Struggling to “do it all”? Here are the best productivity tips for moms so you can get more done and have more fun, cherish time with your family and achieve your best life starting now.
What does it mean to be productive?
Productivity by definition means
the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services
I would define productivity for moms as…
Productivity is knowing the best thing to do given your time and energy so you can create, enhance and achieve your best life
I know what you’re thinking…choosing the “best thing” is to work on when you have a million things on your plate is more difficult than it sounds. But it doesn’t have to be. Really the key to productivity for moms is having all the things floating around your mind organized so you can figure out the next best thing to work on given your time and energy.
The Best Productivity Tips for Moms
5 Tips to Get More Done so You Can Have More Fun + Free Craft Your Ideal Routine PDF
How can a mom be more productive?
Here are some more of the best productivity tips for moms broken down for you. Take one at a time, one day at a time if you need to go slow and see how you can be more productive whether your kids are newborns or older. Every step you take can help you feel more productive and efficient in this crazy mom life.
- Track your time so you know how your time is spent. I recommend for at least one “typical” week, whatever typical looks like for you and your family right now.
- Analyze your time tracker results and document how long on average your recurring tasks take. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, helping with homework, shuttling kids to activities, getting ready for the day, getting ready for bed, etc.
- Time block what your ideal week would look like. You can use the free time blocker here and craft your ideal week/routine workbook here.
- Lazy genius your recurring tasks. I highly, highly recommend reading/listening to The Lazy Genius Way. Author Kendra Adachi says to “Be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t.“
- Everything doesn’t have to be high priority. To me, I’m a genius about cooking because it’s healthier for our family and it saves us a ton of money as a mom of 3 active sons. I’m a genius about my blog because I care about providing valuable and encouraging information to my readers. I’m a genius about making sure my family feels loved, cherished and respected and I take my role of Chief Encouragement Officer of our family very seriously. And I’m a genius about our finances because we have some lofty financial goals to live the life we want. Those 4 things dictate my 2022 goals. As a result, I’m lazier about laundry and cleaning and I’m super lazy at having a picture perfect house. What do you want to be a genius about? Pick a couple things to start with.
- Simplify one thing you want to be a genius about and develop an effective routine.
- For example, because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I don’t usually have energy by the end of the day to make dinner. I enjoy eating but do not enjoy cooking so how can I be a genius about it? Another thing Kendra says is to ask the magic question “What can I do now to make things easier later?”
- So… I brainstormed how I could make dinnertime easier for myself. I know that grocery shopping takes a lot out of me so I can’t cook on those days. I know that weekends are busy and I want to be focused on family time rather than spending time in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun. My peak energy is at about 9:30 or 10 am.
- So to simplify cooking, I’ve developed this routine to help me get meals on the table and ultimately save money and stay in better health. I start my routine on Wednesday because that’s when grocery store sales are published and I want to make sure to have food stocked for the weekend.
- Wednesdays: look over grocery store sales flyer to see what meats/veggies are on sale and eat one of meal prepped meals
- Thursdays: meal plan and place grocery pickup order. On the back of my grocery list, write the steps of the things I can prep ahead of time. My mission is the state of “fridge zero”, this means eat all the leftovers, toss anything expired and clean out the fridge for fresh groceries to arrive.
- Meal planning used to take me forever. Now I’ve got it down to a science. I use only three resources:
- Cook Once, Eat All Week got me started on doing meal prepping and how to apply it to other meals I make that aren’t in the cookbook. The recipes are fantastic and tasty!
- Dairy Free Keto Cooking is another favorite cookbook right now for healthy dairy, gluten and sugar free meals which has helped me feel better and have more energy though we are not doing a strict keto diet).
- supplement with tried and true favorite meals in my family favorite recipes binder to round out the weeks. The recipes I can make in my sleep cause I know them so well. That’s where my slow cooker stash is 🙂
- To make meal planning even faster, try out Plan to Eat which will organize recipes and create your shopping list for you by store category. huge time saver!
- Meal planning used to take me forever. Now I’ve got it down to a science. I use only three resources:
- Friday: pickup groceries – pizza out or frozen pizza night
- Saturday: quick breakfast since kids have sports and start a slow cooker meal for dinner
- Sunday: lazy morning, make brunch and leftovers for dinner
- Monday mornings starting as soon as I can after kid leaves for school: meal prep day from the list I made on Thursday (or it’s already done for you in Cook Once, Eat All Week), wash and cut fruits and veggies and prep ahead as much as I can for the week’s dinners and grab and go breakfasts. Assemble one of the dinners at dinner time.
- Tuesday: eat one of meal prep meals
- Simplify one thing you want to be lazy about. Ask yourself how you can get it to the bare bones of what must be done and let go of the rest.
- For example, I went through my laundry routine because I wanted to be lazier about it. Before I lazy geniused it, I had 11 loads of weekly laundry. I diligently separated whites from colors for clothes, sheets, bath towels and kitchen linens. After lazy geniusing, I decided since I’m not buying new stuff right now, I’m not going to separate colors from whites, I don’t have to really stress about colors bleeding. Don’t worry, new jeans or new red items will get separated into their own load so my boys don’t end up with pink things. But combining the colors and whites eliminates 4 loads and nothing has turned a funkier color than it was. And that’s great to me!
How can a stay at home mom increase productivity?
