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Being a work at home mom comes with lots of challenges. Figuring out how to be more productive is one of the biggest.
Running a business, freelancing, side hustling–they all require your time and energy. Not to mention you’ve still got all of your regular mom duties to attend to.
It’s exhausting and it can drain your energy mentally and physically. And when that happens, your productivity can suffer in a big way.
Sound familiar? If so, I’ve got some super simple tips to help you boost your work at home mom productivity fast!
How to Be More Productive When You Work From Home
1. Track your time
The first secret for how to be more productive as a work at home mom is knowing where your time goes.
This can be a real eye-opener if you’ve never done this before. The goal is to be able to see at a glance how you’re using your time.
Once you’ve finished this little exercise, ask yourself these questions:
- Are there any patterns to your days?
- What’s a regular part of your work at home routine?
- What tasks do you dread the most?
- Which ones do you look forward to?
Really get detailed; no task is too small to make note of.
Doing this kind of time audit is helpful because you can see where you’re dedicating the biggest chunks of your time and spot your time-wasters. Once you know what those are, you can start cutting those activities out.
2. Schedule regular wake-up and bedtimes
This next secret for how to be more productive when you work at home is ridiculously simple: get up and go to bed at the same time each day.
It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but it can be huge for getting things done.
Having a regular bedtime can help your body get into a rhythm so you’re not struggling to fall asleep at night. And waking up at the same time each day can help you feel more alert in the mornings so you’re not constantly dragging.
If you’re not getting up at the same time each day or going to bed at the same time, then that’s your next homework assignment.
Choose a time that’s comfortable and realistic for you to wake up. If you’re not the kind of mom who can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5 am, don’t sweat it. (And if you’re a really heavy sleeper, consider investing in a good alarm clock.)
Then bookend your day with a bedtime that allows you to get enough rest. You may need to give it a week or two (or three) for this to feel natural but it’s a crucial step as you focus on how to be more productive.
3. Visualize your daily routine
If you haven’t tried visualization you’re missing out on a powerful tool.
The idea is simple. When we see things clearly in our heads, we can bring them to life in the real world.
Sounds super corny, right? But visualization is one of the things that helped me grow my freelance writing income to six figures so I don’t scoff anymore.
Visualizing can also help when it comes to how to be more productive.
Here’s a little routine you can try if you’re new to visualizing:
Every morning when you wake up, do a quick run-through of what your day will look like in your head. From there, prioritize the top three things you need to get done.
It takes a minute or two but the payoff lasts all day long.
Seeing the day from start to finish in your head makes it easier to execute and get things done, so give it a try.
Take five minutes a day to get into your head and think out your day. Don’t be surprised if you start to feel more productive right away.
4. Unload your mental clutter before getting to work
It’s hard to stay focused on your business (or anything else) if you’ve got a bunch of other random thoughts floating around in your head.
I need to pay the water bill. I feel super bloated this morning. I wish I could take a nap. Will it ever stop raining?
You get the picture.
When you’ve got all these unimportant thoughts junking up your brain, it takes your attention away from the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
An hour or two goes by and you’ve made hardly any progress. Now you’re behind AND frustrated.
Offloading all the fluff before you start working can help to keep the white noise at bay and be more productive once it’s time to work.
A simple way to do that is grabbing a journal (or opening a Google doc–whatever works for you) and just scribbling (or typing) away for 15 to 20 minutes.
You’d be amazed how much more clear-headed you’ll feel afterward. And if you can’t do 15 to 20 minutes, try 5 to start.
Don’t think about what’s coming out; just let the words flow. As a bonus, this can be a great way to get warmed up if your work at home day involves freelance writing or blogging.
5. Keep a done list to go with your to-do list
You might love making to-do lists. I do.
But the actual doing what’s on the list part? Not always so much, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed as it is.
Making to-do lists gives your days structure. It also creates a sense of urgency. But, they can be a major source of anxiety if you’re not getting around to doing everything you’ve planned.
The easiest way to keep that anxiety from destroying your day is by keeping your to-do list short.
Pick three or five tasks and make those your main focus for the day. If that seems too overwhelming, just stick with one or two.
Remember, there’s only so much you can get done when you wear the mom and business owner hats. And having a long to-do list doesn’t help you be more productive. If anything, it just ups the stress factor in your day.
So keep a “done” list to go with your to-do list, jotting down everything you’re able to accomplish. Not just work stuff either, but all the things you do in a day as a busy mom.
Keeping a done list helps you stay accountable and track your wins.
Seeing everything that you’re able to do on any given day gives you a push. It puts into perspective just how much you do as a mom and an entrepreneur.
And going over your list can motivate you to knock out anything that didn’t get addressed the next day.
Bonus tip for how to be more productive: Make your to-do list the night before
Here’s an important tip: timing matters when you’re making your list.
It’s kind of like grocery shopping. Taking time to write a shopping list and think about what you need and the meals you want to cook keeps you focused once you’re cruising the aisles.
Walking into the grocery store with a list that you spent five minutes on is a good way to end up with a cart full of stuff you don’t need and blowing your budget. Or worse: forgetting half the things you came to get in the first place.
If you’re used to making your to-do list in the morning try switching things up and doing it at the end of the day instead. This way, you can hit the ground running the next day.
6. Tune out distractions
Distractions are a killer, right? It’s so easy to wander over to Facebook and scroll aimlessly when you’re supposed to be working.
One of the secrets for how to be more productive is to not let distractions get the best of you.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Block off set times for Facebook and social media before or after your work is done for the day.
- Don’t work with a bunch of extra tabs open–that’s too much temptation to get sidetracked.
- Put your phone on silent or better yet, put it in another room so you’re not tempted to check it constantly.
- Manage your time in blocks and stay focused on one task at a time for each block.
- Don’t work with the TV on. If you have to have some background noise, try listening to music instead.
But what if your kids are the distraction?
Ha, that’s a great question!
I’ve been working at home with my kids in the background since they were babies. So I know how hard it can be to get work done and be productive some days.
When they’re young, it’s all about finding ways to keep them busy. But once they get older, they can find ways to occupy their time themselves.
If your kids are home with you all day, think about when you can make time for work without cutting into your mom time. It might be nap times if they’re young, early in the morning or later in the evening.
If you can, try to match up your work time with when you feel most productive. That can be a huge help for getting things done quickly if you can’t work in long stretches.
Do you have a tip for how to be more productive while working from home?
Listen, working from home can be a dream some days and a nightmare on others when you feel like you’re not getting a thing done.
But hopefully, I’ve given you some useful tips for how to be more productive that you can start putting to work in your own life.
Do you have a productivity hack or tip that’s made your work at home mom life easier? Tell me about it in the comments!