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Being a busy mom boss isn’t easy. There’s always stuff to do and people to spend time with. That’s why you must take advantage of time savings tools. Here are ten of my favorites. They’ve made it possible for me to grow a successful business as a busy mom of nine…
Are you ready to grow your business but worried you won’t have time? I hear you! Time is a limited resource.
But, if you are intentional with your time, and utilize time saving tools, you can definitely carve out a little more time to help you grow. The tools below are all tried and true.
They’re the things I use regularly to find time for my business as a large family mom. And, I highly recommend all of them.
Ready to save some time? Check out these tools.
And if you’re shopping for a busy mom boss, many of these would make great gifts! 😀
1.A Great Planner
I opted not to use a planner for years. Instead I used a combination of post-it notes, spiral notebooks, and iPhone notes. You have to get all the things out of your head and onto paper to keep stress and overwhelm at bay!
But, while my haphazardly put-together system worked for a couple of years, it was not scalable. When my business started to grow, I had more and more to keep track of. I was completely overwhelmed trying to remember where I wrote something down. And where that thing that I wrote the thing down on was…
It’s nearly impossible to track everything effectively when you’re relying on a pieced-together planning system. Lose one little post-it (or have your son with Pica eat it…) and you’re scrambling trying to remember:
- What was on said note
- When that task was due
- Why it mattered
I nearly drove myself crazy with all the randomness of my previous planning system. So, earlier in 2019, I finally found a planner I thought would work for me.
And it has! I absolutely love my Clever Fox Planner! I went with the Pro version, and it’s been a great fit.
When I first got it, I was scared to write in it. I’d seen so many beautiful planners on Pinterest, and I knew I wasn’t up to creating anything so lovely. I held onto it for a couple of weeks, just trying to figure out how to even get started but not wanting to mess it up.
Then I realized something:
It was my planner. The inside of it never had to see my camera if I didn’t want it to. No one was going to see it. Nor judge me for how plain it looked.
So, I dove in. And haven’t looked back since. And just for you, here’s a peek at one of the weekly spreads. It’s definitely not pretty, but it’s so helpful for me!
There’s a bunch of random notes to myself up at the top. I have some time priorities written down and meetings on the left page. But the right-hand page is what I use most, every single week. It’s a place to:
- Track my habits (like vitamins and water intake)
- Set a big goal
- Set priorities for each day
- Write down the dinners for my annual meal plan
- Plan blog post contents
- Get all the things from my brain into physical format
Now that you’ve seen an inside peek at how I use this one section, here are other reasons I love this planner. These are all reasons why it’s one of my top ten time saving tools for busy mompreneurs:
- Weekly and Monthly sections – so easy to plan with details and still see at a glance (the weekly is pictured above)
- A place for a vision board in the front (to remind you of your why!)
- Goal setting pages – short and long term
- Monthly review section after each month
- Daily habit tracker
- Life Balance to-do list – with categories such as “Personal Development” and “Fun & Recreation”
- A bullet journal in the back
- A pocket – perfect for storing any odd pieces of paper I happen to need
It is incredible to have a single location to put all the things in my brain. This planner has definitely helped lower my stress level, as it helps me prioritize my to-do list and focus on what really matters.
And…though my quickly written down notes and plans aren’t as beautiful as the ones on Pinterest, they are still valuable in helping me save time. Which is the point of a planner!
Get your own Clever Fox Planner PRO from Amazon:
When I first heard about the Instant Pot, I wasn’t sure what to think. Then I got one for Christmas a while back. It’s been a game-changer!
But, it doesn’t exactly work like I thought.
The first time I used it, I decided to make 8-minute mashed potatoes. So…I got the potatoes all prepped. And then I started cooking the chicken that was going to accompany the potatoes.
I waited until there were about ten minutes left on the meat before starting the Instant Pot. (Can you see where this is going…)
Of course, I didn’t realize that the pot takes time to build up pressure. And when you have it nearly full of water and potatoes, it takes A LOT of time…
Needless to say, the chicken was cold by the time the timer finally stopped. And then I had to wait for the pressure to come down. Again, if you use a lot of water, it takes a really long time to depressurize. Oops!
So, an Instant Pot isn’t a miraculous tool that will suddenly cook potatoes in only 8 minutes. It actually cooks them in a similar amount of time that it’d take to boil them on the stove.
But the Instant Pot has a feature my stove-top does not. It allows me to plan ahead and set a timer.
