Short on time? Save these tips on how to stay productive while working from home as a mom for later on Pinterest!
Being a mom is a full-time job, and when you’re a stay-at-home mom or a work-at-home mom, the challenges of managing home, work, and self can be overwhelming. How are you supposed to keep your work tasks on track when all you can see are the household chores that need doing? What can you do to focus on work when the siren call of the couch and Netflix are continuously tempting you?
It’s tough – trust me, I know! I’m a work-from-home mom, and I know all about how tough it can be to log in and get work completed when all you want to do is tidy up a few piles, listen to a podcast, or relax with a book! I love my work-at-home mom life and am determined to help you feel the same way!
Keep reading for a deep dive into the habits and routines that can help you stay productive and balanced. Whether you’re juggling working at home or managing household chores, these tips will ensure you get more done without feeling drained.
Why is Productivity Important for a Stay-at-Home Mom?
How many times have you heard someone make a snide comment about how “relaxing” your life must be as a stay-at-home mom? *Cue eye roll* If they only knew, right?! This attitude from other people is really harmful to those of us who must respond daily. We know we don’t just sit around all day, but how do we explain what it is we actually do to everybody else?
For most of us, the idea of a stay-at-home mom lounging around the home all day is a myth. In reality, moms are constantly working, whether it’s managing household chores, taking care of kids, or even handling work tasks. Just because you aren’t technically getting paid for all those things does NOT mean you are not working.
Being productive helps get things done efficiently, ensuring time is left for self-care and quality time with family. If you can find strategies to help you create a more productive stay-at-home life, you will be reaping the rewards soon enough. And you may not believe this, but getting things done efficiently, with a strategy and routine, will leave you with MORE time at the end of your day to do the things you love.
The Power of a Morning Routine
Starting your day right can set the tone for the rest of the day. A morning routine helps you stay on track, ensuring you get things done without feeling rushed. VeryWellMind says that a morning ritual can help “set the tone” for the rest of the day. VeryWellMind goes on to say, “As we start each day fresh, we can better focus on what is in front of us, where to prioritize our time, and, ultimately, increase our productivity.” If you want to feel more in control of your schedule, it all starts with a solid morning routine.
Think about it this way: If you wake up and think immediately of all the things you need to do and start rushing around trying to complete them, you will automatically feel stressed. You just woke up, and your mind is already in a panic. If you have a morning routine, you have time set aside when you first wake up to center yourself, prepare for the day, and do something just for you that both energizes and relaxes you.
Your morning routine can be anything you want, as long as it allows you to prioritize yourself and take a few deep breaths before jumping into the chaos of your day. Do you enjoy exercising? Making a quick workout right when you wake up is part of your morning routine. Is reading your favorite hobby? Build in fifteen minutes to read in the morning before tackling your to-do list. Your routine can be as simple as sitting down with a fresh cup of coffee.
Spend some time thinking about what will help you focus on yourself and the rest of the day, and build your morning routine from there.
Dressing for Success: Why You Should Get Dressed Every Day
I love loungewear and athleisure just as much as the next girl, but it’s better for our mental health to wear an outfit every day. Remember during the height of the pandemic when we were all living on Zoom? HuffPost did a study on the effect getting dressed had on people’s productivity, and their findings were resoundingly in favor of it! One of the psychologists they interviewed, Sheva Assar, said that getting dressed in the morning may “increase our motivation to do other things throughout the day, to experience more energy and to want to do more things.”
Does this mean you must wear pantyhose and a blazer daily? No, of course not! It does mean that you’ll feel your days are more productive as a stay-at-home mom if you choose to change out of your pajamas each morning into something that makes you feel good. Kelly in the City also asserts that getting dressed can change your mindset. It’s kind of like a signal to your brain saying, “I’m ready! Let’s do this!”
The Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule: Planning Your Day
Having a clear plan for the day can help you stay organized and ensure you get everything done. Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and realized that, while you may have done lots of other things, you completely forgot about all the priority things you wanted to do? Yup, been there! It’s frustrating to feel like you wasted your time or didn’t finish something important.
If you want to be a productive stay-at-home mom, my favorite way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to brain-dump everything I want to do each day onto a piece of paper. Then, I make a list of “must-dos” and another list of “nice-to-dos.” This way, I can prioritize my time without losing focus. It also helps me from feeling overwhelmed by the endless to-do list. Rookie Moms recommends placing your list or schedule somewhere visible so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.
Stick to your schedule as much as you can because it will help you feel grounded, but also know that if your day goes off the rails or you don’t use it as much as you want, it’s okay. Life is meant to be flexible!
How to Stay Productive When Working from Home
For work-at-home moms, balancing work and home responsibilities can be challenging. I work at home, and I have had to figure out ways to keep myself focused on my work tasks rather than scrolling my phone or handling home chores. Something that has really helped me has been to create a dedicated workspace. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you can, I recommend it. Having a dedicated workspace or office when you’re working will help you to get into the mindset of “work” and push other responsibilities (like the dishes in the sink or the plumber who needs to be called) aside for a chunk of time.
