Inside: If you wish you had more time to do all the things on your busy working mom schedule, you’re in the right spot. These tips can save you upwards of 10 hours a week that you can dedicate to work, family, or reaching your goals!
Do you need more time in your day as a busy working mom?
Silly question. Of course you do! There are so many things to get done!
Here’s the deal though – there isn’t a magical time creator machine on the market yet. I checked on Amazon and they have everything…
There are tips and tricks that work LIKE magic though and implementing even just two or three of these strategies could get you back 10 whole hours each week.
You can then use those 10 hours to train for a new career you would love, write a book, get more exercise, volunteer, start a new hobby, or maybe even just get some more sleep! Sounds pretty great, right?
Really 10 Hours? How?
Before we get to the tips, we need to start by figuring out EXACTLY how you are currently using your time.
I bet you and I have a lot of similarities, working moms, active kids, demanding jobs, partners we like to occasionally speak to, etc. Our days are filled with meetings, projects, making lunches, finding Band-Aids, and scraping toothpaste off of walls.
However, my schedule is going to look different than yours, and different than hers, and hers and hers. As much as we’re the same, we’re also different in a lot of ways and you need to know how YOU use your time before we can grab some of it back.
So that’s were just not guestimating here, we’re going to figure out how you use your time so you can find more time by using a time journal. What’s a time journal you say? So glad you asked!
What’s a Time Journal?
Author Laura Vanderkam is a time management expert and mom of 5. In her books and when she works with clients, Vanderkam recommends that folks keep a time journal for a week. Much like a food journal, a time journal makes you come to grips with how you are using your time and identifying where you could be more efficient.
Use a Google Sheet and split out your day hour by hour for a week and write down what you were doing in that hour. Even go by half hours or fifteen-minute increments if that floats your boat! Just make sure you are specifically filling in each block of time with what you were actually doing. Be honest!
Then at the end of the week, you’ll see how much time you spent on conference calls and making dinners, and how much time you spent watching TV, Instascrolling, laying in bed staring at the ceiling, or trying to think about what you should be doing next.
Give it one week. That’s all I ask!
10 Time Saving Tips for Working Moms
Now that you know where your time is going, you’re ready to pick and choose your strategies to get 10 hours back in your work.
The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t need to do all of these things. Some will make sense for you, others won’t. However, when you find two, three, or four strategies that make sense for you, the hours are going to start rolling in!
Let’s do this!
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1. Yearly/Monthly/Weekly/Daily Goal Setting
We’re supposed to be saving time here, not adding more items to your to-do list. Hear me out though because we’re getting to some good stuff!
Setting your goals ahead of time saves you time because you have a clear idea of where you should be spending your time. Without goals, you will still be getting things done, but maybe not the right things, and that won’t feel like progress.
Start with writing down your goals for the year. What are your big 3 to 5 goals for the year ahead? Got them? Awesome!
Now onto monthly goals, what do you need to do in order to achieve those big 3 to 5 goals? Break those steps into monthly goals and write those down.
Okay, now what steps do you need to take to hit your monthly goals – break that into to-dos for the week. From there, what are your top 3 priorities for each day of that week. Write those down on your calendar.
With these clear objectives, when you wake up in the morning you already know what you need to get done that day and you aren’t spending time thinking about it or jumping between unnecessary tasks.
Time Saved: 2 hours a week
2. Rise and Shine
I know peeling yourself out of bed even earlier doesn’t sound appealing but it’s effective, and you’ll get used to the idea. I promise!
When deep in the throes of writing When Mommy Grows Up, I needed more time to write and simply couldn’t find it during the day. I was working, commuting, and moming and the math wasn’t adding up.
However, when I started getting up earlier than the kids, the pages of the book started to fill up fast. 5 am became my new wake up call and I found that I was at my most productive during this time.
Nowadays I shoot for 6 am because while I’m still juggling, it’s not as crazy around here because I’m not commuting 1.5 hours each way. When I’m on a writing deadline though, 5 am or 5:30 am is where it’s at. I know it sounds early, but if your kids are better morning sleepers than mine you could push this out to 7, or maybe just get even more work/hobby time in!
Time Saved: 3-5 hours a week
4. Cut Cable
When I did my time journaling exercise, the biggest time suck was VERY clear. Television.
I honestly didn’t think I watched that much TV, but I did. Way too much.
So I had a heart to heart with myself and decided that if I really wanted to start my own business and write a book, I needed to use my time differently. That could have been as simple as turning off the TV at night, but Glen and I decided to go at this full force and cut the cable altogether.
Now, let’s be real. We weren’t transporting ourselves back to the days of yore with this move. We still had Netflix and Amazon video. But without cable and the DVR, I wasn’t getting myself sucked into reality competition shows, or watching commercials, or working my way through the DVR.
