I’ve been a work-at-home mom for over 15 years now so I’ve learned a few things about productivity hacks!
I know because I’ve raised 3 babies and even homeschooled my two older children for 2 years; all while working from home. I’d like to say I feel like Superwoman, but sleepy from the 7 Dwarfs is probably more accurate most days.
But I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and many productivity hacks to keep me working and the kiddos happy and busy.
There have always been early mornings and late nights, but it’s always been worth it. And you won’t find me complaining about it – ever. This life is one that I chose. I can choose to do anything else if I want to – but for now, I’m right where I want to be.
But one issue I struggled with early on was productivity. It’s HARD to be focused on your work or business when you’re raising a little person (or several) who basically needs you for EVERYTHING – at least in the beginning. So how do you keep from being ineffective as a mom and business owner?
You learn along the way and take advice and help from others also in the trenches of work-at-home motherhood. One of my biggest hacks for staying productive with kids is waking up before my kids do… life-changing.
So, I’ve decided to put together the ultimate list of all the BEST productivity hacks that I could find from other business moms like myself and share them with you!
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Productivity Hack #1 Get up early
Getting up early is essential – since the kids don’t wake up until 6:30 or 7… getting up at 5 allows me to get at least 90 minutes of work completed before everyone’s feet hit the floor. I’ll admit that I find it hard to get up at that time, but it feels so much better to know that I’m ahead of the game before the day even begins.
Couresty of Sheryl at TheCentsableshoppin.com
Productivity Hack #2 Dress for Work
When you work from the comfort of your home, you can wear anything you want. I often have friends tell me, “I’d love to work at home in my pajamas.” Being clad in flannel may make you comfortable, but it can be detrimental to your productivity. It doesn’t provide the transition that you need to move from sleep and relaxation to getting things done. Getting dressed provides the kick in the pants your brain needs to get into the work groove.
Action step: If you’re still in your pjs, go freshen up and get dressed. You don’t have to wear office attire, but putting on a nice shirt, jeans and shoes will help you feel ready to tackle the day. It’ll also be much less embarrassing to answer the door for the UPS deliveryman. Trust me.
Courtesy of Donella Crigger at GlueSticksandGumDrops.com
Productivity Hack #3 Work When You’re Most Productive
To do this, you need to be aware of when your high-energy times are and try to schedule time blocks during these times. Then, make sure you’re working on the most important things on your to-do list during these times.
First of all, it’s always so much easier to work on something important — or difficult — when you’re able to think clearly.
Also, if you’re working on stuff when you don’t have a whole lot of energy, you’re more likely to make mistakes. And it’s always more time consuming and costly to fix something later than to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Pro-Tip — I split my to-do list between high and low-energy tasks. This way I always know exactly what to work on during my high-energy times as well as my low-energy times, so I’m not having to go back and fix mistakes the next day.
Courtesy of Annie Mueller at SpikedParenting.com
Productivity Hack #4 Set Your Daily Tasks with Quadrant Planning
Courtesy of Kristi Hines at Justina’sGems
Productivity Hack #5 Turn Off Notifications
If my phone or computer is beeping at me all day, it’s hard for me not to check out what’s going on. I get distracted, I get nothing done, and then I get stressed because I got nothing done. So I eliminated the blinking and the beeping, and it changed my world.
Courtesy of Ashley Fehr at TheRecipeRebel.com
Productivity Hack #6 Make Time for Self Care
I hesitated before using the term “self-care” because it’s such a worldly buzzword right now. But the fact is that the need to recharge is real.In fact, God, who made us, also commands us to rest one day each week. How can we rest? By meditating on His word.
Taking a walk in His creation. Going for a swim in His oceans. Or just sitting with the family He blessed us with and enjoying their company.
When we run ourselves into the ground without taking the time to recuperate and rejuvenate ourselves, we can not live the full lives that we should live as stay-at-home moms. So make rest a priority.
Courtesy of Amy at TheGoodOldTodays.com
Productivity Hack #7 Create a Routine for Your Kids
Like us moms, kids need routines to feel accomplished, too. An intentional routine can also cut back on the amount of times we hear, “Mom, I’m sooo bored.” By creating a routine for our kids, we are teaching them early about productivity and setting and accomplishing goals.
I suggest creating a monthly calendar that is easily accessible for the whole family. This will hold all of the events that are going on for everyone in the family. Then, create a list of things that need to be completed on a weekly basis. You can break this down into tasks for each day and assign a particular person for each.
Courtesy of Jillian at LiveLoveJillian.com
Productivity Hack #8 Don’t Forget Your Stop Time
It’s also at this time that I plan my stop time. The time in which I will stop work for the day. This is an extremely important habit to have. You need to have a stop time as a work at home mom. Otherwise before you know it, you’ve worked for 16 hours a day for 4 days straight because you forgot to stop working each day.
Courtesy of Crystal at MommyisaWino
Productivity Hack #9 Set Realistic Goals
A sparkling clean house, a successful home-based business, and a five-course dinner on the table every night looks great on Pinterest, but it’s not reality. Trying to do everything yourself — and all at the same time — is a recipe for disaster.
