The struggle is real. Trying to have a schedule when you don’t know how the day is going to go. Life with children can be unpredictable. Working from home can bring so many distractions. That’s why time blocking can be so magical for busy work-from-home moms.
What Is Time Blocking?
Time blocking is a scheduling technique where you break your day down into specific blocks of time or time slots. It still provides structure while also being a bit flexible. This allows you to create segments of time where you can get the deep work done even as a busy mom while also focusing on your children throughout the day and your household chores.
It’s a time management technique that allows us to keep up the everyday tasks while also working on our businesses and goals. There are seasons to life and when we are in busy mom season we can’t do everything but we can still do a lot by creating enough time through planning and preparation.
Work-life balance may not be in a perfect 50/50 split but we can balance the different areas of our lives to nurture each one. When each block of time has a purpose it could just make you feel like you have extra time for a change. #MomLife probably not. We always have an open-ended to-do list but we can feel like we are doing creative work, important work, and know we are working towards our goals and dreams.
We know as moms there are so many interruptions throughout the day. With time blocking we can focus on the block at hand and then move to the next block letting the last block go. There will be another block for those tasks tomorrow. There is something freeing about that. And it can cut down on procrastination too. When we have blocks of time set aside for tasks it can also help us to find the most efficient way to do things.
Maybe you have heard of Parkinson’s Law where work tends to expand to fill the time we have allotted for it whether that is client work or housework, project management, or administrative tasks. Having a time-blocked schedule helps us focus and get more done faster. Time blocking for work-from-home moms works! It’s not just for productivity gurus.
Why do I like the concept of a time-blocking schedule for work-from-home moms?
Because our days can be unpredictable. Children may not nap right when you want them to. Some days they will play independently while you work and all will seem right with the world. Other days they will be grumpy and have multiple meltdowns. Maybe your toddler is going through a developmental leap and is extra clingy. Maybe your preschooler is struggling with a skill and needs extra help and attention. #MomLife
Instead of trying to do an hour-by-hour or worse half-hour-by-half-hour schedule, time blocking can be more flexible. There is a range and you just go down through the blocks as you go about your daily routine. If things get a little off, it’s ok. It’s a way to have structure without being overly structured. Trying to have too much structure can lead to a lot of frustration with littles.
Common Misconceptions About Time Blocking
Does the thought of a schedule make you want to roll your eyes or go to sleep? Not everyone loves the idea of a schedule. So before we dive in, let’s dispel some common misconceptions about time blocking. It’s not about rigidly sticking to a strict schedule that can never be changed or eliminating spontaneity. Instead, it’s a flexible framework that adapts to your needs, allowing you to embrace unexpected opportunities without derailing your day.
When we wake up and go through our day as work-from-home moms with no structure, we usually end up feeling lost and flitting from one thing to another not really getting anything done. An effective time-blocking schedule can help us actually reach our goals while taking care of our homes and families. Who knew a schedule could be so empowering!
Make the process of preparing your schedule fun by thinking about your dreams.
The best thing about this is getting projects done faster with a better system and that frees up more time to do the things we love, actually have leisure time, and be more present with our children.
Getting Started with Time Blocking
Setting Clear Goals and Priorities
To embark on your time-blocking journey, start by defining clear goals and priorities. Think about your larger projects that you can break down into smaller steps to do each day. What are your daily tasks and your long-term objectives? It is a good idea to know this because it will help you allocate time effectively.
Working on our goals consistently is key. Even if it is small daily or weekly steps.
It’s more effective for me for instance to have a consistent blogging schedule of getting one post out per week than to say I’m going to blog multiple times a week but have no system in place and only blog once a month haphazardly in reality.
A great way to go about time blocking as a mom is to look at how your days naturally flow. See how you can fit in work and chores and quality time with the kids around blocks of time.
Here are some typical natural blocks of time throughout the day.
- Early morning
- Late morning
- Early afternoon
- Late afternoon
Think about when the children are occupied so that you can work on your job or business. How long do you have in the morning before they wake up? How long are nap times? When are they usually occupied in independent play? Are there days that you have help with the children? What are those times? What does your work day look like? When do you really feel like you could use some personal time?
Think about your entire day on any given day and the amount of time you usually spend doing the important things and what may seem like unimportant things. *Hint they’re all important because they make up our lives. Think about your work day and home day because when you work from home it’s all one but you need boundaries. A block schedule can help with that.
Then think about your energy level too.
Are you super alert at 5 am? A night owl? Or more like me a rock 10 am kind of gal?
We can’t always block time for work when we are most energized and efficient depending on our family’s priorities and schedule but we can try.
Do a brainstorming session and write everything down.
Motherhood is so busy. Add in working from home things can get chaotic fast. This doesn’t have to be rigid and perfect. You can always adjust your schedule as needed and as your family rhythms and routines change. Think about a productivity technique that you tried in the past that didn’t work. Why didn’t it work? What barriers got in the way? By taking the time to evaluate what hasn’t worked we can gain insights into how we can make a new time management method work. Maybe now is the best time to become one of the most productive people in the world or at least in your world. Please do it for your family, do it for your dreams.
Task Batching Goes Great With Time Blocking
Task batching is another productivity method to discuss another day but it goes great with time-blocking. If you can batch like tasks together in your work windows then you will save a lot of time and energy. You can batch home tasks too.
