I used to get in bed at night and wonder where the heck the day went? I had set out to get so much done, but then I would feel like the day ran away from me.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job without having to add on other tasks to accomplish. But let’s face it, you have a to-do list, and hopefully goals for yourself, that need your attention through out the day also.
When I’m feeling like I need a boost in my productivity, I look to others to find out how they do it. Through my time researching ways to be productive, and testing things out for myself, I’ve come up with this list of productivity tips. These productivity tips will help you organize your day, feel in control of your time, and accomplish whatever you set out to do for the day.
I use tip #4 daily. When I enforced tip #16, I was way less distracted and got more done. Read on to find your new favorite productivity tips!
20 Simple Productivity Tips – To Get More Done at Home as a Mom
Check out this list of 20 productivity tips to help you get more done at home.
1. Wake-Up Early
Start the day off right by waking up early, preferably before your kids. Spend this sacred time getting yourself organized for the day ahead. You can also knock off an item on your to-do list, like start a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. Or maybe you spend the time getting some reading in? It’s up to you. But started the day off with intention directs you in the path of productivity.
Related: How to Wake-Up Before Your Kids
2. Write It Down
There’s nothing more overwhelming then carrying around a gazillion things you need/want/can’t forget to do. Your brain can only handle so much! Get it out of your head by writing it all done. Jordan Page of Fun, Cheap or Free, recommends keeping a To-Do Notebook. I went through a phase when I used a notebook to organize all the craziness, it can be very helpful. But just a regular piece of paper will work. Plus, when you write things down, you get the satisfaction of crossing things off! Just the act of making a check mark, or crossing off a task, makes me feel more productive.
3. Utilize Time Blocking
Time blocking is a fantastic way to spend focused time being productive. Time blocking is when you split your day into blocks (kinda like high school), instead of hour by hour. Within those blocks, you have tasks to focus on. For example, during my morning block, I write, exercise, empty the dishwasher, make breakfast for the kids, clean a little, and shower/get ready for the day. Once my morning block is over, I move onto my next block with a different set of tasks. The biggest benefit to time blocking is that it helps you focus on what you need to do in the moment, without having to worry about when you will get something done because every task has a block.
Grab the popular Time Blocking Planner for free, included in the Quick Guide to Lessen Overwhelm + Enjoy Motherhood More. Get it here for free!
4. Set a Timer
I like to play a little game where I set my timer and see how much I can accomplish in that time. Your mind can easily trick you into thinking cleaning the bathroom is going to take 20 minutes, when in reality it will take you 10.
If you have 15 minutes until you need to be out the door, set your timer, check your written to-do list (because you’re writing things down, remember? ;-)) and knock off one or two of those tasks.
You can also set your timer to avoid wasting time. If you don’t want to get sucked into the rabbit hole of social media, set your timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off, you’re done!
5. Batch Tasks
Keeping like tasks together, and then getting them done at once, saves you time and brain energy. For example, if you have phone calls to make, do it all at once instead of trying to find the time through out the day.
You can also use this method to batch larger tasks together, like cleaning the house and laundry. Batching this together helps you focus hard on the cleaning and laundry for one day, instead of stopping and starting these tasks through out the whole week.
6. Leave Time To Do Nothing
Yes, one of the tips to being productive is to spend time NOT being productive. In order to have energy to get through the day, I take about an hour break where the intent is to simply rest. For me, this looks like watching a Bravo show, reading, or doing a little cross-stitch. I look at this as my “me time”, and it helps fuel my day. Give yourself some time to not be productive so you don’t burn yourself out. Having this time of rest makes it easier for me to get through the 4 pm hour of making dinner, helping with homework, and going through our evening routine.
7. Ask For Help
Instead of taking everything on yourself, ask for help. I hate cleaning the tubs and showers, so it would rarely get done. It took me a while, but I came to the realization that I don’t have to do it all by myself. I asked my husband if he would take on this chore once a week, and he was fine with that. Then, I had the brilliant idea to ask my kids (5 and 7 years old) to do a thorough cleaning of their room once a week! They weren’t thrilled, but with a little training and encouragement, it worked. Now on Saturday mornings, my husband cleans the shower and tub while the boys are down the hall cleaning their rooms.
It may seem easier to just do things yourself, but think about what you could accomplish if you asked for some help.
8. Mind Download
You might just need to unload all the chaos going on in your mind onto paper in an unorganized manner. This tip really helps if you find yourself procrastinating.
Take out a piece of paper and write for 5 minutes. Get it all out of your head. You might want to compile an organized list after this, or you might feel a little lighter after cleaning out your mind. Either way, this tip is so helpful when your productivity is at it lowest.
9. Avoid Multitasking
In the article, “Multitasking Damages Your Brain and Career…” there’s mention that research has shown that your brains can only focus on one thing at a time. If you are multitasking, it’s impossible to do both tasks successfully or efficiently.
This totally explains why I find it almost impossible to do anything on my phone while my kids are talking to me. I end up totally distracted and forgetting what I was trying to do, or I’m totally frustrated with my kids for interrupting me.
Use your time wisely and focus on one task.
