Even though moms are awake for many more hours now than before we had kids, we seem to have zero time to get things done. Ironic? From looking after our little ones and keeping our homes ticking along to running errands, and earning a living, there’s just not enough time.
Being a mom is challenging; some would even say chaotic! That’s why we’ve put together these time management tips for moms to win back valuable hours and restore order in our lives.
So whether you’re a full time working mom, single mom, or stay-at-home mom, here are some simple time management tips to help you stay organized and productive.
Why do we need time management for moms?
So, why do we even need time management tips for moms? Can’t we just wing it? Well, sure, if you like, but that’s a fast track to chaos and burnout.
If you’re living in a household where both parents work, either part-time or full-time, you need to maximize your available time, especially if you can’t rely on external support.
Ever heard it takes a village to raise a child? The idea of grandparents, aunts, and uncles always being there to lend a hand is lovely. But the reality is that only 3 in 10 Americans live within an hour of their extended family.
So, if it lies with you and your partner to raise your family, earn a living, and run your home, then we highly recommend you work some time management techniques into your day. Especially if you’re suffering from a lack of sleep too!
How do moms manage work time at home?
Remote working has opened up the possibility of working from home while raising your family. This can include freelancing, side gigs, or working as a paid remote employee with a flexible work-from-home policy.
If this is something you’re interested in, a timetable will help to organize your day and draw boundaries between when you’re mom and when you’re working. Without structure, these lines are pretty easy to blur.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to being a WAHM and a SAHM (if only!). When and how you choose to work will depend on:
- How many hours you need to work per day or per week – weigh up the cost and benefits of arranging childcare to give you uninterrupted work time.
- Your child’s age – for babies and toddlers, you might work 2-3 hours during naptimes plus an hour early evening or at the weekends.
- Your productivity – are you more efficient working early in the morning or late at night?
If you are working with a little one at home, task batching is an efficient way to make the most of your time. One of my favorite time management tips for working moms is using a spare 20 mins to complete a single task like checking and responding to all your daily emails. Do them all in one hit to keep in touch with your clients and colleagues.
What jobs do we need to squeeze into the day?
Outside of work, moms still have a platter of errands to fit into the day. And there’s never a day off when you’re raising little ones. Whether we’re shopping for groceries or school shoes, scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen, meal prepping for the week ahead, or helping out with homework, it’s pretty relentless.
11 time management tips for busy moms
If you feel like you’ve been running on that hamster wheel for years with no end in sight, these time management tips for moms will help you out.
1. Prioritize sleep
The foundation of time management is having enough energy to complete all of your tasks. And this starts with a good night’s sleep–which is laughable considering how little sleep we have as parents.
Data from Sleep Junkie suggests that pre-kids, only 68% of people sleep for 7+ hours each night as recommended. Let’s look at that again – 32% of people aren’t sleeping enough before they have kids! And after? Only 10% of parents get enough shut-eye in their first year as parents.
If you’re exhausted, then it’s really worth trying to get you and your kids into a strict sleep routine, so everyone is well-rested and efficient with their time. Start by analyzing your child’s existing sleep patterns – are they taking a late afternoon nap which means they don’t go to bed on time? Or perhaps they’re waking too early in the morning because they slept for too long after lunch the day before?
You may also want to incorporate a sleep trainer into your child’s routine so they get used to sleeping ‘by the clock.’ If all else fails, seek out sleep consultants in your local area to create a customized plan for you and your child. Once your child is sleeping consistently, don’t forget to prioritize your own sleep, so you’re ready to face the world again tomorrow! Get enough sleep to conquer the next day!
2. Stick to a routine
Routines are the key to time management for moms. Having a daily routine gives everyone in the family a sense of stability and predictability, making life less chaotic. It also means you can make the most of those small pockets of time throughout the day rather than trying to figure out what needs to be done next.
Develop a morning routine where you wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends, so you can ease into the morning and get everyone ready for the day ahead. If your kids are in school or childcare, create a daily routine that includes some ‘me time’ before they come home – use this time to work if you need to, enjoy a hobby or relax with a good book.
And when the kids are home, try to stick to a general routine so they know what’s coming next and can start understanding the concept of time.
3. Delegate where you can
Moms can fall into the trap of thinking they need to do everything – but it is ok to ask for help! Delegate certain tasks, where you can, to your partner. If you need their help with bathtime, household chores, or taking your kids to swimming lessons, then ask!
And when your children are old enough, rope them in too. After all, many of the household tasks you’re teaching are also valuable life skills. The chores you assign will be age-dependent. For example, a preschooler may help you stuff clothes in the washing machine, whereas a teenager could wash your car.
4. Know when to multitask
Moms are supposed to be great at multitasking but is it always a good idea? The answer is – it depends. For example, if you’re trying to cook dinner and your toddler wants your attention, then multitasking might not work. You may end up with a burnt meal and a frustrated child! Instead, focus on one task at a time and delegate where possible.
However, there are certain tasks that lend themselves to multitasking. For example, you can listen to a podcast while you wash the dishes or do some squats while brushing your teeth. Just be careful not to try and do too much at once, or you’ll end up feeling frazzled.
5. Plan ahead
One of the best time management tips for moms is to plan ahead for the next day. This means you can make the most of your time and avoid last-minute rushes.
Start by creating a weekly meal plan so you know what to cook each night. Meal planning will save you time spent trawling through recipes or standing in front of the fridge trying to figure out what to make. Planning also means you can batch cook, have meals ready for busy nights, or freeze extras for another time. It’s a lot easier to prepare healthy food and avoid fast food when you plan ahead.
