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When you’re a work at home mom, there’s so much on your plate. You’ve got to juggle the kids, the house, your business, and everything else. So how do you make it happen? With a great work at home mom schedule.
When you don’t have a schedule, you aren’t making your time work for you. Instead, you’re trying to wing it – hoping that at the end of the day you’ll look back and realize it was a productive day.
However, when you try to wing it, you may discover that you’re wasting quite a bit of time. If you’re always stopping to think about what comes next, you won’t be as productive.
It’s much better to make a plan for your time, just like you budget your money. You only have 24 hours each day, so how are you going to spend them?
The good news? You get to decide where to spend your time. You can create the best work at home mom schedule that meets your needs.
If you’re ready to create a work at home mom schedule that works for you, here are my best tips. These have allowed me to grow a home business as a busy homeschooling mom to a houseful of kids.
What Is a Good Schedule for a Work at Home Mom?
A good work from home schedule is one that works for you. Let’s dive into this concept a little more.
One of the biggest questions I get as a coach for busy work at home moms is, “What is a good schedule for me?”
I think many people want to find a ready made schedule that they can copy and instantly improve their time management, productivity, and happiness. They want someone else to hand them to solution to their time management problems.
Unfortunately, I can’t deliver that. I don’t have a magic piece of paper with a work at home mom schedule that will make everything better. And honestly, neither does anyone else.
There is no perfect work from home mom schedule.
Let me say that again, a little differently. You will never find the perfect work at home mom schedule on the internet.
You will find loads of templates, examples, and more. But, those were all designed for a different family. One with different priorities, needs, and values.
If you try to fit your life into someone else’s schedule, you are going to be very disappointed.
So what should you do?
Create your own schedule of course. One that works for you and your family. Keep reading to learn how to do that.
How to Create a Work at Home Mom Schedule that Works for You
Before you can make a schedule, you need to know what types of activities should go on it. Take some time to reflect on your days, your family, your commitments, and your desires.
Then, answer these questions:
- What are the things I must get done every day?
- Is there anything I’m currently doing that should be cut?
- Can I delegate any of my responsibilities to another person?
- What do I wish I had time for each day?
- What are the biggest bottlenecks in my day? (This post will help you identify bottlenecks so you can get rid of them.)
Let’s talk about your must-do tasks first.
Make Sure Your Work at Home Mom Schedule Includes Your Must-Do Tasks
Must-dos are what I call those tasks I have to do every day. They’re the ones that need done, each and every day. I don’t typically spend a lot of time thinking about these things, but if I don’t do them, I definitely notice.
For my family, those tasks currently include:
- Family Bible Time
- Making meals (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner)
- Taking care of table chores
- Doing at least three loads of laundry (otherwise it piles up so fast!)
- Taking care of the cat and her litter box
- Feeding the barn cats
- Packing in firewood (except in the summer)
- Homeschooling (what this looks like changes throughout the week, but getting school done is a must-do around here.)
- Client work for my business
- Quiet Time (life gets so chaotic if we skip this, so it’s an essential for my family)
What are your must-dos? Take some time and write them down.
Those must-dos you just listed? They must be included in the work at home mom schedule you create. Otherwise, they won’t get done.
Also, remember that MUST-DOs often take up a good portion of your time. They’re a good way to build a framework for your schedule.
What Should Get Cut From Your Work from Home Mom Schedule?
Often as you start creating a work from home mom schedule, you’ll run into a problem. You have more tasks listed than hours in the day.
When this happens, you need to start cutting some things. Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out, because it is impossible to continually do more and more work than you have time for.
So, take a good look at the things that currently get your time. What doesn’t deserve it any more?
This could be:
- Writing gigs you do for free (or for free product)
- Social media groups that suck your time
- Making everything from scratch
- Outside engagements that you don’t enjoy
- Commitments you’ve made that are no longer a good fit (such as volunteering for something)
- Clients that pay you less than your new ideal rate (this is often first clients – you really enjoy working with them, but they often were signed on at a lower rate than where you are now)
- Kids’ sports that require tons of driving time or other massive time investments
Your list of things to cut is going to look completely different from mine, because we have different priorities, goals, and commitments. So don’t use my list as examples of things you must cut.
Rather, view it as a starting point to help you brainstorm. What is no longer working your life?
Once you start cutting yourself free from these things, you may be surprised at how much time you actually do have in a day.
What Can You Delegate on Your Work from Home Mom Schedule?
Now that your list of activities as a work at home mom is starting to take shape, it’s time to do some more reflection.
Is there anything that you are currently doing that someone else would be better suited for? Is it time to delegate some of your tasks?
When you analyze your time commitment, you may realize that you simply cannot do it all. It’s the perfect time to teach your kids new skills, and let them help you with the home and your business.
