When I started Intentional By Grace, I’d work in the cracks of life fitting it in whenever I could. I was a brand new mom who wanted to help support my husband financially while still being home with my son.
Now my husband and I both work from home and we’ve added another little boy to the mix. We’ve moved across the country and back, and we absolutely love working from home and doing life together as a family.
But it’s not always easy.
Actually it’s rarely easy.
Perhaps you have found yourself right where I am – a work at home mom who wants to live intentionally while relying on grace so she can live for Him in all that she does. I want to thrive in my home life and in my work life.
Therefore, the following are thirteen time saving tips for the work at home mom that I’ve discovered over the last four years.
Note: Most of these tips will help even if you don’t work from home!
13 Time Saving Tips for the Work At Home Mom
1. Create a morning routine
A morning routine has been crucial for me as a work at home mom.
Having a morning routine helps me start my day with intention. A morning routine gives me a since of normalcy and predictability that actually allows me to be more creative in my work.
Not only does the morning routine help set my day in motion, it also ensures that basic household chores are being completed.
2. Develop a simple schedule
On the heels of my morning routine, developing a workable schedule to my week helps me to stay organized and effective. Developing a simple schedule and routine for your repeated tasks and obligations helps curb the chaos and instill structure to your week (not just your day).
I like to block out set hours for work, homeschool, family time, chores, etc. This way when it’s time to teach my son phonics, I can be all there because I know that later in the day I will get my work time. Developing a simple schedule separating work and family helps me to be present in the task I’m in and work more efficiently on whatever task I’m at.
3. Utilize a master calender
For the longest, I kept everything in my head. This is just terrible for business and life. Keeping a master calendar for both life and work helps me to plan for what’s coming and ensures no major projects slip through the cracks.
I suggest checking out my Planning 101 Series for help in creating a master calendar. I follow the same planning routine for both my personal and work life.
4. Work your to-do list
As a work at home mom, when I sit down to work it’s easy to follow a million rabbit trails. The work is never finished and you never feel caught up.
Therefore, creating a prioritized to-do list before I even open my computer can help keep me on track during my work time. Then when I get started, I work hard to stick to my list. If something pops up, I write it down so I don’t forget, but then I come back later.
I talk about my method for creating a prioritized to-do list in my eCourse.
5. Get really good at saying no
It’s tempting to think that you can say yes to every play date and extracurricular activity as a work at home mom. I mean, you are still a stay at home mom too. You chose work-at-home-mom status so you could be with your kids, right?
However, you aren’t really a full time stay at home mom. You don’t get to say yes to everything and still fit in the time you need for work.
This was hard for me to accept. As a matter of fact, I’m sitting in a coffee shop now because I’m behind with work. I’m behind because I’ve said yes to far too many play dates and extracurriculars this week.
Prioritize your family time and get really good at saying no. This includes work opportunities as well. Just because being a part of this network and that one and extending yourself into this marketing campaign and that one are all good opportunities, you can’t do “every play date” for your business either.
Let me say it again: prioritize your work time and get really good at saying no.
6. Set firm boundaries
Tacked onto saying no is setting boundaries. Work at home status, especially blogging which isn’t recognized by many as a viable way to earn a living (yet), doesn’t make sense to people.
Just because you don’t punch a clock in a building outside your home doesn’t mean you aren’t working a regular work week.
Just because you’re home and have freedom over your schedule doesn’t mean you can run your family member’s errands while they’re at work.
Just because you’re in control of your schedule doesn’t mean anything goes and you’ll fit work time in eventually.
You need to establish firm boundaries. Establish office hours for when you’ll be working, and stick to them.
In addition, you need to separate your work and family life.
As a blogger, remembering that not everything is a “bloggable moment” and not everything needs photographed because it could make a great blog post, is important.
Plus setting aside a work space just for work time helps to create some boundaries between work and life.
Regardless of what type of work you do, draw clear boundaries between work and family. It’s easy for it to overflow into the other when you work from home.
7. Turn off social media
Your time is precious and social media is distracting! When it’s time for you to work, turn off social media. Don’t try to multi-task. You’re not effective when you’re trying to get work done while socializing with your online mastermind groups!
8. Silence the cell phone
Again, your time is precious. When it’s time to work, turn off your cell phone.
If you have family members or friends who you talk to regularly, tell them your work hours ahead of time. Let them know that you turn your phone off during that time, but you will check in as soon as work time is over.
I promise you that when people worked a day job and there was thing called land lines, you weren’t so easily accessible and everyone was just fine for it.
9. Take regular breaks
Don’t become a workaholic. Take regular breaks from your work. Determine a day of the week when you unplug completely, and plan for regular vacations throughout the year.
It takes faith to rest from your work, but we were created for rest and rest is not a sin. When you’ve allowed your mind to rest, you’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle new projects with greater fervor!
10. Ask for help
The temptation for a work at home mom is to do everything! But let me tell you the secret of every successful work at home mom – she asks for help.
It might surprise you – what with my talk of making my bed every day and planning my time effectively – that I don’t do everything. It looks different from season to season what I do and don’t do for my home and family and even my work, but I’ve learned that I have to ask for help.
I have help:
- Making breakfast – My husband makes our breakfast 99% of the time.
- Taking care of my children – My husband takes the children in the mornings for a couple of hours and in the afternoons a couple of hours so I can work four hours a day without distraction. We’ve used mother’s helpers and now Grammy to carve out at least 4 extra hours a week for me to work without children underfoot.
- House cleaning – My husband and I share the task of cleaning our home, and are considering having someone come in to deep clean for us a couple of times a month to help relieve the burden altogether.
- Managing my business – There are various tasks that I don’t do for myself here on the blog. I have a team of people helping behind the scenes and contributing writers to help free my time to do what I do best. I’m the only person who can write what I write. I’m the only person who can cast vision and dream up new ideas for my business. I’m the only one who can keep my financial books in tact and ensure that everything we do aligns with our mission. I’m the only one who can respond to personal emails and respond to comments. But I don’t have to answer every customer service email, post everything to my social media accounts myself, round up every link for posts like this one or this one, find every single deal for Treasures of Grace, or …. you get the point.
Asking for help is one of the biggest hurdles I had to get over, but once I did, my time as a work at home mom has been so much the better for it. And I think this blog is the better for it as well!
11. Implement family clean up
Before we brought on help for both my life and work, I implemented family clean up. Sometimes you can’t bring in outside help, but don’t overlook the power of a family working together to accomplish big tasks!
At the end of each day, the whole family pitches in to clean the house up and put everything in order. We still do this even with outside help.
12. Declutter – less stuff, more time
Less stuff always equals more time. My home isn’t decorated with what nots and do dads that I have to clean around. Our closests aren’t chock full of clothes for me to wash and put away.
If we don’t use it, need it, or love it, then we get rid of it. We are constantly seeking to declutter and simplify our lives so we can spend time doing things we love like being together as a family, eating really good food, and reading good books. Or other times, simply having the time I need to work!
13. Pray for wisdom
Working from home has been a blessing for our family. Like I said at the start – it isn’t always easy! Figuring out schedules and routines, who to ask for help for what, and being efficient and present in whatever work I have put my hand to is a dance and a struggle sometimes.
I’ve found that praying for wisdom goes a long, long way. God cares about your work. He created you for work! He’s the one who has gifted you for the task set before you. He’s the one who chose you to be your children’s mother and your husband’s wife. Your life has a purpose!
Therefore, don’t be tempted to neglect asking the Lord to reveal His will for your work schedule and needs.
I’m sure there are more tips and tricks I could share with you, but these are definitely a great place to start!