10. Use 5 Minutes Here + There
Sometimes it can feel impossible to find long chunks of time to get things done. But you can accomplish a lot in 5 minutes if you focus. Set your timer for 5 minutes and see what happens. You could make a phone call, tidy up your living room, make a to-do list, throw in a load of laundry, check your email, pay a few bills, organize a junk drawer…utilize 5 minutes here and there and your productivity will soar!
11. Create Good Routines
Routines help you move through a sequence of tasks or habits without very much thought. Obviously, I’m a big believer in routines, because they make your life easier by providing a structure for you to get things done.
Routines are done on a regular basis. Because of this, your mind doesn’t have to work hard to remember what to do next. As a part of my morning routine, I unload the dishwasher. Because this is built into my routine, I never have to think about when I will get this done.
Some routines that you can create to focus solely on productivity are a cleaning routine, meal planning routine, laundry routine, and work routine.
12. Put Your Sneakers On
When my kids were newborns, it seemed like all I did was sit on the couch and feed them. But I realized that if I put my sneakers on in the morning, I was more productive through out the day. It’s like putting sneakers on triggered my mind that it’s time to be productive.
I love this tip so much that I’ve bought shoes specifically to be worn inside. They are my “house shoes”.
13. Use Sunday To Plan Ahead
There’s nothing like going into Monday morning prepared for the week. Use some time on Sunday to look over the family calendar, figure out what needs to take priority, and plan out your week accordingly. Use this time to designate your to-do list to different days, write down the daily meals, and figure out carpool and playdates.
Related: Easy Weekly Planning Routine
14. Put Boundaries Around Screen Time
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get caught up in Instagram stories or just watch one more Netflix show, only to realize 30 minutes have passed and what do you have to show for it? Screen time can be a major productivity drain.
During the week, I allow myself one hour of TV watching a day, in the afternoon. By putting this boundary around when I can watch TV, I’ve eliminated the desire to sit down in the morning (my most productive hours) to get some Bravo time in.
You could put boundaries around your social media use. For example, you can allow yourself 30 minutes in the morning, and then 30 minutes before bed. Being intentional with how you use social media can save you time and boost your productivity.
15. Reward Yourself
Sometimes, the best way to get things done is by using some good old fashioned bribing. For example, if you’re really dreading cleaning out your closet, bribe yourself with a new piece of clothing. Or tell yourself if you work hard for 30 minutes, your reward will be watching your Netflix show or doing a little bit of reading.
16. Turn off notifications on email, text, and social media
Your phone is a huge distraction. Even just having it next to you can prompt you to keep checking it. In order to stay focused and in your productive groove, turn off the notifications on your phone. A few years ago, I changed the setting on my text messages so that when I receive one, I only see a name and not part of the message. This has made it much easier for me not to click the message right away and stray my focus.
Turning off notifications will gives you control over checking your email, text, and social media – instead of feeling pushed too because an alert popped up on your phone.
17. Time Your Tasks
It’s amazing how little time some tasks take, but yet you play it up in our head like it’s going to take forever. Have you ever timed how long it takes to make your bed? I guarantee you can get it done in under 2 minutes. Yet, you often put these things off because of lack of time.
Next time you find yourself procrastinating to get a task done, set your timer and see how long it takes you. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at the little amount of time it ends up taking.
18. Use The Pomodora Technique
This is the popular technique made up of 6 steps (you can read all the steps here). The short of it is, you set a timer (pomodora) for 25 minutes, then you take a 5 minute break. You repeat this cycle 4 times, and then you take a longer break. Using short bursts of focused time helps you increase productivity.
I don’t use this technique step-by-step, but I often set my timer for activities like writing, when I need to be really focused. Knowing that when the timer goes off, I can stop, helps to get me in the groove and guarantees I’m spending time writing.
19. Track Your Habits
When you take on a new habit, it can be helpful to track it so that you see the progress you’re making. For example, if you want to make a habit of waking up early each day, put a little system in place where you put a check mark on your calendar to symbolize that you woke up early.
Marking down that you have completed a habit can be a great incentive to do it. By documenting the habit you are keeping it top of mind. You know a habit has stuck when you are doing it without even tracking it anymore.
20. Have a Morning Routine
The morning is an excellent time to be productive. You have fresh energy to work with, and you might have some time to yourself without the kids around. Having a morning routine for yourself feels empowering and purposeful. Giving yourself structured time in the morning helps you organize and plan for the day ahead.
I use my time in the morning to work on this blog, exercise, and then do tasks like empty the dishwasher and start laundry. I use this Morning Routine Checklist (you can find it here) to help me make the most of my time.
Use These 20 Productivity Tips to Get More Done as a Stay-at-Home Mom
As a mom, it’s hard to find chunks of time to get stuff done. These productivity tips will help you maximize the little time you do have so that you can organize your day and get more done as a stay-at-home mom.
Pin this post for later so you can reference it when you’re in need of being more productive!
Check out these other helpful posts:
- Get yourself organized, or just have some fun using these 8 checklists that make life better.
- Need a change up in your routine? Check out this big list of routines.
- If mom life has you feeling insane at time, you will benefit from this list of mom hacks.