We all wish we could add more hours to our day, but the reality is we only have a limited amount of time to accomplish all the things!
By effectively managing your time you can shave off time from the less important things and put more of that saved time into the things you want or into the things that will help you succeed the most.
Let’s take a deep dive into these 21 time management tips for stay-at-home moms that you can start doing today!
If you want to skip around just click on any link in the Table of Contents to be taken directly to that section.
Why do you think you need to manage your time better? Are you exhausted at the end of every day? Do feel like your to-do list never gets done? Are you missing out on things you want to be doing?
Whatever your WHY is the best way to change your situation is to do something about it. Establishing goals allows you to create an actionable plan in order to actually create change in your life.
Use this Goal Planning Printable to create goals in any area of your life you want to improve.
Establishing goals also helps you to set realistic expectations on where you want to and should be spending your time. It will help you focus on only the important things in your life and cut out the parts that just don’t fit in with your dreams.
Set Aside Monthly Time to Plan
Setting aside time to plan out your month (and week) is so important. Without this step, you won’t be able to review your goals and look in the distance to create a plan to accomplish them.
A truly life-changing read is The 12 Month Year. It helps walk you through condensing your planning down into 12 weeks instead of 12 months because it gives you a sense of urgency instead of saying “well I have a whole year…”.
Create a Command Station
We’ve all seen those fabulous whole wall setups on Pinterest and while those are amazing you don’t have to have an elaborate setup. You just really need a place you can sit down quietly to plan and a place you can go to to check in with your plans and make sure you are staying on track. This place should house all the tools and equipment you need to be effective.
You could use something as simple as a drawer, or as complex as a whole room. I have a desk in my homeschool room. My planner, pens, stickers, computer are all there. I sit here to meal plan, school plan, and life plan.
Get a Planner
Speaking of planners… you need one. Digital or physical I don’t care, just get one. At least one! (I use three!) You can find a list of my favorite planner recommendations HERE.
In short, a planner helps you have a dumping place to free up space in your head, it is proven to help with goal accomplishment and it helps you never to forget and thus fall behind.
Learn about Time Blocking
I’m not an expert time blocker at all but I do use it for certain tasks and find it so useful. It’s essentially the art of working in batches for a specific amount of time. Check out this article by Productive Club on what time blocking is and ways you can use it.
Create a Morning Routine
Number one must do on this list is create a morning routine. Start your day off right and you set the tone for the rest of the day. Plus, I find my morning routine helps me to feel in control as I ease myself into the day.
My morning routine looks like this EVERY SINGLE DAY:
- Wake up
- Start the coffee maker and empty the dishwasher while it brews.
- Drink my coffee while changing out the laundry
- Make the kids breakfast, pack lunches, prep snacks & dinner if needed
- Get everyone dressed, including myself
- Take kids to school & run the Roomba
- Come home and do my daily chores (it takes less than 20 min per day with this cleaning schedule)
This morning routine helps make sure I am never behind on laundry, my floors are always relatively clean and I am never overwhelmed with a ton of housecleaning.
A morning routine really is life changing.
My friend Crystal has an incredible 14-day course called Make Over Your Mornings which will help you transform your life by transforming your mornings.
Get Yourself in Order
You cannot accomplish anything if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself includes getting out of your jammies and brushing your teeth.
Create an Evening Routine
Evening routines are critical to setting your tomorrow up for success. You need one!
Anything you have time to prep the night before should be on that list!
Again, my friend Crystal has a course that walks you through setting up a proper evening routine if you need a little extra help.
My evening routine includes:
- Bedtime routines for the kids
- Self-care for my skin
- Loading the dishwasher
- Finishing the days’ laundry
- Getting clothes set out for everyone
- Downtime for myself with tea or hot chocolate
Household Chores Schedule
As I mentioned above having a cleaning schedule saves a crazy amount of time! My cleaning schedule which you can grab for free here makes it possible for you to have a clean home with only 20 min per day spent on cleaning! Yep! 20 min!
Sometimes, when I am trolling Facebook I see moms mention how they only do laundry once a day, usually on Saturday and how they spend like 10 hours doing it. That seems insane to me! 10 hours on just laundry! No wonder these women are having trouble managing their time!
Free Up Your Days & Spend Less Time Cleaning
Let Kids Help with Chores
If you are still the only person doing house chores you need to learn to delegate! Focus on the Family has a great list of chores, by age, that your kids can help with.
Helping with chores helps your children to feel like a part of the family, helps them learn responsibilities, and above all life skills!
Currently, my 5 and 7-year-old’s clean their own rooms, make their beds, put away their laundry, help with dishes, wipe off the table and counters, feed and water the dog, and clean up their own toys.
My 2 year old helps with laundry, picks up her own toys and even throws her own pull-ups away.
You are not superwoman! You cannot do everything on your own. It is okay to ask for help!
It’s okay to ask your husband for help.
It’s okay to ask your kids for help.
It’s okay to ask friends and family for help.
Do Laundry Daily
Every day. If you aren’t doing laundry every day, or you think you don’t have enough laundry to do every day you are doing something wrong.
