Let’s chat about staying productive as a mom.
Life happens, right? We forget to pack lunches or that it’s picture day or to take off our slippers before leaving the house. And that’s okay. There’s a reason I claim “done is better than perfect” as my survival mode motto.
When I had my two older girls, I worked outside the home and started blogging on the side. Flash forward to finding out I was pregnant again after launching Cooper at Home. Now I have three children and two businesses to keep alive, while maintaining my own physical and mental health.
What I’ve learned is we all put forth effort, but effort can be either reactive or proactive. Reactive effort looks like putting your energy towards damage control. Proactive effort looks like creating a framework of small, simple actions so you and your family can thrive.
There’s no such thing as perfect work-life balance. My goals are to succeed as a mom first and as a business owner second. If something must fall by the wayside, I’d rather it be my career growth. Still, the reality is I have bills and employees to pay. And putting good systems in place will ultimately allow me to spend more time with my kids.
So how do we create this kind of purposeful daily structure? It starts with setting realistic goals, meeting top priorities and being more efficient. A few weeks ago, I polled our community on Instagram for the best time-saving hacks. Here’s what the mamas out there had to say, plus my own personal favorites gathered over the years. Remember to pick and choose what works best in the context of your own schedule. I hope this list helps you be completely present with your family and really enjoy life, not just manage it.
- Start a load of laundry in the morning and then fold and put away at night while catching up on your favorite podcasts or audiobooks.
- Get a laundry hamper for each family member and wash their loads individually. (I monogrammed mine with a sharpie!)
- Use the delay start timer to activate a pre-arranged cycle while you’re in bed, at work or running errands.
- Assign certain types of laundry to certain days of the week.
- Designate a basket to hold socks as they come out of the dryer and sort them all at once.
- Use a mesh laundry bag (similar mesh bags) to separate certain articles of clothing (think underwear and socks) and keep them sorted by owner.
- Plan meals one week at a time and buy groceries accordingly. I love Thrive Market, Publix pickup, and Home Chef to help make meals easy.
- Keep a note in your phone of miscellaneous items you need to stock up on, so you don’t have to spend time looking through the fridge/freezer/pantry before you order or go to the store.
- Wash fruit and cut all your veggies immediately. Store them in airtight containers with a paper towel to prolong freshness.
- Choose a day to knock out all the prep work for breakfasts and lunches.
- Assemble a basket of easy snack items for kids to grab themselves.
- Do the dishes after each meal so they don’t pile up at the end of the day.
- If you loathe it, outsource it. I hate the grocery store, so I order my groceries online and pick them up. Will I occasionally get a bad batch of produce? Sometimes. But is it worth it for all the time it saves me? You bet.
Meal planning, home delivery & one-pan meals save my sanity at dinner time!
- Lay out outfits on Sunday night for the next full week.
- Display a family calendar where everyone can see the schedule of activities and make note of what they need to pack.
- Fill a drawer on the main floor with brushes, accessories, conditioning spray and dry shampoo to quickly fix hair before heading out the door. (I love this drawer organizer to keep things tidy.)
- Deep clean one area each day rather than waiting until you feel like it or trying to do it all at once (living room, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen).
- Do a nightly clean sweep picking up toys and general messiness. This is something I never miss! I love waking up to a clean house!!
- Make one day a week â€œhouse dayâ€ to run all your errands and catch up on whatever needs to be done. For me this is Monday! That way I get to spend the weekend with my family.
- Decide where your time is best spent. I hire a house cleaning service because the amount of time it will take me is way more valuable if I spend it on work. Honestly, I’m probably going to end up outsourcing laundry for the same reason.
A clean kitchen in the evenings makes for a much happier morning for me!
- Prioritize tasks. Write down a list of everything you need to accomplish, and then tackle the most daunting item first. As my dad always said, do the things you need to do first so that you have time to do the things that you want to do later. I love this planner!
- Create a to-do list with three categories: Tasks you absolutely have to get done, tasks you need to get done, and tasks you want to get done.
- Batch work â€“ I like to dedicate certain hours or certain days to certain tasks.
- Multitask, but in a smart way. Do something that requires your brain while doing something mindless with your hands. Listen to a podcast while you fold laundry. Pump on the way to school. Send voice texts, make voice notes and draft emails when you’re in the pickup line.
- To avoid procrastination, follow the 45/15 rule: For every hour, work on a task for 45 minutes and take a break for 15 minutes.
- Take advantage of apps and subscriptions. I love Target, Publix and Walmart pickup, Thrive Market, and Amazon subscribe and save.
- Schedule in downtime and don’t feel guilty. Time to work out, time to play with your kids, time to relax and neglect your phone, time to take a bath, time to see friends, time to read.
My favorite Planner linked here
Note to self: Productivity looks different in every season. Right now, I’m fully immersed in newborn world. It’s a lot of sitting down and feeding and snuggling my little one, and it’s the absolute most productive thing I could be doing. She’s a reminder that my reason for being as efficient as possible is to spend less time on tedious tasks and more time on intentional moments with my family. I know this part goes by so fast that soon I’ll have free hands and fewer snuggles and I’m going to stop now before I start sobbing.
Hope these helped you out! If you have anything to add, leave it in the comments!!