I was more intentional about TV viewing after the kids went to bed, and when working full-time and side hustling, I often didn’t turn it on at all. We saved money, and I found a ton of extra writing time. Win!
Time Saved: 4 hours a week
3. Make the Ask
If you are in a job search, trying to find an agent for your book, or looking for more clients, you can go about this process in a couple of different ways.
One way is to send your applications or query letters or marketing materials out into the world and hope for the best. This can work sometimes, but it can also take a LOT of time.
The more efficient way of finding a new job or a publisher or clients is to make personal connections. It can be a little scary to reach out to people you don’t know to learn more about their work or ask for their advice, but it pays off every single time.
Plus, it saves you time! One of my coaching clients spent 6 months (and a lot of time) looking for a new job with no success. Once she started networking, she had two interviews within a month. Time saver!
Time Saved: 1 hour a week (or more)
How do busy moms who seem to have it all together “do it all?” Simple. They don’t! They get help.
For example, when I working my full-time job and side hustling for my business, I needed more time to get everything done. I could squeak out time during the week with some of these tips here, but weekends were also important. I wanted time with my kids, but I also needed time to work.
When I did a weekend time audit, grocery shopping was a gigantic time suck. At least 90 minutes a weekend was spent driving, shopping, loading, and unloading and I knew that time could spent writing or working on my business plans.
Switching over to grocery delivery from Instacart, therefore, became my new favorite thing in the world! I grocery shopped while watching TV or while cooking dinner, all on my phone, and then the groceries magically appeared a couple of hours later. Ta da! Totally worth the delivery fee and tip.
Time Saved: 1.5 hours a week
Okay, get ready because I’m going to be talking out of both sides of my mouth here but both of the opposing strategies we’re going to get into work.
Multitasking works when both of the tasks you’re working on can be completed without using all of your brain power.
- Cooking dinner and listening to an audiobook
- Commuting and listening to a podcast.
- Recording voice memos to yourself while out for a walk.
- Thinking in the shower, or even taking notes with a shower notepad.
Find your multitasking moments and take advantage of them and you’ll find you have more time back in your day because you’re doing two things as once.
Time Saved: 1 hour a week
7. Time Blocking
There are some tasks that need your whole brain though. That whole big beautiful brain! If you’re trying to multitask while doing those activities, it’s going to take way longer.
Instead, for tasks that require your full attention, give them your full attention! Block off time on your calendar to write an article, answer emails, or crunch the data. Then during that time block, do ONLY that thing. That means no checking your phone, no answering a Slack message, no Instagramming.
When the timer goes off (1 hour to 90-minute increments work well) then step away and do something else. You’ll be impressed by how much you got done and how much time you’ll save in the long run.
Time Saved: 1 hour a week
I’m a bit of a control freak. Okay, “a bit” is probably minimizing the situation. I really like to be in control. It’s a big reason why I wanted to have my own business, and a big reason why struggling with fertility issues was so difficult for me. I need control!
If this sounds like you, you may have a tough time delegating at work. Maybe you’ve always done a project a certain way and “it would be easier to just do it” then explain it to someone else.
However, I’m willing to bet you have said “yes” to a lot of projects over the years that don’t fall within your job description, and delegating out some items on your work to do list to someone else who is eager to take on a new challenge can save you a ton of time during your work day.
When I got better at this at work, I was able to dedicate more time to coaching and writing which was the work I loved the most.
Time Saved: 1 to 2 hours a week
9. Divide and Conquer
If you have a partner at home, it’s time to divvy up the home work a bit more.
In general, women spend a ton more time on housework and childcare than men. Again, in general. If that’s the case in your house and you’re the mom taking more of the household load, it’s time to have a chat about dividing and conquering tasks.
This might mean one of you gets up with the kids on Saturday morning, while the other one has a couple of hours of alone time. Or you split up dinner making duties during the week.
Making a divide and conquer plan gave me so much time back in my day/week/month year! And I was happier!
Time Saved: 2 to 3 hours a week
10. Switch Out Your Apps
Think about where your biggest time sucks are and go directly at them.
For me, it was Facebook on my phone. I was spending way too much time scrolling Facebook mindlessly and it just wasn’t necessary. This isn’t anything against Facebook, I still enjoy it and use it for my business, but I wasn’t being intentional about it.
When I deleted the Facebook app from my phone it felt weird at first, but then it felt great! In its place, I put the Noom app so that if I did quickly click on that spot, it brought me to something that helped me eat healthier and be more mindful.
Now when I check Facebook I do it on the computer and spend way less time scrolling.
Time saved: 1 hour a week (at least!)
Okay friends, how’d we do?
Did you find some ways to get time back in your week?
Report back on all the fantastic things you’re doing with your time. I’ll be here cheering you on!