- throw rugs
- shower curtains
- kitchen towels
- throw blankets
…as well as clothes. Almost everything on that list should be washed weekly!
Meal Planning and Shopping
My mother-in-law and my husband are famous for not even thinking about dinner until at least 4:30 in the afternoon. They both love the grocery store and wouldn’t mind going every day.
That is just not practical when you have kids. Who has an extra 30+ min to run to the grocery store before you even start cooking? Not me!
I love meal planning because it’s a one-and-done process of planning for food. I prefer weekly but I know lots of people who do monthly!
My favorite meal planning services are
Anything you can have someone else do for you is a win in my book.
I automate most of my shopping these days!
- Amazon for everyday purchases
- Target pickup for items I need super quick
- Instacart for groceries
- StitchFix for clothing
- We have a lawn service
- Occasionally we use a cleaning service (for a few months before and after giving birth)
If you have the means to outsource some things then do it! If you think something is too expensive, check first before you decide. It only costs me $8 a month, or $2 a week for Instacart to shop and deliver my groceries to my door within 2 hours!
Limit Phone Use
Limiting phone use can be hard. It takes more than just willpower because our phones and the apps on them are specifically made to be addicting.
- Try setting your phone in a safe place and leaving it there. Don’t carry it around with you.
- Turn non-important notifications off.
- Stop any marketing text messages.
- Set timers when you are going to mindlessly scroll
I personally purchased an apple watch so I can see if something important is happening before I pick my phone up. I don’t have to carry my phone anywhere with me because I can use my watch to make calls in an emergency. It has seriously cut down on my screen time!
- How to counteract the negative effects of social media
- The Negative Impacts of Social Media and Unfair Comparisons
- 10 Stupid Simple Ways to Limit Your Social Media Use
- Is Too Much Social Media Really Bad for Your Health?
- 3 Surprising Ways Social Media Influences Mental Health Problems
Phones, social media, tv, almost anything with a screen will be a distraction. Period.
To-do lists also cause distraction when you can’t think of anything else but all the things you need to be doing. So make your list and only focus on one item at a time.
Eliminate anything that isn’t helping you stay on task.
Include Positive Motivation
Use a checklist because marking things off feels good!
Play some music to motivate yourself
Try an audiobook to make unfun tasks more enjoyable.
Treat yourself with some type of reward when you finish a specific task.
Don’t multitask – Be present
Let me paint a picture of multitasking for you. The average child in public school today attends school for 7 hours a day. The average homeschool child spends 1-4 hours doing school work.
Where is all that extra time spent with the public school kids?
When you multitask you are transitioning from one task to another over and over again which wastes time.
Instead of focusing on three things at once, devote 100% of your time to accomplishing that task before moving on.
Some of your daily tasks as a stay-at-home mom are with your kids. Give them your time, undivided, and remember WHY you wanted to spend all the time you could with these little people, to begin with.
Learn to say No
Saying no is hard. Really hard.
I’ve recently learned that when saying no you don’t owe anyone an explanation. The “no” is enough.
I used to think that saying no meant I needed to validate my reasoning and make the person requesting my assistance understand why I was saying no. That’s just not the case at all.
Saying no, in order to prioritize your time and mental health is about you. Your needs, your struggles and your overall personal goals.
Sometimes there are consequences to saying no, and your goals need to be strong enough to withstand the backlash. Remember, when people in your life refuse to accept your personal boundaries as well as your limitations, these are likely not people you probably shouldn’t have in your life anyways.
As of writing this post, it has been 4 months since my brother and his wife have spoken to me. My grandmother had just died, and on a weekend when I was cleaning out her house they asked me to watch their dog. I said no and even gave the explanation that I would not emotionally be able to handle any more responsibility that weekend. Refusing to say yes under pressure on my end and refusing to respect my emotional wellness has resulted in a ridiculous “feud”. It was still worth it to say no. I deserve to be in relationships that respect me and my time. So do you.
Prioritize physical health
Nobody ever wants to talk about physical health because it’s hard, especially if it’s been a while since you have reaped the benefits of it.
Working your body helps you feel better, makes your body work better and those things matter when we are talking about time management. Feeling sluggish every morning is going to make things take longer to accomplish. The afternoon slump means you have to spend time trying to re-motivate yourself. Feeling exhausted at the tail end of your day is not going to help you with literally anything.
- Make getting active part of each day.
- Spend time outdoors as much as you can.
- Focus on fueling your body with good, healthy, and unprocessed foods.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate
Prioritize mental health
In order to get anything done, you have got to be in the right headspace. Making sure you keep yourself in a good state mentally is probably the most important part of being a good manager of time.
- Fill your day with moments that bring you joy
- Take the time to take care of yourself
- Be okay with not being okay sometimes
- Seek professional help when needed
Time Management Tips For Stay-at-Home Moms – Final Throughs
Ultimately how you spend your time is up to you. You can either plan ahead and use strategies to make the most of your time, or not. Time on earth is finite. How do you want to spend yours?
Action Plan First Steps
- Get a planner – See my recommendations here
- Start Meal Planning – Head to The Dinner Daily and try it FREE for two weeks!
- Makeover your morning routine