Feeling like you have it all together at work and then when you get home you just want to take a load off but you cant?
Does it seem like those hours between quitting time and bed time either fly by or drag on and either way time escapes you?
I know exactly what it feels like to work on so many things yet feel like I’m wasting my time. Let’s break this down right quick.
So you go to work, do your part in taking care of the home and you’re a mother. You’re a dang good one too! So basically you have at least three jobs. Let’s say you have a partner in crime. Now we’re up to four demanding jobs.
That gets exhausting and overwhelming. It can start to feel out of control. Don’t panic mama, anyone would feel that way and you’re in the right place.
The first thing I want you to do is stop looking around at other working moms thinking they have it all in the bag because they don’t. They may just be better at finding a system that works and giving themselves grace which we are going to cover later so keep reading.
My goal in this post is to show you how to gain more opportunities for free time while completing your tasks at hand without the stress. Sound good?
There’s a few other secret weapons out there and we’re about to dive right into it. I’m going to quickly give you some simple tools on how to manage your time as a working mom so you can create systems that pull your life together and start spending more time where it matters most.
5 Beginner Time Management Strategies
1. The power of no
This is a tough one for moms in general. We are so many things to so many people, but when we try to please everyone it seems like we actually please no one.
You cant give your all to something while you’re trying to do three other things. Multitasking…even mental multitasking… just doesn’t work.
And then guilt tries to rear it’s lying, ugly head when we say no to things and even people.
Sometimes saying “no” can mean taking a stand or turning down events, opportunities, outings, get togethers etc that don’t work with our schedule.
You may let someone down and that sucks but you have to do what’s best for your mental load. I know mental health sounds heavy here, but it’s true.
Here’s the thing. When you’re in a constant state of trying to meet someone else’s expectations and needs to the point of being out of balance with self care, that breeds anxiety!
Home life should not be that way. You get to control what it looks like.
It seems harsh at first but once you truly understand what you value, then saying no when you need to honor those values just makes sense. Just say no. Okay, maybe “no thank you”.
Need a little help with that? No prob. Try what’s called the sandwich approach.
“I appreciate the invitation to be your workout partner, but I need to focus on my fitness goals in a different way to get the most benefit. Wishing you success, I know you can do it!”
See what I did there? You stuff the “no” in between two positive tones.
You can always just say “no thanks, I need to focus on my fitness goals in a different way to get the most benefit” and leave it at that but the sandwich approach is easier on the ears and shows more of your honest intent.
What does saying “no” look like?
- Take things off your plate – We’ll cover this more throughout the post. You’ll find that saying yes to something means saying no to another. When you follow the points below, it puts saying no into perspective and helps to chop down that guilt!
- Delegate – It’s ok to ask for help. Even if that means you need to invest time into training them first.
- Set time limits – Time management and planning is key.
- Set boundaries – Create healthy limits in relationships.
2. Get organized
Okay so in this day there are so many organization tools you can choose from if you’re looking for mobile convenience.
There’s phone and computer apps, digital resources like google drive and even podcasts for inspiration and fresh tips on the go.
Remember that overwhelming anxious feeling we discussed earlier? This is where you start to clear all that mess out.
Give yourself a brain dumping session where you write down everything on your mind.
Now prioritize it by level of importance and give each thought specific direction.
This helps you to create an actionable to do list that’s more realistic. For example, say during your brain dump you write :
“Clothes are in piles, two home improvement projects are pending and groceries are running low”
Now, let’s organize these thoughts into an actionable to do list :
–Half the pile of clothes will be folded this Sunday at 6:00am before the kids wake up and the rest during their nap at 1:30pm
–The home improvement projects will be worked on for 2 hours each Wednesday evening until completed
–The groceries are on a list and shopping is scheduled for Tuesday during my lunch break at work
See, the first scenario was a list of ongoing overwhelming thoughts that probably kept piling up while the second gives a clear plan of how to fix the issues and when.
Document it in your organization tool of choice and make it happen!
What do organization tools look like?
- Digital planners – Worksheets like the free one below, google sheets, google docs, etc.
- Physical planners – Because it’s so gratifying to check that box! Your free worksheet is also printable for all your check boxing needs!
- To do lists – Keeps you on track.
- Action plans – If you don’t set it, you’ll forget it and the mental load BUILDS.
3. Clean as you go
This sounds like a doozy and super time consuming but it’s really not that bad. I challenge you to try to clean out a dish as you use it.
Instead of throwing that cup and plate in the sink, run some soapy warm water through it. Just think of it as washing your hands.
Obviously, the heavy duty dishes take longer, but dang do those sneaky buggers add up!
How about the bathroom? You gotta brush your teeth anyway right? Next time while brushing try straightening up too. Throw away trash, wipe the counters clean, put items in their place.
What can you clean as you go?
House — Bathroom, kitchen, lounging areas.
Office — Keep your desk clean as you go so you’re not wasting time when it’s quitting time.
Car — Everytime you get gas or make a stop, use their garbage!
4. Routine Routine Routine
Make it a habit to plan ahead. This life throws all sorts of curve balls so I’ve found that planning has two main benefits.
One is that it will at least give you one less thing to worry about.
The second is that it gives you sense of control among the chaos.
Get clothes picked out as you do laundry and set it aside for the week. Yes, it takes more time up front but it makes for a simple grab and go situation when you’re dodging those curve balls throughout the week.
What can you make a routine for?
Prep meals – Finding time to meal prep will save you headaches when it’s go time. Let me know what you come up with!
Outfits – Ironing and picking out what to wear ahead of time.
Laundry – Pick a task you typically do and use it as a trigger to run the laundry in the background.
Bonding – The most rewarding routine ever. If you think about it, all the time management efforts allow for the most optimal bonding experiences. Here’s a 5 step roadmap to bonding after the work day to get you started.
5. Give yourself grace
Have you picked up on a trend in these tips for time management? Notice some of these tips apply to different days in preparation for the next meaning you don’t have to do it all in one day!
Your Sunday may mean 2 hours set aside for prepping while gaining multiple hours during the week to focus on other things.
Along the way I promise you that you will mess up and make mistakes. You will have the perfect schedule mapped out and there will be weeks where none of it gets done on time.
What happens then? You take a breath and give yourself grace! Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
What does giving yourself grace look like?
- Self care – Here’s a post to get you started with a free self care guide for working moms included.
- Acceptance – Some stuff you just can’t change. Stressing about it only breeds anxiety. Accept where you are and learn how to cope as you make it better. You will make it better, but that doesn’t mean you have to stress on your steadfast daily walk through the process.
- Forgive yourself – Allow the oops moments and keep it moving.
What can time management do for working moms?
Okay, so I hope this post has helped you to get started on the road to smart time management. You will see that it doesn’t have to mean you must have a robotic schedule with no time for spontaneous fun.
It’s actually the exact opposite!
You’ll see very soon that doing the work up front to set reliable schedules will give you more free time do what matters most for you and your family. You deserve that.
Which of these strategies do you feel the most comfortable with starting first? Leave a comment below and let me know!
I challenge you to start with releasing your mental load and capturing it on paper so you can prioritize it and get stuff done.
Sometimes we get so used to carrying the mental burden that we don’t even realize stress is building up in the background.
Click here for a free one page worksheet to release the mental load and organize your thoughts if you need help getting started.
You work hard enough during the day mama. Let home and family be a finely tuned system that keeps the “work” part of it and on autopilot so you can get back to enjoying why you created your family in the first place. You deserve this.
If you found any value in this post I would love it if you could spread the word and share it so other working moms can find some peace through the chaos. Thank you! Talk to ya later!
Thanks for hanging out with me.