8 Time Management Tips for Work-at-Home Moms

Back when I was a new blogger, I came across Tina’s blog Life Without Pink. I thought, man, this girl and I would get along great! Almost 1.5 years later we DID meet and guess what? HIT. IT. OFF. Tina is a smart, savvy marketer and does all of her marketing and social media genius-doing while working at home. She’s bringing you some great tips today (and some helpful apps to boot)!

Time management is a real issue for moms that work from home.

Most of us are trying to build a successful business while balancing household chores and our growing families, the reason we decided to stay home.

But it’s not easy working from home, especially if you have young children like me.

Most days I feel like I’m running from one thing to the next without stopping to catch my breath. However, I find it quite rewarding at the end of the day when I am able to cross even two things off my list and get to spend the day with my adorable boys.

Having a schedule is crucial but we all know with kids things don’t always go as planned. Between colds, stomach bugs, bumps and bruises and overtired children, we have to learn to roll with the punches.

It is still essential to have a general schedule to keep everything flowing and so you can cross items off your list.

Here are a few things I’ve found that help me manage my time while working from home with little ones.

Tip #1: Establish a schedule. This really helps so that you can outline school times, meals, nap, errands and work.

For example, my oldest gets on the bus at 11:15am. I try to get up early to check and respond to emails before the boys get up. Then I know from about 8:30am – 10:30am we do breakfast, get dressed and play. After my oldest is on the bus, my little guy and I do errands and I am back home at 1pm to work for two hours.

Tip #2: When do you feel MOST productive? Figure out what time of the day you get that burst of energy. Is it in the morning around 10am? Or maybe right after lunch? Or perhaps you are a night owl?

Schedule the most important activities that you MUST get done during that time.

Tip #3: Use a timer. When you sit down to do a task set the timer. Turn off Facebook, Twitter, Email {aka time suckers} and focus on that one task. Give yourself 15 – 20 minutes to accomplishment and cross that item off your list.

Tip #4: Create a designated area for work and play. This is so important. I used to work from the dining room table but found I was disorganized and would get more distracted.

Find a place in your home where you can create a work place. It could be as simple as a small corner tucked away in your bedroom {like I have} or maybe one room dedicated to your work.

Tip #5: Use productivity apps. I don’t know about you but I live by my iPhone. All of my appointments, deadlines, school activities, etc. go into my calendar on my phone.

Here are a few apps I’ve found very useful:

  1. Cozi: Manage a shared family calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, and family journal while you’re on the go.
  2. Milebug: Great way to track your mileage, tolls and parking.
  3. Wunderlist: A list manager that runs on the web, mobile devices and on the iPad. You can connect with it anywhere – such a great tool!
  4. Time Log: Perfect for anyone who needs to track their time especially when managing a few different clients.
  5. LockBox: Lets you store and protect sensitive info such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, passwords, pin numbers, private notes, and any other secret information.
  6. A Personal Assistant: Access and manage all your online accounts in one place with this free app.
  7. Bump: Great tool when you are a networking event or conference. Quickly exchange contact information by bumping phones. Easy and convenient!
  8. Intuition: A personal assistant designed by moms for moms to help you get things done.
  9. Drop Box: Let’s you share your files with friends, family, colleagues and bring them with you when you’re on the go.
  10. Dragon Dictation: Quickly converts your voice to text. You can use your voice to send emails, write a text, tweet and so much more. Up to 5x’s faster than typing!

Tip #6: Identify daily time wasters; try to eliminate. We all have them. Maybe it’s the TV, the cell phone, or email.

What do you get distracted by? Identify these items and make sure to eliminate them as best as you can.

For me, it’s Facebook and Twitter. I have learned if I want to get anything done, I need to turn them off. Crazy how much I can get done when I’m not tempted to tweet or check my fan pages.

Tip #7: Make time for the kids. It’s so easy when you work from home to always be thinking about deadlines, emails you need to respond to, posts that need to be written and calls that need to be made.

Trying to work with little kids around is not easy especially if they feel they are being ignored. I always try to set aside time in my day {morning, mid-day and after dinner} to turn everything off and just be with the boys.

We play, color, read books, and even dance around the kitchen. Then when it’s time to work, they’ve usually had their “mom” fill and are happy to play by themselves.

Tip #8 : Reward yourself! Mothers have a hard job no matter if you work out of the house, in the home or do a little of both.

We need to stop every once in awhile, step back and realize all that we accomplish in a day. It’s pretty incredible if you think about it.

We deserve a nice reward every once in awhile to help relax and rejuvenate ourselves. It can be simply picking up a book we’ve been meaning to read, getting a nice pedicure, taking a long hot bath or maybe buying ourselves a new outfit. Whatever it is, don’t forget to pamper yourself.

Remember it’s impossible to do it all but with a little planning, organization and prioritizing, it can help make things more manageable.

Do you have any tips to add?

Tina Seitzinger is a work-at-home mom of two very active little boys and the voice behind Life Without Pink. With over fifteen years experience in Marketing Communications, Tina has worked with businesses to lead branding, communications and online community development. She is the co-founder of Girls’ Lunch Out {GLO} – a network for women in social media and the Social Media Marketing & Branding Director for The Momiverse – launching soon! When not writing, tweeting or socializing online, Tina can be found trying a new recipe of the week, watching bad reality TV or playing Super Heroes with her two boys. 

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  1. JD @ Honest Mom says

    Great tips. And very timely for me. I have been contracting two days/week for one client and am going back to freelancing – and being home-based all the time. So this article is very helpful. Thanks!

    PS – I too, have to turn FB, twitter, Pinterest … Or I get absolutely nothing done!

