As moms we juggle so many things on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to feel a sense of overwhelm at all the moving parts in our day.
Guys, I have a little secret for you. I write a lot about getting organized and time management tips for moms not because I am the most organized person on the planet. It’s because I used to struggle with managing my time and often ended up overwhelmed. At some point I realized something had to give, and I needed to buckle down and figure out how to stay on the ball.
Related: Best Planners for Moms
In the beginning, getting organized and time management was actually really hard. I thought I would put things on the calendar and poof! They would automagically get done. (You thought that too, right?)
I messed up a lot and tried so many tactics before I figured out what actually worked. My success in getting organized to reduce the feeling of overwhelm was part mindset and part having the right tools and systems in place.
Your Mindset Can Help You Win The Day
Let’s talk mindset. I can sum this up with one simple quote. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”.
If you think you are doomed to be forever overwhelmed. Well, you will be right. If you think you’ll never get a handle on your budget and finances, you will be right.
But, if you think you can tackle your to-do list. You will. If you believe in yourself and commit to a budget, you will achieve your financial goals.
Now, I know this is easier said than done.
Our minds are muscles, and powerful ones at that. If we train that muscle to think negatively about our ability to get organized, be productive, and achieve our goals (both big and small), then we will continue to struggle in these areas.
But, if you begin to train your mind to see that you are capable of achieving what you set out to do, then it will become easier for you to accomplish these things.
Before I share with you my list of tools and strategies to win on a daily basis, I want you to close your eyes and visualize what it is you want to achieve.
Do you want to have a cleaner house?
Do you want to be on time more often?
Do you want to have more free time?
Whatever it is, these are your goals. Focus on them for a few minutes and feel what it would be like to achieve those goals.
Now let’s talk about some tools that will help you achieve those goals.
Time Management Tips to Reduce Overwhelm
1. Put it on a Calendar
I know I said putting things on the calendar doesn’t mean they will automatically get done. But using a calendar and writing things down will set you up for success.
Writing things down and being intentional will make it easier to be more productive.
Most smartphones come with a built in calendar app. But there are so many other free calendar apps out there that let you do so much more. I’m talking email reminders, specialized alerts, and more!
One of my favorite calendar apps is Cozi. It seriously does it all, and it’s free. You can read all about Cozi here.
Start using a calendar and write down the things that have to get done.
2. Make Daily To Do Lists (and make them shorter)
I love my daily to do lists. They help me stay focused, reduce my procrastination, and help me to just get things done. But not all To Do lists are created equal.
The trick to getting through your to do list? Make it shorter. Make it realistic. What can you actually accomplish? That’s it. I’m talking a to do list of 3 or 4 tasks, 5 at the most.
Making shorter realistic daily to do lists, rather than a total to do list can help you focus and be more productive.
You can still have an “Everything I need to get done list”, but break it up into smaller chunks each day. It will reduce the feeling of overwhelm and will actually serve as a motivator.
If you get through your to do list each day you will have a greater sense of achievement and you will be motivated to do more.
And if you don’t? It won’t make your next day’s to do list too much more overwhelming.
3. Create an “Already Done List”
A few years back I read the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” and it was a total eyeopener.
Among many things that I loved about the book was the author Brene Brown’s suggestion to create an Already Done List at the end of the day.
A lot of us (me included) get to the end of the day and think “I didn’t get anything done today”!
But it’s not the truth.
In reality, I got the kids to school on time, walked the dog, ran to the store, tidied up the house, breastfed a baby all day, and gave everyone baths and got them to bed.
So as part of your evening routine, or really any time you need a reminder of how much you actually do accomplish, sit down and write out all the things you did that day. I bet it will be a longer list than you thought.
4. Create a Meal Plan
Look. I know cooking from scratch everyday is not a realistic goal for everyone.
But, you can still create a meal plan that will reduce the stress around the question “what’s for dinner?”
Meal planning saves me so much time and stress. I don’t have to panic on a day when we are running from one place to another after school. By having a meal plan in place, I can plan to make one of my go to easy meals for busy nights.
I won’t go too much into meal planning here because I’ve already talked about meal planning a ton here.
Just know that meal planning will save you time, money and stress.
5. Morning routine
You know those mornings where everything goes wrong?
It can ruin the rest of your day, right?
You can set an amazing foundation for an awesome day by creating a morning routine. I mean a morning that has intention and sets you up for success for your whole day.
I have 7 simple rules for creating an amazing morning routine. I’ll give you a sneak peek here:
- Wake up early
- Get dressed
- Don’t Check your phone
- Eat A Healthy Breakfast
- Pack up the Night Before
- Give yourself some wiggle room, even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Read more about setting up your morning routine.
6. Sunday Planning Session
Every Sunday I sit down for 20 minutes with my coffee and I look at my week ahead. I think through the things I need to do, where we need to be, and set some goals for myself.
