As a mom, it’s hard enough to find the right balance between our personal and professional lives. But if you’re a work-from-home mom, the challenge can be even more difficult. How do you create a schedule that leaves time for both work and family? How to leverage your limited time to get the most out of it?
Creating a no-fail, work-at-home mom schedule may seem daunting, but with the right strategy and planning and the right approach, you can make the best use of your time and create a successful work at home mom schedule that works for everyone in your household. Let’s take a look!
Step 1: Draft Your Home Schedule
Ultimately, a home schedule is a schedule for your entire family, including adults and kids alike. Begin by creating a rough outline of your weekly schedule, including time for work, family activities, meals, chores, errands and more. Don’t forget to factor in time for yourself too!
Having a weekly and daily home schedule will now allow to to have an overview of how your days will look like and you can plan ahead to maximize the time for work and family.
For example, my weekly home schedule will look something like this:
- Monday – Kindergarten, Work, Light Dinner
- Tuesday – Kindergarten, Work Dinner
- Wednesday – Kindergarten, Meeting with VA & Play Time for Kids, Light Dinner
- Thursday – Kindergarten, Work, Errands, Dinner
- Friday – Kindergarten, Chores, Outdoor Activity, Light Dinner
- Saturday – Cleaning, Grocery Shopping, and Relaxation Time
- Sunday – Relaxation Day
There’s no one-size-fits-all, nor right or wrong way to set up your home schedule. It should be tailored to your family’s particular needs and preferences. The idea here is that you can easily see where you have time to work and time for other important aspects of your life such as family.
Step 2: Put Everything into Its Time Slot
Now that you have the outline and an overview of what you have to fit into your weekly schedule, it’s time to fill in the actual times. Begin by putting fixed events, such as your kids’ activities and errands into their respective daily schedule time slots. For me, it will be kindergarten in the mornings, lunch time, and errands on Thursday. Fixed events should get their highest priority.
If your baby is still young, you can fill in the mornings or afternoons for breastfeeding, playtime, and nap time. This will allow you to fit in some work time during his/her awake hours.
Next, you can add family activities such as play time or outdoor activity into your weekly schedule. This serves two purposes: it allows your kids to have quality family time with you, and also gives you the opportunity to pause from work and refresh yourself. Therefore, they come second in priority.
Finally, you can determine your work hours. Depending on the nature of your job, it could be a full day or only an hour or two. If it’s a full-day job, consider breaking it into manageable chunks so that you can take breaks and spend time with your kids between those chunks. Otherwise, dedicate specific hours of your day to work and use the remaining time for other activities.
So, just by the second step, you (hopefully) can have a sense of your daily routine, where the time is allocated, and more importantly, how you can use your limited time to maximize your productivity and get the most out of it!
Step 3: Create a To-Do List
As a working mom, I eventually figured out that the best way to create your to-do list for today is to create it the night before, as part of your bedtime routine, for example. This way, when you wake up the next day, you already have a plan of action. No more time wasted on deciding what to do in the morning, right?
Write down all the tasks you have to accomplish throughout the day, and group them into categories such as work, chores, errands, family activities, etc. This will help you visually see how much of each activity you need to complete in order for everything to fit within your daily schedule.
Here, I know it can be really tempting to write as much as possible and hope you can cross everything off your list by the end of day. Well, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. However, it is important to be realistic and focus on quality rather than quantity. Make sure to keep your list short and achievable—no one likes feeling overwhelmed, especially when you’re juggling between work and family!
If you have kids in different ages, consider their needs and abilities when creating your daily schedule. Include activities that they can do independently while you’re working, such as playing with blocks or coloring book. This way, you can keep an eye on them, while still being productive and attentive to your daily tasks.
Step 4: Allocate Extra Time for Flexibility
It goes without saying that life can be unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to allow some extra time in your schedule for flexibility and spontaneity, such as spontaneous play dates with friends or last-minute errands. And as a mom, you know how important it is to have some extra time for those unexpected events that come up throughout the day.
Suddenly run out of milk? Last-minute birthday invite from the kindergarten? Or simply want to take advantage of a sunny day and go for a walk? Having some extra time in your daily schedule will help you accommodate those moments without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
And you know what? Even if you don’t need this extra time for anything, it’s okay. Maybe you can use this time to just sit down and gather your thoughts or read a book. At the end of the day, home mom life itself is hard enough, and some time for yourself is always appreciated.
Step 5: Establish Structure with Routines
Now that you have all the time slots, tasks, and activities planned out for the day, try to create routines to help keep everyone on track each day, like waking up and going to bed on a regular schedule or having breakfast together every morning. This will make mornings and evenings easier, as everyone knows what to expect.
Routines also provide needed structure in a household, especially if your kids spend much of their day with you. Establishing regular routines helps them understand the expectations of each day and develop self-discipline. It may take a few days, or even weeks, to get everyone into a routine. But once you do, your day will become much smoother and more organized.
Creating a daily schedule for yourself as a working mom can be challenging at first. But when done right, it can help you stay productive and organized while still managing to spend quality time with your family.
Of course, life happens and plans can change. That’s why it’s important to stay flexible and adjust your schedule whenever necessary. So don’t be afraid to take a deep breath and reassess your list if you need to!
Step 6: Stick to your Routine (But Be Flexible When Needed)
So, you have a routine and the next should be to stick to it! But as mentioned before, life can bring unexpected surprises and sometimes you need to be flexible. That’s okay—just remember to not get too carried away with the flexibility and don’t let it affect your routine and productivity.
During your work hours, try to focus on your tasks and limit distractions as much as possible. And when you’re spending time with your kids, be present in the moment, meaning don’t use them just as an excuse for taking a break from work. Instead, make the most of that time together and enjoy it, so that everyone in the family can benefit from it.