  2. says

    This is a great post!!! After about a year and a half working part time out of the home to help our family get through a rough patch, I was able to start staying at home again. I love it but between running the household, the kids, my husband, & trying to grow my blog and photography having a schedule & routine has helped me keep my priorities straight and still feel like I’m devoting time to all areas of my life that need it right now.

    Thanks for an awesome post!

  3. says

    Really great post! Luv the apps. Time management is my biggest downfall! If I could just master that, I’d be golden. I’m determined to get a handle on it. Thank you!

  4. says

    Great post! I am still in the league of “dumb phone” users, so the apps don’t apply just yet. I will add that Buffer (bufferapp.com) has been so helpful! I can sit down once and select articles to share via facebook, twitter, and linked in and then Buffer sends them out through the day. I don’t have to even log in to my accounts – just click an icon on my browser to add something to my buffer. It has cut down on twitter and facebook time while keeping my readers engaged plus has been a lifesaver when illness has hit our house and I’ve been unable to be online – thanks to Buffer, I’m still there! (I wrote about Buffer recently but since then they have added Linked In to their connections)

  5. says

    I, too, am still on a “dumb” phone, LOL. Getting on the iPhone though next month, can’t wait to try those apps.
    Great tips! It’s never easy to balance the work-at-home lifestyle, but it’s doable. For me, what works is training myself to work during my productive times, and sometimes, hiring help for the house. It’s an investment that’s worth it, especially since the cleaning lady can get all the general cleaning of the house done while I work.
    For social media management, I like using Hootsuite for clients. To keep me on track, I don’t turn on my Tweetdeck (where my personal social media accounts are), so I won’t get distracted keeping up with mentions — which is such a time-waster. I turn on Tweetdeck when I don’t have projects I’m working on, and catch up on mentions during these “down” times.

  6. says

    This is the second recommendation for Cozi I’ve seen this week–one of my friends recently posted that it’s been a life-saver for their blended family. Right now I’m the Keeper of the Calendar, but there’s no good way for anyone else to refer to it without asking me. I’ll have to check it out.

  7. says

    I’m a huge fan of using the timer. I feel like I’m racing against the clock and I get more done in those 15 and 20 minute increments than when I’m just fiddling around in front of the computer.

    My favorite list app is Evernote, which syncs wirelessly between my iphone, ipad, and computer. It sounds a little like the Wunderlist app you mentioned. I love Evernote and use it for blog stuff and personal stuff.

  8. says

    Working from home is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even if you have awesome childcare, there are still interruptions and distractions. Having a designated place is crucial, as is a schedule. I’m going to check out some of those apps! I’ve heard of a couple of them, but never used any.

  9. says

    Thank you for all these tips! I recently started working at home. I’m getting better with my schedule, but sometimes it’s not easy. I do have Cozi on my phone and have heard great things about it, but I’ve yet to actually do anything with it myself. I have to look into that more!

  10. says

    You must have been reading my mind this morning…as I am sitting here thinking about how badly I need a plan and a schedule. … and talk about rolling with the punches…the school nurse just called as I’m typing! aaaggghhh!!!
    Great article…thanks for the advice…I’m off to get my daughter from school.

  11. Carter says

    Great beneficiary tips for works at home. Its mainly done by women. But every husbands should help their wife.Do you have any post about outsourcing?

    Good post,

  12. says

    Hi Tina! Thanks so much for these tips. I’m not a mom but I do freelance at home while working a full-time job outside the home, so it’s imperative that I manage my time as effectively as possible. I love the info on the apps – there’s a few there I want to look into now.

  13. says

    Such great tips! Stayed up way too late getting Cozi up and running for my family…it is just what I needed! Amazing!

  14. says

    I work from home doing 3 different contracting jobs . I love the flexibility but it really can be hard. These are really good suggestions. I had never heard of the Lockbox app!! Thank you so much for this awesome info!

  15. says

    This is a terrific post, even (or maybe especially) for those of us who aren’t managing kids along with the home-based career. The grass is always greener, I know, but I think you mothers are at an organizational advantage because you HAVE to be. Those of us who aren’t actively parenting can just “go with the flow”–and you know where that ends up!

  16. says

    It really is tough isn’t it Tina, you do a great job of keeping it together with grace and professionalism. The balance thing … it taunts me 😉

    and i need to make time to take the lovely Mel’s on line classes too 😉

  17. says

    Really great information! I definitely have learned when my best time of day to work is, that’s so important. Thanks for the other tips!

  18. says

    These are pretty great tips – and they apply equally well to use Work at Home Dads, although the pampering part tends more towards golf than pedicures 8=)

    I like the section on iPhone apps but I happen to have an Android phone and most of the apps don’t have Android versions 8=(

  19. says

    I absolutely love this site. I have 5 kids of my own, so I know how it is to have a demanding household! The older they get, it doesn’t get easier, you just learn the tricks! and the schedule idea is right on! I have to have a schedule or I’ll be lost!

  20. says

    Thanks A LOT for the information on productivity apps! Already noticed some, that might be very useful for my everyday routine. To be honest I never really focused on time management, but now it’s about time as I see that I can’t cope with all my duties on the level I should. I love one mom time management system, that is described here: http://www.stayathomemompreneur.com/mom-time-management-momtime-system/ Don’t know if it really works, but sounds good and worth trying.

  21. says

    Great tips! I find the no.8 tip “reward yourself” more interesting because that’s what I failed to do most of the time that’s why I am always exhausted.

  22. says

    Another great app for tracking your business mileage is trackmydrive.com. I am the developer of the app and created it because I felt milebug was too complicated. Let me know if you have any questions.


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