If you work from home like me, you are intimately acquainted with the stress that comes with trying to be the mom and homemaker while still trying to get your work done. There are never enough hours in the day as it is, but add to the normal course of day for running a household to the demands of work, and you will pretty much always find yourself stretched thin.
To combat the overwhelm that comes from having to “do it all,” I have found 5 time saving ways to add more hours back into my day. Here are my Top 5 Work From Home Mom Time Saving Hacks.
1) Order Your Groceries for Delivery
Some people love to go grocery shopping. If you can get away from the kids to spend a blissful hour buying stuff – it probably is heaven. But let’s be honest. There are few and far between times where you can actually sneak away without at least one little one in tow. Then there is the ENTIRE HOUR it takes to go to the grocery store, let alone schlep everything back to the house and put it all away. The bags in the back of my car just stress me out. Because they have to magically transport to my kitchen, and my garage is on the other side of the house.
Enter GROCERY DELIVERY. This is where you go on your computer, place an order for everything on your list, know exactly how much you are spending, and VOILA! the groceries get delivered to your house. They sometimes even bring them into your kitchen. How awesome is this?? I haven’t convinced any delivery people to put them away yet, but I am trying!
I have tried a few delivery services and my top two are Amazon Fresh and Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct doesn’t deliver everywhere – yet – but they are awesome. The food comes in big insulated (reusable) bags and the quality is actually pretty good. They hardly ever make mistakes on your order, and I feel like they pick the produce I would pick if I walked into the store.
Fresh Direct is mostly confined to New Jersey and New York, but I have been using them since we moved into our new house (Amazon Fresh wasn’t delivering to my city when we moved) and I have been hooked ever since. They started allowing you to reserve a certain time each week that you get your groceries, you just need to place your order the day before. I also started placing my holiday meal orders with them. They have the best pre-made meals (Christmas, Easter, etc.) that you just have to throw in your oven to heat up.
Your local grocery store may also have delivery services, I know Shop Rite and Vons have delivery from store options. Ordering online has saved me hours per week of time. I now just have to select what I need, and put the groceries away. This is my absolute favorite way to save time, and has greatly increased my productivity during the week.
2) Order Your Household Good Online
Confession – I LOVE Target. Target is the black hole of all the things I can spend my money on. It is also an unbelievable time suck for me. Like grocery shopping, I usually have to go to Target once a week, if not more. Although there are two Targets five minutes from me, they are still time sucks. They are also places that are dangerous to my wallet.
But I NEED toilet paper – and ooh, that shirt is adorable.
To combat SOS (shiny object syndrome) and time sucking, I utilize my absolute favorite website – Amazon. Amazon is not only for obscure things you need at a moment’s notice or sending gifts to your out of town relatives, it is also a wealth of household goods like toothpaste, paper towels, diapers and more. I use my activities membership to get free two day shipping, and am sure to make sure all the products I choose are covered by activities. I place my order once a week (right after I order my groceries) and in two days, the items are at my front door.
How easy is that? I save tons of time (and money, because well, going to a store is dangerous) and my house is fully stocked with a few clicks.
3) Set a Schedule – and Stick to It
Ok, this one seems simple, but it is SO HARD to do in practice. If you have at least one person to take care of in your life (that includes yourself), you have responsibilities. These responsibilities are just as time consuming as a full time job, and then some. The care and feeding of multiple people (and animals) can take over every waking moment of your day. Add to that the responsibilities of work, and you have a recipe for over-commitment – and stress.
I am a huge advocate for being really honest with yourself on how many hours you can work. If you are a primary caregiver for your children (or even other family members) you most likely cannot work 80 hours per week on your job, business or career without outside help. Even if your kids go to school 8 hours per day, there are still things that need to be done during the day, such as errands, doctors appointments, household chores and so forth.
The best way to get a handle of your life is to write down all of your commitments during the week – activities, house chores, school commitments and so forth and plan out how many hours those activities take up. Then put in time for your family downtime. Then put in time for yourself – even if it is just an hour a week for a pedicure or carve out workout time. Then put in the number of hours you need to sleep. After all of those priorities, then calculate the number of hours you can actually work.
Once you have your hours written out, then you can actually sit with your calendar and see how those hours fit into your week. Do you need to work at night? Naptime? Are your weekends going to be taken up with work? Set up a schedule for yourself – and stick to it. Set office hours for yourself. Then keep them. Yes, life will get in the way, sick kids are a given. But if you commit to yourself that you will work 20 hours per week, then those 20 hours need to be maintained, even if you have to work late nights. There are always extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, make sure that you can be realistic with your hours, and if you constantly fall short of your committed hours, re-evaluate periodically. Because at the end of the day, you can only accomplish so much.
4) Bring In Reinforcements
This one can be tough. It is something that so many women struggle with – especially me. If you find yourself short on time each week, you might need to do what doesn’t come natural – you might need to ask for help. Asking your partner to help with chores or entertaining the kids when you need to work should be a given, but if you find that you don’t get the support you need – you might have to sit them down and discuss the division of labor and how they can better help you meet your goals and handle the demands of running a home.
If your partner isn’t able to help reduce the load, or you are on your own, there are different ways to combat this. You may need to bring in a babysitter/child minder during the week to help you devote more hours to work. You may have to hire a housekeeper. You may need to bring service providers to cut your load. You may need to hire people to help you streamline your business. Whatever you are up against, make sure you take stock of your needs – and ask for help in these areas.
Once you get a support system in place, you will find that you are more productive, and can get more out of the time that you have, and stay more focused.
5) Get Organized
The best way to save time in your day is to be organized. Organization saves time (and sanity). If you are organized with your work, you will be productive, hands down.
There are several ways to be organized. First, you should have a clear plan of how you will use your work time before you sit down to work. You should have your goals in your mind, your to-do list planned out, and know where all of your supplies, files, and anything else you need to work are before you get started. Think of it like cooking – the best chefs have all of their ingredients out and organized before they start to cook.
For more complicated businesses, or when you have several projects going on, having a dashboard or organizational tools in place will also help your productivity. I love Trello for organizing my to do list and projects – it also helps me with my social media schedule. Asana is a great dashboard for communicating with clients and team members. I also use Hootsuite for my social media scheduling, and use Streak to keep track of my communication via email. My finances are handled by Quickbooks Online, and it helps me streamline my invoicing and receive payments.
Every business is different, but having the right tools in place is essential. As is having your work space organized. Make sure no matter where you work that you have some type of dedicated office, even if it is a corner of your kitchen. Keep your files organized, and your work space clean. A clean area reduces distractions, and helps keep you focused on work when you should be working.
As you go through these steps, you might think that working to get organized or setting up online ordering of your household items takes time away from your day to day, but you will soon find that putting in a little time in the beginning of the process will save you more time each week. Getting into a rhythm with your week is possible once you put in the groundwork. Take the steps now to make your life easier going forward.
I hope you enjoyed these 5 Work From Home Mom Time Saving Hacks and I would love to know if they help save you time!