As a mom entrepreneur, you know that productivity is key. Juggling work and family is hard, but it's not impossible. (I had three babies in four years and my oldest is only five, so I'm right there in the thick of it with you!)
But with the right tools and techniques in your arsenal, you can be more productive no matter how many times you get interrupted to break up a sibling fight or grab more snacks for the millionth time before noon.
Today I'm sharing my top productivity tips to help you get more done for your business, no matter how much time you do (or don't) have.
Why your business isn't going anywhere right now
I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a minute before we get to the tips because this simply can't be overstated. If you want your business to grow, you have to prioritize it and take action. Will it be harder for you than for someone with hours and hours of uninterrupted time to work on things? Yes. But you can still do it—IF you really want to make it work.
Give your brain a minute to come up with all of the excuses you may have for why you can't do it. Here are some of the most common ones I hear among the Biz Mom Collective members:
- I don't have any time
- I am driving people around all day
- There's too much work to do around the house
- My kids are too little
- My kids are always needing something
- My kids don't nap
- I have a baby
- I have a toddler
- I have teenagers
- I'm always exhausted
- I'm also working a full-time job
- I can't wake up any earlier than I already do
- I fall asleep trying to work after I put my kids to bed
- I'm too overwhelmed
- I don't know where to start
- My spouse isn't supportive
…and on and on it goes. But here's the thing. Only you can decide to make your business work, no matter what you circumstances are. Only you can stop giving your excuses power over you. Only you can commit to showing up for your business no matter what else is going on.
Commit to showing up for your business
It took me twice as long, if not longer, to write this blog post than it “should” have. I could have given up at any point along the way, but I didn't because I made it a priority to do today. I've committed to doing it, and here I am. It's been messy and full of babies nursing and toddlers hanging over my arms as I type (that's literally happening right now… my fingers are falling asleep on my left arm as my son lays over it). But writing and publishing this post is a priority for me, so I'm doing it.
Tough love: if you choose to do the dishes while the baby is asleep instead of working on your business, you're going to stay stuck.
So before you move on and read these productivity tips, I need you to stop and make a commitment to yourself. Promise yourself that you will prioritize your business no matter what.
Now keep reading to learn how to harness the power of productivity. And by the end of this post, if you're still needing help figuring out how to balance mom life and running a business, I've got you covered. I'll teach you the exact strategies I use to run multiple businesses from home while surrounded by my little ones almost 24/7!
Five productivity hacks for biz moms to get more done in less time.
1. Routines: Simply put, a routine is a consistent way of doing something. It's different from a schedule. You have a morning routine (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, feed the kids breakfast, and open your laptop to work), evening routine (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend routine (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.
The problem is, if you’re not careful with your routines, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning routine ? Is scrolling on your phone for hours before bed part of your evening routine? These distractions, even when well-intentioned (like interacting with your audience on social media) can turn into hours of wasted time.
Take a good look at your routines. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your routines more efficient, and you’ll automatically get more done. And if you don't really have routines right now because you're just floating through the day responding to chaos, now is the time to think about changing that and putting some in place!
2. Manage Your Calendar: Ever wonder where all of your time goes? Chances are, you have a lot more time than you think you do, but it's slipping through the cracks. You'll want to do a time audit to see how you're actually spending your time, and time how long it really takes to do certain tasks around the house and for your business. You'll probably be surprised to find how much time you have that's unaccounted for!
Another key thing with your calendar is to do a Sunday planning session every week. That way you can stay on top of your schedule and see where you can realistically fit in time for your business during the week. Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, including your business tasks, and you’ll quickly learn to stop over-promising or over-committing.
3. Learn to Let it Go: Let it goooooo. Seriously. Here's the thing. You can keep trying to do everything by yourself. I know you can do it. I did it for years. But at what cost? For me, it cost me my happiness. I started to become so resentful of having to do everything for everyone all the time and having to fight for time to work on my business. And then, I started snapping at my kids for silly things because I was so frustrated by my situation (military family across the country from any help or community, with a spouse who was always gone, raising 3 kids basically by myself.)
I felt like I had to do everything in life and in business, and I was stuck because I wasn't able to grow my business to afford to hire help, but without help, I really didn't have enough time to grow my business. Finally, I realized something had to give and I hired a babysitter for just a few hours a week. It was a game changer! You can also hire someone to help in your business instead, like a VA or a bookkeeper, to free up more of your time for the creative work. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do. Afterall, that is the stuff that makes your business unique in the first place!
4. Take Breaks: Another way to boost your productivity is to plan days or times off. I know it sounds backward, saying to spend to spend less time working in order to get more work done, but it lights a fire under you to stay focused and really work during your work times. You want to have the time freedom to spend with your kids, so it's important to actually make the time to do that too! You are not a machine. You can't work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. Take a day off once a week. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work. Not only will you return to your business feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before too. Trust me.
5. Focus: Turn off distractions while you're working. Yep, silence all of those email and social media notifications, those texts and calls, and anything else you have control over. You cannot efficiently work on your business tasks while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings.
If you are working throughout the day while your kids are around, plan out activities for them (they don't have to be complicated… think paint brushes with water on the sidewalk) and expect to only get 15-20 minutes at a time at first. I also highly recommend choosing at least one block of time for focused work a day, where the kids are either sleeping or not at home. That may mean skipping your nightly Netflix binge for a few months, but if you really want to make it work then it's worth it!
Struggling to find time to work on your biz? Grab the free Quarter Hour Power guide and get more done in less time!
Need help implementing these productivity tips? If you're still stuck in the messy phase of mom life and business where you're raising little kids, and you truly feel like you don't have time to do it all, make sure to grab my free guide, Quarter Hour Power, to learn my tried and true secrets for powering up your productivity in small pockets of time.
Ready to stop struggling and start living a more balanced life as a mom entrepreneur?
Make sure to check out my new course, Mastering Biz Mom Life. For less than $30, you can transform the way you juggle mom life and biz life.
Seriously, you don't have to keep struggling. There is a better way, and I'm excited to teach you all about it!