I’ve been a work at home mom for over 10 years now! And it’s been quite a ride along the way, for sure. And I know because I’ve raised 3 babies and even homeschooled my two older children for 2 years; all while working from home. I’d like to say I feel like Superwoman, but sleepy from the 7 Dwarfs is probably more accurate most days. But I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and many productivity hacks to keep me working and the kiddos happy and busy.
There have always been early mornings and late nights, but it’s always been worth it. And you won’t find me complaining about it – ever. This life is one that I chose. I can choose to do anything else if I want to – but for now I’m right where I want to be.
But one issue I struggled with early on was productivity. It’s HARD to be focused on your work or business when you’re raising a little person (or several) who basically need you for EVERYTHING – at least in the beginning. So how do you keep from being ineffective as a mom and business owner?
You learn along the way and take advice and help from others also in the trenches of work-at-home motherhood. So, I’ve decided to put together the ultimate list of all the BEST productivity hacks that I could find from other business moms like myself and share them with you!
Productivity Hack #1 Get up early
Getting up early is essential – since the kids don’t wake up until 6:30 or 7… getting up at 5 allows me to get at least 90 minutes of work completed before everyone’s feet hit the floor. I’ll admit that I find it hard to get up at that time, but it feels so much better to know that I’m ahead of the game before the day even begins.
Couresty of Sheryl at TheCentsableshoppin.com
Productivity Hack #2 Dress for Work
When you work from the comfort of your home, you can wear anything you want. I often have friends tell me, “I’d love to work at home in my pajamas.” Being clad in flannel may make you comfortable, but it can be detrimental to your productivity. It doesn’t provide the transition that you need to move from sleep and relaxation to getting things done. Getting dressed provides the kick in the pants your brain needs to get into the work groove.
Action step: If you’re still in your pjs, go freshen up and get dressed. You don’t have to wear office attire, but putting on a nice shirt, jeans and shoes will help you feel ready to tackle the day. It’ll also be much less embarrassing to answer the door for the UPS deliveryman. Trust me.
Courtesy of Donella Crigger at GlueSticksandGumDrops.com
Productivity Hack #3 Plan for Transitions
Transitions will kill you — those moments when you’re ending X activity and beginning Y event. I don’t like them personally, but with four kids transitions are the moments of weakness. Everybody is in limbo a little bit, and it’s when things get lost and shoes get thrown and there’s great potential for us all to end up in a weeping pile of humanity by the back door. Not pretty.
Plan for transitions by setting aside enough time for them, making them as systematic and routine as possible, and then getting through them (and, hence, on to the next thing) as quickly as possible. No, don’t rush. Just keep things moving.
Courtesy of Annie Mueller at Wisebread.com
Productivity Hack #4 Set Work Hours
A lot of work at home moms (myself included) start out with the “I’ll work when I can” schedule. I’ll work when the kids are asleep, or I’ll work when my husband gets home, after dinner, and if he’s in a good mood. These, unfortunately, are not the stable hours you need for productivity.
While most work at home moms chose to be work at home moms in order to escape the rigidity of a schedule, sometimes it’s not the best of ideas. Having set work hours each day will help you get your body into the rhythm of being focused on work during a specified time of day (kind of like those who work a 9 – 5 job). It will also help get everyone in your household in sync with your schedule so they know when it is ok to talk to mom, and when she needs to be left alone.
Courtesy of Kristi Hines at Hiveage.com
Productivity Hack #5 Turn Off Notifications
If my phone or computer is beeping at me all day, it’s hard for me not to check out what’s going on. I get distracted, I get nothing done, and then I get stressed because I got nothing done. So I eliminated the blinking and the beeping, and it changed my world.
Courtesy of Ashley Fehr at TheRecipeRebel.com
Productivity Hack #6 Use an Egg Timer
If the kids are old enough to play on their own, consider setting an egg timer or alarm to let them know when you are ready to give them your full attention. Even 60 minutes of work time can help you stay in control of your business while giving the kids an understanding of when lunch will be served or when a break will be taken.
Courtesy of Jan Pinnington at TheWorkatHomeWoman.com
Productivity Hack #7 Teach Kids to do Chores
When kids are young, sometimes it’s hard for us moms to teach them to do chores. After all, a two-year-old can’t fold towels as quickly or as well as we can. But take advantage of a young child’s willingness to help by teaching him to do chores. Yes, it takes longer to do the work. No, the work will not be done as well as you can do it. But as a mom of older kids, I can tell you that your investment of time will pay off.
Courtesy of Lynnae McCoy at BeingFrugal.net
Productivity Hack #8 Turn The Music On
Recent research (from the University of Windsor, Canada) has found that background music can make you more productive by improving your mood, boosting creativity, making repetitive tasks more enjoyable, and drowning out distractive noises. But before you jump up to turn on Top 40 or hip-hop, know that loud beats and synths can actually be disruptive, so it’s best to stick with ambient, relaxing tunes.
Courtesy of James Kicinski-McCoy at MotherMag.com
Productivity Hack #9 Set Realistic Goals
A sparkling clean house, a successful home-based business, and a five-course dinner on the table every night looks great on Pinterest, but it’s not reality. Trying to do everything yourself — and all at the same time — is a recipe for disaster.