If you can, I suggest setting specific work hours and communicating boundaries with your family. The Muse recommends identifying your best hours for work. Do you like getting up while the house is quiet and no one else is awake? Does your brain feel wired and ready to go at five a.m.? If so, maybe you’ll feel better if you set aside two hours each morning to finish a chunk of work. Do you have a block of time in the afternoon when you feel most creative? Schedule creative tasks for then! If you’re a night owl, schedule in work time once everyone else is asleep. As a working mom, I love to work late at night!
Remember that just because it all CAN get done doesn’t mean you have to go nonstop. Don’t get caught up in the hamster wheel of to-dos! Schedule in time to take breaks, and don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Meal Planning: A Game-Changer for Busy Moms
Planning meals ahead can save you time and reduce stress – in a major way. In fact, this may be one of the best habits of a productive stay-at-home mom!
Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? CNN says that our brains are making upwards of 35,000 decisions each day. Yes, you read that right – 35,000! When you’re exhausted at the end of a long day, it could be because your brain is suffering from decision fatigue. How does decision fatigue relate to meal planning? Well, if you can take a few of those decisions off your plate (ha! pun intended) in order to save yourself from feeling overwhelmed, don’t you think you should do it?
Sitting down at the beginning of the week (Eat with Nymble says Sunday is the best day to do this task) and creating a meal plan will take a huge piece of your mental load off your back. You won’t need to think about what’s for dinner, lunch, breakfast (or even snacks, if you plan them) because you will have already thought about it. All you have to do now is follow the plan. It’s incredibly freeing to let the stress of weeknight dinners go, all because you’ve already handled it.
My favorite tip: Create your grocery list at the same time if you’re able to so you can have all the necessary ingredients waiting for you in your kitchen! It’s a great way to set yourself up for success!
Something else I love about planning meals is that it ensures I eat a balanced diet instead of grabbing something random from the kitchen when I’m between Zoom calls.
The Importance of Taking Breaks and Quiet Time
When people hear the word “productive,” they automatically think of checking things off lists and accomplishing a lot of tangible tasks. I’m here to tell you that productivity isn’t all about the work. In fact, constantly working, whether it’s household chores or office work, can lead to burnout.
It’s important that you take a break each day in order to allow your brain to reset and your body to rest. Rest is productive. Arc Counseling and Wellness says that rest “is a crucial component in maintaining our mental health” and that “when we have been working nonstop, we can notice a lack of patience and irritability, which also leads to decreased focus.” Let that sink in. If we don’t rest, we lose focus. If we lose focus, we become less productive.
I’m more likely to rest if I schedule it into my day. Figure out how you can schedule time for breaks, even if it’s just a few minutes. It’s important to set time aside each day for some quiet moments. Quiet time, like meditation or simply relaxing, can rejuvenate your mind and body. Interested in meditation but not quite sure how to get started? Try downloading one of the three meditation apps reviewed here by the NY Times.
Asking for Help: It’s Not a Sign of Weakness
You don’t have to do everything alone. None of us can do it all, all the time. We aren’t meant to! It’s essential to your health and your productivity that you learn to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Sometimes, as described by Inc.com, pride can get in the way of us asking for help. It’s a tough obstacle to overcome, especially if you’re used to shouldering a heavy load all by yourself. You could start by thinking about all the things you COULD ask other people to help you with as you go throughout your week.
Can your kids handle the laundry (even if they don’t do the folding exactly right?)? Can your neighbor watch the kids so you can go for a run? Can your partner handle the cooking when you are feeling overwhelmed? Thinking about those things may make it easier for you to ask someone to help you later.
You also don’t have to rely only on family members when you need help. There is nothing wrong with hiring someone to assist you with something. Would having InstaCart deliver your groceries save you some stress? Is there a babysitter you could hire so you could work uninterrupted for two hours each week?
Asking for help is essential for your well-being and productivity.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Tips to Manage Stress
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times. The important thing is to not let these feelings take over your entire day. When you’re feeling stressed, take a step back, breathe, and prioritize tasks.
Firelands Health says that visualizing relief can help you instantly relax. I also really enjoy getting outside and going for a short walk. Taking some deep breaths of fresh air and focusing on the sights and sounds around me really helps to calm my nervous system down. When you breathe, try to breathe in for five counts and out for five counts. This way, you make sure you are filling your lungs and breathing slowly.
Grounding techniques, like those described by the Temecula Center, are also helpful when you are stressed. I like movement techniques, like stretching my muscles or tensing and relaxing various muscle groups.
Remember, it’s okay not to get everything done in one day. Take it one day at a time.
Short on time? Save these work-from-home mom productivity tips for later on Pinterest!
Staying Present with Your Family: Quality Over Quantity
While being productive is essential, don’t forget to spend quality time with your family. There’s no trophy for “The Most Productive Day” or “Crossed Everything Off Her To-Do List.” Yes, it is important to focus and get things accomplished, but it is more important to live a life you love!
I hope these productivity tips have helped you. Remember to be present in the moment, cherish the memories, and remember that work can wait, but kids grow up fast.
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