30 Time Management Tips for Busy Working Mums
The ultimate collection of time-management tips to help you harmonise your ambition, wellbeing and livelihood.
The ultimate collection of clever hacks to help you harmonise your ambition, wellbeing and livelihood.
When you’ve got a business to run and your Little Co (aka your kiddos) to organize, it can be challenging to find precious moments of me-time among the chaos.
Here at Mums & Co we’re all about setting realistic expectations. Because the juggle will always be there.
Instead, we want to set you up with sneaky extra time every day.
Here are our 30 time management tips for busy working mums―like you―that will make all the difference to your mindset and take the pressure off.
1. Embrace online shopping
Why go to the shops when the shops can come right to your doorstep? That goes for grocery shopping, birthday presents, kids’ clothes and the rest. And if you plan ahead and buy in bulk then you’ll likely be able to score free shipping while you’re at it.
2. Assign time limits to tasks
Heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a clever way to check off your to-do list in 25-minute chunks. That applies to both family and work-related tasks. Take a short break between tasks and a longer break after every fourth for increased focus and less mental strain.
3. Pre-prepare meals
Have a stash of pre-prepared meals in the freezer for days where kids activities or extra work commitments mean dinner has to be quick and easy. Luckily many of the kids’ favourites, like bolognese sauce, lend themselves to freezing.
4. Empower your kids
Time management as a busy working mum not only comes down to you managing your time. It also means empowering your kids from a certain age to step up and pick up the odd chore. Many small tasks take serious time and can easily be ticked off by your kids―while teaching them valuable life skills. And if your kids are at daycare, find out what pack away song your centre is using so you can encourage your Little Co at home too.
5. Maximise ‘Pockets of time’
We all spend pockets of time each day that can turn into some of the most productive minutes of our day―if pre-planned. We’re talking waiting in the car at school pick-up, waiting for your doctor’s appointment or waiting in line to renew your driver’s licence. Have a list of must-be-done tasks ready to go so you can do them on the run. Online shopping for the kids’ birthday presents, planning your meals for the week or writing your shopping list. Endless opportunities to lift the weight off your shoulders one task at a time.
6. Upskill on the fly
As busy working mums it can be a real challenge to learn and seek inspiration. We’re all for maximising everyday chores and driving time. Not only does it take the edge off the necessary evil, it also stimulates your brain and gives you daily opportunities to grow. We recommend having your favourite podcasts ready to go so you can tune into food for the brain and soul while you get through that dreaded chore list.
7. Rank your priorities
Work out what must be done today, what would be nice and what can seriously wait until another time. Setting achievable expectations takes the pressure off and finds new breathing space within your day. Your to-do list will still be waiting for you tomorrow so consider soaking up precious moments with your Little Co as they happen.
8. Start saying no
Somehow it seems there’s never enough time for all the social activities, party invites and sport gala days. Know why? Because there simply isn’t. Start asking yourself whether saying YES will add more challenges to your day than you can handle. And if that’s the case, make it a NO. Your family will thank you for the newfound time to connect.
9. Track your time
Taking a closer look at how you spend your time each day can give you incredible insights. It can highlight habits worth changing so you can develop a more efficient daily routine. One that has space for you-time among the chaos. Clever apps like Toggl make tracking your time super easy.
10. Schedule me-time
Self-care does not book itself. It’s up to us working mums to take accountability and make it a staple part of our day. Block time in your calendar at lunch to go for a walk, run around the block after the kids are in bed or read a book while Little Co is napping. Remember: You can’t fill up your loved one’s cup if your jug is empty.
11. Set time management goals during work hours
Time Management is all about changing behaviours, not changing the time you have. The best place to start is eliminating one personal time-waster during work hours at a time. This can be as easy as not taking or making personal phone calls during dedicated work hours or leaving online shopping for later that night. Small changes have a big impact on productivity!
12. Establish routines
Routine is a very effective way to cut out the guesswork. Consider a dedicated daily schedule within your work that sets the expectations for each weekday and allows you to flow through your to-do list in themed chunks rather than scattered tasks.
13. Have a ‘quick’n’easy’ recipe folder
Start collecting recipes that tick all the boxes with both your kids and your schedule in a separate folder. Make it your emergency list when time is precious and you need to come up with recipe ideas that hit the sweet spot―quickly. Nothing worse than a misplaced winning recipe and realising it’s never to be found again.