It’s a good time to talk with your spouse, and see if you can readjust some of the household responsibilities. Your spouse can be a huge asset to your business if you work together as a team. (Here are some ways my husband helps me.)
You may also decide the time is right to hire some help. This could be around the house, with your kids, or in your business.
A virtual assistant can help you take tasks off your to-do list. If you want to grow your business, but simply don’t have more time to pour into it, hiring someone to help you for a few hours a week can go a long ways. Let this person do the tasks that you don’t enjoy, so you can focus your energy on your specialities.
What Do You Want to Make Time for In Your Work from Home Mom Schedule?
What do you wish you had time to do? Do you want to:
- Read more
- Have time to exercise consistently
- Play with your kids more regularly
- Implement new self-care routines
- Go out with your spouse once a week
No matter what you want to make time for, it’s important that these goals are reflected in your work from home mom schedule.
However, every time you add something new, you have to take something else away, or find a way to streamline your existing tasks to free up time.
So adding in these want-to activities is absolutely doable. But, it takes some creative planning.
As you’re thinking about your time, don’t assume you have to have a huge chunk of time in order to schedule it. For instance, if you want to read more, try devoting just 10-15 minutes a day to this pursuit. You’ll be amazed at how many chapters you can knock out in a week reading just a few minutes a day.
You can even decide to build the reading habit for the whole family and have a daily Family Reading Time. Everyone grabs a book (and a hot drink if you want to make it very cozy!), and then set the timer for 15 minutes.
When it beeps, everyone can share a moment about what they read.
While reading time might not be right for your family, something else might be. Just start to think about your day a little more creatively to see how you can fit in things that are important to you.
How to Create a Work from Home Mom Schedule
Now that you’ve answered some basic questions about what your schedule needs to include, it’s time to start planning your days.
I prefer to work with flexible routine blocks instead of creating a rigid, time-based schedule. If you prefer, you can follow this same process and then just add in times.
Start Creating Your Blocks of Time
To create your own routine blocks that you can mix and match throughout the day, look at everything you need to get done. Then, start combining things that make sense.
For instance, you might take all of the dishes, clearing the table, sweeping the kitchen and dining room type chores, and call them “Table Chores.”
Then, after each meal, you can slide a “Table Chores” chunk into your schedule.
So meal times on your schedule would look something like this:
- Table Chores
- Table Chores
- Table Chores
You may also have a morning routine you want to put on your schedule. This could include tasks such as:
- Taking a shower
- Getting dressed
- Enjoying a cup of coffee
- Reading the Bible and spending time in prayer
You’d need to figure out about how long your morning routine takes. (Always round up when doing this – things take longer than expected.)
Then, you could have a chunk of time on your schedule dedicated to your morning routine. This way you won’t have to write out each specific task, you’d just include the chunk of time “morning routine” and have those tasks written down somewhere else.
Chunking tasks like this helps keep your schedule from being overwhelming, so it’s easier to read. It also keeps it cleaner looking, so you can more easily print your schedule.
Continue working through your day, thinking about the types of activities you need to do, and how long each will take.
Then, you can arrange the blocks of time you need for each task to fit in throughout your day as you’re able.
The goal is to have something to account for each time slot in your day. This way, you tell your time what to do instead of just letting time happen around you.
What Is the Difference Between a Work at Home Mom Schedule and a Work at Home Mom Routine?
As mentioned above, I don’t attach times to my schedule. That makes it a routine.
The day flows naturally from one chunk of time to another. But, it doesn’t always start at the same time. Some days my kids have bad nights and I’m up a lot.
On those days, my morning doesn’t happen quite as early. And things get shifted back.
Sometimes, I have to cut a few things from my schedule to accommodate it. And that’s okay.
My crazy family life is more suited for a routine. That way, I don’t wake up already behind. I can seize the day, even if I wake up an hour later than normal.
Other people thrive with time-based schedules. If you are one of those people, by all means add times to your work at home mom schedule.
How Many Hours Can Work at Home Moms Spend Working?
Every family is different. If you’re a work at home mom homeschooling nine kids like I am, you aren’t going to have as much time to pourinto your business as someone with one school-aged kid who has all day to spend working.
So, when trying to decide how many hours you can realistically devote to your business, stop comparing yourself to others.
Decide what makes sense for you, during this season of life. You aren’t going to create a schedule once and have it last forever. You’ll constnatly be making adjustments.
For me, I can spend about 20 hours a week working during this current phase of life. Any more than four hours a day gets to be too much for me. I start dropping other balls in my life.
You might be able to work 30-40 hours without a problem. Or maybe you have only little kids and can only fit in 10-12 hours a week.
It doesn’t matter how much you work – it matters more that you don’t try to squeeze in work that you can’t handle. Your reputation will suffer, as you’ll be doing less than great work.