An example of batching home tasks in our household is doing some dinner prep while I’m making breakfast. If I am making veggie omelette for instance I could go ahead and chop veggies for tonight’s stir fry while I’m already in the kitchen making a mess. It’s less mess and less prep later. Batching for work may look like making blog graphics for the next 5 posts while I’m already in Canva and sourcing my stock images.
Think about if there are tasks that you can do together and how they can fit into your blocks.
Choosing the Right Tools and Resources
Selecting the right tools and resources can make or break your schedule. Whether it’s digital apps, physical planners, or a combination of both, finding what suits your style is essential for successful time blocking. Many people use a calendar app like Google Calendar. I’ve done that in the past and it works great. You can use a mobile app or online management system too like ClickUp, Asana, or Notion.
But now as a busy mom, I prefer to have a time-blocking sheet printed out that is easy to review. If that is your jam too you can grab my Time Blocking Worksheets for FREE from the shop using the discount code GetMyTimeBack.
There is a brainstorming worksheet but you can also just use a piece of paper. Write down the tasks you need to do as a work-from-home mom. Work tasks, home chores, taking care of the kids, everything. Are there things that you do on certain days but not others? Brainstorm all your different tasks and then divide them up into time blocks.
Daily vs. Weekly Time Blocking
If you have many things that you do some days of the week but not others, you can consider having a week of different blocks. I have provided a worksheet for that too in the planner template. Decide whether you’ll time block your days on a daily or weekly basis. Both can work. It just depends on you and how you tend to go about your weeks. You can always try having a general daily time block and then try one by the week with different blocks for each day and see what works better.
Finding More Balance Through Time-Blocking
Personally, I can get so caught up in the daily tasks of keeping up our home that I don’t focus on important tasks for work or other things. Time blocking helps me dedicate time to different areas of life- Spiritual, family, home, health, and work so my days feel more balanced.
Time blocking isn’t just about work; it’s also about personal growth. Learn how to incorporate self-care time blocks and set personal development goals.
When you are preparing your time blocks don’t forget these chore areas:
- Spiritual growth
- Hobbies and personal development
- Self-care, errands, and extras
Small Steps for Balance and Big Wins
We think we have to do these big overhauls to our lives but it’s really the small daily actions we take that help us meet our goals. So think about the daily changes that you can make that will greatly improve your life over the next few months and add them to your blocks. Try different ways, a simple way. Think about the bigger picture and then bring it home to the practical steps you can take. Having blocks of time for a specific task or multiple tasks can help us get into a deep focus instead of doing shallow work letting our minds bounce here and there.
Here are some bonus tips for better results to make time-blocking work for you. You will also find these in the Time-blocking for work-from-home moms workbook.
- Set Clear Priorities: Identify your top priorities as a mom, which may include family time, work, self-care, and household chores. This will help you allocate your time effectively.
- Create a Daily Schedule: Start by creating a daily schedule that includes specific time blocks for different activities. Be realistic about how much time each task will take.
- Morning Routine: Begin your day with a morning routine that helps you get organized and energized. This might include a devotional, exercise, or simply a few moments of quiet reflection.
- Utilize Nap Times and Bedtime: If you have young children who nap or have an early bedtime, use this time for focused work, self-care, or tasks that require concentration.
- Batch Similar Tasks: Group similar activities together in the same time block. For example, schedule a block for meal prep, another for cleaning, and another for errands to minimize context switching.
- Delegate and Share Responsibilities: Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to other family members or consider hiring help if possible. Sharing responsibilities can free up valuable time.
- Technology-Free Blocks: Create time blocks where you disconnect from technology and focus solely on quality time with your family or self-care activities.
- Plan Meals in Advance: Plan your meals and snacks in advance to reduce the time spent cooking and meal prep during the day. Consider meal prepping for the week on weekends.
- Use a Planner or Apps: Whether it’s a physical planner or digital app, use tools to help you visualize and manage your time blocks effectively.
- Flexibility: Be prepared for unexpected interruptions and changes in plans. Leave some open blocks in your schedule to accommodate these.
- Self-Care Blocks: Prioritize self-care by scheduling regular blocks for activities that help you relax and recharge, whether it’s reading, exercising, or taking a bath.
- Communication: Communicate your schedule with your family, so they understand your commitments and can support your time-blocking efforts.
- Review and Adjust: Regularly review your time-blocking schedule to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Adjust as needed to better align with your changing priorities and circumstances.
- Time for Bonding: Allocate dedicated time blocks for bonding with your children, such as playtime, storytime, or family outings.
- Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Sometimes sharing experiences and tips with other moms can be incredibly helpful.
Embracing Time Blocking for Work-From-Home Moms
Embrace time blocking as a powerful ally in your journey as a work-from-home mom. It’s a versatile tool that can empower you to take control of your time and accomplish more with less stress.
Let’s recap and break down the process:
- Brainstorm your goals and all you need to get done in a day
- Break your day down into logical blocks or chunks of time
- Fit those to-do items in the appropriate blocks thinking about items you can batch together.
- Make sure you give free space and time for personal care.
- Follow your plan whether it’s a single-day schedule or a weekly one
- Give yourself time to adjust and then evaluate
- Change anything that is not working
- Repeat the process as needed
Let me know in the comments if you have tried time-blocking and how it went. If you haven’t tried it yet are you willing to try out this time management strategy? Why or why not? I would love to hear. Are you ready to take the first step towards more time freedom? At the end of the day, that’s what a good schedule is really about, a better life for you and your family.
You can also make work-from-home mom life easier with a capsule wardrobe.