720 days. That’s how long your kids will be toddlers for. Just a short 720 days. How many of those days do you want to spend stressed out, overwhelmed, and distracted working from home while being a mom? Zero? Yeah, me, too.
I worked from home for several years before I had kids. I had assumed that it’d be no big deal to just rearrange my schedule and work while the baby slept. (Some moms sleep while babies sleep; #mombosses work while babies sleep, right?)
It worked out pretty well for the first few months. And then we added a second kid just over a year later and things got a little harry. Suddenly working from home while taking care of two kids with usually conflicting nap schedules just became hard.
I always felt torn between my clients and my family. Someone always needed something, and usually more than one person at the same time. I had no boundaries and no time for myself. I powered through the best I could because, you know, #momlife.
Then one day the poop just hit the fan and I knew something had to change. I took on a client’s rush project (don’t let someone else’s lack of planning become your emergency) that was outside of my normal scope of work. What I thought would be a quick job ended up taking all day… with two fussy kids at my heels. There’s nothing like a ton of fuss to help you concentrate, right?
After working well into the night on this ridiculous project, I was determined to figure out a way to make this work. I didn’t want to miss one more day of my kids’ brief childhood being stressed out. I had to find a way to balance my business and kids.
The next day I discovered time blocking. It literally changed my life overnight. The guilt and stress from being pulled in different directions were suddenly gone. And I was a much happier mom!
What is Time Blocking
Time blocking is a planning and productivity tool to help you get more done. It’s basically setting blocks of time aside to work on a particular project or type of work. My schedule includes marketing, client work, family time, and personal time.
To use time blocking effectively, you need to a basic structure to your week. That means you set aside time every week for a certain “block”. The goal is for this structure or framework to stay the same every week.
We all know that a mom’s life doesn’t go exactly according to plan. Babies get teeth, toddlers get sick, and nap times get cut short. So don’t plan on using time blocking as an exact schedule. That’s just asking for stress!
Time Blocking as a WAHM
If you’re a mompreneur, chances are you’re working around your kid’s schedule, whether it’s their nap times, activities, or schooling. And since we got into this WAHM thing to spend time with our kids while working, we need to be diligent to protect our family time.
Time blocking has really allowed me to keep my business separate from my family time. I don’t feel obligated to answer emails or messages while I am with my kids. I know I have another time in my schedule for that.
I’m free to concentrate on spending time with my husband during our weekly date time because that is what the block of time is for. And I don’t realize halfway through the day that I forgot to write blog posts or schedule social media posts because I have time set aside for that.
How to Start Time Blocking
The first step to time blocking is to take a look at what you need to do every week. Actually, make a list of everything personal and business that needs to be done.
Then take a realistic look at your schedule. The truth is there is no way I can work 60 hours a week right now and still have a relationship with my family. It just isn’t going to happen. So I had to decide how many hours I could actually work.
Then make a list of your top priorities and rank them. I know if there is a going to be a change in our daily flow, it’s most likely going to happen in the afternoons. Whether it’s nap times cut short or day trips, afternoons are the most open to change for us.
Because getting client work done is more important to me than marketing, I put marketing in the afternoons. That way if one of my kids decides to skip a nap and I don’t get time to work, it isn’t a big deal. I’m not upset because the things I have planned for them can wait.
Finally, sit down with a blank weekly schedule and block out your schedule. (You can get a free copy of the PDF I use below.) I like to color code mine so I can see at a quick glance what I need to do. I typically just fill in my work obligations and my date night and know that every else is time with my family.
Post your time block schedule somewhere that you’ll see it. After you make your weekly to do list, fill in different tasks in the corresponding blocks of time. And then stick to it! You’ll seriously be amazed how much freedom it gives you to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Ready to Start?
Are you ready to start time blocking? Grab my free blank weekly schedule along with my top time management tips for work at home moms. I know balancing work and family is hard, but with these tips, you’ll be on your way to enjoying the time with your kids while still growing your business!