You should also create a daily schedule detailing what needs to be done and when. Include tasks like taking the dog for a walk, picking up the kids from school, doing the grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Having a plan will help you stay focused and avoid wasting time.
6. Use a project management system
Don’t you love the beginning of the year when you get a new diary, fill in all the pages, and feel super organized? This project planner has a fantastic layout, with sections dedicated to goal-setting and reminding you to work victories into your day to celebrate achievements!
If you prefer to go digital, try using a project management system like Asana, which works brilliantly as a to-do list and online calendar. You can sync it across your phone, desktop, iPad, etc., so you always have access to task details. Better still, share it with family members to track progress updates on projects like holiday planning or budgeting.
7. Automate your finances
Life is busy as a mom, but one of the most important aspects of time management for moms is organizing finances. Make this a priority, so you don’t end up in debt, missing bill payments, or forgetting to put money aside for a rainy day.
The great news? Automation means money management doesn’t need to eat into your time. Set up direct debits to pay your mortgage, utility bills, and other recurring expenses following payday. That way, you’ll have taken care of all your financial obligations. Don’t forget to set up a recurring transfer from your salary to your savings account too! And then you’ll know the money left in your account needs to last until the next payday.
8. Use Pomodoros to maximize your time
If you’re short on time, use the Pomodoro technique to stay focused during the few hours or even minutes you have at your disposal.
First, here’s a bit of background. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. And this productivity hack was invented by an Italian student named Francesco Cirillo in the early 1990s. He used a tomato-shaped timer to stay on track with his studies, chopping down larger tasks into 25-minute intervals, then resting for a 5-minute break before continuing with another Pomodoro-length task.
This is the same technique you’ll follow as a busy mom. If you have 25 minutes to spare (or even 15 or 20 mins if you need to adapt the method), dedicate yourself to one specific task like folding laundry until the timer sounds. Don’t go beyond your time limit!
You’ll find this type of tracking makes you far more productive as you want to complete the task before time’s up. Choose a Pomodoro app to get started.
9. The power of saying “No!”
Are you a “Yes” person? If you find yourself overcommitting, with a packed diary and no time to yourself, learn that it’s ok to turn invitations down.
Dr. Vanessa Bohns of the University of Waterloo in Canada explains, “Saying ‘no’ feels threatening to our relationships and that feeling of connectedness.” But saying yes when we want to say no can also leave us feeling stressed, depressed, and burned out.
If you don’t have time to meet a friend for coffee this week, or can’t spare the hours to volunteer for yet another PTA event, then learn to say no with a smile. If that feels too confrontational, suggest alternative options – perhaps you can meet up in a couple of weeks or sign up to help at the school’s next fundraiser instead?
10. Frontload your week
If you do get some rest on the weekend, hopefully, you’ll start the week feeling nice and recharged. Make the most of this energy by frontloading your week – this means storming through your to-do list on Monday, Tuesday, and maybe even Wednesday before easing up as you approach the weekend.
You should find yourself more motivated to tackle chores at the beginning of the week and can start to let things slide a little as your energy naturally wanes by Friday.
If this sounds like a pattern that could work well for you, pick some nice, easy tasks for Thursdays and Fridays and leave the real stinkers for Mondays.
11. Always have a backup plan
There’s no doubt about it – as a mom, you need to be prepared for anything. There will always be unexpected events and will through any good to-do list off! That’s why it’s always good to have a backup plan (or two) up your sleeve.
Whether it’s a last-minute childcare solution or an easy dinner idea when you can’t face cooking, it’s worth taking some time to think about what you would do in an emergency.
And “emergency” doesn’t have to mean a full-blown crisis. If your toddler is having a tantrum in the grocery store and you can feel your stress levels rising, it might be time to abandon ship and come back another day. Staying calm during chaos is a critical time management strategy for moms. And it all starts with having a solid backup plan.
12. Set realistic goals
It’s important that as you’re writing your list of things to do as a part of your weekly plan, you set realistic goals. You can’t do everything. So figure out what your top priorities are and plan time blocks to get them done. Focus on those specific tasks that are most important.
Don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t get everything done. Focus on the most important things and next time, pick up where you left off.
How do I give myself time as a mother?
Making personal time for yourself is one of the most valuable gifts you can give your kids. A well-rested mom will have the mental and physical health to nurture her growing family.
But how do you make time for yourself when you’re constantly on the go? It’s all about grasping the little moments in your day and embracing mindfulness to appreciate them – even if it’s just a cup of coffee in peace or a relaxing bath at the end of the day.
Most of all, be aware that it’s not necessary to “do it all.” Trying to achieve too much can lead to toxic productivity where we’re just crossing things off a to-do list without really enjoying our lives. So ditch the laundry once in a while and cuddle your kids while they’re still young.
Go for a long run, read a great book, and get a massage on a regular basis! Doing these things will keep you in a much better place physically and mentally.
Which of these time management tips for moms will you try?
Having effective time management skills as a mom is important. The good news is that time management for moms is a lot easier when you have an arsenal of tips to try. Hopefully, these essential time management tips will become a part of your daily life and how you manage your own time.
If you’re ready to start implementing these actionable tips, the best place to begin is by identifying which areas of your life need the most attention. From there, you can introduce some of the time-saving methods outlined above and win back some mom minutes for yourself!