14. Opt for ‘click and collect’
Don’t want to pay for delivery but still not keen to waste your time pacing the store only to find the item is out of stock? Most online retailers offer click and collect as a time-saving service for busy working mums. And we’re all for it!
15. Prepare the night before
Mornings often look rather hectic in families with two working parents. And let’s face it, that’s most families nowadays. Getting everything ready the night before can give you peace of mind that half the job is done. Make the kids’ lunches the night before, ask the kids to put out their school uniform so they just need to grab it and plan your outfit too. It’s magic!
16. Declutter regularly
A neat house makes it much easier to find ‘stuff’. Scheduling a regular declutter session with the whole family can be a great way to put things back into their place and reorganise what’s not working right now. They also give you the headspace to stay calm and collected when unexpected deadlines approach.
17. Tidy as you go
Here’s our official invite to never leave a room empty-handed again. Pick up toys that need to be put away, grab the dirty soccer shirt and take it to the laundry or re-home the empty coffee cup from the office to the dishwasher. Each thing you do right now means one less thing to do at the end of the day.
18. Embrace filing systems as your helping hand
There are countless tools to bring order into the chaos of family and business life. Make them your best friend! Some are as easy as an expandable file so you can sort your bills and tax receipts by topic. Others go as far as scanning your receipts (apps like Hubdoc) so you have an electronic record and can spare yourself the paperwork. Whether yoú prefer paper or digital, what makes the difference is staying on top of everything throughout the year so you’re not faced with the mad rush at the end of the financial year.
19. Swear by grab’n’go snacks
Have your fridge stocked with healthy, ready-made snacks for you and the kids. It’ll dramatically cut down on “Mum, I’m hungry” demands and give you healthy fuel throughout the day to keep you on track.
20. Schedule your week
Invest in a digital or print-out weekly planner so you have a clear picture of activities, work commitments, school events and anything else that comes with family life. Find a central spot in the house where the whole family can check what’s happening. It sets expectations for everyone and helps you stay sane.
21. Batch the life admin
Rather than tackling regular life admin on the run, commit one day a month to pay all your bills, book all upcoming appointments and organise your social life for the coming weeks. It’s a much more efficient way of doing things and you’ll feel like an absolute champion after.
22. Limit your time on social media
Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms are rabbit holes. And it’s super easy to waste precious time mindlessly scrolling. We’ve all done it, right? Use the screen time limit feature to hold you accountable. You’ll be surprised how much time you actually have up your sleeve without social media in your life.
23. Call on your support network
Here at Mums & Co we’re big believers in community. And calling on each other to share the load is an important part to finding the harmony between your ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. We can’t go it alone. So find a crew that’s there for you when you need a helping hand and make sure to return the favour.
24. Keep a lean inbox
How many newsletters are you subscribed to? Likely too many. Make a date with yourself to go through your inbox and unsubscribe from any newsletters that are no longer relevant or don’t interest you. Unsubscribing from all those unwanted emails will make you feel less overwhelmed and save you actual time each day.
25. Start to outsource
Take stock of your time and all chores, activities and commitments you need to fit into these precious hours. Then work out what you can outsource to someone else within your business or your life so you can spend more quality time with those that are most important to you.
26. Never skimp on sleep
As busy working mums, we often don’t stop and deprive ourselves of sleep when in fact that’s so important to our health and wellbeing. Here’s our reminder to make sleep a priority so you can keep up with all the demands in your life. There’s no easy fix once you’re running on empty.
27. Start with your most important tasks
The early bird catches the worm, right? So kick off your day with all the most important tasks. The ones you must tick off today. And then only do you work your way towards the would-be-nice bonus tasks. Not only is your mind at its sharpest early in the morning, you also feel on a roll as you cross the big ticket items off your list.
28. Buy a slow cooker
A slow cooker is any busy working mum’s best friend. Throw all your ingredients in before you head out the door and return to a delicious meal just in time for dinner. All that without hours of stirring. Converted?
29. Create a roster
Sharing the load within the family is the way to go. Come up with a family roster that assigns daily tasks to family members so everyone can get involved. It’ll make things much smoother, reduce friction between the kids and take the pressure off you.
30. Rise before everyone else
Set your alarm 20 minutes before you actually have to get up. Grab a cuppa and mentally prepare for the day without other family members interfering. This is your time to reflect, mediate or simply sit in silence. Glorious!