Time management tips for busy moms

10 Time Management Tips for Busy Moms

First of all, I feel like I should say that I do not have this topic all figured out. There are plenty of days when I say to myself, girl, you need to take your own advice. Some of these tips are practical and they are actionable things you can apply to your life right away. I think that’s important. But even more important than making a to-do list or having focused time without your phone is the mindset of knowing that it’s ok to not do it all is key. In our culture, especially as women, we glorify being busy and doing a million things at a time. I think there is so much peace and fulfillment lying in just giving ourselves a break every once in a while. With that being said, here are 10 of my top time management tips for busy moms.

1. Realize you can’t do it all

Hey, mama. I know you want to be the one who does it all. Pinterest worthy parties and outfits, home decor that would make Joanna Gaines swoon, crushing it at work, and kiddos that are just delightful all the time. But the truth is, it’s impossible to do it all and do it all well. So in my opinion, the sooner we realize and actually accept that we just can’t do it all, the sooner we’re going to get to a place where we not beating ourselves up for falling short at every turn. 

As women, we often find fulfillment and self-worth in accomplishing things that make other people happy. So we cram in as much as we can and promise the world to anyone that asks. But the thing is, trying to take on too much leaves us stretched thing and feeling like we haven’t accomplished anything. We beat ourselves up for it, saying that tomorrow we’ll be better – more focused, more buckled down, more on top of it. And when tomorrow comes, we run around in a million directions again, and the cycle continues. I think a huge part of so called “time management” comes down to giving ourselves permission to NOT do it all.

Each day, know that whatever you get done is enough.


2. Use your morning

This one was probably the BIGGEST game changer for me and one of the best time management tips I’ve ever received. I am not a morning person. Like, really really not a morning person. So mama, if I can make this change in my life, I know that you can, too. 

The thing that led me to making this change was reading the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s a really great book all about how to make the most of your mornings and set yourself up for success for the rest of the day.

Here’s how my mornings typically go:
5:00 am – Wake up (NO SNOOZE – p.s. if you struggle with the snooze like me The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins is THE BEST.)
5:05 am – Pre-workout time! This stuff gives me life!!! (I get up early, but I never said I actually become a morning person…)
5:10 am – 5 minute meditation (I love using the app Headspace or 10% Happier.)
5:15 am  – Write down 10 specific things I’m grateful for and 10 affirmations. (Read about my affirmations for mamas here!)
5:30 am – 30 minute workout
6:00 am – Shower & coffee
6:20 am – Personal development reading
6:30 am – Start working
8:00 am – Lucy wakes up!

When I get up early in the morning and do these things, I feel unstoppable. It gives me so much energy throughout the rest of my day and consistently getting up early has completely changed my mindset.

3. Brainstorm and choose your focus

Before I start doing work, I like to do a “brain dump.” I write down everything that is one my mind that I want to get done. It doesn’t matter what category it falls under or how pressing it is. If I think of it, I write it down. Once I’ve written down everything that’s on my mind, I choose the things that are most important and decide to focus on those things for the day. It’s NOT a massive list. I set realistic goals for myself based on what I know I can actually accomplish in the time that I have.

When I was pregnant, I had these fantasies of Lucy wearing adorable, boutiquey outfits with matching bows and a different pair of shoes every day. We were going to have photo shoots and I’d post her adorableness on Instagram and have one of those super gorgeous feeds. I would make beautiful, crafty, educational activities for to do in the afternoons. I would go for runs with her in the stroller and we’d come home to a beautifully styled home where I’d serve her homemade, organic everything. On my maternity leave, I was going to get SO MUCH DONE.

HA. That dream lasted for about .5 seconds upon returning from the hospital with her. I quickly realized that was not going to be our life. I was not going to be able to keep up with that many things and do them all well. In my opinion, it’s so much more rewarding and feels so much better to set realistic goals, actually focus on them and be able to get most of them done.

Download a free, printable brain dump and to-list worksheet here!

4.Have a nap time plan of attack

Once I’ve figured out what I want to focus on during the day, I make a plan for the things I want to do during nap time. Lucy is now napping one time for about 2 or 2.5 hours in the early afternoon. For me, the nap time hustle usually looks like cleaning up around the house, doing the morning dishes, possibly throwing in some laundry, video conference meetings and working on blog and content planning.

It can definitely be tough to stick to plan during nap time. Believe me, once she goes down, I feel like I want to run in a million different directions and tackle everything all at once. And sometimes (ok, maybe most times) I want to collapse on the couch, binge watch Netflix and day drink wine.

