Six productivity hacks for stay-at-home moms
Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. You need to care for your child’s physical and emotional needs and manage your home. You may even need to juggle your own work too.
And that’s without taking into account your friendships, pursuing your interests and any other responsibilities you have outside the home – perhaps caring for elderly parents. So making the most of the time you have is essential. To this end, we’ve put together six productivity hacks you might want to try.
1) Plan your day the night before
Before you go to bed each night, take a few minutes to plan out your next day. Studies have shown planning may help you reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Without a plan, you’re more susceptible to the common stress involved in decision-making. When faced with a decision, the uncertainty of how to proceed can elevate anxiety… which in turn can lead to procrastination.
However, with a better outline of your day, it’ll be easier to decide and take action as everything is already laid out. You’re likely to think less and instead do more.
So how can you plan? You can use a paper diary, a sheet of paper or an online calendar. Then start with the unmovable, time-bound tasks that you need to fulfil, like your child’s meal and nap times. Or any school runs or nursery hours.
Then consider any chores you need or want to complete the next day. For example the grocery shopping or making an appointment at the doctors. Allocate times on your diary for these activities. Next think about what you might want to do. Meet a friend for coffee? Take your child to the park? Maybe even get some crafting in? Allocate time in your diary for all these too.
You can also plan what meals you are going to prepare, if that’s on your list. Having an idea in advance of what to cook means you have time to get the ingredients and have one less decision to make the next day.
Not only does planning may help you free your mind with stress, it also gives you more time to do other things. And that can include your own work. If you want to start now, you can search for jobs online from multiple job sites like MotherWorks, and start looking for the perfect job for you.
2) Create a strategy for handling children and chores
With toddlers and children running around, things can get crazy. You might be subjected to screaming and loud noises, plus seemingly unending clutter. So not only do you have less time for the inevitable chores that come with running a home, but you actually have more mess to clear up!
Rather than stress about this (which just uses up more of your finite energy) you can create a strategy for handling this. This can include creating a timetable for your chores – by setting aside small chunks of time each day to tackle it you can soon work through the tasks without it feeling like a big burden.
It can also involve getting others involved. Your timetable can (and should) include your partner and children too. Make a game of simple chores (like pairing up socks or putting shopping away) and you can actually make helping fun for your kids… and keep them occupied at the same time.
3) Wake up before your family
If you have very young children this may feel like torture, not welcome advice, as sleep is probably a precious and rare commodity in your home. But if you are an early riser and this is feasible, consider waking an hour before your family.
That beautiful, quiet hour can set your sanity up for the day. You can journal, do yoga or simply sip a cup of tea and watch the work wake up. Or you can use the time to get ahead. Maybe clean up from last night, or even get some of your own work done.
4) Teach your children to do chores
We’ve already touched on this, but you should not carry the burden of running your home alone. And that means roping in your family. Your partner will do their fair share of the household chores, and your children can help out with basic household chores that are appropriate for their age too. These can include cleaning up their toys, wiping the table after mealtime, preparing the table before eating, emptying. dishwasher etc.
As you teach your kids to complete chores, you’re not only helping yourself to lighten up the load, but you’re also teaching them to become responsible and independent.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you feel like you’re drowning in chores and childcare and don’t have time for yourself, don’t be shy about outsourcing some of your childcare and chores. Hiring help around the home if you can afford it is a great sanity (and energy) saver. Even just a couple of hours of help a week can break the back off the housework.
And there’s no shame in putting your children in day care some of the time if it helps you feel better or gives you time for what you need. You may even want to consider consider hiring a nanny part or full time. A happy, well-balanced and fulfilled mom is a far better mom than one who is with her child 24/7 but is frazzled, frustrated and resentful. It’s all about finding what works for you and your family – and ditching any guilt that is attached to the solution.
6) Uninstall apps
One of the greatest distractors today are mobile apps. There are so many time-consuming applications that will keep you addicted to your phone, and waste your already precious time. If you often spend a big chunk of your day checking your phone and playing games, you may want to delete these apps to reclaim your time.
However, if you’d like to keep these apps as they keep you entertained, you can try to have a separate phone where you can keep them installed while having a regular phone for calls and text. This way, you can still be contacted in case of emergencies without being tempted to scroll.