Here’s what else I love about it, and why it’s a great time-saving tool:
- It can cook frozen meat much more quickly (and tastily) than other methods
- The pot keeps food warm for a while after it’s done cooking
- Food that typically needs slow cooked tastes delicious and falls off the bone in much less time
- Homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot is way easier than the heating pad method I used to use (and I don’t have to worry about it timing out and automatically shutting off before my yogurt is set…)
- Rice comes out perfectly without me babysitting it – I always burnt the bottom or undercooked it on the stove
- There’s no mess to clean up from stuff boiling over like I had frequently on the stovetop
- It’s large enough to cook food for my whole large family
I’m sure there are other features I appreciate, but those are the ones where it really saves me time! I don’t have to sit and watch it cook. It just does it.
Get Your Instant Pot from Amazon:
3. Appliances with a Delay Button
Do you feel constantly buried by laundry? Is it hard to remember to turn the dishwasher on before bed?
If you have appliances with delay buttons, you’re in luck! You can use this feature to help you manage the household chores.
Each night, I fill the washer up with one more load before calling it a night. Then I set the delay. I time it to end about 6 in the morning. Then I can just toss it in the dryer when I wake up and have a head start on laundry!
The dishwasher is the same. We don’t want it running in the evening when everyone is getting baths and showers before bed. So, we set it on a delay and it runs in the middle of the night.
As a bonus in the cold winter out in the country, the delay feature lets you use water in the middle of the night, which can keep your pipes from freezing…
And I’m not the only one who can work these features. Whichever child is on load dishwasher duty for the year can easily learn how to set it. Then we will all wake up in the morning with clean dishes that my unload the dishwasher kiddo can put away.
My oven also has this feature. I use it a lot on Sundays when we’re heading for church. I can pop a frozen casserole in and set it to automatically start about an hour later. I just cook it on a little lower temperature for a little longer and viola – hot food when we get home.
Such a great time savings tool!
Do your appliances have delay features? If not, it might be worth looking into models with this feature when it’s time to upgrade/replace.
4. Annual Meal Plan
Do you know what has single-handedly saved me the most time over the past seven years?
My annual meal plan!
Once it’s complete (we do it each July), my shopping and meals are pretty much on auto-pilot. No searching Pinterest for recipes. No rummaging around in cupboards for ingredients to find inspiration.
And best of all?
No kids constantly asking me what’s to eat. Everyone in the house KNOWS. They all know what we eat each day. So I don’t have to field any food related questions after about a month on the plan.
That alone is worth it to me!
Curious if an annual meal plan could work for you? You can read all about it in this post:
Trying to find time to sit down and open a book as a busy mom boss can be tough. And while I use Family Reading Time to help, there are just so many books I want to read.
That’s why our Audible membership has been such a blessing. For one monthly fee, we can pick two books each month (there are other plan options).
Then, I can listen to the books I want:
- In the car
- While folding laundry
- While taking a walk
Or any other time when I can listen. I can be cooking dinner WHILE listening to a book. That is such a time saver!
And…you can gift an Audible membership! If you know someone who could use a few more books in their life, go ahead and send them a 3,6, or 12 month subscription.
Here are some of my favorite books from Audible (with links to the physical copies on Amazon):
- Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
- Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern Day Slave, An International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent
- Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin
- Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
There are also a ton of children’s lit books that we listen to as a family from Audible. We almost always listen to a book when we drive around for deputation.
There are wonderful collections of books for kids, such as:
- Oz the Complete Collection by L. Frank Baum
- The Beverly Cleary Audio Collection by Beverly Cleary
- The Henry Huggins Audio Collection by Beverly Cleary
- The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection by Beverly Cleary
- Magic Tree House Collection: Books 1-8 by Mary Pope Osborne
- The Roald Dahl Audio Collection by Roald Dahl
- The Ralph S. Mouse Audio Collection by Beverly Cleary
A couple of my kids enjoy listening to audiobooks during quiet time, so I let them. I’ve even streamed one through our Apple TV so we could all listen. It’s a different way to keep everyone engaged.
6. Tailwind & A Pinterest VA
I get so much of my blog traffic from Pinterest. But, manually pinning everything takes time.
And…even though I started saving some time when I finally started using Tailwind, I wasn’t great at using it consistently.
So, I finally took the plunge and hired an amazing Pinterest VA. Yolanda has helped my traffic more than double. It’s been incredible to see the beautiful pins she creates and see my Pinterest stats continue to grow each month.
Without me having to do much…
Such a time saver right there!
Maybe you aren’t able to hire someone to help you right now. But, don’t think that it will be out of your reach forever. Save and be intentional with your business and you will get there.
And if it’s content creation or blog management you’re needing help with, check out my services pages linked above. I have a couple of openings in my schedule and I’d love to help you grow! (And take some tasks off your plate to free up time!)
7. My Excel Income Tracker Template
When I first started freelancing, I made a lot of mistakes when it came to my paperwork.
I ended up spending the money I’d saved for taxes on business expenses. And forgot to document some of my expenses so when tax time rolled around, it was a pain.
