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I am a freelancing mom and although I don’t flaunt it that much (okay, maybe a little) I do feel proud of being one. Freelancing as a mom may not be easy but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s not easy because you have to juggle time working and making sure your family is still taken care of. For that, you will need all the productivity tips for work from home moms you can get.
In my previous post, I shared tips on how you can still stay sane amidst the chaos that is motherhood while working from home. In this post, however, you will get productivity tips from me, which I have learned from working with one of my clients.
I will not share her name but I just want to put it out there how grateful I am for the opportunity to work with her. I actually write for her site and by doing so, I get to learn a lot about being productive and how you can avoid burnout – which is especially important for moms.
I’d like to note that these productivity tips mostly apply to freelancer moms like me – moms who have more than one client. Because having one client and being a mom and a wife is already a handful. What more when you have more than one right? But if you have a lot of things to do, you can still apply these productivity tips for work from home moms.
But let me tell you this – I juggle 5 clients at a time and somehow, I made it work. I’ve been working with one client for more than 3 years; two I’ve been working with for 2 years now; and three of them I’ve been working with for less than 5 months.
Oh did I get that wrong? That was a total of six clients… lol
As I’m writing this, I’ve come to realize “Wow, that’s a lot!” and somehow I managed to receive consistent pay and good feedback from them. Call that bragging, you may, but whatever – that is the truth and that is proof that you can make it work. I’m still alive, I’m happy and I’m sane. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know if I’m about to break down. But so far in the last 8 years, all is good – better -best.
I’m not saying you should be like me. I’m just saying you can do a lot of things and free up some time for whatever if you just know how to manage your time. So on to my tips.
#1. Productivity Tips for Work From Home Moms: Set a Schedule
You have to understand that setting a schedule is an important step on how to be productive as a work-from-home mom. Take it from me – scheduling your activities and your task can be cumbersome. Sometimes you’re so into it but eventually, you’ll lose track of keeping schedules.
I have tried a few methods, one of which is bullet journaling, which I have written about a couple of times in my blog. Toward the end of 2019, however, after a month of having worked with the aforementioned client, I made the switch to using a digital planner. And I’ve stuck with this since and personally, this has helped me with my productivity better than a bullet journal.
I don’t have a written schedule but that’s because I already have it in my head – I’ve memorized it. I know what time to wake up just so I can have more time to work without distractions. I know when I need to stop working to prepare the kid for and send him to school. I know the time that I need to leave to pick him up. And the time I need to prepare lunch, set him for his afternoon nap (and mine as well) and work.
Basically, set your work at home mom schedule detailing the things you do in a day. If you don’t like a digital planner, just go for the traditional ones. It won’t be easy and you won’t get it perfectly, but once you do this consistently, it becomes a habit, and it becomes easier.
#2. Wake Up Early
I cannot emphasize just how helpful waking up early is when it comes to being productive as a mom. When you wake up, you get ahead of everyone – you can do a lot of things without distractions. For instance, I wake up at around 3 or 4 am to start my work. I get 7 hours of sleep when I do that.
Waking up in those hours helps me accomplish a loooot of things. It’s a game-changer. If you don’t wake up early, you’re missing out on a lot of time, which could have been used to work on projects or chores. Find a way to sleep early so you can rise early.
I happen to have a schoolboy who needs to sleep early, so I take advantage of that by having the same bedtime as him. But I wake up way earlier than him to start my day.
#3. Choose Your Clients
You can control who you’ll end up working with or what projects you’re going to be dealing with because you have a choice. In freelancing, you’ll meet a lot of different clients and have different work schedules. Some will demand so much from you, while others give you freedom and flexibility.
If you want to take on several projects, make sure you say Yes to those who give you high rates but shorter hours. I do have those and it’s the reason why I accepted newer clients from last year. They pay high but they only need me to work 4-5 hours from them (sometimes less).
Find clients like those, if you can. Of course, it will still depend on your expertise. If you are an expert in your field, you’ll likely land a project or client that pays a lot without demanding hours from you.
To actually have clients that pay well and respect your time, you need to learn how to say no to offers that are tempting but may be taking so much from you.
#4. Plan your Work Week
Time management for work from home moms is possible when there is proper planning. This is especially helpful for freelancers with multiple clients. How I approach this is I first determine the total number of hours I work a week.
Ok, let’s just have mine for example. I work a total of 47 hours a week – that’s kind of the same as a regular 9-5 job, only 7 hours more and with more bosses.
The good thing is that all my clients have flexible schedules. There are no strict deadlines, except maybe for writing articles – but all of them don’t demand time from me – this is why it helps to choose your clients.
I chose to have 6 days of work – I want to free up my Sunday as much as possible, while my Saturday is VERY flexible and considered my lazy days. There are several ways I can approach this. I can work an average of 8 hours a day from Mon-Saturday. Or I can work longer hours on some days and dedicate one or two days during the weekday to work shorter hours.
Because you’re a freelancer, you have a more flexible schedule. That’s all the more reason you need to plan your work week and set a schedule. If not, you’re going to lose track of time or even unknowingly waste your time by mindlessly scrolling your social media feed.
To help me track my schedules and weekly tasks, I use Evernote. There’s another app which I think is awesome – it’s Notion. It has way more functions and features than Evernote, but still need some improvements on its mobile platform.
The beauty of this, despite my having a 47-hour workweek, is that I can simply work from my phone if ever I choose to, thanks to the mobile apps. I can work, while waiting for the food to be cooked, etc.