Courtesy of Sarah Brooks at ThePennyHoarder.com
Productivity Hack #10 Using the Batching Method
I write a list of everything I still need to get done before Monday and then a separate list of things that can wait until the following week. I also spend some time thinking about how my schedule will be laid out and which tasks I can batch to save time. That way when Monday morning hits I know exactly what I need to be working on. These planning times are so ingrained in my schedule that I don’t even have to think about them! They are a daily and weekly habit that makes my life run so much smoother and really helps with my productivity.
Courtesy of Erin at SunnySideUp.com
Productivity Hack #11 Create Systems and Processes
This is one of the single most important parts of being productive. You need to be organized and know what needs to be done when. This means starting with creating systems, processes, and workflows. Every part of your business should have a process.
Courtesy of Amber Kristine at NeonPineappleDesign.com
Productivity Hack #12 Be Present with Your Family
Try your best not to work in front of your kids so when you’re with your kids, you’re fully present. Don’t stick around on your computer or answer emails when you can be outside playing with them. Limit the use of your phone and especially social media which is a time suck and distraction from being present (I myself need to work on this!). Close the office doors and do not go back in until they’re asleep during nap time and at the end of the day.
Courtesy of Jessie at TheMiamiRose.com
Productivity Hack #13 Be OK With Not Getting it All Done
Somehow we’ve developed this idea that having it all means having to do it all. Or that it means having it all at once. It doesn’t mean either one of those things! And believing that we have to have it all at once or do it all equally well is just setting ourselves up for epic failure. At any given moment my bathroom vanity is messy, I have a number of unfinished projects around the house, and I still need to get in my 30 minutes of daily exercise. Over time I have learned to be okay with things getting done in their own time. So many of the deadlines and ultimatums we face as working moms are self-imposed. One of the best gifts that we can give ourselves is room to breathe and space to just not get things done.
Courtesy of OneBigHappyLife.com
Productivity Hack #14 Build Margin into your Day
If there’s not enough time to get everything done, then there’s nothing you can do to change that other than to eliminate things from your schedule and to-do list. Which things on your to-do list feel really important but aren’t actually all that important? It’s okay to do less, and if you really can’t eliminate anything on your to-do list, then it’s time to hire an assistant to help you!
Courtesy of Mandi Ehman at TheArtofSimple.net
Productivity Hack #15 Talk to an Adult… Outloud
We love our children dearly, but talking to them doesn’t count here. If your kids are the only humans you speak to all day, you might start saying things like “No no” or “that’s mommy’s drink” to a potential client, which could be embarrassing, or possibly even cost you the job.
So call your mom, call your friend, or pick up the phone and call a client instead of shooting them an email. They will appreciate the personal connection, and you get to practice maintaining your social skills. It’s a win-win.
Courtesy of Susannuh at HelloGinger.com
Productivity Hack #16 Set Up A Support Network
There will be days when you need to be at your most productive and distraction-free. Seek assistance from other stay-at-home moms. If there are a few of you who work at home, consider pooling money together to hire a babysitter to watch all of your kids for a few hours. Having that additional support will mean you can focus your attention on your work knowing your children are being cared for.
Courtesy of Catherine Malone at Knote.com
Productivity Hack #17 Get a Good 8 Hours of Sleep
There are seasons of life when it is tempting to burn the midnight oil. I always regret those late nights the very next day. It’s so much better for our bodies, minds, and spirits to hit the sack by 10:00 at the latest. That sleep before midnight is the best, so grab it whenever you can. By 6:00 the next morning, you’ll be feeling like a million bucks, and you’ll be able to energetically and enthusiastically accomplish so much more. (And a cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either!)
Courtesy of Natalie Klejwa at KeeperoftheHome.org
Productivity Hack #18 Set Aside Time To Do Chores
I’m not about to tell you to avoid doing anything around the house during the workday. Heck, having your work breaks (you need to take a break anyway!) double as time to get chores done is one of the #1 benefits of working from home. The trick is to not become distracted by all that needs to be done around the house. What helps me is to set aside 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours to take a break from work and then I use that time to take a break from my computer screen and throw in a load of laundry, chop up some veggies for dinner, or tidy up a bit.
Courtesy of Christina Tiplea at EmbracingSimpleBlog.com
Productivity Hack #19 Create a Workspace
Without a designated workspace, I am distracted by the dishes that need to be washed or the dust I glimpse on the television screen or that one little thing that will just take five minutes. Before you know it an hour has gone by. My article still needs to be written, and I haven’t called my source to interview them. Even if it is just a corner, creating a work space signals to your brain that it is now time to work.
Courtesy of Rosanne Bowman at BrilliantBusinessMoms.com
Productivity Hack #20 Celebrate
Finally, at the end of every day (and there should be an end), feel good about what you were able to accomplish and celebrate. There will always be more work to do so don’t fret about what you weren’t able to complete. Simply clear your desk and prepare for the next day.
Courtesy of Ashley Sisk at DailyMom.com
So, there you have it… an awesome list straight from the mouths and hearts of moms who are in the beautiful trenches of work-at-home motherhood. I hope these tips and tricks helped you in your quest to become even more productive amidst the sounds of little feet running by. 🙂
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Please leave a comment below and share your productivity or household hacks for how you stay on track with your business goals and still rock it as an awesome mom. Let’s keep this list growing and growing in the comments below!