We ALL know that being a mom is a job that requires a HUGE amount of time! Often I used to find myself wondering how I could be more productive as a mom. It is SO easy to get bogged down in the daily grind of dishes, meals, diapers, laundry, vacuuming, etc, etc, etc. By the end of the day we often fall into bed thinking, “What did I actually DO all day? How did I actually add value and meaning to my life?” Can you relate?
As moms we tend to respond to situations all day long rather than intentionally creating opportunities to grow, create, play or rest. So how do we create these opportunities and become more productive as moms?
Here are 15 simple ways to help you multiply your time and get more productive as a mom. I’ve got a gorgeous FREE printable help sheet and habit tracker at the bottom of this post for you to download and print so you can get started on some of these today.
Habit #1: Wake up before your kids.
This is first for a reason y’all. I knew I needed to do this for YEARS. Finally I had to just put my phone across the room, so I’d have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm at 5am every morning. It took a little time to get used to it. But now I wouldn’t trade my quiet morning hours for anything! I spend this time working out, showering, praying, studying scripture, reading, or writing. For more details about how I’ve made waking up before my kids a habit, read this post here.
Habit #2: Make your bed.
This takes only seconds! Even if you have a baby crying in another room, take the time and get this done. As soon as you are up and out of bed, spend two minutes pulling up the covers and placing the pillows neatly on top. Voila! You’ve already accomplished one task! No matter what else happens during the day, you’ve conquered making your bed! One of my favorite explanations about the importance of making your bed is this video of a graduation speech given by Navy Admiral McRaven at the University of Texas, Austin.
Habit #3: Get dressed.
Wear real clothes. I know we all have our activewear days, but it’s a fact that how we dress impacts our productivity. So pull on your favorite jeans and top, add a little jewelry and brush your hair. Read this post here for more info on the positive effects of getting dressed everyday. The bottom line: you will feel better in minutes and find yourself gaining the energy to be more productive as a mom.
Habit #4: Stay off your phone for the first 2 hours of the day.
This one can be tricky, but it is incredibly helpful. Are you ready? The minute we start checking email and social media, we head into response mode. We know that this is a mama’s general M.O. and we want to delay this as long as possible in the morning!
Habit #5: Exercise.
Aim to get 20-30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. You can check out yoga and workout videos on Youtube, subscribe to an exercise app, or walk or run with a friend. If you are starting from scratch, begin with a little light stretching everyday.
If you like to walk or run on a treadmill, or workout on an elliptical, try reading while you workout too! You might think it’ll throw off your balance, but I got pretty good at it in about two weeks. Of, if you prefer to walk or run outside (or the reading doesn’t work!), listen to a podcast as you exercise. Some of my favorite motivational podcasts are by Terri Savelle Foy and Darren Hardy, so give ’em a try if you’re looking for inspiring and motivational content in the morning.
Habit #6: Listen to podcasts.
Speaking of podcasts, listen while you fold laundry, cook, shower or drive. You can learn so much by just listening throughout the day. There are thousands of options to choose from. I’m a fan of Hannah Keeley for mom inspiration and Chalene Johnson, Ali Brown and Brilliant Business Moms for business encouragement, interviews, and how-tos.
Habit #7. Read a book or devotional while you brush your teeth.
I just started doing this about six months ago, and I love it. Two minutes twice a day adds up to just under 30 minutes of reading a week. If you are like me, I wanted to read for so many years, but felt like I could never find the time. I realized that if I wanted to start reading consistently, I’d need to attach reading to a habit I already had. Hence the toothbrushing. Honestly, it isn’t hard to hold a book in one hand and a toothbrush in the other. I mean, we’re moms, right?! The page turning can be a little tricky, but if I can do it, you can do it! Seriously though, feeding my mind by reading has a big impact on helping me to be more productive as a mom.
Habit #8: Limit how often you do laundry.
I launder sheets and towels once a week. I run all the clothes on another day once a week. That’s it. Can you imagine having 5 laundry-FREE days every week?! When a load is done, I fold it as soon as possible. I often fold while reading to my kids or while they are completing their individual homeschool work. I put all the folded clothes back into the laundry basket, which my kids deliver to the appropriate bedroom. My kids and husband put their own clothes away. If you feel that laundry is something that is always hanging over your head, give this weekly system a try.
Habit #9: Plan your dinner meals a month in advance.
Trust me, this sounds so much harder than it is. I’ve got a great system that makes this super easy, as well as a free printable to display with your weekly meal plans. After a year of using my monthly meal planning, your meal planning for a month will take you five minutes. Talk about feeling more productive as a mom!
Habit #10: Order your groceries.
Y’all, you don’t need to spend time wandering the aisles of Walmart! If you’re concerned about the marbling in your steak or are picky about the color of your bananas (like me!), ONLY go into a store for these items. Let a personal shopper do the rest for you. I often schedule my grocery pickup during the morning hours when the line is shortest. Then I quickly run to the grocery store where I purchase produce and specialty meats, which only takes about 20 minutes. To get really effective with this, plan your grocery pickup and/or shopping trip for the same day and time every week.
Habit #11: Do a small amount of dinner prep during lunch.
Having a jump start on dinner is SUPER helpful when 4pm rolls around and you’re tired from the day! Just spend 2-3 extra minutes cooking some noodles or chopping veggies for dinner when you’re already in the kitchen fixing lunch. Having one small dinner task completed in advance is a huge motivator to get up and complete your dinner prep later in the day!
Habit #12: Set a timer for social media.
Put the timer across the room so you’ll have to get up and turn it off. I recommend setting your scroll time for 5-10 minutes. You could certainly choose a longer period of time, but the idea is to get intentional about this. For many moms, consuming a lot of social media leads to feelings of comparison and diminished self esteem, which are rarely great motivators for true productivity.
Habit #13: Do your least desirable tasks first.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Eat the frog!”? It’s based on a quote from Mark Twain, who wrote, “If it’s your job to eat a live frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two live frogs, eat the biggest one first.” I love that! When it comes to your undesirable tasks, I encourage you to do the hardest on first. Then work quickly and efficiently. Challenge yourself to really focus and get it done in 30 minutes or less. Turn on some hype music and get to it!
Habit #14: Involve your family with the dinner chores.
In our home, we rotate which kids set and clear the table, clean counters, sweep the floor, and help with dishes. When you have helpers, this can go very quickly. Becoming more productive as a mom definitely should include learning to delegate! And having a clean sink every night helps you to feel productive the next morning too!
Habit #15: Write a list of 5 things you are thankful for before bed.
This will center your mind and help you to see where things have gone right throughout the day instead of focusing on what you didn’t accomplish. I write my list in my planner, but you could choose a gratitude journal like this. I know that practicing gratitude daily can have a major impact on your life!
Now here’s a big reminder: You don’t need to do all of these at once – in fact, I recommend that you choose only 2 to get started. Let me know which ones resonate with you in the comments below, and don’t forget to download your free printable help sheet and habit tracker!