Are you a working mom struggling with your schedule? Here are some practical tips on time management for working moms!
Being a mom is hard!
Being a working mom can be an even more difficult struggle!
You want the best for your kids, but you also need to manage your job, home, appointments, family meals, cleaning, and more!
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What can you do?
Here are some easy-to-implement, practical tips to help you create a schedule to help you manage your time well and keep on top of everything you need to.
1. Have a weekly schedule
I’ll start by saying this idea repelled me. Completely. I hate micromanaging things and writing up a weekly schedule felt like I would be. Not so!
Writing out a list of things I need to do at the beginning of each week actually helps me to be more productive during the week – especially when it comes to my 2 little girls.
Sunday afternoon or evening I set up a schedule on a weekly calendar and write out all the upcoming appointments or activities (and also the week’s dinner menu).
I have this magnetic weekly planner on my fridge, and it’s the best! I love being able to see my whole week at a glance.
The Erin Condren notebook yearly life planner is also fabulous.
Write down the most important things in your schedule each week. Include anything that is important to you.
- If you want to pray and meditate in the morning, make it a part of your schedule.
- If you want to have time to play a game with your kids in the evening, write it down.
Make sure to also write down your weekly meal plan. Planning your meals will not only save you tons of time, it will also save you money!
Related: Meal planning made easy
You can also use a grocery delivery service to save shopping time.
Write down a simple cleaning routine (something like, Mondays – clean bathrooms, Tuesdays – clean out the fridge…) to keep up with housework.
2. Have a daily routine
Try to keep to a daily routine. Not only is this helpful for you, but kids thrive with routines.
Here are some helpful tips for setting up routines.
Try to prepare for the next day on the night before by:
- packing lunches
- get paperwork ready
- setting out clothes and backpacks (books, laptops, etc.)
This will help your morning run smoothly and help you feel less rushed.
Ideas for a smooth morning routine:
- prep as much as possible the night before
- wake up at the same time each morning
- have a list of easy breakfasts to make
- have a routine for your kids like:
- change & put away clothes
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth
Ideas for a night routine:
- make dinner
- clean up (dishes and toys – get everyone to help)
- get kids ready for bed (bath, brush teeth)
- prepare for the next day
If you schedule in cleaning/tidying activities as part of your routine (such as cleaning up immediately after breakfast and putting all dishes in the dishwasher), this makes it easier to keep your house organized and clean.
3. Find shortcuts
Find ways to make things easier.
- clean the bathroom while kids are bathing
- use pre-cut veggies for meals (or bulk chop all veggies the minute you get home from shopping)
- declutter (having fewer items means less to clean and take care of)
- schedule appointments on the same day
- take notes on your phone to remember important information
My kids don’t like it when I try to tidy the bookshelf while we’re playing a game (I’m just making use of the downtime when it’s not my turn!).
4. Set reasonable goals
But not too many!
Make sure you write down your daily (and long-term) goals. Know them so you don’t waste time on non-essentials.
Make a list ordered by priorities. Put the most important at the top and the least at the bottom.
5. Do the thing you hate to do first
I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to choose my most favorite task and do it first.
It’s better to just bite the bullet and do the hard thing first to get it over with, then the rest of your day will be more pleasant.
Schedule your most important, demanding or critical tasks first.
6. Break down bigger projects into small chunks
Do you need to clean out the huge mess in the garage?
Do you want to organize boxes of photos?
Do you have to purge your kids clothes because they have outgrown most of them?
Set a timer for 10-15 minutes every day (or on the weekends) and get the job done in small, manageable chunks. This can help it feel less overwhelming than doing it all at once.
A lot of moms seem to feel that they should do everything themselves (or maybe they think they can do it better than anyone else in the family).
I say – delegate!
Get everyone to pitch in and help you. Your husband and kids can help clean up toys, put away clothes, set the table…
Don’t stress about whether or not the job is done “perfectly”.
Be thankful for the help!
Since I became a single mom, I always enlist my girls (ages 3 and 5) to help me. Many times they are very eager to help. I try very hard to be happy that they are helping and not worry too much about the final product.
This is also a good opportunity for your children (and husband) to learn that everyone should pitch in because you’re all part of one family.
8. Use a timer to avoid wasting time
If you take 1 day and track all the things you do each day (and for how many minutes), I think you will be surprised at how much time you waste doing unimportant things (like scrolling through Facebook for too long…?).
Put a time limit on certain tasks.
Set a timer for social media or internet browsing so that you don’t get lost for hours there.
Have a purpose for each task – don’t just scroll through your phone for fun. If you want to check Facebook, set a timer for 10 minutes and then you won’t waste too much time there.
9. Time batch
It’s actually impossible to multi-task. Our brains are just really good at switching quickly between several tasks at once.
Even though we are fast at switching, we still lose small amounts of time to move from one task to another.
If we multi-task all day long, those small moments of time add up to larger chunks of time lost.
A far more efficient way is to choose similar tasks (like going through a stack of mail and paying bills or answering our emails and clearing out our inbox) and do them all in the same time block.
10. Decide what you want to let go
First, let go of perfection!
You can’t do it all!
You can’t be a working mom, prepare all meals fresh from scratch, exercise regularly, have an absolutely pristine house, take your kids to all of their events, volunteer for all the events, and have time to take care of yourself.
It’s not possible!
Choose what you want to focus on and don’t stress about the rest!
Personally, I don’t focus on tidying so much and this means my house is a bit messy (plus I have 2 kids under 5, so there’s that).
If possible, hire out some of tasks:
- get a house cleaner
- order meal box subscriptions (like Hello Fresh)
- have groceries delivered (saves time and you can “shop” any time of day)
- hire someone to drive your kids to events
11. Take care of yourself
Last, but certainly not least, you can’t be productive if you are running ragged without time for yourself.
Recently, I was really struggling and my therapist told me to make sure that I take time every day for self-care. I remember thinking “I don’t have time for that!”
However, I made a serious effort to take time for self-care each day the following week and I noticed a HUGE difference in my anxiety level and my outlook on my life (all this while I was going through a divorce, trying to move to a new city, and take care of 2 little kids).
Make sure to take care of yourself!
If you don’t, then you can’t give your best to work, your kids, or your family and friends.
You need to:
- get enough sleep
- eat regular, healthy meals
- have concrete ways to destress
- meet up regularly with friends and family (social connection is so important!)
- have time to relax and have fun (find a hobby, watch a favorite movie or read a new book)
When you schedule in “fun time”, this gives you something to look forward to and also provides the necessary rest and recharge that every mom needs.
Time management for working moms does not have to be complicated. In fact, making a schedule, having routines, delegating tasks, and using the timer wisely can help you manage your day and save time for spending it with those you love. What are your favorite time management tips? What has helped you most as a working mom?