Are you a mom? Congratulations! That automatically makes you a superhero!
Though the cape you wear is invisible, we see and appreciate you. You step up, get things done, and stay present every step of the way. But as all superhero stories go, you have an archnemesis: TIME!
We know you fight time tooth and nail, and you do it regularly. But how has that helped you so far?
You pour yourself into your kids, your home, and your work. As far as plates go, your is pretty full. It’s no wonder you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day - a concept referred to as ‘time poverty.’
First, don’t think you’re alone in this. If we could, we’d arrange a mom support group right here to show you that countless mothers across geographical divides feel similar time pressure daily. This leads to mental strain, physical decline, endless exhaustion, and in worse case scenarios, social and financial challenges.
Before you think it’s all doom and gloom for moms, we have some great news; there are ways out of the time trap. You can successfully take control of your days, track your time like a pro, and come out feeling happier and healthier.
What’s that way, you ask? Well, it’s the time-proven time management tricks tailored for moms that we’re going to share with you. Without wasting another of your precious seconds, let’s dive right into it.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Moms lose sleep; that’s nothing but a straight fact. However, the damaging effects of sleep deprivation are something not well-known. When you take care of your kids, especially when they’re very young, you compromise on the healthy eight hours of sleep your body needs to function properly. When you continue this for several years, the toll on your health is unmistakable. You will find yourself battling fatigue as well as feelings of guilt and loneliness, as studies suggest. You might also experience irritability, stress, and anxiety. It’s important to pause, take stock of your situation and find the best solution to this dilemma.
You can adopt some effective tricks to catch up on those lost hours of sleep you need to rejuvenate yourself. For instance, you can time your nap times to your baby’s nap hours. You can also create a sleeping routine - we encourage you to schedule it like you would schedule an important meeting. Modify your environment to induce restfulness; this can include setting the right temperature and ensuring the room is dark and quiet. You and your partner can also switch between taking care of your baby on alternate nights to ensure each parent gets full sleep each night. Wake up feeling rested so you can take charge of your day like a pro!
2. Eat Well
Your nutrient intake affects not just your health but also your productivity, efficiency, and overall quality of life. This applies especially to mothers who must maintain good health to take on the crucial role of raising their kids. Studies show that mothers’ nutritional intake is directly linked with the health of their newborns. Not to mention, in many cases, your kids watch and learn from your eating habits. You don’t want your children to grow up observing you putting off your meals and learn the same.
How does this relate to time management? Well, don’t expect yourself to manage your time (or anything, for that matter) if you are battling hunger pangs! Ensure you have high energy levels by consuming healthy food daily - and don’t skip any meal. Incorporate lean meats, whole grains, proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables into your diet. Train your kids to do the same. Introduce them early to healthy food and devise a solid meal routine for them, so you don’t have to spend hours just convincing them to eat. Remember, you are their role model so act accordingly!
3. Plan Your Day
Being a mom, you’re no stranger to finding your hours running away at the speed of light. You wake up at the break of dawn (that is, if you get to sleep at all!), do the required chores, and the next time you look up, it’s night already. You repeat the same the next day….and the next day…and the one after that. You feel your days melt into each other, and try as you might, you can’t get important things done.
Well, here’s a silver bullet for this very common mom problem: plan your day! We’re serious! You might argue you don’t have enough going on - no parties to run to or trips to plan - but trust us, working out a daily routine to follow every day will work wonders.
Use smart apps like WeekPlan to plan your entire daily schedule. List down everything you want to accomplish in a single day - such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, reading stories to kids, etc. Allot time to each activity and try working within that period. Follow your set routine, and you will realize how it helps you be productive and execute tasks without hitches.
4. Plan Your Week
Your family will have some recurring weekly activities, like soccer, or going out for a family dinner, or just visiting a park on Sunday. Likewise, some activities can be new and not routine. While you may be aware of your upcoming commitments, with thousands of other things going on, you might forget or schedule another important thing, like a work meeting or chore, on the same day and around the same time. This leads to last-minute changes in your schedule, which might interrupt things and lead to stress and conflict.