My husband saw the struggles I was having and created a custom income tracker for me in Microsoft Excel. He’s pretty amazing with that program!
Anyways, my income tracker allows me to easily:
- Record income and expenses from all strands of my business
- Categorize expenses by type of work and category (ie – training, supplies, marketing, etc.)
- View up-to-date YTD reports
- See my profit and loss statements to check my progress
- Calculate how much of each deposit I need to save for taxes and expenses
- Prepare the records I need when tax season happens
It’s such a streamlined process! Once a week or so, I sit down and enter in my income and expenses. Excel does all the math and categorizing for me.
If you don’t have a way to track your income and expenses for your business, you need to get one stat! It will make your life so much easier and you won’t be trying to track things in several different places.
Interested in having your own customizable template of my Excel Income Tracker?
You’re in luck! My husband prepared one for you. I even give you a video screencast tutorial on how to make it work for you. For only $2.49, you’ll get:
- 2 downloadable Excel templates – one running Macros and one without
- A video tutorial on how to use both of them
- Written step-by-step directions to get you started
No matter which file you decide to use, you can use it year after year, as long as you save a copy of the original download somewhere safe. But, you must have Excel to run these. It won’t work properly in Google Sheets.
Check out the details here…
When I first started my blog, I had no idea how to do much of anything with email marketing. In fact, I didn’t even start growing my list until almost a year after my first post went up.
I started out on a free email management system, but quickly got frustrated. There were so many limitations, and it just wasn’t user friendly. Each time I wanted to do something new, I had to search for YouTube videos and hope they were up-to-date.
I constantly sent emails with prepopulated text still in them…oops!
When I made the switch to ConvertKit, I had to start paying a monthly fee. It’s not free.
But, the time savings was so worth it! Everything was easy to use. There’s up-to-date documentation. And I don’t have to worry about prepopulated text that I have to remember to delete.
Best of all? Each time I publish a new blog post, I get a reminder to send out an email. It’s one less thing I have to try to remember!
If you’re trying to grow an email list and don’t have a ton of time, I highly recommend ConvertKit! They make it simple to:
- Use multiple freebies
- Tag people
- Integrate forms onto your website – in the footer, sidebar, or in a post
- Create content upgrades
- Connect with your audience
- Track your statistics
Definitely give them a try if you’re ready to focus on growing your list.
9. The Canva App
My home internet sucks. Some of the time I’m lucky to rock a 3G signal. Often it drops down below that.
It reminds me of the dial up we had “back in the day…”
So, whenever I can find an app that works well on my cellular data, I try to take advantage of it. The Canva app has saved me so much time.
When pictures are taking FOREVER to upload on my computer, I hop over to my phone. I’m able to easily add images, get the text ready, and prep the image.
Then, I either download it to my photos and email it to myself, or save it and open it up on my PC.
It streamlines my efforts so much and saves me time not fighting against the internet problem.
And since it’s on my phone, I can prep all of my blog post images while I’m waiting in line or riding in the car. Then it’s a simple process to add them to my post when it’s time.
I downloaded the iOS version of the app. It’s gotten so much better in the past two years. I originally didn’t’ like it, but they made a ton of updates and improved it.
10. An Intentional Smartphone
Smartphones often get a bad rap. And, they can absolutely be addictive and a time waster.
But, they don’t have to be.
When used intentionally, a smartphone can be a great time saving tool for busy mom bosses.
Let me explain.
With your smartphone you can:
- Deal with emails – I especially like moving things to my trash that I’m never going to read
- Market your business on social media
- Connect with other business owners or your ideal clients
- Set timers to remind you to do things
- Get directions when you have an appointment in an unfamiliar part of town
- Listen to audio books, podcasts, or music
- Stream an episode to keep your kids quiet when your client meeting runs long and they need a quick distraction
- Use apps to help you invoice clients, create images, and even draft a blog post in WordPress
- Play a game when you just need a quick refresh (I’m loving MarioKart right now…)
When you use your phone as a tool, it can be incredible. But, you do have to be careful. It’s easy to let it overtake your life.
To help, set limits and boundaries. Delete apps that make you lose track of time. Shut off all the dings and rings that distract you from working.
Put your phone down when it’s family time or meal time. Get used to not having it occasionally.
Charge it away from your bed.
Move the apps you use most to the front. Put the ones that aren’t used often on the other screens. Then you won’t have to scroll to find what you most often want to open.
Use folders to help you organize apps, but give them logical names not creative ones. Then when you’re tired and out of sorts, you won’t have to think hard to find what you’re looking for.
What Time Saving Tools Help You?
Are there any other time saving tools that help you grow a business as a busy mom? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!
And, if you’re looking for a business to start as a busy mom, I think freelance writing is a great fit!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.