Time management for moms can seem elusive- that’s why we’re breaking it all down in this post with practical solutions you can start using today.

Being a mom is hard. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Your to-do list is always growing, and it’s literally impossible to finish it because half of the things on your list start over again the next day.

But there is more to being a mom than doing dishes and changing diapers. And if you want to find time to do other things aside from just cleaning your house and making meals for your kids, I have some good news for you: it IS possible, but you need to get creative with your time management. 

That’s why today, we’re chatting all about practical time management strategies for moms that you can start using today- with no complicated systems or special planners needed, I promise. 

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Having a better handle on time management will free up more time and energy for you to focus on the things you love instead of just struggling to keep the house from falling apart.

So, how can you manage your time effectively as a mom? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s dive right in.

1. Make a list of priorities

The first step to better time management for moms is to make a list of your priorities. Now, I’m not talking about your to-do list. If you just wrote down “fold and put away laundry,” scratch that out and try again.

We’re talking bigger picture here. What are the things that matter most to you? Maybe it’s spending more quality time with your kids. Maybe it’s growing your online business. Or maybe it’s taking some time for self-care more regularly. 

By writing these things down, you’ll be able to clearly start to see whether or not the actions you take each day line up with those priorities. And if you’re looking at your list already and realizing those two things aren’t even close, that’s ok- just keep on reading. 

2. Tackle your to-do list strategically

When is the last time you finished doing the dishes and they stayed “done” for more than 5 minutes? If your answer was anywhere close to “never,” I feel you. But here’s the thing. Some of the tasks on your to-do list will never actually be done, or if they are, it won’t last. 

That’s why I always tell the moms in my membership, the Biz Mom Collective, not to spend their precious little uninterrupted time doing housework. 

If you want to grow your online business, you need to spend the uninterrupted time you have working on that goal. If you want to exercise more, put down that sponge right now and go hop on your Peleton. 

The reason you feel constantly overwhelmed and stressed out is that you’re wasting time trying to get the things done that don’t actually line up with your priorities. And as a result, you constantly feel like you’re running through molasses (because, for all intents and purposes, you are!). 

3. Plan ahead (but be prepared to be flexible)

It’s a delicate dance, being a mom and doing everything for everyone else without losing yourself or your own hobbies and passions. But with a little bit of planning, you can break the cycle of living in “reactivity mode.” 

When you’re in “reactivity mode,” life happens and you react to it. For example, you wake up when your kids wake up (no matter how pleasantly or unpleasantly that may be… especially if you have potty-training toddlers!) and then basically put out fires and try to get ahead of the barrage of immediately urgent requests for milk, breakfast, toys, TV…. you get the point. 

By the time everyone has been awake for an hour, you finally get to sip your coffee and begin to think about what else needs to be done that day.

By contrast, if you plan ahead a bit and prep breakfast for the morning, set your coffee maker to delayed brew, or even just look at your calendar the night before, you can start the day feeling significantly less stressed.

(Oh, and setting your alarm to wake up even 5 minutes before your kids do can help you shift out of “reactivity mode” and instead start the day on your own terms. Seriously, try it!)

And let’s face it- when you’re less stressed, you’re also less likely to snap at your kids or blow up because someone is refusing to wear shoes and you were supposed to leave 10 minutes ago… 

If you want to dive even deeper into making your mornings less stressful, be sure to check out this post.

4. Set reasonable deadlines for yourself

Another way to prioritize your time is to set deadlines for yourself. If you’re working on a project for your online business, but you also don’t have anyone to help watch your kids, don’t set a deadline to finish the project tomorrow. That’s just going to add extra stress and lead to frustration when you get interrupted or don’t make as much progress as you had hoped. 

Instead, choose a deadline that gives you a few extra days. That way, if you do have extra time or someone to help watch the kids and you can get more work done, you’ll be excited by finishing early or on time instead of upset at missing yet another deadline. 

