As a work-from-home mom with a special needs child, you can imagine that time management is extremely important to me.
I didn’t always work from home, but I always wanted to have my own business. When I had my daughter and found that I needed to stay home and care for her, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.
I’ll be the first to admit it has been a STRUGGLE balancing a business (of which I didn’t know exactly how to run legally at first), motherhood, and home duties. Plus, self-care. I was a single mom with no money (I was living with my sister and in exchange babysat my niece while she worked) and stressed about our future.
Because of that, I needed to find a solution and make everything work with the 24 hours I was given each day. I knew time management is what I needed to get things done. And while I may not have ALL my sh*t together right now, I’m in a good flow and wanted to share my personal experience with other moms who may need some ideas.
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Learning time management doesn’t have to be a tough task. By doing so you’ll feel more organized and able to accomplish more things.
Here are some of the things I do to manage my time while working from home with two 3-years-olds, one of which is special needs.
Time management tasks for my home and business
>Set some goals
One way to kick things off is to figure out exactly what you want to do, and when you want it done by. The best way to do this is to set some SMART goals. Setting goals allow you to get your business and life going on the right track to success. Take my FREE SMART goals workshop!
Take everything you want/have to do, and “dump” them on a piece of paper (or notebook, post-it, scrap paper). Don’t worry about putting them in any order, just write them as they come to you.
Put the tasks in order of which they are due or need to be completed. This will allow you to see what task is most urgent.
>Planners or block schedule
I created a block schedule so that I can “assign” my tasks to certain days and times. This gives me a nice, neat schedule to follow. I then use my Happy Planner for my appointments and daily to-do list.
When I use a block schedule I “block” off times in my day to do my tasks. Tasks include: planning my day, client work, my promos, cooking/meal prep, etc.
For my business, I assign a certain task for each day of the week, so that I have my work spread out evenly. (Instead of trying to do everything in one day.) This is called batching.
Batching allows you to get things done in an efficient manner.
Ever wonder how much you do in a day even when it feels like you did “nothing”? I use a productivity tracker in my bullet journal to keep track of the things I completed in my day. You can create a similar system on paper, or in Excel. (Check out the Boosted Journal for instructions on how to create this system.)
As a Social Media Manager, I have to plan the content I post, the blog posts to write, etc. I keep track of this by creating content calendars. (Get a FREE content calendar with sample prompts.)
You can schedule just almost anything. As a SMM, I schedule out my posts, pins, and emails so that I will always have content out. (Please note that even though you automate your tasks, you should still be present at some point.) Check out this blog post to learn which schedulers I use and love.
I take care of my family’s finances, so I signed up for automatic bill pay. This way I don’t have to worry about paying my bills on time because they pay themselves. I just make sure to check my books at the end of every week and make sure all the bills are taken care of.
>Meal plan and prep
Save time by planning your family’s meals and prepping them ahead of time. You can make freezer meals and pop them in for dinner. A great planner (plus over 1,000+ recipes) I use is the Healthy Meal Planner from Ultimate Bundles. It has been a LIFESAVER!
Plan for days off and also an end to your workday. You need to take time to relax your mind and spend time with your family.
Every time you attempt to multi-task, your focus and productivity go down and you will get fewer things done. (Even if you’re working on multiple projects at once.)
>Stay off social media
Stopping to check your social media at various times of the day will distract you. Before you know it, an hour (or more!) has passed and nothing got done.
However, if social media is your JOB (like I’m a Social Media Manager/VA) then you should definitely set blocks of time for the work you’re doing.
>Stats & analytics
As a SMM, it is important that we monitor and keep track of analytics for our clients and ourselves. While it may be enticing to check stats every day (or every hour like I used to, eek!) it is important that you don’t get caught up in the numbers more than the strategies to get there. By checking them once every 1-2 weeks, or even monthly, it will save you a lot of time and energy and you’ll still end up with the same results. (You should be waiting at least a month’s cycle for a new strategy to be implemented and analyzed anyways.)
>Utilize nap time!
When you are trying to run a business from home with littles around, you will definitely need to utilize nap time! Most importantly, get your babies on a schedule and you’ll always have a rough timeframe of when naptime will be every day.
Of course, as a tired momma myself, sometimes I utilize nap time for my own self-care. (Ain’t no shame in my game! The most important thing we can do is take care of ourselves and preventing burnout!) I usually get 2ish quiet hours, so I choose from taking a nap, lounging, take a break from the screen (computer, phone), call my grandma (we talk daily), read a book, bullet journal, meditate, anything that doesn’t have to do with my business.
>Wake up early(-ier)
For new moms, I know you are up most (if not all) of your nights, so waking up early or earlier may not be an option. However, if you find yourself up before your little, embrace that time and use it to do a small task (plan your day, meditate, read) to get refreshed and ready for the day!
For moms of older kids (who get up later), this is a great time to start your day and tackle some projects or assignments you have! Or even meal prep for the day. Once you get in the swing of things, you will find that you take care of A LOT of things before your family gets up to start the day!
>Plan for a “sick day”
Sometimes you just can’t help it-you or the kids get sick. You should always have a plan or system in place that can allow you to take a day or two off and your business won’t hurt nor will you have to worry.
If all else fails and you find that you still need more hours in your day, consider getting a personal assistant or nanny.
I know firsthand that motherhood can be a mix of emotions and the unknown. As much as you want to plan your days down to the seconds, it may not be possible with children. Staying organized is something that I love to do, so I plan my day to be flexible as well as productive.
I hope some of these time management tips can help you successfully manage your workday when you have littles in the home. (And even if you don’t!) Time management is important in a business and even life!
If you have created a time management plan for your day, would you be willing to share it with me? Send me a comment below and tell me how you survive a workday with your littles!
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How to invest in your business for less than $100
23 ways to stay motivated & productive when business is slow
How to keep up with your virtual business when “life” happens
SMART goal setting for your business