As a stay-at-home mom, you can feel like your floundering sometimes with getting anything done. You are pulled in so many directions with your kids. Being home should make it easy to be productive, right? Not really…
There are times when you just need to focus on that one little thing, but your kids are in great need of your attention. So you feel frustrated and irritated and end up taking it out on them, or just throwing your hands up in the air and wondering why you even bother.
As someone who loves to feel productive, I struggled as a stay-at-home mom for a while. I was trying to find the balance between spending time with my kids, maintaining the house, and doing things for myself.
Luckily, I fell upon time blocking/block scheduling, and it has changed my life – seriously. I not only get more done for my family, but I also spend more time being present with my kids. I no longer think they are interfering with what I need to get done. Time blocking is also the reason I spend time daily on projects and hobbies that matter to me.
I’m going to share with you what exactly time blocking is, and how I use it to create value in my day as a stay-at-home mom. If you are interested, you can start time blocking along with this blog post using the free time blocking workbook offered below.
What is a Time Block?
Time blocking (also referred to as block scheduling), is when you split your day into different blocks, instead of looking at your day hour by hour.
Within those blocks, you have a set amount of tasks to accomplish. Once the block is over, you move onto the next block.
Jordan Page from Funcheaporfree.com describes time blocking as similar to high school. You sit in a class (block) for a certain amount of time and all your focus is on the topic you’re learning about. The bell rings, you’re done with your class and you move onto the next class (block) in your schedule. No more thinking about the class you were just in. Your brain is now concentrating on the current subject you’re focusing on.
For example, when it’s your morning block, you’re focus is specifically on the tasks that fall into your morning block. When that block is over, you move onto your next block which might be getting the kids ready for school. During this time, you’re concentrating on your kids. You are not doing laundry, or prepping for dinner. Your attention is completely with assisting your kids.
There is no right or wrong way to create time blocks. You get to choose how you want to block off your day. These are the blocks I create in my day as stay-at-home mom, and in a minute I will share with you the tasks I fill those blocks with.
Why Time Blocking Is Effective for Stay-at-Home Moms
If you are someone who feels easily overwhelmed, or if you desire more focused time with your kids AND want to hammer out your to-do list, then time blocking is for you.
This is how time blocking helps you with productivity:
- It allows you to focus solely on one task at a time instead of multitasking. As Kayse from Anchored Women says, “There’s power in being able to say, ‘This is not the time for that. This is the time for this.'” This helps you get more done instead of spending scattered energy between a thousand different things and completing nothing.
- It leads to feeling organized because you know the important tasks that need to get done have a set time allocated for them. Therefore, you aren’t procrastinating because you’re unsure what to do when. You also aren’t feeling anxious about how you’ll spend your day.
- Maintains motivation because you’ve already blocked out time to work on tasks, exercise, spending time with your kids, or whatever else it is you deem important.
- Helps you get in “me-time” instead of just waiting until everything else is done to do something that matters to you.
Have I sold you on time blocking yet? I hope so. Let’s get started with how to use time blocking for your schedule.
To make this super easy on you, grab your free time blocking workbook and you can create your time blocking schedule right now.
How to Make Time Blocking Work as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Step #1 – Make A List Of Everything You Want To Accomplish On A Daily Basis
The first step to getting started with time blocking is making a list of everything you want to accomplish in one day.
Here’s some ideas of what to include in your list:
- The tasks that “haunt” you at the end of the day because you just can’t get them done. (Laundry, meal prep, cleaning, phone calls, etc.)
- What you really want to be doing, but haven’t made a priority. (Distraction free time with your child, reading, exercise, crafting, etc.)
- Things that need to get done during the day. (Shower, pack lunches, make dinner, pick-up/drop-off children, appointments, etc.)
In order to say yes to something, you have to say no to something else. Think about what isn’t working in your day, and make a separate list of what you will say no to.
Here are some ideas of what you may choose to say no to:
- Checking email/social media/text messages sporadically through out the day.
- Cleaning the house/doing laundry all in one day.
- Watching TV at specific times of day.
- Having your phone around when hanging with your kids.
- Going to bed or waking up at certain times.
Step #2 – Break Down Your Day Into Blocks
Now is the time when you a can break down your day into blocks that work for you. I’ve given you an example of my blocks below. This is exactly how I set-up my day.
I like to label my blocks by the time of day, as you can see. If this doesn’t work for you, name your block after the activity you are doing.
This is flexible and needs to help you be productive and feel good about your day. Create and name your blocks whatever you choose.
Step #3 – Plug In Items From Your List Into Your Blocks
Now that the blocks are created, take items from your list and plug them into those segments of your day.
It really does help to batch similar items/tasks together. This way, you can really focus on getting those tasks done and out of the way.
Here is an example of how I use my blocks:
Step #4 – Designate Phone Free Blocks
In order to be mega focused, decide on which blocks you will lessen or eliminate phone use. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but the phone can be a huge distraction and time sucker.
According to a study done about distraction at the University of California Irvine, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” Just one little glance at your phone can majorly disrupt your concentration and focus.
Personally, if I am looking at or using my phone too much during my morning block, I end up rushing to get out the door. This interrupts my flow and leads feeling frustrated.
Another benefit of spending time without your phone is that you’re modeling to your kids what it looks like to be fully engaged. I think about how I want my kids to use their electronic devices. Am I being a good example with how I interact with my phone? The relationship they will have with their phone (someday) will be based on your interactions with your phone today.
Pick a few blocks where your want to be super intentional with your time. Put limits on how you’ll use your phone, or just put it away. I use my phone minimally during my morning blocks (exercise with YouTube + Spotify for music), and I do the same during my after school block.
Tips for Success in Using Time Blocks as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Now that you have your schedule broken down into time blocks, it’s time to test it out! Here are some tips for success using time blocks.
Actually Follow Your Time Blocks
Remember, following the time blocks will be your biggest factor for success. If you do all the work to put a block schedule in place, then let one little hiccup get in the way, you won’t be able to fully test this method out.
Set a Timer + Focus
Use a timer to help you stay focused on one time block at a time. Once the timer goes off, move right on to the next task, or time block. Anything left undone, can wait until the next day.
Schedule Time Blocks for Downtime or Leisure
Leave some time in your day for rest, or fun. This is where you may just hang with your kids or watch your favorite show. Giving yourself a break from “doing” all day will help your days to feel more balanced. This type of block will feel like a little treat in your day.
If something isn’t working out for you, then change it up it to meet your needs better. You’ll have “off” days when things happen and your scheduled blocks fall to the back burner. That’s just life. If your schedule feels too rigid, you won’t follow it.
Start Using Time Blocks Today
Using time blocking as a stay-at-home mom to help your day feel more structured. It will cut down on the unpredictability, and give you control over how you want to spend your time. Give it a try using the free Guide to Time Blocking Your Schedule, then watch how your days transform!
Do you use time blocking? If so, what do you love most about it?
If you liked this post, you may find these helpful:
- Easy Weekly Planning Routine
- The Easy Reward Chart System That Works for Our Family
- How To Plan Your Week for Productivity