Courtesy of Sarah Brooks at ThePennyHoarder.com
Productivity Hack #10 Enforce habits & rituals
You need something to signal the beginning of your work day, even when you might not even leave your house all day. A ritual marking the transition from being a mom to being at work will alert your brain to get down to business. Squeezing in a shower, changing out of your yoga pants and into real clothes, putting on a little makeup, brewing up a frothy almond milk latte, turning on music that gets you motivated — they are all tactics successful work-from-home moms swear by to shift their minds into gear.
Courtesy of Hayley Simmons at Womanista.com
Productivity Hack #11 Create Systems and Processes
This is one of the single most important parts of being productive. You need to be organized and know what needs to be done when. This means starting with creating systems, processes, and workflows. Every part of your business should have a process.
Courtesy of Amber Kristine at NeonPineappleDesign.com
Productivity Hack #12 Set time for the Kids
Even if it’s just a few minutes I like to make “kid” time where they can tell me all about the YouTube video they just watched that they thought was hilarious. This also lets them know that when I say “can you tell me later,” I mean it.
Courtesy of Allison Waken at AllFortheBoys.com
Productivity Hack #13 Listen up!
Did you miss a webinar you wanted to hear? Is there a book you would like to read, but can’t find the time to sit and read it? Well, go audio! Listen to the webinar while cooking dinner, doing the laundry, or cleaning the house. Pop in an audio book in the car CD player and listen as you run your errands around town.
Courtesy of Dana Carpio at DanaCarpio.com
Productivity Hack #14 Build Margin into your Day
If there’s not enough time to get everything done, then there’s nothing you can do to change that other than to eliminate things from your schedule and to-do list. Which things on your to-do list feel really important but aren’t actually all that important? It’s okay to do less, and if you really can’t eliminate anything on your to-do list, then it’s time to hire an assistant to help you!
Courtesy of Mandi Ehman at TheArtofSimple.net
Productivity Hack #15 Eat
It’s so easy to find yourself in the weeds with work then you look up and it’s 2 p.m. and you haven’t eaten a thing — or even had a sip of water. Not good. That’s how you can end up in Zombie Zone. So we suggest keeping healthy snacks — almonds, dried apricots, or a protein bar — on hand to munch on until you can grab a real meal.
Courtesy of Nicole Blades at CoolMomTech.com
Productivity Hack #16 Set Up A Support Network
There will be days when you need to be at your most productive and distraction-free. Seek assistance from other stay-at-home moms. If there are a few of you who work at home, consider pooling money together to hire a babysitter to watch all of your kids for a few hours. Having that additional support will mean you can focus your attention on your work knowing your children are being cared for.
Courtesy of Catherine Malone at Knote.com
Productivity Hack #17 Get a Good 8 Hours of Sleep
There are seasons of life when it is tempting to burn the midnight oil. I always regret those late nights the very next day. It’s so much better for our bodies, minds, and spirits to hit the sack by 10:00 at the latest. That sleep before midnight is the best, so grab it whenever you can. By 6:00 the next morning, you’ll be feeling like a million bucks, and you’ll be able to energetically and enthusiastically accomplish so much more. (And a cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either!)
Courtesy of Natalie Klejwa at KeeperoftheHome.org
Productivity Hack #18 Set Aside Time To Do Chores
I’m not about to tell you to avoid doing anything around the house during the workday. Heck, having your work breaks (you need to take a break anyway!) double as time to get chores done is one of the #1 benefits of working from home. The trick is to not become distracted by all that needs to be done around the house. What helps me is to set aside 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours to take a break from work and then I use that time to take a break from my computer screen and throw in a load of laundry, chop up some veggies for dinner, or tidy up a bit.
Courtesy of Christina Tiplea at EmbracingSimpleBlog.com
Productivity Hack #19 Create a Workspace
Without a designated work space, I am distracted by the dishes that need to be washed or the dust I glimpse on the television screen or that one little thing that will just take five minutes. Before you know it an hour has gone by. My article still needs to be written, and I haven’t called my source to interview them. Even if it is just a corner, creating a work space signals to your brain that it is now time to work.
Courtesy of Rosanne Bowman at BrilliantBusinessMoms.com
Productivity Hack #20 Celebrate
Finally, at the end of every day (and there should be an end), feel good about what you were able to accomplish and celebrate. There will always be more work to do so don’t fret about what you weren’t able to complete. Simply clear your desk and prepare for the next day.
Courtesy of Ashley Sisk at DailyMom.com
Wow! This was an awesome list straight from the mouths and hearts of moms who are in the beautiful trenches of work-at-home motherhood. I hope these tips and tricks helped you in your quest to become even more productive amidst the sounds of little feet running by. 🙂
Please leave a comment below and share your productivity hacks for how you stay on track with your biz goals and still rock is as an awesome mom. Let’s keep this list growing and growing in the comments below!
GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY LIBRARY OF FREE PRINTABLES!
Sign up to get Exclusive "Subscriber-Only" Access to ALL of our FREE Printable Resources!