How to Get More Time as a Work at Home Mom
Most work at home moms not only work hard, they also end up doing the bulk of the housework and emotional labor for the family. So how can you save time and a little sanity when you are working your butt off doing it all?
1. Plan Ahead and Automate Things
Look at every area of your life and work out how you can streamline it. What can you automate and what can you make easier?
Create a meal plan and use slow cooker meals so you know what needs to be cooked and when. Pop it on in the morning then in the evening, you’re good to go.
Rather than spending an hour or so trying to cook in the evening when you are exhausted and the kids are ratty, you can plan these meals ahead of time. Do your shopping, create some ‘dump’ meals (all ingredients in a bag in the freezer or easy to add using canned goods etc so hardly any prep) and use them through the week when you are working.
Take it all a step further and have a regular grocery list you can order. Having your groceries delivered reduces impulse buys and save you time.
If you don’t want to meal plan, you can use meal kits such as HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Dinnerly, EveryPlate and so on.
With the kids snacks, create a container for each kid. Sort their snacks for the week and once they are gone, they’re gone. Plan it out, organize it easily on the day the groceries arrive and you’ll save yourself hours every week.
We often spend more time than needed sorting bills, making payments, working out the budget etc. Automate any payments you can from bills through to savings then have a weekly check-in to ensure your budget is running smoothly.
This way, even your investments will grow with very little effort from you. The less you have to think about and manage your money, the easier it gets.
Of course, if you are struggling, significantly in debt or similar, you need to pay more attention than most but over time, you will be able to automate more.
Make sure you have the money when payments are going to come out otherwise you will be charged extra fees.
Cleaning and Tidying
Clean as you go. If you use a dish, clean it and put it away immediately. Don’t let things pile up so they become a huge chore. Wipe over surfaces regularly and do it as you go about your regular routines. Much of the simple cleaning takes only seconds but if left becomes a problem.
When going from one room to another, take anything needed to save yourself time later.
2. Time Blocking
This is where you block time for certain tasks and do them in batches. Studies show when we swap between tasks, it wastes time. We can’t actually multitask and trying to is not as effective as doing one thing at a time.
Schedule your day, whether it be for work or home tasks and do it accordingly. Things might not always go as planned with kids but overall, most things can be batched and time blocked.
By using the time-blocking method, most tasks will take less time so you can do more and save time.
3. Drop TV and Social Scrolling
Instead of watching TV/Netflix/Whatever for hours on end or scrolling social media, drop those habits. The amount of time wasted with those 2 activities alone is huge.
Take note of your screen time and make changes. Your phone can tell you how long you’re wasting on social media and it will shock you.
Once you know how much time you’re wasting, make it a challenge to reduce it each week and spend more time on the things that matter.
4. Quality Time With the Family
When we spend quality time with the family, they are more likely to let you work for longer periods of time. Kids who feel they have had quality time and attention from their parents are more content to do their own thing for a while as they feel secure.
Plan family activities, have dinner together, read, play games and ensure they get that quality time with you. Schedule dates with your spouse/partner if you have one and make time for yourself too.
Done consistently, this will free up so much time and headspace for you to spend on other things such as work.
5. Insource and Outsource
You do not have to do it all yourself. Teach your kids from a young age how to cook, clean and help around the house. Everyone who lives there needs to contribute. Moms are not slaves and are not there to do everything for everyone.
If you want strong, intelligent, capable adults then you need to teach them how to do it all when they are kids.
Insourcing is getting those who live with you to pull their own weight. Look up age-appropriate tasks for your kids and get them doing it. Grab a copy of Fair Play if you are in a relationship and see who really does what. The couples who have done this have been shocked and it has helped significantly to even out the housework and emotional labor.
Outsource as you grow. Meaning, decide what needs to be outsourced now to save your sanity e.g. the cleaning or ironing and make a plan to outsource more as your income grows.
No one can do it all and as working moms, we need to decide what we can do and what can be outsourced. Most find starting with even ironing or a cleaning person once a month helps significantly.
Things To Outsource
If you are working from home and juggling childcare at the same time, start there. Get a nanny, au pair, or babysitter or send your kids to childcare. It simply is not practical to work and look after the kids at the same time.
Other tasks you might want to outsource include ironing, cleaning, yard work, odd jobs that would make a difference but you don’t get around to doing.
Make a list of the chores you really hate doing or that take you a long time to do and get quotes to have someone else do them. You might be surprised by how cheap some things are.
When outsourcing, consider the value of your time (and headspace), not just the cost. For example, if you can make $25hr or more doing something and it only costs $10hr to outsource something, it makes sense to outsource it asap.