What if you could finally stay organized as a work at home mom? Take a breath? Feel balanced? Enjoy your family?
When I first started my blog, I had big plans to stay home. Without a commute, I would have all the time in the world to work, finish the laundry, and go on field trips with the kids. But that wasn’t quite the way it worked.
Staying organized in the workplace is different from trying to get organized as a work from home mom.
It’s hard to stay organized and grow a work-from-home career when the kids are always underfoot and work spills into family time. But over time, I’ve found that these five strategies helped me have a little more space to breathe, keep my home running smoothly, and spend time with my family.
Invest in a Daily Planner
The easiest, most effective way to stay organized as a WAHM is to get (and use) a planner.
Whether you use a digital calendar, like Google Calendar, a printable planner, like the Organized Motherhood Planner, or a physical planner, like the Living Well Planner, part of using your planner means that you need to time block your day.
Start by blocking out the chunks of time when you’ll work, and then decide how you’ll use them based on your most important tasks.
Color code certain activities so you can see at a glance what you need to be working on, or just mark out large time blocks for different activities.
Time blocking will help you have a better estimate of how much time you can use and how much time you typically spend on each activity.
Brain Dump Your To-Do List
If you’re really struggling to prioritize your time, brain dump everything. Write down everything that’s in your head, whether it’s something that needs to be done right now, in two weeks, or in ten years.
By getting everything out of your head, you’ll be able to get a better idea of which tasks are most important. It’s also a great stress relief!
If you’re so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to start with your brain dump, check out my Ultimate Guide to Doing a Brain Dump. It’ll walk you through exactly how to clear your mind so you can finally focus.
Once you’ve written everything down, make a note of the tasks that will help you the most right now.
As you’re deciding which tasks need to be completed first, think about which ONE task will make everything else easier. Do that task first. After that’s done, come back to your list and do the next most important task that will make everything else easier.
Kids thrive on routines, but moms often toss their own routines out the window.
Focus on creating routines for everything to simplify your life. If you’re struggling in one of these areas, tweak your current routine so that it works for your family.
- Make a morning routine to get the kids (and yourself) ready for the day.
- Follow a meal plan so you can reduce your dinnertime stress.
- Use a nightly routine to get dinner on the table, get everyone ready for bed, and set yourself up for success the next day.
- Create a cleaning routine so you know exactly what needs to be done and when.
Creating routines will help free brain space. You can finally stop worrying that you forgot something, like your child’s lunch, because it’ll already be packed as part of your evening routine.
Once you have your routines established, it’s time to automate them.
The easiest way to make your routines work (and last) is to turn them into habits. Once your routines become habits, you won’t have to think about them or work as hard to get everything done.
But starting (and sticking with) a habit is the hardest part.
Getting organized is not a “one and done” thing. It takes constant effort, which is why it’s so important to set up solid routines, organize them, and then stick to them.
Create a Paperless System or Organize Your Routines
I love the principles in The Paperless Home to reduce paper clutter and create a better filing system. However, I’m still a paper girl at heart.
While The Paperless Home course teaches you how to organize your paper and reduce clutter, you can still use paper-based tools to help you stay organized.
I use my Organized Motherhood Home Binder to plan my life, my Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning meal planner to recycle my family’s favorite meals from one busy season to the next, and my Organized Motherhood Planner to stay focused on a daily basis.
When using paper, make sure you’re organizing it and reusing your systems. Laminate pages in your home binder, save your meal plans to use the following month, and reuse your written routines.
Using a paper-based system, especially in the beginning, will help you remember your routine. It’s also great if others need to use your systems, too. For example, if a babysitter is putting your kids to bed, having a printed evening routine would be helpful.
Also, if anyone in your family has health issues, following a paper-based routine can help others feel comfortable taking care of that person.
Once your routine is established, feel free to make a digital version. You can use project management systems like Trello to organize your entire home, work life, and personal life.
Whether you choose to create your routines on paper or digitally, don’t try to remember everything. By creating systems and reusing your routines, you’ll be able to get used to following a routine, see what’s working, and make changes to your routines if needed.
Delegate or Hire Help
Delegating and hiring help is something that I still struggle with. On one hand, I love delegating things, especially housework, to my kids (bonus points for teaching them responsibility).
Getting your kids set up on a chore chart is one of the easiest ways to delegate (you’ll also get them used to following a cleaning schedule 🎉 and routine).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate tasks to your spouse and others if you’re feeling overwhelmed with managing your family, home, and work, too.
Hiring help is another easy way to get assistance with all.the.things, but if you’re just starting your business, it may seem like a stretch goal.
Hiring help went against everything in my frugal body. It was easier for me to do my own grocery shopping than it was to pay someone $4.95 to do it for me.
Sometimes, being frugal just doesn’t pay off, though.
If you’re struggling with juggling your family, home, and work, paying someone $4.95 to do your grocery shopping might just be what saves you from a meltdown.
These are a couple really simple (and affordable) ways to delegate and hire help.
Grocery delivery services
Check to see if a grocery delivery service like Shipt is available in your area. You may be able to order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door in under an hour.
Many Walmart stores also offer grocery pickup services.
Home cleaning services
Try Amazon Home Services or a local cleaner to do tasks around your home that you can’t (or would rather not) do.
Hiring out tasks that you keep procrastinating on, like painting, cleaning, or even putting together a piece of furniture can help you be more productive. It can also free up your time so you can spend time with your family.
You may be able to get a teenager to watch your kids for a few hours while you work. A mother’s helper may even be able to help with small tasks around the house, like the laundry.
Using a mother’s helper while you work from home is also a great way to train babysitters. Try a new helper while you’re a room away until you feel comfortable leaving the kids. At that point, you’ll have a new babysitter – just in time for date night!
Staying organized as a work at home mom is difficult when you feel like your to-do list is never ending, you’re being pulled in a million directions, and you constantly feel like you’re neglecting something. But by time blocking and getting your tasks out of your head, prioritizing your to-do list, creating routines, and finding help, you can streamline your day and feel more organiz