Our advice? Plan your week in advance. Take into account the upcoming activities and prepare yourself accordingly. Once you know what important event is coming up, you can work your routine around it. Block time for the family event without compromising on another important thing you had to do the same day. Use a cool online Weekly Planner to get on top of your schedule.
WeekPlan also offers you a role-based goal-setting feature. Select your role as a mom and list down the duties you want to add to your weekly plan; you can also set recurring tasks that will be automatically added to your routine every week. This will help you stay on track and not lose time making last-minute rearrangements.
5. Set Achievable Daily Goals
Motherhood comes with a load of responsibilities. Suddenly, you’re tasked with raising a child. At the same time, you have to run your house and fulfill your job duties as needed. This dual responsibility comes with new challenges and added stressors. You can do it all and quite efficiently; don’t doubt yourself. However, studies show you will need solid support to make things happen.
Keep things manageable for yourself right from the start. Don’t take on too much on your plate just to prove something to yourself or the world. You are a superhero, yes, but you’re not responsible for running the world. Set achievable goals. If you’ve got some free time, don’t rush to fill it up with something someone else can do just as well as you. For instance, don’t volunteer to become the party planner of an upcoming school event if you’ve got a looming work deadline. Taking on too much will only lead to burnout, and you don’t want that!
6. Learn to Delegate
It’s your house and your kids, but you are not solely responsible for running the household. If you have a partner, learn to share duties with them. If your kids are grown enough, delegate some tasks to them like setting the table or doing the dishes. Figure out a system to involve the rest of your family in the day-to-day house chore.
Some alternative schooling systems actually make house cleaning part of the activities they learn early. This makes your kids responsible from an early age. It also helps them share the workload at home. You know when your house management system doesn’t work when you have the feeling you are constantly ‘’nagging” people to do stuff. A way to prevent that situation is to agree on rules together. Make the rules very visible - such as setting turns, allotting different responsibilities to different kids, etc. Once you have established the rules, things will work smoothly.
When you feel overwhelmingly busy, it is crucial to understand that some tasks yield more return than others. Understand that you may not be able to do everything. Try and sharpen your sense of priority to easily identify what really matters. For instance, on a particular day, laundry can wait, but a car repair can’t as it would strand you and prevent you from getting things done. Do you get our drift? Monitor your current duties and prioritize them, so you don’t miss out on what’s truly important.
WeekPlan offers you a Focus Planner that you can use to set your priorities. It is based on the time management matrix system presented by Stephen Covey. You can categorize your chores into four groups: urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, and neither urgent nor important.
The great news is that WeekPlan’s Priority Planner is automated. It can sort out your priorities and prompt you when a task is important or urgent. This will also help you develop a strong internal sense of priorities, and you will be able to let go of the less important stuff as well as the stress that comes with mounting pressure to get everything done at once.
8. Buy Your Time
You might have to watch your kids but also have an important conference at the same time. On top of that, your partner is busy with a work project and has a jam-packed schedule. You need to get the groceries, do the laundry, and prepare your presentation for the upcoming conference. What do you do when everything demands your attention at the same time? Well, you find alternatives that money can buy.
Consider leveraging your household income to free up your time. Your current situation might leave you feeling stressed out and pressured. You cannot choose what to dedicate your time to since everything is important. We advise you to spend some bucks and outsource some of the chores. Get someone to help you cook and clean. Find a great daycare; rely on them to take care of your kids and get some added advantages that daycares offer for your children’s development. If that’s too pricey, locate a trustworthy babysitter or request your parents to watch the kids. This way, your chores will get done without you having to compromise on important things.
9. Maintain Work-Life Boundaries
Too often, work-life bleeds into your personal life. You might find yourself taking client calls at the same time as whipping up your kid’s favorite spaghetti and meatballs. Since your focus is divided, you might just end up burning the spaghetti and shooting the wrong email to the wrong client. Do you see why maintaining a work-life boundary is crucial? It helps you avoid disasters - professional, culinary, and otherwise.
