional your schedule is. I personally worked between the hours of 9PM and 4AM for the longest time, right after my daughter was born.
That might not work for you at all. But the point of this tip is to find out what works for you and stick with it, no matter how strange of a schedule it ends up being.
If you’re working your current job for only as long as it takes to start your own business, you won’t be using this schedule forever! Do what works for you now so that you can reach your goals and design a more ideal day.
9.) Work in separate chunks of time and take breaks
Unless it’s your go-to strategy to get everything done in one sitting, don’t try to do it! There are so many studies that have found that we work best when we give ourselves breaks. In fact, this study and several similar ones found that ideally, we should be taking a short break about once every hour. You might not have the time for hourly breaks, but make sure to get up, walk around, grab something to eat or drink, and refresh yourself every now and then! Even short breaks will leave you feeling ready to dive in and tackle your next task. Try out a few different break schedules until you find one that helps you function most efficiently. Look into the Pomodoro method (5 minutes break after 25 minutes of work) as well as methods with longer periods of work or rest time.
10.) Find an accountability partner
Find someone in a similar situation who you can communicate with on a regular basis. Ideally, this person is another mom who works from home, so that they really get where you’re coming from. Together, you can both encourage each other, share ideas, and help each other stay on track during tough times.
To make this work the best, try to find someone who wants to communicate about as often as you do. For example, if you’re the kind of person who likes to check in with their friends multiple times a day, find someone with a similar personality. On the other end of the spectrum, if you prefer less frequent contact, scope someone out with similar social needs.
Having the ability to talk to someone in your situation might really help get you into a more positive headspace and feel less alone.
11.) Create systems for all of your daily and weekly tasks outside of work
As a work at home mom, you need all the extra time you can get. For this reason, it’s time to work out what to do about each of your regular tasks at home. Whether this means cementing in a homeschool or after-school schedule for your kids, creating a meal plan, or scheduling cleaning tasks in batches throughout the week, start developing systems that work for you. Once you’re able to reign in the daily chaos, you’ll have more time to devote to work and you’ll be less stressed about your home and family life. Effective productivity tips for work at home moms should help you balance work and home life with less effort.
Here’s a short list of the things you may want to establish a system for:
- Meal planning
- Meal prepping
- Cleaning tasks: Daily, weekly, and monthly
- Garden or lawn
- Grocery shopping
12.) Invest in products that will save some of your sanity
Saving time throughout the day will help you have more time to get things done. Sometimes, introducing a new product or process into your daily or weekly routine can save you hours throughout your week.
Think about your daily home life as well as your work life. Is there anything you’ve been meaning to buy that would speed up your most common tasks? Make it a priority and win back some of your valuable time.
For me, buying a few freezer-safe baby food storage containers and a multi-purpose food processor saves me a ton of time during meal prep. This 3-in-1 food processor takes care of chopping vegetables for dinner, breakfast smoothies in the morning, and prepping baby food at lightning speed. When buying new electronics or kitchen items, try to get ahold of a multi-function unit rather than a product that only serves a singular purpose.
Also, make sure to read the reviews on a product before you buy it! This goes without saying, but sometimes when I’m in a rush I order something without scanning reviews first. As far as kitchen electronics go, I would not recommend the brand Hamilton Beach. I’ve had a couple of coffee makers and a blender by them and none of those items lasted a year.
Here are some more of my favorite time-saving items that I use on a daily or weekly basis:
1.) Google WiFi System:
These little guys are lifesavers. I haven’t gotten on the Google Home or Alexa train yet, but I love these things. The WiFi in my house is usually OK, but this WiFi system gets rid of the random “dead zones” throughout my house and helps improve load times and buffering in an impressive way. You can order one unit for apartments and smaller houses or a pack of three for a larger home. It replaces your router and helps boost your browsing speed anywhere you are in your home.
One of my favorite things about the Google WiFi system is that you can download an app and manage your system from your phone. You can see all the devices that are online at your house and even pause WiFi on your kid’s devices. So, on top of the consistent internet speed improvements I get, these units actually make 21st century parenting a little easier on me.
2.) Adding more storage throughout my home:
There’s limited storage in my house and I’m someone who functions best when I don’t have stuff piled up on countertops and imposing on my workspace. Getting a few storage baskets that hook over my cabinet doors has helped free up so much counter space in my kitchen and bathrooms.
In my linen closet, I originally had so much wasted space because of how tall each cubby is. I fixed this by ordering some under-shelf baskets that help me use that space, and now I can fit even more into the closet. I wish I had thought of this a few years ago, but I’m glad I have them now. Physical clutter leads to a lot of mental clutter and it’s just easier having things tucked away neatly. These make it easier for me to get stuff out of the way.
3.) A powerful laptop that will withstand long workdays for years
If you’re in the market for a new laptop and wondering where to start, I cannot recommend the brand ASUS enough. Mainly because:
- They’re great across the board no matter which model you pick.
- They’re relatively inexpensive for the quality you’ll get.
- 99% of the time, you’re getting more for your money with ASUS than you’ll get by buying a MacBook, an HP, and Acer, or a Dell that is priced similarly. Unless you personally prefer and enjoy one of these other brands, I highly recommend giving ASUS a shot.
I’ve had mine since early 2013 and it’s still running beautifully. It’s not a top-of-the-line model, either.
Take it from this computer geek: When shopping for a new computer you should always look at the processor you’re getting, the amount of RAM, and the memory that comes with it. At the very least.
If your work involves lighter programs, like Microsoft Office, sending emails, and browsing the internet, you won’t need a state of the art processor. An i5 processor will work perfectly for your needs and there’s no need to shell out more cash for a newer processor unless you want to. A lightweight model of the ASUS Vivobook is powerful, inexpensive, and reliable.
If you need something more, there’s another Vivobook model with the newer i7 processor and more memory that is a crazy-good value. If you like how thin and lightweight Apple MacBooks are, you’ll love these too. And you’re getting so much more for your money in terms of power and specifications.
13.) Order most of your household essentials online
If you love a clean home but can’t stand shopping for cleaning products every few weeks, consider saving a few hours a month (and some money) by ordering your stuff online. I use Grove Collaborative to order my cleaning stuff. The prices are great compared to Walmart or Target and they regularly run deals and give away freebies. They have a ton of more eco-friendly brands like Mrs. Meyers, Method, and Dr. Bronner’s at awesome prices. You can actually get a free 5-piece Mrs. Meyers gift set right now when you make an order of $10 or more from their site. Not bad, considering the value of the set is over $30 (It includes three full-size Mrs. Meyers products in whichever scent you pick).
Thrive Market is a great option for anyone with a specific dietary needs. You have to pay a monthly fee to access their deals, but they do offer a free 30-day trial. If you’re keto, vegan, gluten-free, or just trying out a plant-based diet, give Thrive Market a try. You’ll find a ton of discounted, organic food for sale as well as baby, household, and beauty products. They make it easy to find stuff that fits your needs. For example, just click on “Shop Values” and then “Vegan” to see only the site’s vegan products.
Shopping online is such a time-saver and stress-reducer for me. I don’t have to go to the store as often and I know I’m getting a good deal with these sites. Unless I happen to have amazing coupons on-hand, I get better prices online. Also, going shopping only for the store to be out of your favorite cleaner or the snack that your kid loves is super inconvenient.
So, those are the productivity tips for work at home moms that do wonders for this work at home mom. It’s hard sometimes, guys. But you’re not alone! Settle on routines that work best for you, implement them, and build your empire. You’ve got this.
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