It’s kind of funny how many people who don’t work from home think that working from home sounds dreamy. Isn’t it?
Okay, well if you don’t have kids or pets or a partner at home with you, it kinda is the best thing ever. If you’re an introvert who lives alone and you work from home, you probably hit the jackpot in terms of career situations. And I love that for you.
But if that’s you, this post probably isn’t for you. We’re about to talk about a few ways to have a better and more productive time while working from home – and most of these tips are only going to be applicable to you if you run into several hundred distractions on the daily.
So how the heck do you get work done as a work at home mom without losing your mind? (Especially if you don’t have any/much childcare.)
Well, here are a few things that sometimes work pretty well for me, being a mom of 3 under 3 (yikes, you guys.)
Wake up early or stay up late (Even if it’s literally just an hour)
A lot of productivity people will say that you HAVE to get up early. Or that “early” means 4AM and you don’t have any other options.
But the reality is that you need to do what works for you and your family! Not all of us are early risers. And honestly, a lot of people speaking about productivity don’t understand the realities of living as a parent or caretaker.
You’ll see a definite boost in productivity if you can dedicate some time to get some work done without any distractions. Whatever you do, try no to have an all-or-nothing attitude about these kinds of work sessions. You don’t need to have a 4-hour block of work time to make progress with your business or blog or whatever it is that you need to do.
I really really really want to highlight the fact that even if you can only set aside 30 minutes or an hour per day, that’s enough.
I’m a night owl, so I usually opt to stay up a couple of hours later than usual. But if my kids go to bed later than normal I might choose to get up an hour or two early.
That’s all you need to do! If you can cross off your top 1-2 priorities for the day in the morning or the night before your day gets started, that’s going to seriously help your productivity. And probably your mood!
Do what you can to ditch the guilt around screen time
It’s hard to not get sucked into all of the negative speech about moms who let their kids watch TV or play on a tablet. The thing about people who hate screen time for kids and advocate against it is that there really isn’t any substantiated evidence that screen time is negative for kids, especially in moderation.
Working from home as a mom necessitates finding SEVERAL (and I really do mean several) ways to keep your kids busy while you work. Sometimes you can get a majority of your work done during naps or by getting up early or late, but it’s just not going to happen all the time. I find that to get work done as a work at home mom, it’s smart to take advantage of screen time when you need some time to get down to business.
If you feel better about screen time when your kids are watching or playing something educational, then make a list of approved shows and games that make you feel more comfortable about leaning on screen time.
If you need to let your kids watch TV for a while while you power through some work tasks, please do not feel guilty about it. They are safe, they are sheltered, and they are fed. And by working, you’re providing for them.
So don’t worry about anyone telling you that you need to watch the amount of time your kids spend watching TV or playing games. You know that they do plenty of other things aside from their screen time. You’re good, stand tall, girl. Focus on what really matters – the time that you can spend fully present with your kids and the work you’re getting done to be able to provide for them.
Know what the plan is before you start working
Map out your top three goals for the day, whenever possible. If you can get a quick list down on paper, in your phone, or your favorite project management tool before the day starts, that’s a productivity boost for sure.
A lot of times it’ll feel unnecessary to list things out like this because you think you know what needs to get done, but it’s tooooo easy to sit down and blank out for 10 minutes before you get on track with work. And as parents, 10 minutes can be a lot of time to waste in terms of solid work time.
I used to list, like, 10 priorities for the day before having kids but now I have to limit it or else I feel defeated when I don’t even come close to finishing my long to-do list. So, maybe try this out with 2-3 main tasks per day if you feel like you have the same problem!
Realistic goals always feel more… well… realistic. And getting started on anything feels so much more manageable when your goals are realistic.
If you have childcare help available, use it whenever you can.
If you’re not already accepting available help with the kids, you might be someone who struggles with accepting help. Whether that help is free from friends and family or paid help from a childcare provider, I just want to encourage you to consider your options and how it might help your work from home situation.
Could you set up childcare even one day per week? Two days? That could give you so much more time in your week to get. shit. Done. One day a week, for me, has been transformative.
I’m a web designer and my projects usually run a few weeks long, so having a full day here and there that I can make serious progress on my client work helps a ton. Fulltime daycare was too much $$$ for me to let go of, but I’m willing to pay for hourly drop-in style childcare and usually use it 1-2 days per week.
Before I was able to do that, I just stayed up realllllllly late to get stuff done. That still happens here and there, but not literally on a daily basis.
So, if you have help available, please make use of it. None of that mom guilt BS! Make sure that you have a plan in place so that you know you’re making the best use of that time. I know it can be difficult to accept help, but if you have to get stuff done, you gotta get stuff done!
Meal prep or prep freezer oven/crockpot meals
If you’re not a meal prepping person, hear me out for a sec. There’s an in-between alternative that doesn’t take so much time.
You will save so much time by setting aside an hour per week to put together quick dinners that can be added to a crockpot, the oven, or an instant pot and cooked without spending hours in the kitchen every day.
Some people can even work in a few lunches into their meal prep time! #momgoals.
Whether you prefer oven meals, crockpot meals, instant pot meals, or a mix of all of them (that’s what I do) you can save a ton of time by making freezer meals ready to dump and go. Here are some recipe ideas to help you get started:
- 15 Crockpot Freezer Meals
- 50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals
- 7 Healthy Family Size Oven Freezer Meals
- 16 Healthy Freezer Meals
Idk about you, but keeping my family supplied with food that I feel good about is stressful sometimes! Having dinner pretty much totally taken care of on days that I have to work takes a lot off my shoulders because even though I like cooking, the LAST thing I want to do after a long day of work and kid-wrangling is figuring out dinner. (Especially if my toddler is being extra picky and I have to cook her a separate meal.)
One thing I’ve found to be super helpful for meal prepping is using an app called Favoreats. They let you browse recipes and then add the ingredients for those recipes directly to your shopping list. You can even import recipes directly from Pinterest.
This app saves me AT LEAST another hour per week of browsing the internet for recipes! And it probably saves me money vs. when I go to the store or order groceries without a solid shopping list. It’s a freaking lifesaver. Check it out here
And that’s how to get work done as a work at home mom
I know it all sounds easier said than done, but this is how I actually get work done as a work at home mom! Some days are definitely better than others and don’t let anyone convince you that they get work done all day every day with kids. But you can definitely adopt some habits similar to these ones to help you get more done during your workweek.
Hey, what’s up? I’m Ciara, a work from home mom of three + web designer + blogger and I’m here to spill the tea and tips on starting and growing an online business as a mom. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s completely doable and I’m rooting for ya!