As a work-from-home mom, it never feels like there are enough hours in the day. The to-do list is never-ending, the laundry piles are overflowing, and you’re doing your best to cram everything in.
If you feel like you’re just keeping your head above water, welcome to the club. You are so not alone. But, this doesn’t have to be the norm. If you’re looking for ways to be more efficient with your time and get more done, check out some of my favorite productivity hacks, from one work-from-home mom to another!
Productivity tips for work-from-home moms
I know what you’re thinking — how can I do life as a work-from-home mom if I stop multitasking?
Hear me out.
Anecdotally I believe that women are amazing multitaskers. We’ve all been on a business call while feeding a child and unloading the dishwasher, right?
But, just because we can accomplish five things simultaneously doesn’t mean we should. According to psychological research, it’s not just men who are bad multitaskers (sorry guys) — the science says that no one is good at multitasking.
Here’s why — our brains were not designed for multitasking, especially when it comes to complex tasks like writing a report while simultaneously keeping a child alive!
There’s also a mental cost associated with multitasking. It takes time and energy to recover from switching from one task to another.
The point is, multitasking is a productivity killer.
So, if you have some flexibility with your work schedule then stop trying to work while you’re with your kids. Stop attempting to finish the laundry while you’re on a business call.
The goal is to focus on one thing at a time and be present. When you’re with your kids, give them all of your attention. Similarly, when it’s time to work, be fully present — you’ll be surprised how much you can get done in a short amount of time when you’re totally focused on one task.
Create a workspace that is just for work
As someone who has done a great deal of work sitting at the kitchen table in the busiest (and often messiest) part of the house, I know how important a quiet, organized workspace can be.
The value of setting up a proper workspace that is away from your kids (preferably with a door you can close), and out of eye-shot of the full kitchen sink, can do wonders for your productivity.
If you want to stop multitasking this is one way to do it. Out of sight, out of mind. If you can’t see the dishes, you will hopefully be able to forget about them and get more work done.
Plan your day ahead of time
If your kids are in school or you have some consistency in your daily schedule, then you can try a time management technique called time blocking.
Time blocking requires you to pre-plan your day in advance. As a work-from-home mom, I recognize that you might not have the luxury of pre-planning your entire day, as there will inevitably be some sort of fire to put out. However, if you know you have a few hours in the morning then make an effort to plan exactly what you are going to do in advance.
Hardcore time blockers often suggest that you plan your time in chunks of 5 to 10 minutes. This prevents you from getting distracted or falling into any time-wasting behaviors (hello social media). I say — create a plan that works for you. If planning your life in 5-minute increments seems too intimidating then start with 15-minute or 30-minute chunks.
Time blocking can be really effective because it reduces the number of choices that you have to make — and I would bet that most work-from-home moms are suffering from chronic decision fatigue.
Use the 80/20 rule
Have you ever heard of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule?
The idea is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. So, just because you can spend 10 hours doing something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to yield a better result then if you spend only 2 hours on the same project.
This is great news for work-from-home moms. We don’t have 10 hours to accomplish a task. Sometimes we only have 7 minutes to get something done.
With the Pareto principle, the goal is to get rid of all the distractions and productivity killers. You want to focus all of your valuable time and attention on the things that matter most.
To make this principle work for you, start by turning off your phone, avoiding social media, and locking yourself in your sweet, quiet office when you need to get something done. Next, see where you can delegate or outsource the things that you personally don’t need to do — and don’t feel guilty about it.
If you want to be more productive then remember that you can’t do everything — especially if you are trying to get your work done between naps and after bedtime.
So, if you don’t have time to clean your house — get a cleaning service (providing you can afford it). If you don’t have time to bake a cake from scratch for your son’s bake sale — then buy one. These aren’t things that aren’t going to make or break your success as a parent or professional.
How will you increase your productivity?
If you’re looking for ways to make the most of your time and maximize your productivity test out a few of these methods.
Being a work-from-home mom can be awesome but it can also be very challenging. The goal is to implement small tweaks so you can become more efficient and make more time for the things that you value the most — like sleep … oh, and your kids!
–By Jessica Martel