You’re like all modern moms — incredibly busy with a lot to do. You’re chauffeuring, volunteering, cleaning, working, cooking, walking dogs. But you also have this project or side hustle that you want to get started.
Where are you going to find the time?
Here are some hacks to help. The big time suckers for most mothers are interruptions, social media, and chaperoning.
When you are staying home with young kids, it can be impossible to finish a complete sentence before the kids need something from you. The times they are awake simply won’t be the most productive times of the day for you.
So what can you do?
1. Get your kids on a schedule.
Make their nap time sacred. If they don’t nap, make it their quiet time where they play and entertain themselves in their room.
2. Sort your tasks.
Do all of your interruptible tasks when the kids are awake — like tidying, laundry, quick phone calls, etc… Save the tasks that need sustained concentration for when kids are asleep.
3. Keep the kids occupied
Perhaps you can hire a mother’s helper that the kids love. Mother’s helpers are older children in the neighborhood who aren’t ready to babysit, but who can play with your children while you work someplace else in the home undisturbed. Or maybe you can arrange a weekly swap with a neighbor, where she watches your kids for 4 hours one day and you watch hers the next.
Side Note: Friends and neighbors can also interrupt you with phone calls or drop-by visits. It is important to maintain social connections that are mutually rewarding and enriching for your own happiness and well-being, but it doesn’t mean you always need to drop whatever you are doing when someone else calls you or invites you to go to the park. It’s totally legit to ignore the door or let the phone call go to voice mail and to get back to them later. You can also tell them you can’t talk now or that you need to take a rain check.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
How many times a day do you check social media? One study says the average user checks their page almost 14 times per day! Given that most people rarely check the page for just 2 minutes (how many times have you checked Facebook “for just a minute” and then suddenly found 45 minutes has passed?), that’s a lot of time being frittered away. Set a timer when you get on Facebook, or better yet just avoid Facebook completely except for a 15 minute window in the evening.
There are also some apps that block your Facebook feed, which is perfect if you need to open Facebook to update your business pages. You can work without the temptation of clicking on people’s links or pictures.
It’s also a good idea to avoid checking email in the morning, especially if you are implementing a morning routine. When you get caught up in responding to other people’s emails, you are basically making their needs a priority over yours. You did not get up early to plan the PTA’s Bingo night, you got up early to be productive, to nurture yourself and your business ideas.
Providing your kids with enrichment opportunities means a lot of time spent in a car and possibly waiting outside of ballet or karate classes. Create a “wait bag” for yourself where you keep projects that you can work on while you’re waiting. You can use this time for education — play podcasts, or bring your laptop or kindle or some books and notebooks — or for projects, like prep work for the creative products you want to sell.
I know that socializing with other moms outside of the classes can also be important, but perhaps dedicate the last 15 minutes of class to socializing and the first 45 to yourself.
I also created a “wait bag” for the kids so that they could entertain themselves.
Hopefully these ideas are useful to you. What are some of your favorite time-freeing hacks?
This article is the first in a series. Read part 2 here.