You can also set deadlines for things you don’t enjoy doing as much, and tie rewards to them to help motivate yourself. For example, if you finish the laundry (and actually put it all away, I know, I know) before lunch, then you can take the kids to the park and enjoy it guilt-free. 

5. Ask for help whenever possible

If you just rolled your eyes at me, I get it. As a military wife, I’m alone with the kids a lot and we don’t live anywhere near family, so I can’t just call my parents and ask if they want to hang out with the kids while I focus on getting some things done. If you do have that option, though, definitely use it! 

But if you’re in a situation where you don’t have anyone you can ask for help, try to find a neighbor or someone in your local or church community who may be interested in coming over to play with your kids for a little bit. This can be a mother’s helper or even a neighbor who also has kids that you can swap babysitting with. 

Also, if you do have a spouse at home, ask them for help! This may sound crazy, but they can’t actually read our minds even when we think our “hinting” is extremely obvious. Just tell them exactly what you need help with, and you may be surprised by how much (lovingly) delegating a few household tasks can free you up to focus on other things

6. Take advantage of technology- in moderation

The only way I can truly keep my toddlers quiet during an important Zoom call is to turn on an episode of Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig. And so, it’s tempting to throw on the TV any time I need a break or want to get something done

The thing is, in order for a TV or another tech device to remain an exciting novelty to your kids, you need to use it sparingly. Now, let me be clear. I am NOT anti-screen. My kids watch TV and have other screentime, too. But I am advocating for using technology strategically

So whether they realize it or not, the times my kids are watching TV are also the times I’m working on a business project, cooking dinner, or taking a few minutes to myself to recharge if I need to. I try not to waste this time aimlessly scrolling social media. 

7. Use the Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is a time management technique that is based on the idea that it takes 25 minutes of uninterrupted focused work to accomplish a task. And it can be a perfect tool for time management for moms.

But, we know as moms that any task can take twice as long when you’re being interrupted, so this isn’t something I recommend doing while your kids are around. Save this for your most productive time of day, whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. 

To use this technique, simply set an alarm on your phone for 25 minutes. Then, shut off all possible distractions and get straight to work. When the timer goes off, give yourself 5 minutes to regroup and take a break, but then get right back to it for the next 25 minutes. This technique can help you to avoid getting distracted and also avoid wasting your precious focus time. 

For a fun spin, try joining an online co-working session (I hold these twice monthly for my Biz Mom Collective members over Zoom), or search YouTube for a Pomodoro video. I’m currently working with one set on the beach with music, and let me tell you it feels lovely. (And hopefully someday I’ll be looking out my window at the actual beach!)

8. Be intentional about your time

Have you ever opened Facebook just to “see what’s new” and then look up and 30 minutes have gone by? Yep. It happens to the best of us. And there’s nothing wrong with a little scrolling now and then, as long as you’re intentional about it.

What I mean is that you can make the conscious decision to spend some time on social media instead of intending to check one thing and then getting sucked into the abyss and therefore wasting time. 

By the same token, you need to be intentional about the activities you’re committing to for you and your kids. Make sure they align with your and your family’s priorities. And remember, you don’t have to say “yes” to every request for your time. “No” is a complete sentence! (Well, the grammar nerd in me disagrees with that expression, but you know what I mean…)

At the end of the day, you want to have more time to be able to do the things that are important to you. It’s very important, then, to make sure that you’re intentional with that time, too. Don’t skip out on extra toddler snuggles to wash the dishes. Take time to enjoy being outside. Be intentional no matter what “time” it is. 

With better time management, you can find less stress and more joy daily

Obviously, being a mom and doing #AllTheThings for everyone is a lot of freaking work. And while it’s rewarding, it can also be incredibly stressful and overwhelming at times. That’s why time management for moms is so important.

But by using these 8 tips, you can free up more time to be less stressed and find more joy in your days. Not only will you feel happier, but those positive vibes will trickle down to the rest of your family too- so it’s a win for everyone. 

So now that you know how to manage your time, you’re ready to get started. Share this article with another mom so you can help each other stay on track to avoid excess stress!

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