Time Management for Working Moms – 10 Tips to Effectively Save Time and Limit Stress
It doesn’t matter if you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom. Being a mom and having that title is a lot for anyone.
Our society has grown and is still growing in how women are represented in the workplace. More women than ever are working and therefore, more mothers are working moms.
It is an amazing achievement that we can now see more women represented in positions of high authority, however, the home responsibilities have not altered.
Husbands are great and can be so very helpful, but I see that many women are still the leaders when it comes to homework, dinner, bathtime, bedtime, organizing family functions and so much more.
This has created an imbalance between work and home life for many women and therefore time management for working moms seems impossible.
Although it is undoubtedly a difficult conflict, time management for working moms can be achieved. It will take some mindset shifts, some refocusing, and some minor changes, but it can be done and the reward is so worth it.
Here are 10 tips that are truly effective in helping you manage your time.
Start Practicing Some Self-Care
After using these 10 tips you will find that there is enough time to do all the things you feel like you need to plus practice some self-care. Remember, you can not pour from an empty cup!
10 Tips to Achieve Time Management for Working Moms
1. Avoid Procrastination by Eating the Frog
If you’ve never heard the phrase “eat the frog” then this probably sounds a little strange, but let me explain. The idea of eating the frog was originated from a Mark Twain quote,
“If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat the frog, then you can continue your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day”.
It is the idea of doing the thing you are dreading first. Once that is out of the way then you can continue your day with joy and productivity.
Have you ever dreaded folding laundry so instead you walk around the house picking up toys and straightening up so you feel productive, but then an hour passes by and you have made little to no difference? Yep, been there, it is because you are avoiding the frog.
You waste time by procrastinating and avoiding the thing you don’t want to do. Instead turn on your favorite music, grab that cup of coffee and eat that frog! By doing this you have just saved yourself an hour and when you think about it this way you might even get excited about that frog!
2. Set Clear Time Goals
You have gone through life long enough now that you understand the importance of goals. However, I want to challenge you on how you are setting your goals.
Do your goals look like a scribbled to-do list you put together the night before? That is a great start but don’t stop there. Set clear time limits on those goals. For example, your to-do list might look like this:
- Get myself ready
- Wake the kids up
- Pack lunches
- Get the kids out the door
- Pick up the kids
- Make dinner
- Do the dishes
- Help with homework
These are all great goals, but when you start making those lunches you get sidetracked by the lack of milk in the fridge and start making a grocery list. When you start doing the dishes someone just figured out how to do a somersault and they are yelling for you to come and see.
It is incredibly easy to get distracted from your goals and you go to bed discouraged because you did not complete your to-do list. However, when you set clear time limits on your goals you are more likely to get the goals done and in less time. So, try a to-do list like this one next time and see what a difference it can make.
- Get myself ready in 1 hour
- Wake the kids up by 6:30
- Pack lunches in 15 minutes
- Get the kids out the door by 7:30
- Pick up the kids by 5:30
- Make dinner in 30 minutes
- Do the dishes in 15 minutes
- Help with homework for 1 hour
3. Have Realistic Expectations
Sometimes you feel as if there is not enough time or you are discouraged because you are not finishing your to-do list because of unrealistic expectations. Personally, this one was difficult to come to terms with, but when I finally did it made a huge difference.
When you first become a mom you have an idea that motherhood will be challenging, but you still have some thoughts in your head that you can do many things as you did before. You and I both know that that is usually untrue.
Now that you are a mom and still working a full-time job, there is no way you can still have the same expectations for yourself. You may not always have the homemade side dish to bring to the family cookout, and you may not always be 10 minutes early for everything like you once were, but that is ok.
When you are planning your day or for a special event remember how your routine usually goes. If your son always takes 15 minutes to get on a pair of shoes, then plan for that. If your daughter usually needs 30 minutes to get her hair just right then plan for that too.
You tend to lose time when you forget to factor in your family’s normal routine. Just because you are excited about the day or a special event doesn’t mean your husband or kids are. They are still going to move in slow motion and you can set yourself up for success when you plan for that.
4. Plan for Tantrums and Hick-ups
So now you know to plan for the regular occurrences such as your son’s slow-motion speed and your daughter’s need for perfect hair, but what about those moments that just occur once in a blue moon. I say plan for those as well.
Give yourself an extra 15 minutes for the random outburst or tantrums. It may look like your son not liking any of the 20 pairs of sweatpants he has in his drawer, or your daughter insisting that she has no shoes that match her dress.
These things don’t happen every day, thank God, but you know that they very well could happen and usually when you are in a hurry.
So, to help you remain calm and find a solution faster, give yourself some extra time. You will be able to limit stress and continue the day on schedule while remaining in a good mood.
5. Put the Phone Down
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, but it is oh so important. Of course, it is important so you can give your family your undivided attention and grow relationships, but it is also important for time management.
How many times have you set down to complete one task but you get a text, or a reminder, or an alert on your phone that draws your attention elsewhere? The task you originally set to do is now taking double the time or may not get completed at all.
