As mothers we have a lot of on our plates at all times. It doesn’t take much to make us feel overwhelmed and like we just aren’t getting anything done!
Stress paralysis is a real thing. When you feel like you have so much to do, it can feel completely impossible to even get started. And then there’s burnout, when you give and do for everyone else all day long, day after day until you feel like you are nothing more than a maid, chauffeur, short order cook. And you can’t remember the last time you did something for yourself!
But there are ways to take back control and be a more productive stay at home mom, who feels happy instead of burned out and sane instead of overwhelmed.
So after 17 years of being a stay-at-home mom, after 6 kids, and building a business from scratch while doing all that- here are my best tips to being more productive and getting more done.
7 Ways to Be a More Productive Stay-at-Home Mom and Get More Done!
Share the Workload
Being more productive starts with learning how to let go a little bit. Sharing the workload with your husband and your kids, frees up more of your time to get the stuff only you can do done. And it helps keep overwhelm and burnout at bay.
I know, I know….you like the dishwasher loaded just right. You don’t want streaks on your windows. Or whatever other jobs that you can do better. But you know what? One of the most important jobs of MOM is to teach those kids to be fully functioning, helpful adults. You are doing them a disservice if you don’t make them pitch in and help.
So let me tell you how my house looks like after dinner. After I make the meal and we eat, all the kids unload the dishwasher if needed. Then my 2 oldest boys (15 and 17 currently) wash the dishes. Including loading the dishwasher and hand washing everything that can’t be put in the dishwasher.
My 13 year old clears and wipes down the counter. My 12 year old clears and wipes down the table. My 8 yr old daughter takes out the compost and on days where my oldest is working and we need to shift other jobs she will clean the table.
All the kids- even the 3 year old clears the table of their own dishes.
So you can see, that this frees up my time to do other things that need to get done and frees me from feeling overwhelmed. AND it teaches my kids valuable work lessons and skills.
When my kids were younger, I am talking 4 kids under the age of 6, I used to get a lot of flack for my routines. But you know what? Kids AND moms thrive on routines.
Everyone in my house knows exactly what time lunch time, snack time, and dinner time is. We know when it is quiet time. We know when it is bed time. We all know when it is cleaning up time.
These routines help the household run so much smoother. There are no fits, tantrums, or begging for snacks all day long.
And because of our routines, I can plan times for tidying up and chores for all of us. And because we share the work load, the household jobs get done much faster.
I also make sure we have a 1 hour quiet time each and every day. This serves to recharge everyone, but also as my time to get MY stuff done. Quiet time is where I work on my personal goals and my business goals.
Related Reading: 7 Daily Routines to Add to Your Child’s Day
Have a Plan
A good plan is the best way to beat the overwhelm and stress paralysis that sometimes comes with being a SAHM. A plan can be a simple daily or weekly to-do list. Or it can be a weekly schedule you keep for things like laundry, cleaning, or activities.
A plan means that when you reach routine times likes a daily “cleaning time” you can get right to work because you know exactly what to do that day.
A plan means that when it’s dinner time you can start cooking instead of standing in the kitchen at 5pm wondering what in the world to make for dinner that night.
The goal is to know what you are working on at any given time, so when that time comes you don’t waste time. Or worse, do nothing because there’s just too much to do.
I absolutely love my Fox Planner. It gives me a place to make goals, plan my months and weeks so that I know what I need to be doing at all times.
Instate a Daily Quiet Time
I already mentioned quiet time up above, but this is such an important thing. I hear so many moms, especially of small kids, complaining that they just can’t get anything done because the kids are just constantly there interrupting.
Quiet time is the perfect time to get things done that take more focus from you.
Things like paying bills online, writing, working out, planning, working. And it really helps ground you and gives you “me time” without having to feel guilty.
And if you have a good plan already in place, you can get a LOT done in one uninterrupted hour!
Set SMART Goals
Sometimes it easy to feel lost as a mom. After all your life revolves mostly around cleaning up messes and serving others. Making goals can help you regain some of your own identity outside of being mom.
Making goals is totally different than making a New Years Resolution. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
A resolution is to lose weight. A goal is to lose 15 lbs in 4 months, with a plan behind it to make it happen. A goal is to write that book, finish that course, paint a room, remodel the bathroom, take a weekly hike for a year, etc.
Basically anything that is fits those categories of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time based.
Once you have a goal in mind, get it on that planner. If it’s not worked into your plan you likely won’t get it done.
This is a busy, busy, world we live in these days. And there’s just so much we can do on any given day. The best thing you can do is learn to say NO.
This might mean saying no to heading up school functions like bake sales or making costumes for the school play. (I homeschool, so I have no clue if those are even a thing anymore).
This might mean saying no to your kids when they want to play soccer and track and do the science fair and play travel baseball. And making them choose just one or 2 of their favorite activities to do at a time.
It means saying no to hosting yet another sleep over or babysitting, because “you’re home all day anyway”.
Learning to chose what to say yes to and what to say no to is hard. Especially if you are a people pleaser who hates to disappoint anyone.
But by saying yes to everything you will stretch your self too thin. The things you hold in higher priorities might start to slip.
And as an aside, also practice saying no to yourself when it comes to getting sucked into things like Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media or game might distract you from the things you want to accomplish.
You Can’t Do It All
And finally, you need to give yourself grace and realize you can’t do it all. This is one of the biggest super mom myths out there- that they “do it all”.
There’s no such thing. Balance in the everyday is virtually impossible. And that is okay.
Some days you might be a super productive mom– doing all sorts of fun activities with the kids and just killing at motherhood. Some days you might be super productive at cleaning with a spotless house to show for it.
But I bet on those super productive cleaning days- the kids might be having more screen time. And on those days where you are just killing at being a mom- I bet the house isn’t as clean as you might want.
There is give and take. There is overall balance but on any given day you can’t do it ALL. Accepting that will make you less overwhelmed on days that feel super unbalanced.
There are days, weeks, or months that my house is not in the shape I would like it to be in because I am focusing in another area, but because my kids pitch in a lot in the chore department and we have daily “pick up” times the house doesn’t completely fall to pieces. And I am okay with that.
The main takeaway from all of this is to be intentional. To be productive you have to be intentional about how you spend your day. It’s easy to fall into the trap being sucked into your phone or even just the trap of being totally overwhelmed or burned out. But if you put routines and plans into place and intentionally spend your time on the things that matter most you will see that you can get so much more done then you would ever think possible.