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I’m writing at the bar of my home facing the kitchen. The breakfast and lunch dishes are sitting piled up next to the sink but to touch them would mean wasting this precious quiet time. And really, that’s what work-from-home mom productivity is all about: priorities.
I’m pretty sure that if I laid out my laundry pile, it would wrap around my house. But work days are not the time to do laundry. I pretend like I have set work hours and I don’t touch the laundry until the workday is done.
My home is rarely clean. Once a month I host my mom’s group. And that once per month clean does feel good and finally takes away that pile of junk mail we’ve been meaning to shred.
The reality of the stay-at-home working mom life is that you can’t cook and clean all day. Work-from-home moms don’t have the traditional homemaker role. If you do, you’ll probably lose your mind. At least I would.
As you work toward growing your business and raising great children, here are my work-from-home mom productivity tips.
Productivity tips work-from-home moms
Make time for what matters. I spend about 30 minutes each day reading to my son and rocking him to sleep at nap time. It’s hard to stop what I’m working on when the time finally comes but it’s so important to me. That’s my quality time with my little man.
I also make time for library toddler lap time, church events and to socialize with other moms. Why? Because for me, getting out of the house is crucial for my mental health and I know it’s good for my toddler too.
In your quest to only cut out the non-essentials from your busy working mom life, here are my tips.
Seriously, it’s time to put down the dustpan and start working. If the grime and disorganization bother you too much, decide that your next brain break will be to clean that thing that’s bothering you the most, but don’t get carried away.
I could spend all day picking up toys and following my son with a rag to wipe up all the goop he leaves in his wake. But I choose not to because I know he will just make another mess.
Instead, I hold off from cleaning up the dishes and toys until the end of the work day. I try to break about 15-20 minutes before my husband gets home so that there is some order when he walks through the door. On the days my son is clingy and having a hard time, I just ignore the mess. I know my husband will understand and he has never complained about a little chaos. Our son comes first.
When the little guy goes to bed, I pick up all of the toys and reset the house. This isn’t work time for me so it’s an appropriate time to do some cleaning and organization.
Make a to-do list
When you just can’t focus on work because you have too much to do, make a list. I find that organizing my thoughts helps me rest those thoughts.
I keep two lists in the Notes section of my phone at all times – one for work and one for home. Updating that list helps me stay organized and meet deadlines for my business. And because it’s on my phone, I can update it in line at the grocery store or when I’m laying in bed at night.
It’s OK to pause from work and empty your thoughts onto a to-do list for later. That is certainly not wasted time and in fact, it can boost your productivity once you’re unburdened from other thoughts.
Check off today’s to-do list
Your productivity tomorrow depends on you checking off you to-do list for home stuff today. So do that load of laundry, mail the check for you home owners association and wrap the present for your niece’s birthday.
While moms are tired from a hard day’s work and so relieved when the little ones go to bed, you’ll find it’s helpful to push through the exhaustion and get those chores done before another work day begins. I would much rather be snuggled up on the couch next to my husband than in the basement sorting, washing and folding laundry, but I know it will make tomorrow a better day. So I push on, and so should you.
Don’t break early to cook
I’m super spoiled when it comes to cooking because my husband does it all. He plans the meals and goes to the store each week for groceries. It’s so nice to not have to worry about that stuff so I can free up some of my head space.
But if you cook in your household, plan simple meals that you can start at 5:30 and serve at 6. You don’t want to cut your workday short to start cooking dinner. The goal here is to maximize the normal workday.
Cook with a crockpot where you just dump in the ingredients in the morning and serve it up in the evening. Pre-make some meals on the weekends and freeze some meals that you can heat it up and serve it quickly in the evenings. No matter how you do it, be sure meal prep is not hurting your productivity.
Make ahead breakfast and lunch
I love opening the fridge and just popping breakfast and lunch into the microwave during the workweek. It’s so convenient and helps me get things done.
I make a dozen scrambled eggs, or quinoa muffins, or breakfast casserole on the weekends to prepare for the week. I know that I’ll be feeding my son nutritious food for breakfast and starting my day with good energy.
For lunch, I grill up chicken and then shred it into chicken salad or pair it with black beans and green beans for a nutritious lunch. That way I don’t just eat junk or my son’s leftovers so that I’m actually giving my body sustenance during the workday. I did meal prep when I had an office job and loved the simplicity and the healthy foods it made me eat. Now I carry that over into my work-at-home mom life.
You’ll find your own productivity tips along the way that will save you. And your little one will grow and adapt and so will your productivity secrets.
- Plantronics Explorer 50: A bluetooth earpiece can help you take calls and hold your little ones or chase after them in the back yard. This one is so easy to use.
- Pack ‘n Play: Containing your baby or toddler inside a Pack ‘n Play can give you 20-30 minutes of peaceful work time when you use it properly.
- Boba Wrap Baby Carrier: Baby wearing helped me to stay productive when my little guy was super small. And if you’re breastfeeding, you can breastfeed hands-free while baby wearing.