I encourage you to put your phone away when you get home from work. Put it in your room, plug it into the charger, shut the door, and leave it for an hour at first. When you get comfortable leave it for 2 hours, and when you are a pro, leave it for the night.
You will be amazed at how much more productive you are and how your mood reflects that. You will be excited and ready for the next activity or to-do list item and you will get it done in half the time.
6. Set Limits
You are a mom and therefore you are no stranger to setting limits, or how we often hear it as setting boundaries. You do this for your children all the time.
No treats unless you eat all your dinner. Only 30 minutes of YouTube. You need to be in bed by 9 pm.
Just as it is important to set boundaries and limits for our children, you need to make it a priority to set limits for your own benefit. These limits will allow you to structure your time and prioritize the things that mean the most to you.
Setting limits with yourself may look like only 30 minutes of mindless scrolling on Facebook or Instagram.
Setting limits with your job may look like you can only work overtime once a month and not on nights your children have games or recitals.
Setting limits with your husband may look like him helping with homework instead of watching T.V. while you make dinner.
This week try to set a new limit in one aspect of your life. Remember people aren’t mind-readers so be clear, write it down if you need. Give it time for everyone to adjust as it will be new and tweak it as you need.
7. Planning Time Once a Week
Without a plan, how do you know where to divide your time? Without a plan, you often lose time trying to figure out what is next.
What is for dinner tonight? Which kid has practice and which has a game this week? Who needed the money for the yearbook?
Motherhood is full of responsibilities and you are often pulled in a thousand different directions. This is why it can be incredibly helpful and a huge time-savor to have a plan. However, it is important to plan efficiently.
Choose one day a week for an hour planning session. For example, let’s choose Sunday. Every Sunday sit down, open a planner and a notebook and jot down what all is happening for the week.
- Write down the games, the recitals, the family outings, birthdays, and other special events.
- Get an idea for dinners for the week. You don’t need to do full meal plans but have an idea that Monday is spaghetti, Tuesday is tacos, Wednesday is chicken, and so on.
- Scribble out a grocery list of the main items you know you need every week. Add what you will need for dinners. If you don’t know all you will need yet, figure out the best time for you to stop by the grocery and get what you need or delegate to your husband.
Having this weekly plan allows you to pinpoint what is truly important for the week and focus on those tasks. Doing this planning only once a week allows you to save time throughout the week. Give this planning method a try and see how it affects the rest of the week.
8. Do What You Can the Night Before
This is one of my favorite time management techniques. I love to set out and prepare all I can the night before because I love a calm, peaceful and structured morning.
It is near impossible to have a calm, peaceful, and structured morning when you are throwing together lunches, trying to find last night’s homework, and rummaging through drawers to find the only pair of socks your son will wear.
You may not be excited to make another PB&J at 7 pm, but we have learned that eating the frog is incredibly helpful in saving time. So, make that PB&J, pack the backpacks, lay out the clothes, set out what you need for breakfast, already have your coffee cup ready, and watch how the morning completely changes.
You not only have a calm, peaceful, and structured morning, but you just saved 30 minutes by avoiding searching for items, last-minute lunches, and tantrums.
9. Have Some Belief
Sometimes, you just need to have some belief. Belief in yourself, in your children, in your spouse, and in your circumstance.
You oftentimes have given up before you gave it a fighting chance. You didn’t go to that family function because there was no way your family could make it there in time. You woke up in a bad mood because you already knew it was going to be a rough morning.
Stop doubting yourself, momma. Today may be the day where everyone is on the same page and things roll out just as planned. Don’t be so quick to throw in the towel.
Instead of thinking, “There is just not enough time” change it to “I have everything I need to make this work”. When you have this thought in mind you are ready to seize the day and get the task done.
You stop wasting time on negative thoughts and with this saved time you surprise yourself as to what you can get done and while still in a positive mood. So believe in yourself and your family, have the thought that you have all you need and just get going!
10. Know That You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
You spend so much time thinking about how you could have done something better. How you are not like that mom over there. How you are not doing as well as you thought you would.
No one said you are doing things wrong, you said that to yourself.
No one said you need to do better, you said that to yourself.
No one said you had to be perfect, you said that to yourself.
If you are wanting time-management momma, then stop wasting time trying to be perfect, You know you will never reach perfection because it is impossible and you will continue setting unrealistic goals for yourself. You tell your kids that all that matters is that they try their best and you need to start telling yourself that as well.
You do not need to be perfect to be a good mom. You do not need to be perfect to have time management. Just show up, do your best, and be proud of that.
Now You Can Manage Your Time
Now you have 10 realistic and effective ways you can manage your time even while you juggle working and motherhood.
You have learned it is not so much about the perfect routine or schedule, but more about how you can improve and change how you think about the things you already do.
Start easy and try to implement one of these tips this week. After you master that, try another. I have no doubt that you will see a shift in your time and your mood.
Remember there is always time for self-care, especially after implementing these tips. The best way you can care for others is by caring for yourself first. Download the FREE self-care packet to start caring for yourself.