A good work-life balance helps you ace as a professional and as a mom. It allows you to manage your stress and prevent emotional burnout. At the same time, it enables you to dedicate enough of your undivided attention to your kids, so they feel seen and heard. Find out a workable strategy of family-friendly work hours with your employer. Also, introduce some easy but highly effective rules into your routine such as refusing to respond to work emails or calls after your shift is over. Make yourself unavailable at set periods to ensure a clear boundary remains between your work and home.
10. Remove Distractions
Distractions are to you what Waterloo was to Napoleon. Granted, that’s a slight exaggeration, but we can’t overstate the detrimental effects of distractions on your productivity. Now, we know everyone loves social media. There is proven evidence that shows the ting of a text or social media notification gives your brain a dopamine rush. It only makes you want and anticipate it more.
However, the fact remains, distractions are deadly for your efficiency. They also detract you from your parenting role and might disrupt your connection with your child. So, it’s crucial to eliminate distractions from your routine. Whatever task you are doing, make sure you focus on it exclusively. We understand it’s difficult, but it’s also doable.
Train your kids not to interrupt you when you have a work duty. This will instill discipline in them while also giving you a blocked time slot to accomplish high-focus tasks. You can also use a Pomodoro Timer to make the most of your hours. This is when you set 25 minutes to focus completely on a task and then take a five-minute rest before resuming work. Just set the timer, put your phone away, and get working; only stop when the time is up. You will be surprised at how much you can get done in short time intervals designed to maximize your productivity.
11. Don’t Chase Perfection
Women are indoctrinated to chase perfection. Growing up, you likely received several messages from the close family system, the society, and the movies you watched to have it all. Consequently, you might have set unrealistic standards which you now find hard to meet. You want to be the best mom, the best professional, the best friend, the best listener, and the most active member of the community. In trying to chase these ideals, you only compromise on your self-care, which eventually leads to burnout and feeling identified specifically as ‘mom guilt.’
Give yourself a break! Don’t try to cram it all in your schedule in order to achieve a false ideal. We can tell you every mom feels this peculiar brand of guilt - so then, what’s the standard anyway when everyone feels bad for not measuring up to it? The goalposts of being a perfect mom and individual keep shifting. So take a breather, re-focus, and reframe things. Don’t overschedule and overburden yourself. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone!
12. Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness has proven benefits for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It alleviates your stress, controls your blood pressure, decreases chronic pain, boosts your heart health, and enhances sleep. It also improves your mental health by helping you deal with depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts in a healthy manner. You don’t need us to tell you why it’s important for you to maintain your health as a mom. You need it, and your kids need it.
Meditation also keeps you grounded and allows you to remain present in the moment. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine and experience its miraculous results for yourself. You will find yourself able to better connect with your kids and resolve everyday challenges that arise with co-parenting. You will also become more acutely aware of your own feelings and emotions and be able to navigate your way in the best way possible.
Using such simple meditation techniques as deep breathing or yoga, you can become calmer. You can also defuse situations (whether at home or work) and successfully prevent feelings of overwhelm, to which moms are, unfortunately, susceptible. Master your mind so you can manage your time successfully!
13. Limit Multitasking
As a mom, you’re often forced to become a master juggler. You find yourself with ten balls - managing your kids, cooking, cleaning, taking a work call, etc. - all up in the air. You’re bouncing them all at the same time, pushing yourself to your limit to prevent any from dropping. You think that by performing such impeccable multitasking, you’re getting everything done. Right? Wrong!
Multitasking is glorified, but it comes with several hidden and not-so-hidden disadvantages. While you might receive compliments for it, let us inform you: relentless multitasking takes a toll on your mental health. It damages your memory, induces stress, decreases the quality of your work, steals your focus, and strains your relationships, to name a few.