No matter whether you’re a stay at home mom, fur baby mom, work outside the home mom, work at home mom, the title “mom” comes with a lot of responsibility and naturally, a lot of interruptions. Here are some tips for stay at home moms to increase their productivity with kids and/or fur babies underfoot:
- Ask for help. It’s ok to lazy genius your tasks, your family wants you to be the happiest version of yourself too. Even if your kids are young, find small ways they can help. My 3 year olds used to love to take a little broom and sweep the kitchen and match up socks. Young kids can wash fruit and veggies.
- Turn on the music and make it fun. Turn tidying up and putting away toys a dance party. Let the kids know we have 3 songs to put all these toys away. Blast the music and race the clock to get it done.
- Get all the things out of your head and into one space. We all have mom brain, too many things racing around our heads. You need a planner or at least a notebook to write all the things down. Get it all in one place so you don’t lose track of anything. These tips to declutter your mind might help.
- Use a planner to be intentional with your time and energy!! Don’t overextend yourself. Using that time tracker and time blocker in #1 and #3 above to figure out how long things take you so you can better plan your time. Budget and spend your time and energy just like you do with your money. This ultimate planner comparison might help you find the right planner for you during this season of life.
- Schedule time for yourself! Figure out the things you need to feel your best every day and schedule time to do them. You need it, you deserve it, you’ll be a better mom for it. You “can’t pour from an empty cup”. That means to give your family the best version of yourself, you need to make time to replenish your body, mind and soul. Schedule it, with an alarm or a notification and make a promise to keep that appointment for yourself.
How can a work at home mom increase productivity?
More productivity tips for work at home moms…all the above still apply!!!
- Stick to a routine/schedule your kids know about. If your kids can read, put your work and family calendar in a place everyone can see or have access to. These wall organization centers or countertop/desktop weekly schedule are a great place to start. If your kids have cell phones, create a shared calendar they have access to (Google calendar and Cozi are our favorites).
- Hang a sign on your office door or back of your computer that says when you’re busy and don’t want to be disturbed. There are quite an assortment of mom’s working signs on Amazon, some of these made me laugh.
- If your kids are older and you don’t have to worry about them hurting themselves, get some noise canceling headphones while you work to help you focus.
- Think ahead on how you’ll handle interruptions. If your kids typically interrupt when they want a snack, prep some snack bags or a snack tray they can reach when you’re working. If your kids interrupt because they need help with homework, tell them to work on other things until a certain time and then you can help them.
- Try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and do focused work until the timer beeps. If some random thought enters your head, write it on a post it or separate piece of paper. When the first 25 minute block is over, take a 5 minute break. That’s when you can check your phone, grab some water, run to the restroom, grab a snack, answer a kid question, etc. The more you do it, the more you’ll realize how much time you can focus and make your focused work blocks longer if you can. Now, 25 minutes is too short for me. I set my focused blocks for an hour and a half and then take a break.
How can a working mom increase productivity?
Ok, not to leave any job statuses out, here’s some productivity tips for moms who work outside the home. Remember, the above tips probably still all apply!
- Setup a workday startup routine. In Free to Focus, author Michael Hyatt suggests creating a workday startup routine. It’s those things you need to do to feel good and start your day off right. I’m a SAHM and WAHM so I consider my workday begins after the kids are at school. My work is executing on those 4 goals for 2022 I mentioned. In order to get the best start to my day, I need the kitchen and living room tidied. If there is clutter everywhere, I can’t think straight. So my workday startup routine is:
- empty dishwasher
- load dishwasher
- clean kitchen sink
- clean kitchen counters
- change kitchen towels
- clear off kitchen table of extra stuff
- tidy living room, put anything away that’s out of place
- start a load of laundry
- vision/productivity journal (here’s an example)
- time block the rest of my day
Obviously, if you work in an office your workday startup routine will look different. The important thing is to start your day off the best way you can for you to be productive from the start.
2. Similarly, Hyatt suggests to setup a workday shutdown routine. Think about the things that you need to do both close out today, tie up loose ends and get prepped for tomorrow. For me, it’s also my transition time between my workday and dinner/family time. My workday shutdown routine is:
- update planner (use my discount code TANYA10 for 10% off)
- update master task list for anything that didn’t get done or new to dos that came up
- check/reply to emails, texts, phone calls
- talk a walk
- shower if I’m not going anywhere else
- rest (usually play on my phone or read) until it’s time to assemble dinner
3. Figure out your optimal time of day when you physically or mentally have the most energy/clarity. Schedule the relevant tasks for your optimal time of day. Not a morning person? Wait for that coffee to kick in before tackling customer interactions. Really tired after lunch? Schedule some of your easier tasks after lunch until your energy picks back up.
4. Make friends with an Instant Pot (my boys want this one) or a Slow Cooker (this is the one I love) if cooking at home is a priority for you. They really do help make mealtime easier. Try meal prepping as much as you can on weekends, see #5 in the tips for stay at home moms section.
5. Do a daily reflection. What worked, what didn’t, how can you make tomorrow better? it’s about celebrating what went well and learning to make tomorrow better. You can get a daily reflection page in my Simple Productivity Planner.
More of the Best Productivity Tips from Other Moms
How to Change Your Daily Routines to Increase Productivity by Filling the Jars
How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done by Smart Mom Smart Ideas
What a Lifeguard Can Teach an Overwhelmed Mom About Productivity by Organized Motherhood
Why You Should Prioritize Sleep in 2022 + a Free Printable Sleep Tracker by Krafty Planner
Best Productivity Tips for Moms Resources
I’ve given you a lot to think about when it comes to productivity. So you don’t get overwhelmed, I recommend starting small to try and incorporate it into your daily life and build the momentum to make meaningful change. I truly hope one of these best productivity tips for moms makes a positive impact in your life so you can get more done and have more fun!