Productivity for Moms: The Ultimate Guide
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As moms, making the most of the time we have is key to getting stuff done! As a stay-at-home mom juggling school, a business, caring for my home, my kid, and myself, every day can feel completely overwhelming… until I make a plan! In this post, you’ll learn how to be productive as a mom in every area of your life, from house cleaning to meal planning to taking care of yourself. Buckle up and grab your notebook, because this is the ultimate guide to productivity for moms!
Planning is the secret!
If you walk away with anything from this post, just know that planning is the key to productivity! Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper will make you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared for what your day will look like. Planning can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, but let’s start with simple.
If you haven’t heard of a bullet journal (or bujo), it’s a simple system of tracking to-dos, goals, achievements, events… and whatever else you want to add! The great thing about bullet journaling when it comes to productivity for moms is that it’s so flexible. All you need is a notebook, a pen, and the simple tutorial at bulletjournal.com.
You can use your bullet journal to track anything and everything, in one place! I’ve used a bullet journal to organize my blog, as a food log, to remember birthdays, as a house cleaning tracker… Bullet journaling is flexible, fast, easy, and you don’t need any special gear.
However, bullet journaling isn’t for everyone. It can be overwhelming to construct your own planner in the bujo style, and some people like the ability to plan the future in more depth that a bullet journal allows.
If bullet journaling isn’t for you, look into a daily or weekly planner! I’ve used paper planners for years, and I love how I have my whole future (well, the rest of the year) laid out in front of me, ready to be conquered. If you like planning far into the future, or planning by the hour or minute, a store-bought planner is for you!
I wrote a whole post about how I use my planner to be more productive, so make sure to check that out! In a nutshell, planners work best when you use them daily, take time to plan out your month or week, and make sure to write everything down!
On a similar note, if you have a lot going on, look into make your own planner. At times, I’ve used a laminated piece of cardstock to write on with dry-erase markers, printed out my own weekly sheets, built out a regular notebook as a yearly planner, and even checked out Agendio! Agendio is a company that lets you create your own custom planner, then prints and ships it right to you. (This is not an affiliate link – I just think it’s super cool!)
Planning out your meals is essential to productivity for moms. You already know how I cook for my family’s weird schedule. Not only does meal planning eliminate that 5pm anxiety attack, it also makes grocery shopping a breeze! I love the meal planners from Manchester Lane Publishing. Becky kindly sent me one to try out, and I’ve been using it weekly! My family is transitioning to more plant-based and vegan meals, and this meal planner couldn’t have come at a better time. Manchester Lane Publishing meal planners come with a grocery list for every week, which helps make planning our meals so easy.
The meal planners come in several different styles. The inside is the same, but you can choose the cover you like best! Here’s the one I chose.
There are 52 weekly spreads. That’s a whole year of meals! (PS: what are your favorite vegetarian/vegan meals! Tell me in the comments!)
My favorite part of the meal planner is the party planning pages! With Thanksgiving coming up, these pages are helping me stay on top of the holiday craziness!
If you want to make meal planning even more helpful, plan out your breakfasts and lunches too! We simplify things by having the same breakfasts and lunches every day. (Except my five-year-old daughter, of course, who likes a food one day and hates it the next!) Pick up a planner from Manchester Lane Publishing to make your meal planning seamless.
Ah, my favorite word. Simplifying is how you take productivity for moms to the next level. To me, simplifying means getting rid of excess, while leaving what’s essential. It doesn’t just mean going through your closet and junk drawer (although that’s important too!). To really simplify, you need to embrace the word “less.” Do less, clean less, stress less. Where do you start on the road to less?
Getting rid of extra stuff is so freeing! As moms, we do the laundry, the dishes, clean up the toys and messes… What would your life look like if you had less stuff? I wrote a whole post about how having less stuff saves my sanity! I also got rid of my kid’s toys.
By setting boundaries and being intentional about the physical stuff I let into my life, I get to choose what takes up my time. Less toys? Less picking up after my daughter. Fewer dishes? More room in the cabinets! Fewer clothes? Less laundry and less stress about what to wear. Getting rid of all the extra stuff is a great first step to simplifying and increasing your productivity as a mom.
You know you need to get rid of the physical stuff that’s holding you down, but what about the mental stuff? Unrealistic expectations, supermom syndrome, mom guilt… all this stuff takes up room in our brains and in our schedules. Perhaps you buff-shine your guest bathroom every day, in case your mother-in-law comes over. Maybe you put on a full face of makeup, in case someone stops by and sees you bare-faced. Or maybe you go into debt to throw an over-the-top first birthday party for your baby (who won’t remember it), because all your friends did, too.
Those things aren’t your job. Your job is to care for your family and yourself, whatever that looks like to you. Those mental burdens get in the way of your real priorities. It’s time to declutter them out of your mind and let them go! Doing so will not only make your more productive as a mom, but give you more time for what matters to you.
Now that we’ve gotten rid of physical and mental clutter, the things that are left are the ones you really have to do. The daily slog – washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up – can take up a lot of a mom’s free time! So let’s learn to be efficient when doing those necessities.
Let me tell you a story. I was over at a friend’s house and she was unloading the dishwasher as our kids played. She took each dish out of the dishwasher, dried it with a towel, and put it on the counter. As she had finished the final dish (and the counters were completely covered with clean dishes), her kids came in asking for snacks. She was totally overwhelmed and flustered – she was interrupted and needed to make food, but her counters were covered! She told me that this happens every day, and it was driving her up the wall!
From a third person perspective, can you see what needed to change? First, unloading the dishes would go a lot faster if she put them away in the cabinets right away, instead of stacking them on the counter! And if she was interrupted, she could simply close the dishwasher with the clean dishes safe inside, ready to start again when she was done making snack. Second, she said this happened every day! She was frustrated daily, instead of changing her routine.
So, what is it in your life that has you frustrated every day? You don’t have to be stuck in a cycle of interruption and inefficiency. Whatever it is, you have two options: rethink your method, or change your routine!
This especially applies if you have a job, side hustle, or if you go to school. Every minute of your day counts, and you need to make the most of it! Consider reshuffling your routine or asking for advice from a friend if you’re really stuck.
Finding balance seems impossible for moms, of course. Each person’s idea of balance is different, and it changes with time. However, balance is how productivity for moms really comes together. Incorporating self-care, family time, and rest is so important. A happy, healthy mom is one who can give her all in everything she does! So, how do you enjoy life? Is it long bubble baths, walks outside, or sleeping in on Saturdays? Make sure to do something that’s just for you, every single week! It’s cliche, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Although moms have proven that’s not necessarily true (sleepless nights and nursing newborns are our practice!), we can’t do our best if we aren’t at our best. Balance is how we really can do it all.
Phew! If you made it to the end, comment with the tips that helps you be productive as a mom!