#5. Use a Pomodoro Timer
Pomodoro Timer works and is definitely one of the most effective productivity tips for Work from home moms!
I love this method and have been formally using it since last year. It helps you get a lot of things done in a short time. So how does it work? Basically, Pomodoro is limiting yourself to work for only 25 minutes and taking a timed short break for 5 minutes.
Why should you follow the Pomodoro technique? Giving yourself a time limit gives you a sense of urgency so that you’ll feel like you want to finish or accomplish a thing quickly instead of thinking you have a lot of time in your hands and end up procrastinating.
You only get 25 minutes of time per work, so naturally, you want to do everything just to finish something within that time.
What usually results is a more focused you, ready to take on tasks and say no to distractions. Plus, you avoid that strain from working too much since you get short 5-minute breaks.
If you have to use a timer, use a mechanical kitchen timer. This should help you avoid distractions from phone notifications. On the plus side – there are many cute designs available.
If not, use an app on your desktop called Toggl. It has a timer, which can be configured to follow the Pomodoro setting. Toggl also helps you track all your tasks so you’ll know how much time you spend on each task or project.
#6. Delegate Tasks and Get Help
No matter how much you think I have on my plate and can still function, it wouldn’t be possible without help from others.
My partner understands my work schedule and so he would do his part to do the chores when he’s free. He works a fixed night schedule so he also helps wash the dishes and even sends Kai to school sometimes.
I couldn’t keep the house spotless and pristine – this comes with my being a work from home mom who juggles multiple clients and I have accepted that. This is why we employed a house help who comes in twice a week.
If possible, get the help that you need. Let your spouse help as well. It’s okay to admit you need help.
#7. Prepare yourself for work
Preparing yourself for work gets you in the mood and energy for working. Just because you can work in pajamas doesn’t mean you don’t need to prepare.
After sending Kai to school, I sometimes walk back home. That’s enough to get my blood pumping. Then I take a shower and prepare coffee or tea. And then off to my desk I go with a refreshed state of mind.
#8. Accomplish the hardest things first
You might usually want to finish an easier task just to get it off your plate fast before you move on to the hardest.
I’m guilty of doing that but I’ve learned that you’ll be more productive if you take on the hardest task first. Just imagine, you’re so full of energy in the morning so you might as well use that energy to tackle the more challenging work.
By the time you’re finished, you might be exhausted but the good thing is that you’re left with easy tasks that require less mental concentration.
Working on harder tasks first also helps you identify hurdles in your project(s) much earlier. That way, you’ll have time and energy to fix problems before moving on to the less challenging things.
#9. On multi-tasking
You might be looking for tips on how to multitask as a mom, but the thing is, multitasking is actually counterproductive, as I have learned.
I used to do this a lot when working for different clients. Work graphics in one computer, doing social media scheduling on the other. Or make graphics and then watching Netflix on my phone, etc. LOL
Multitasking is synonymous with Being a Mom. Let’s face it. We can’t get things done if we don’t multitask. I was the multitasker with my work tasks but not anymore.
A tip for the freelancer juggling multiple clients, group your tasks accordingly and focus on working on one group for the whole 25 minutes (or depending on your set time).
This way, you focus on just one task and not subject yourself to brain overload – and this has actually been studied. This 2009 Stanford University suggests that multitasking can actually damage your brain – because your brain just isn’t wired to handle different kinds of information all at once.
#10. Have a Meal Plan
A meal plan is also a game-changer and should be part of time management for work from home moms program. It is cumbersome at first, but as you keep on doing this, you’ll find it easier to do. Just list menu ideas you want to have for a certain week (or month if you want to save time). Here is a FREE Meal Plan Printable + Meal Ideas and recipes you can download.
Planning meals gives you an idea of what to make for a particular day instead of thinking (or even stressing) every now and then about what the family should eat. Not only that, but you can also save money as you will know what to buy ahead instead of just cruising the grocery aisles, looking for things to buy that aren’t even needed.
#11. Cut Out Distractions
Distractions will lead to procrastination, which ultimately results in being unproductive.
Yes, I’m addressing your social media use. That’s not to say I don’t use them and I don’t get distracted by them because I do, especially when I have or need to just talk to my momtribe.
But if you want to know how to be a more productive work from home mom, minimize social media use. Remember the Pomodoro method? You can spend the 5-minute break to get to your notifications or just find some funny content on your feed to loosen up a bit.
#12. Learn to Let Go
My final tip on how to be productive as a work from home mom is to learn how to let go..there was this saying, let go of things you can’t control. Let go if it’s not doing you any good.
Got a demanding client who doesn’t pay you enough yet makes you do tons of work or not valuing your efforts? Let go.
Got a pile of dirty dishes? Floor is not clean? And your child is crying for you? Leave the floor and don’t think about cleaning. It’s not urgent; go to your kid instead, spend time with him or her. Take a breather.
Unable to stick to the schedule you’ve set? Chill. No one is perfect. And let go of the idea that you have to perfectly stick to your regimen. Allow yourself to make mistakes when it comes to being productive.
That’s it! Ok..that was a long article to write. Lol. But I hope you got something from the productivity tips for work from home moms mentioned. I hope it inspired you to be more productive and not be afraid of taking multiple clients as a freelancing mom.
You can do this, momma!
Do you have your own productivity tips for work from home moms to share? Let me know in the comments below. Share this article today if you feel like someone can gain something from it.