It’s so easy to blame technology for our constant distractions, and for me, it’s only second to the three little ones I have running around all day.
But when you’re a mom entrepreneur running your business through the chaos of mom life, you know more than anything how important it is to get stuff done when you have some time to focus. That's where tech tools for productivity come in.
Whether you work during nap times, wake up before your kids, or stay up late after they go to bed, the time when you’re not being constantly interrupted is sacred. And you definitely don’t have time to waste getting sucked into watching videos on TikTok or reading comments from a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook.
But here’s the good news. It’s possible to tame the distractions without tossing technology out the window entirely. And using some of the tech tools I’m going to tell you about can actually help increase your productivity─so not all technology is bad!
Here are some simple ways you can turn off distractions to get more work done:
- Turn off your notifications. If you have notifications set to pop up, turn them all off, including on your phone. Honestly, I turned mine off once, and I never turned them back on. How many of them are important anyway? When I’m not trying to focus, the only notifications I keep turned on are for phone calls and texts. Anything else I have to check manually. It’s so freeing!
- Silence your phone or set it to airplane mode. iPhones also allow you to set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” and choose which hours you’re available and under which conditions people can reach you. They now even tell the person trying to text you that you’re set to “Do Not Disturb” before they even send you a text! Androids also have a “Work Time” setting where you can block certain apps during certain hours of the day.
- Use a Chrome extension like Stay Focused or BlockSite. Each of these will put web blockers on your chosen sites during certain hours, so even if you click over to that site, you’ll get a blank screen and a reminder that it’s off-limits for now. I also like Strict Workflow because it follows the Pomodoro Method and allows you to block distracting websites for when your Pomodoro timer is on.
Once you have your technology in place, it’s time to get to work. But if you miss human interaction and accountability, bring in the reinforcements – aka accountability partners.
Here are some ideas for accountability and community:
1. Focusmate.com is a “virtual coworking” site where you’re partnered with a peer accountability partner anytime for a 50-minute work session. The site boasts “no chit chat” and “no collaboration.” Instead, you show up, state your first task, and get started. You can get 3 free sessions a week or unlimited sessions for $5/month. I personally haven’t used it because I’m way too introverted to sit in silence with a stranger online, but I know people who use it and love it!
2. Join a Zoom coworking session. Now THIS is much more my speed, and I host twice monthly Power Hours in my membership, the Biz Mom Collective. Here’s how it works. We all hop on a private Zoom call, take a couple minutes to say hi and share what we’re going to be working on, then get to work. We follow the Pomodoro method, so we work for 25 minutes in silence and then take a 5-minute break.
During the break we can chat, get up and grab coffee, stretch, or go give our kids a snack (that’s what I do 99% of the time!). Then, we get back to business and do another Pomodoro session. I like this better than the stranger concept because we’re all mom entrepreneurs, and we know each other through the membership. If this sounds like something you’d like, come join us in the membership!
3. Find an accountability buddy and have daily check-ins with each other. You can ask any of your biz besties, or if you don’t know anyone, come join the Biz Mom Collective and meet some! Consider checking in with each other as you start your day, and say your intention or goal for the day. Then when you’re ending your day, do another quick check-in and state your accomplishments.
The best accountability partners are those who are not afraid to question why something didn’t get finished. They should kindly question excuses, and challenge you to find ways to get your tasks done no matter what is going on. Accountability is about helping each other stay on track to reach your goals. (I also do this as your coach in the membership, so if you need help in this area, come join us!)
4. Take a field trip. Did you ever think working at a coffee shop, library, or bookstore would give you accountability? While you don’t have to tell anyone what you’re working on, most people don’t want to appear to spend hours on end scrolling through social media. They want the appearance of getting work done in case anyone glances at their screen while passing., which helps!
Now, as a military wife, leaving the house when I’m the sole provider for my kids isn’t possible, so instead, I like to search for “coffee shop ambiance” videos on youtube and play them on my TV screen while I work. It’s not quite the same, but it does help me stay motivated and productive!
If you are able to leave the house solo for a couple of hours at a time, you may want to look into co-working spaces in your city. These spaces are designed for multiple people to work in the same vicinity for a monthly fee. If you want a private office or need a conference room for meetings, expect to pay extra.
Otherwise, you get space in a cubicle or other type of workstation and still get the feel for an office space. The distractions are still minimal – especially if you wear headphones – because you’re all working on your own projects. You don’t need to collaborate, so the chatter is often more limited than in a corporate setting.
5. Remember your “why.” If you’re really struggling to stay focused and productive despite using these tech tools and suggestions, it’s time for some introspection. Why are you doing this in the first place?
I used to think my “why” to make enough money to support my family while staying home with my kids wasn’t big enough, but one of my business mentors, Brenda Ster, recently said something that really resonated with me. She told me that we have both an internal and an external “why.”
Basically, the “why” I just stated is an internal why. It’s my internal motivation for doing what I’m doing, and there is no “big enough.” It’s exactly what it is for me, and it can be different for everyone. But my external why, to help as many biz moms as I can do the same thing, is just as valid.
Sometimes, though, our external why isn’t the one that keeps us going when we’re tired, overwhelmed, or unmotivated—it’s the internal one. So if you’ve struggled to connect with your “why” in the past, try thinking about it this way and see what you come up with!
You can be productive even as a busy mom
Being a mom entrepreneur comes with unique challenges when your time is ultimately not our own. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get work done through the chaos! When you do have uninterrupted time to work, being able to focus and eliminate distractions is more important than ever. I hope these tech tools help you stay on track!
Struggling to find time to work on your biz? Grab the free Quarter Hour Power guide and get more done in less time!
And if you’re looking to power up your productivity even further, grab the free Quarter Hour Power guide to help you get going!