So be realistic here and only commit to doing what you can do well. There will be seasons of life when you may not be able to put in full-time hours. If that’s where you are, that’s okay. It won’t last forever. For now, do what you can with the time you do have. You can always push your foot down on the gas pedal later.
How Do I Get My Kids Used to a Schedule?
A schedule isn’t just good for you, it’s also great for your kids. Many kids thrive when they know what to expect.
But, let me warn you…the first few weeks on a schedule (or routine) won’t be easy for your kids. If they’re used to just doing whatever they want when they want, they may decide to test the boundaries a bit.
Before you implement the new schedule, talk to your family about it. Let them have some input, so they feel motivated to help stick to the schedule.
Once you have your routine blocks figured out, you can even sit down with your kids at the beginning of each day to review the schedule and arrange your blocks. My family does this every morning. We call it the Plan of the Day meeting.
I’ve discovered that when my kids know what to expect, they’re much more likely to help make the plan happen. This is especially true if we add some fun “want-tos” into the schedule.
So maybe we’ll play a game after school is finished, or go on a family walk to the creek after lunch table chores. These little bits of fun can keep everyone motivated to stay on track and get the “must-dos” done.
What Happens If My Schedule Gets Interrupted?
No matter how much you plan or prep, you will face interruptions in your schedule. You’ll have days when the kids are sick, the dog gets out, or something else goes wrong.
On those days, you may feel like giving up and just ditching the schedule for the rest of the day.
And while you will have days where it makes sense to just wing it and veg, you don’t want to do that all the time. Your productivity will suffer, and you will find yourself falling further and further behind.
So how do you cope with interruptions to your schedule? Here are three quick tips that can help:
- Don’t make your schedules too full – leave some wiggle room for small interruptions
- Regroup as soon as possible and evaluate your schedule. Reprioritize your remaining tasks and decide what can get cut that day. Try to do the rest.
- Let the family in on the changes. I know my kids don’t appreciate it when I spring changes on them. So, if I’m able to call everyone together again and go over the interruptions and what needs to change, I get much better results.
Need more help dealing with interruptions to your schedule? Read this post:
What Tools Can Help Me Stay on Schedule as a Work at Home Mom?
There are so many different scheduling tools and apps you can use to help you get more done. I personally prefer to use a paper planner (I use one from Clever Fox).
Some people prefer to use apps. Many moms like the simplicity of Google calendars.
My husband and I share a calendar on our iPhones. Appointments and things that impact both of us go on the shared one. We also share one with our oldest daughter, so we can keep track of when she has things going on as well.
A timer is a great tool to help you keep on a schedule. If you only have 15 minutes to work on something, a timer can help you remember to be done.
I’ve also been known to set alarms on my phone to trigger my memory. Sometimes, you need to combine a variety of tools and tricks to help you stay focused during the day.
But, don’t feel like you need to use a tool to help you with your schedule. There are many people who just use a simple spiral notebook, and they write down what they need to do each day.
The goal is to find a system that works for you, and then to stick with it. That way you can build the good habit of scheduling, and improve your productivity over time.
Note: If you need some time-saving tools to help you streamline so you can get more done each day without overloading your schedule, read this post:
Sample Schedule for a Working Mom
Now that you know how to create a schedule as a work at home mom, I want to share a sample schedule of mine. Please keep in mind that my schedule changes almost daily, depending on the needs of my family, my clients, and myself. But, this will give you an idea of how I fit everything in.
Also, I don’t do time-based schedules, so mine is a routine. So you won’t find times on this sample schedule.
For a more in-depth look, here is a “Day in the Life” post I created that you can read.
- Wake up and do morning routine
- Cook breakfast
- Create plan of the day with the kids
- Table chores
- Morning chores and a load of laundry
- Bible Time
- Homeschool (currently my school-aged kids are in Pre-K, K, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades)
- Family Play Time (the child who’s day it is gets to pick)
- Lunch prep/Free time
- Lunch and table chores and swap laundry/fold and put away
- Sibling Play Time
- Family Reading Time
- Quiet Time (I work during this time)
- Family Writing Time (I work during this time)
- Dinner prep/free time for kids
- Table chores and final laundry swap/fold/put away
- Family time
- Bedtime routine
- Kids to bed
- Watch episode or play game with husband
It looks like a lot, but since we’ve built routines around each block of time, everyone in the family knows what to expect. It’s lovely, and having a plan helps us all get more done.
We don’t always get in all of these blocks of time. So, when life happens, we cut a few things out.
Take Control of Your Time
If you need more help with time management, I can help. I offer coaching services to moms who are trying to carve out time for a home business while raising their family.
You can learn more about coaching on this page, and schedule a session so you can finally cut through the chaos and live the life you’ve been dreaming of.