Be mindful of how you spend your time and make sure to prioritize the tasks that are important or urgent. If an unexpected event comes up during the day, a good schedule can help you easily accommodate it without feeling overwhelmed. And by good schedule, I mean one that has enough flexibility and extra time for spontaneity.
It is also important to establish boundaries with family members or others in your household when it comes to work time. Let them know when you are available and when you’re not—this way, they won’t be interrupting your work schedule and they will learn to respect it.
If you have a home office or a room that is designated as your workspace, then it’s easier to set such boundaries, whether by closing the doors or setting a “do not disturb” sign when you need to focus. But if it’s not the case and your home office is shared by someone else, then try to set limits verbally and get their understanding.
Before we renovated our house and I got my teeny tiny home office, I used to work a lot in the dining area. In the day time, when it was only me at home, it was fine. But when my family members were also at home, I had to let them know that this was my work area and they shouldn’t disturb me unless it was really important.
I will tell you it was hard! Really hard! Because at the end of the day, it’s the dining area and people are going to be around it. But after a time they got used to my working schedule and respected the boundaries I set.
Luckily, after the renovation, I managed to have my own home office where I can just close the door and no one will disturb me (at least not without permission!). This helps a lot as I can focus better on my tasks and be more productive throughout the day.
Step 7: Get Organized
Setting up an organized system is the key to making sure that everything gets done and nothing slips through the cracks. This will help you manage all of your responsibilities with ease!
If you’re lucky enough to have a big, functional room to call your home office, then you’ll probably have many organizational systems to choose from. Consider organizing your work materials such as files, notebooks and other documents by project or client. Utilize filing cabinets, storage boxes or wall organizers to keep everything tidy and in its place.
If you don’t have that much space for office organization, then you can still get creative and make the most of what you have. One idea is to designate a spot in your home where all your work materials will live. This could be a shelf, an armoire, a corner or anything else that works for you—just make sure it’s easy to access so that you don’t waste time searching for things.
With your organizational system in place, you’ll have everything you need close at hand and it will be easier to stay on top of tasks and projects.
When working from home with kids around, getting organized is essential! It can make the difference between productive work days or feeling overwhelmed and unproductive.
My Sample Work at Home Mom Schedule
As a mom of three under 6, my schedule can be or look more hectic and busy. However, if you only have one kid or two, the situation can be totally different, also depending on how old they are and how your daycare schedule works.
So, my typical day usually looks like this:
- 5:00 am – Get up and start my morning routine (hygienic, very light breakfast and coffee). I’m a morning person and I find that I can get a lot done if I start the day early.
- 6:00 am – Wake up the kids. My husband prepared their clothes and food the night before so that I can focus on getting them ready for daycare.
- 7:00 am – We all drive to the daycare. I’ll drop my husband at the station at that time so that he can catch his early train to the city for work.
- 7:30 am – By this time, I’ll be heading home. If I need something from the grocery store, a quick stop will take no more than 15 minutes.
- 8:00 am – Begin my working hours. If it’s a Wednesday, I’ll start the day with a weekly meeting with my virtual assistant first. I’ll work until 11:00 am before heading for lunch.
- 12:00 pm – Depending on which day it is, I’ll either continue working, or start cleaning the house, doing errands or taking a break.
- 4:00 pm – Pick up the kids from daycare and my husband from the station. When we’re at home, my husband will take care of them while I prepare dinner.
- 5:00 pm – We all have dinner, then it’s pure family time until 9:00 pm.
- 9:00 pm onwards – If my energy level is still high, I’ll continue working for another one or two hours. Otherwise, I will just prepare my to-do list for the next day and start my bedtime routine.
This is my typical schedule when I’m working from home without kids around. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of discipline to make it work, but so far we manage to keep everything under control.
If the kids get sick and have to be home, my routine will be disrupted and I’ll have to switch gears in order to make sure their needs are taken care of, too. But then, that’s why you should always put some extra time to margin to your schedule—because you never know what can happen during the day!
How to Manage Household Chores as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Of course, your stay-at-home mom schedule will not be complete without the household duties. In my case, I can’t remember the last time that I had a full day where I didn’t have to do at least one of them!
The key here is to be efficient and plan ahead. Before going to bed, make sure you have everything ready for the next day so that there’s no time wasted in the morning. Just as the to-do list, having everything planned out will make your chores easier to manage.
Also, if you work from home with kids around, it’s important to create an environment where everyone can be productive and happy. That includes having a well-organized space that’s decluttered and clean. A messy living room, a cluttered kitchen, or a disorganized bedroom can make it very hard to concentrate and be productive, even if you don’t work in these rooms. Still, it’s important to give them time and attention so that you can have a better quality of life.
One easy way to have your house chores under control is to divide the tasks into simpler chunks that can be done throughout the week or month. For example, one day you can focus on grocery shopping and meal planning for the whole week; on another day you can do a deep clean of all bathrooms, during your lunch break, take time to tackle that load of laundry; and so on.
As a mom trying to juggle both her professional job and her responsibilities as mother, creating a work at home mom schedule can feel overwhelming. You cannot just focus on one thing and call it a day, because there are so many different things that need to be done.
However, if you take the time to get organized and put everything in order, it will be much easier to manage your workload and responsibilities with ease! Taking small steps like setting up an organizational system for your work materials or establishing a routine can make all the difference in keeping everything under control.
I hope this article can help you create a successful work at home mom schedule that works for you and your family, and in the meantime, don’t forget to take some time for yourself and take a break when needed. I know you’ll nail it!