If you are new to creating a weekly plan or even if you are a sometimes planner like I was, creating a plan and writing it out for the week actually provides you with greater flexibility. By doing a weekly planning session you will 1) know what happens when and 2) make smart decisions when things come up. This will deter your week from going into a tailspin when there are hiccups.
Starting a weekly planning session may seem daunting, but I promise you after a couple of times you will have your weekly schedule done in no time! You will feel prepared and ready to take on the week.
I love doing this on Sundays because it’s a chance to take a deep breath and really focus on the week ahead.
You can read all about my Sunday planning session here.
7. Make time for self care
Yes friends. Take some time for yourself.
If you don’t, you will burn out and you will not get anything done.
And you know I’m right.
You should schedule self care just like you schedule everything else. Put it on your daily to do list, or block some time on your calendar to take care of you.
Self care is not selfish and is necessary for us to be the best versions of ourselves. Self care doesn’t have to be a trip to the salon or an hour massage. It could be as simple as going for a drive, listening to your favorite podcast, or going for a 5 minute walk.
You don’t need to implement all these time management tips tomorrow. Start with one and slowly weave it into your day. Once you get the hang of one, try another.
Remember to also work on your mindset. Focus on the positive and on achieving the things you set out to do each day. Believe that you can and you will.
29 thoughts on “7 Time Management Tips For Busy Moms”
These steps are so crucial! Not checking your phone in the morning is a game changer. I used to think that scrolling through email or instagram was a great way to wake up my brain, but in reality, it’s such a time suck! And I’m totally reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” immediately.
Hi Mandi! It took me a long time to change the phone in the morning habit, but once I did, I realized how much less I was running around and how much clearer my head was starting the day out. And you should absolutely read “The Gifts of Imperfection”!
These are great tips. I almost always plan out my week on Sunday. It makes me feel so much better starting the week organized. Even if things kind of unravel a bit by Friday I love starting the week off fresh 😉
Thanks Suchot! The weekly planning session is huge for me too. I feel the same way you do…even if things start to unravel throughout the week, Sunday is a way to reset and get motivated again!
So much value in this post! I couldn’t agree more with starting at mindset. I’ve found that when I’m in a negative funk, I don’t get anything accomplished and everything in my world seems terrible. But when I start with an attitude centered around being able to accomplish anything, my world opens up. Planning and preparation are key to minimizing overwhelm, especially when you’re a busy mom. Thank you so much for sharing this!!
Hi Amanda! It’s so true. Whenever my can’t do attitude starts up, my to do lists get longer and I don’t even know where to start! When I get that feeling, I know I need to take a moment to walk away from all that needs to get done, take a moment to refocus, change my attitude and then I am able to tackle all the things. It’s taken me a long time to learn this!
Nice. An already done list would probably save a lot of moms some sanity. Thank you for your beginning statement also. This is why I blog too – I’m not an expert.
Thanks Rose! I believe we don’t have to be experts to share our story and advice. If one person can relate to my experience and make their lives less stressful than my job is done!
Yes to the already done list! I have a to do checklist on my Trello board that I put everything on. Even things like taking a shower and eating lunch. And I’ll add things to it after I’ve done it just to check it off. It really helps to show what you did accomplish.
I need to get into a weekly planning session. I haven’t been doing that but it sounds like a good idea.
I love the already done list because we all need to give ourselves credit when the credit is due! The weekly planning session is so helpful even more so now that everyone is back to school and there are so many things going on!
Yes, I am a list maker and follower. It’s a great feeling to cross off items on your to do list each day. Thanks for sharing!
Yes to all of the above! The quote is spot on and the day is what you make of it! So thankful for all these fabulous tips!
i always n eed more time management tips, so these are awesome!
I love your idea of an “already done” list. I totally have the habit of adding things to my to-do list that I’ve already done just so I can cross it off haha I think now I just need a whole separate list so I can see all the additional things I got done that day. So many great tips!!
Hi Keating. I can’t take credit for the already done list but I love it so much that I tell anyone who will listen! And Crossing things off the list is the best feeling ever!
Love all these tips! I am all about the to-do lists and calendars, I use a bullet journal for that and it really helps me.
I seriously can’t say enough about a morning routine! I’m still learning, but every day that I get it right, I THRIVE! This is a great post.
Thanks Nicole! When I started being intentional about my mornings amazing things happened! I find myself so much more focused, more productive, and I am able to stay on task better just by starting my day right!
I love the Already Done list, and I need to read that book! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Joanna! It’s one of my favorite books. I’m actually re-reading it right now as a refresher 🙂
This is a great list. As a working mom I am constantly struggling to stay organized. Thank you!
These are great tips. I make sure to set a day aside every week to pre plan all I have to do it helps keep me focused.
I love the morning routine suggestion! I am going to have to update mine.
A morning routine is totally key! When my morning routine gets messed up it can impact my whole day?
These are all great suggestions! If I don’t write things down, it’s like they don’t exist for me. Self care is so important too!
I’m the same way Charise! If I don’t write it down it just won’t get done. Writing things down also helps with my motivation because I just love crossing things off the list when they get done!