But, by going back to the list I made in the morning, I can keep my focus on the things that I really want to get done.  

5. One thing at a time

This one goes back to knowing you can’t do it all. Honestly, and this might  not be popular opinion, I don’t think that people can truly multitask. 

Focusing on one thing at a time is hard for me. My mind goes in so many different directions and my personality type lends itself from floating from one thing to another really quickly whether or not I’m finished with what I was just working on. Cue at least seven open tabs in my browser, forgetting about the laundry in the washer for hours, coming back to half written emails and thinking that I KNOW I DID THAT when really, I didn’t.

While I do think it’s important to leave something and come back to it if you’re frustrated and just not getting it, I also think (especially if you’re like me) that in the long run, focusing on one thing at a time and then moving on is going to get more done in the long run.

6. Use a timer

I do this every morning when I’m doing my meditation, writing out my gratitude, reading, and then I when I switch into work mode. Because my mind tends to wander so much, it really helps me to decide, “Ok, I’m giving myself 15 minutes to work on this, and then I’m moving on.” It keeps me honest and really helps me focus on one thing at a time.
I used to always use my phone for the timer, but then checking in on how much time I had left could sometimes lead to well…. I’ll just check Instagram for a second, which of course led to 10 minutes of scrolling. So now, I just pull up a timer in my web browser and use that instead!


7. Put your phone on airplane mode

I know it’s so easy to jump on your phone first thing and see what kind of engagement you got over night, but your mornings will change SO MUCH if you ditch that phone for at least the first hour you’re awake. My girl Mel Robbins taught in in The Five Second Rule that the first three hours we are awake are when we have the most brain power and potential to get stuff done, but so often we waste that time doing mindless stuff like watching the news and scrolling through our phones.

Put that thing on airplane mode (and don’t turn the wifi back on! no cheating!!) and actually get some stuff done first thing before you start your scroll.

8. Exercise

Ok, I get it. You might be reading this thinking, “One of your time management tips is to ADD something to my plate???”

Hear me out on this one, mama. I really believe that exercising is something that, while it takes time to do it, it actually pays you in extra time in the long run. Here’s why. Working out first thing in the morning is SO energizing. I literally have to drag myself to do it every day, but by the time the workout is over, I feel amazing!

That feeling of being energized carries throughout my day and I’ve found that exercising consistently starts to compound. If I workout every once in a while, meh, not a huge difference. But if I’m doing something to move my body and get my heart rate up every day, I really start to feel the effects of that in a huge way! I’m happier, more focused, more patient and more motivated. 

Plus, an added bonus is that it’s an amazing thing to know I’m teaching Lucy about how to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of herself physically and mentally.


9. Learn to say no

Oh Lord, this one is important. I am the world’s biggest people pleaser. My love language is words of affirmation and I absolutely THRIVE on hearing people tell me they appreciate me. What’s one of the best ways to have people say that to you? Say yes to them!
For a long time, saying no to anything gave me so much anxiety. I was consumed with not wanting to let anyone down and being worried what people would think of me if I did. But like I’ve said several times in this post, you just can’t do all things for all people.
You have to decide for yourself what your personal priorities and values are. Health, family, faith, passions, hobbies. What is most important to you? It won’t look the same as anyone else, and that’s ok.
When you’re asked to do something, ask yourself if it aligns with your priorities and is going to move you towards how you ultimately want to feel. If not, is is something you can say no to? If you can’t say no, can you ask for help doing it or delegate it to someone else? Can you find a way to change the situation so it leaves you feeling better?

10. Make time for yourself and prioritize rest

If you take one thing away from this post, I hope it’s this. If you are not doing something for yourself that makes you feel fulfilled and recharged, you are not going to be able to show up for others as your best self. Like exercise, I think that taking time for yourself pays itself forward later. I know that drive to take care of everything else before yourself. Unfortunately, that usual ends in burn out and resentment. Approaching any situation coming from that place is probably not going to feel good or end well.
Whether it’s taking some time to read a book you love, taking a class in something that interests you, or just taking a bath before going to bed, find time to do something that is just for you. I know it’s tough to find the time, but ask for help from your family or friends to take care of the kids while you have a moment for yourself. When you’re doing something that makes you feel great, that feel starts to bleed into every area of your life. In the end, having that time to recharge and show yourself some appreciation will allow you to be more present and patient. You can show up as the woman and mom you want to be.

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