Before becoming a mom I worked full-time while also completing a doctorate degree. This meant having to maximize every minute in the day. Now as a working mom, I stick to a lot of the time management techniques I used back then to streamline my days and keep our weeks on track. I hope these tips can help you feel more productive and on top of your busy schedule!
Schedule your week in advance.
Every Sunday during naptime or after the baby is in bed, my husband and I take a few minutes to look at our week ahead. We go through any appointments or commitments we have, who will be doing daycare drop off/ pick up and even write out what we’re going to have for dinner.
Meal planning can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose simple meals to start and if you’re feeling up to it, a new recipe once in awhile. Check to see what you already have and build from there. We had some bacon last week to use and planned for breakfast dinner one night. Another night we had crockpot chicken with a simple frozen veggie blend. We usually leave one weeknight for takeout or delivery.
Outsource if possible.
If there are tasks that take a ton of time and you have the ability, consider outsourcing. If you hate cooking and meal planning, consider meal delivery services. Hate grocery shopping? Try grocery delivery. If you hate cleaning, think about a cleaning service. Sometimes it is well worth the money to get these tasks taken care of.
Attempt to set work time boundaries.
I work from home and it is really easy to log into work, or work late. I try to be really mindful of my works hours and stick to them when I can. I set my work calendar to out of office as soon as my day is over so other colleagues know I’m not available.
This one is super important. In order to be able to limit work to work hours, or get laundry done on a nap, I have to limit distractions. Usually this means leaving my phone on the counter away from where I am or turning off the TV show I was mindless watching. When you are working, focus on work. When you are with family, focus on family. Be present with the task at hand to maximize the minutes in your day.
Ten minute tasks.
My favorite thing to do is knock out small tasks when I have a few minutes to spare. I don’t have an hour chunk of time to clean the kitchen, but I DO have a few minutes waiting for my coffee to brew that I can use to put the dishes in the sink in the dishwasher. I try to make the most of the day by using these small chunks of time for something productive.
Deal with it days.
Not much fun, but sometimes necessary is a “deal with it day.” There are some to-dos I push off endlessly, like my Walmart return, washing our seasonal towels before they go to storage and giving the dog a bath. When things start to pile up I designate a “deal with it day” to just get it done. Consider this my version of an “adulting” day to knock out the worst on the to-do list.