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Are you looking for tips on how to be more productive when living the work at home mom life?
As a work at home mom, I know how that feels. There’s just so much to do, all the time and my to-do list only seems to get longer.
And let’s face it, if you can find the time, you may be too exhausted to focus on those really important tasks.
That may not be much of a revelation if you’re grinding it out every day, raising a business while you’re raising kids.
But it doesn’t have to be a constant struggle to get it all done.
How to Be More Productive When You Work From Home
To be more productive, you have to start with a big-picture look at how you structure your days.
Tracking your time is a good way to do that. (And if you need a little help on how to do that, be sure to check out my free time tracking sheets in the Resource Library!)
From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, write down everything you do throughout the day. The goal is to be able to see at a glance how you’re using your time.
Then, ask yourself some questions:
- Are there any patterns you see?
- 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.
Okay, now that you’ve got that out of the way, I bet you’re ready for some tips on how to be more productive. So here you go!
1. Wake Up and Go to Bed at the Same Times Each Day
So, here’s a confession: I am not a morning person.
I know there are some moms out there who are getting out of bed at 4 or 5 a.m. and getting in three or four hours of work before their kids get up.
That’s not me. But if that’s you, let me applaud you for your superhuman ability to function before the sun is up.
For me, a normal wake-up time is 7 a.m.
I’m not getting up super early (and probably never will) but on most days, I’m able to knock all my work-related tasks by noon because I’m getting up at the same time every day.
Having a routine is my secret weapon for dealing with mornings.
From 7 to 8:30 is my time to shower, get dressed, have breakfast and have a few minutes of quiet time before my kids get up. I’m in front of my computer by 8:30, ready to work on whatever it is I have scheduled for that day.
I’m able to get up at 7 like clockwork because I go to bed at the same time each night. Bookending my days this way lets me squeeze more out of my waking hours.
And, I don’t have to force myself out of bed every day because when the alarm goes off, my brain knows it’s time to get into work mode.
If you want to figure out how to be more productive, get your routine for the mornings down. Then, commit to sticking with each day.
2. Visualize Your Daily Routine
I’m a BIG believer in visualization.
The idea is simple. When we see things clearly in our head, we can bring them to life in the real world.
Sounds super corny, right? I used to think so too. But visualization helped me buy a home and 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 how I do it:
Every morning when I wake up, I send out a big mental ‘thank you’ to the universe. Then, I do a quick run-through of what my morning, afternoon and evening will look like.
It takes a minute or two but the payoff lasts all day long.
Seeing the day from start to finish in my head makes it easier to execute and get things done.
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.
3. Unload Your Mental Clutter Before You Get 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. 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 notebook (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.
4. Keep a Done List to Go With Your To-Do List
I love making to-do lists.
Notice I said making them.
The actual doing what’s on the list part? Not always so much.
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.
How a “done” list can help
I like to keep a “done” list, to go with my to-do list.
At the end of the day, I note everything I was able to do during the day. That includes stuff I did for my business and everything else that kept me busy.
Exercised for 45 minutes? Returned our books to the library on time? Went to the bank? Got through homeschool without anyone crying? It all goes on the list.
So what does that have to do with how to be more productive?
For me, keeping a done list helps me stay accountable and track my wins.
That’s huge for me on the days when I don’t get as much done work-wise as I’d like.
Seeing everything that I was able to do in any given day gives me a push. It puts into perspective just how much I do as a mom and an entrepreneur.
And, going over my done list motivates me to attack any of those lingering to-dos the next day.
Bonus tip for how to be more productive: Make your to-do list the night before
I mentioned that I love to-do lists, right?
One thing that I discovered in my quest to be more productive as a business owner and a mama is that 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. (Been there, done that.)
I used to approach my to-do list for the day that way.
I’d spend five minutes in the morning scribbling out everything I need to get done. And for the rest of the day, I’d be in a complete frenzy trying to cross off everything on the list.
Then I realized that wasn’t how I wanted to start (or complete) my days. And my panic-to-get-it-all-done routine didn’t make me any more productive.
So I shifted gears and started making my to-do list at the end of the day.
It’s a little thing, but it’s been a big help in keeping me focused each day.
I can quickly prioritize the items on the list according to what’s most or least important and get down to business.
5. Actively Tune Out Distractions
Distractions are a killer for me. It’s so easy to wander over to Facebook and scroll aimlessly when I’m supposed to be writing an article or emailing a client.
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 were small, I came up with activities to keep them busy. That’s a tip you can steal and if you need some inspiration, I’ve got 25 fun and frugal ways to keep kids occupied so you can work!
My kids are older now and they’re still home with me. (Homeschoolers here!) But they know that I have a set routine for work hours each day, which helps cut down on interruptions.
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 as a WAHM?
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.
I’ve totally been there and done that.
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.
Please pin and share this post if it helped you and of course, grab your free time tracker worksheets in the Resource Library if you haven’t yet!
Now, 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!