When I decided to become a work at home mom, I had dreams of perfectly executed days and fabulous Friday’s that ended my week with a bang. Once I started I realized that I was indeed dreaming. Being able to work from home is amazing. There’s no commute, you can work in your pajamas, and best of all you get to spend more time with your family. But it actually requires a lot of planning, organization and consistent commitment. You have no one telling you what to do or when to do it, so it’s up to you to create a schedule and a work at home mom schedule that will work for you.
Here are some great time management tips to help you manage life as a busy work at home mom.
It is important and that you plan to be productive. Sit down on Sunday and plan out your week. I schedule my 1 hour business meeting with myself every week. Sit down and focus on that task. Think about everything you need to accomplish for the week then make an exhaustive list. After you have created that list, break it down into manageable tasks for each day. I try not to have more than 3 to 5 items scheduled for each day. This allows my work to be less overwhelming and more likely to get done.
Meal Plan and Prep
During this meeting I also create a meal plan for the week. I usually like making quick and easy meals on Monday through Thursday and if it lasts two days and that’s even better. Creating a dinner plan for the week also allows grocery shopping to be that much easier. Because I already know what I’m cooking for the week it’s easy to create a list of ingredients I need to pick up while shopping. The last thing that I do is meal prep. I chop veggies, pre-make salads and stay fresh containers wash and prepare fruits and cut and store marinated meat and zip lock bags. Doing this makes cooking dinner during the week much faster and it allows more time to spend with my family or being productive.
Choose Outfits in Advance
I usually do the bulk of my laundry on Sundays as well. Once it’s done I will choose outfits for my kids in advance that way I save time in the mornings picking out clothes and trying to find that one specific shirt that’s missing 5 minutes before its time to leave.
Create a morning routine
When I first became a work at home mom, I read the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book allowed me to realize the benefit of having structure to my mornings. When I get up and set intention for my day, things go so much better. My process is not perfect and I don’t get it done everyday but on a typical morning my time is spent something like this:
6:00am – Prayer & Devotional
My alarm clock wakes me up with worship music so I allow that to play and then read from the Bible app, Jesus Calling or Uncommon Life devotionals. I use this quiet time to get some positivity flowing before starting my day.
6:30am – Workout
I try to squeeze in some physical activity every morning. I find that I have more energy throughout the day and I just feel better overall. I usually put on a workout from Youtube or just pull out my yoga mat, grab some weights and resistance bands and do a freestyle workout.
7:00am – Breakfast
Thank goodness my favorite meal of the day is also the most important. I absolutely cannot go without having breakfast. I like to make oatmeal or a quick veggie omelet, but on those mornings when I need something quick, I throw some fruit and protein powder in the blender and make a smoothie. Its the perfect quick nutritional meal to get my day started.
7:30am – Get the Going
I wake the kids up for breakfast and give myself an hour to get them all fed, dressed and out the door.
8:30am – Personal Development
During the morning drive I love to listen to podcasts and audiobooks in Audible to get me going for the day. They are a great way to learn something new or just encourage yourself going into a new day.
Structure Your Work Days
In addition to planning ahead and creating to do lists, it’s imperative to structure your days for productivity. Creating a start time, lunch time and a stop time is essential for a good work at home mom schedule. If not you will find yourself working endless hours and not taking advantage of the benefits of being a work at home mom like spending quality time with your family.
Having a start time will allow you to stay structured and respect your work day. I like to operate just as I would going to a traditional job. I start at the same time, eat lunch and end at the same time each day, unless there is something special going on.
When planning out my days I make sure to plan short productive chunks of time. When doing this I use a timer to set the amount of time I want to focus on a task. I usually set it for an hour. In that hour I focus on one particular thing I want to get done. This allows me to not get side tracked by the 20 other things I want to do. I respect that hour and allow myself to only focus on one thing! When the hour is up I stop and move on to something else. I usually complete the task. If not, I complete it in another power hour.
9:00am – 11:00am – Work
11:00am – 1:00 – Lunch
1:00pm – 3:00pm – Work
3:00pm – 9:00pm – Family time
9:00pm – 11:00 – Work
Establish a dedicated work space
When working from home its important to choose a space where you will work. For me there are certain places where I have a hard time focusing when Im trying to get things done. Choose a space that you can setup as a dedicated work area. Make sure its well lit, you have a comfortable seat and you have enough space to spread out. You can create a small office nook in a corner of your home, work at the kitchen counter or kitchen table, or just pick a comfy space on the couch to get things done, just make sure you have a space where your mind knows its time to work when we get here.
Take breaks when you need to
Working from home really take over your whole day if you allow it. You can get sucked into the work and be at your computer far too long if you are not careful. It essential to schedule breaks into your day. It is beneficial to stop and stretch, grab a snack or get out of the house altogether. Those breaks will allow you to rest your eyes from the computer screen and allow you to come back to your work with a fresh perspective.
Being a work at home mom is so rewarding but you have to remain flexible. There are times when I’ve had my whole day planned and then something comes up last minute that forces me to change all of my plans. I had to learn to be flexible. The reason we work from home is because we want the freedom and flexibility to make our own schedules and manage our own day to day. When things come up and you cant work how you want, just remember that. Have a system in place where you can make up the work time. I usually do the bulk of my work in the morning between 9am and noon, if something comes up, I get that same work done at night from 9pm to midnight. That works for me. Come up with something that works for you.