So the next time you’re typing a work report while your kid sits next to you, trying to tell you what happened at school that day, just pause. Go back and find out whether you listened to a word they said. Also, check whether what you wrote in the report is up to the mark. Chances are, neither happened the way you’d want it to. See how multitasking causes harm? You not only produce substandard results when you know you’re capable of doing so much better, but you also unconsciously jeopardize your relationship with your child. Avoid multitasking as much as possible to avoid these preventable pitfalls and focus on one thing at a time
15. Identify Time-Wasters
Are you busy, or do you do busywork? Take stock of your day, and you will identify a number of activities in which you invest your time, but that add little to no value to your life. This can be anything, ranging from pointless social media scrolling, unnecessary gossip sessions courtesy of a chatty neighbor, or attending unplanned meetings. You don’t realize how these activities eat into your time and detract you from doing what’s really important and urgent.
How to identify time wasters? Well, there are simple tricks to it. For instance, we explain a fun game called Time Squared here. Play this game to sort out your days per the productive and non-productive tasks you take up daily. By the end, you can easily locate the activities that waste your time. Once you are aware of your time-wasters, you can work out a strategy to limit or eliminate them from your routine. This will clear up your schedule. With the extra and much-needed time, you can take some time off for yourself. Or you can finally complete that critical pending task from a month ago that was nagging at your brain. It’s a win-win situation.
16. Keep To-Do Lists
You’ve got so much going on in your life that it’s easy to forget a thing or two or ten. Well, don’t be so hard on yourself. Being a mom, forgetfulness comes with the territory. However, the problem arises when you, for instance, miss a work deadline or skip an important PTA. This is when you go down a spiral of self-resentment and shame. You fear you have damaged your reputation, disappointed your child, and put a question mark on your motherhood. None of that is true! Mistakes are only human; forgive yourself for what happened in the past. However, from today onward, take charge of your schedule by keeping to-do lists!
You can sit down in a quiet corner before the new week begins and start putting your list together. Mention all your upcoming tasks; make sure to include your personal, professional, and social obligations. Identify high-impact, urgent, and important tasks. Then sort your list in the order of priority. Instead of doing it manually, go down the automatic route by using a smart app. Track the time each task will take, and also set reminders, so you don’t forget.
Remember, when in doubt, make a list! It will calm you down, restore order to your life, and put you on top of your schedule.
17. Take Your ‘Me Time.’
With mom duties, work obligations, and social responsibilities to fulfill, you might stretch yourself beyond capacity for long periods. You are likely to put yourself on the back burner and forget your individuality. The wake-up call comes when you’re beyond exhausted and stressed to the max. At this point, you might feel hopeless and resentful. Don’t beat yourself up so hard over this. It happens, and well, you have ways to nip the problem in the bud.
It’s important for you as a mom to take your me-time. Hear us out before you shut us down for recommending ‘selfish’ moves. The truth is, a normal dose of selfishness is actually healthy - not just for you but for your kids. So don’t compromise on your me-time.
Find necessary support from your partner and family, and take that break you have wanted for half a year. Go visit your friend a town away, plan a girl’s day out, and pamper yourself with a spa appointment. Now, before you put it on the backburner again, make it official! Just put it in your calendar like a critical appointment that you just cannot miss. Return refreshed and energized from your much-needed break, and resume your mom role with rigor and clear-headedness that was missing before. Remember, a healthy mom makes for happy kids!
Moms, we hope the above strategies help you manage your schedule like you never thought you could! They are easy, effective, and customized for mothers who selflessly work round the clock to bring up healthy and happy humans. You deserve appreciation and acknowledgment for all that you do; there’s no one quite like you!
“At the end of the day my most important job is still mom-in-chief,” says Michelle Obama. We understand being a mother gives you a radical perspective shift. It realigns your priorities, changes your life plans, and prompts you to center your world around your children. As you do that, it becomes even more important to manage your time effectively without compromising your health.
Like many moms out there, you might be fighting feelings of overwhelm and stress. One powerful way to resolve it is by leveling up your time management game. From all the tricks we shared in this blog, you can conclude that time management is possible for you. You can make the most of your available hours and cut down on what adds no value to your life - and yes, you can achieve all that without burning yourself out in the process. So use these proven tips to make time your friend. May the odds be in your favor!
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