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Woof. Working from home with toddlers is a challenge, mama.
I get it. I live it too. So I’m here today to share my top tips on how to get more done working from home with toddlers.
First, know this. Not every tip will apply to you! Pick and choose what works for your family and your life. After all, our situations are all different.
Some of us work 9-5 jobs at home, others have part-time businesses and some of us have started our own businesses and launched ourselves into the land of being a full-blown entrepreneur.
My experience working from home with a toddler.
I’m kind of an “unlikely” working from home mom. I didn’t see myself ever becoming one.
An Optometrist by trade, there is no real way to work at home. But, long story short, I found out I was pregnant and lost my mom within a few months of eachother. I realized I could not imagine leaving my 6-week-old to return to patient care. At least not yet. I decided to quit my 9-5 to be a stay at home mom while my daughter is young.
It turns out I struggled with not having something of my own to work on, to grow and be proud of. I wanted (and want!) to continue helping others, but from the comfort of my home, all while my daughter sleeps.
But friends, I had NO CLUE what all was involved in blogging. Between site tech, content creation, keyword research, SEO optimization, site speed, graphics, email list growth, social media promotion and product development (to name a few)… I didn’t quite realize what I was getting into.
Throughout this experience I have learned how to optimize my time to grow my business (in part-time hours), so I can be present with my daughter during the day!
Now I’m going to share the things that work best for me working from home with a toddler… so let’s get to it, shall we?
First, stop with the “multitasking”.
I know, I know. As moms, we pride ourselves on being extraordinary at multitasking.
But, it doesn’t serve you in your business or your job.
Have you ever tried to do work for your business while listening to a podcast, and realized you completely missed a bunch of key points?
Or tried to participate in a group conversation while texing your husband and thinking about what to feed your toddler for dinner?
It doesn’t work very well, does it?
Another way multitasking kills your productivity is because you waste so much time switching back and forth between tasks. This is also why creating themes for your work day and batching content is so darn effective, but more on that shortly…
You can read more about the research behind multitasking in this article by the American Psychological Association, if it’s something that interests you. It’s fascinating, really.
Batch your tasks, errands & content.
You can save a lot of time in all aspects of your life through batching. You don’t have to expend as much effort and your brain loves it!
For example, if you have to go out in the car, whenever possible, run a bunch of errands at once. Don’t go to target today, then the grocery store beside it tomorrow and the dry cleaners the following day, if they are all right next to each other (unless you have to… #momlife).
Why? Getting one errand done per day may sound more manageable, but it hampers productivity because it actually means getting everyone ready, buckled into the car, and time wasted driving that same distance 3 times instead of just once.
A second example is in cooking… you could make one cookie… or you could make a dozen (or two!) and save yourself a lot of cleaning up!
Yet another example could be creating graphics for your business.
Say you want to promote your website with a new Pinterest pin each day. If you start up your laptop, open Canva, load a template, create a design, download it, and save to the appropriate folder every single day you are leaving some valuable time on the table!
If you batch create 10-20 graphics while you have your computer open, Canva loaded and the folders organized, you will save yourself a bunch of time. It doesn’t seem like much, but it totally adds up…
Try it. Log the time you spend creating content. Then log the time it takes you to batch create it. It’s surprising!
As the saying goes…
Work smarter, not harder.Allan F Mogensen
I used to spend 3-4 hours per blog post (on average). When I started batch writing and creating graphics, I cut that time almost in half! That’s a mama win.
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Audit your energy and create a schedule that benefits YOU!
Listen, I’m all about early mornings and the nap time hustle. But I also know there are plenty of night owls out there!
I refuse to sit here and tell you that you have to do it my way to be more successful… because like most things in life, there is more than one way to succeed.
Instead, I urge you to do energy audits. Compare how you feel waking up early compared to staying up a little later. Do you have energy to embrace working hard during nap time or do you need rest yourself?
Personally, I know i’m useless in the evenings. I always have hopes of all the things I could get done… but I’m exhausted. So now I plan to just relax with my husband and get in some solid self-care too.
–>Please leave a comment below if you’d like to see a post dedicated to my personal work at home mom schedule. I’m happy to share if it’s of use to any of you.<–
Learn to prioritize.
You can’t do it all.
You just can’t. Nobody can.
Consider the importance and urgency of tasks you need to get done. Set goals you can focus on each quarter, month & week. Try picking 3 intentions for each day (high priority items!) and choose to spend time on the things that will grow your business and make a difference.
If you have a lot on your mind, get used to brain dumping. It’s a game changer. Learn how to do it effectively in this post.
Delegate & get help!
Mom life is crazy. We are no longer responsible for just ourselves. There are chores around the house, errands to run, & childcare duties… on top of all the work we need (or would like) to get done.
If you can, take a few minutes and think about where your partner can help out a little more. Even if he starts doing some evening dishes or laundry… 15 minutes a day is 105 extra minutes per week for you!
For even more time, perhaps consider whether you can hire a cleaning service occasionally, or a sitter here & there.
There’s a blogger I read about who has a gym membership that has free childcare for 2 hours. You could totally exercise for 30 minutes and then work for an hour while your kids are happily playing (once covid becomes a thing of the past…). The point is, you may have to be creative in finding and freeing up your time!
Involve the toddler (kids) in household chores.
Yes, it may not be pretty. It may get done very s l o w l y. But guess what? Getting it done slowly is better than not getting it done at all.
My daughter LOVES doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher. Who am I to not let her help? She pulls items out of the basket one at a time and I put them away. Blasting some tunes, it actually turns out to be an “activity” we do together! This way it gets done while she is awake, and I can use her sleeping times to focus on my business.
Encourage independent play.
It’s good for them to use their imagination and learn how to entertain themselves (within reason)! I really love this article at Verywell Family. It lists a bunch of key reasons to encourage independent play.
I try to schedule in 2 sessions of independent play for my toddler each day.
In the first, she plays in a safe play area while I journal, read & plan for the day (next to her).
During the second, she entertains herself while I get in a workout. Sometimes she comes to join me and does stretches. I believe I’m setting a great example for her to value her health and energy. Honestly she loves it too, she giggles and runs laps around me, and when she gets tired she finds some toys to play with next to me.
This leads me to my next tip…
Exercise & eat nutritious foods.
Take care of your body and your health.
You need high amounts of energy for motherhood, never mind working from home with toddlers. Toddlers have seemingly endless amounts of energy, don’t they?
When I work out I find my energy levels are HIGHER and I feel more capable of keeping up with my daughter. I also tend to sleep way better at night. These both help me get more work done in less time as I’m awake and alert.
To top it off, if you combine working out with healthy foods, you are less likely to crash in the middle of the day too. More energy = getting more done.
PS – If you aren’t meal planning for your family yet, snag my free meal plan printable bundle here! It helps you stay accountable and organized.
Have a baby at home? Embrace baby wearing.
For the moms of babies trying to get things done… you are amazing! You are doing a great job. This is a phase.
But also, get a sling!! The best invention ever.
We love our baby k’tan as it takes 2 seconds to put on and you can hold the baby in multiple different positions (side carrying, cradled, inward facing, outward facing + more!). It’s pretty affordable, super easy to use and very comfortable. You can even nurse in it. It’s one of my favorite baby products I recommend to all new mamas!
You can also work out while baby wearing, clean while baby wearing, meal prep while baby wearing. Heck if baby is napping you can even work while baby wearing!
It’s a sneaky time saver.
Shift your mindset & let go of perfection.
With young kids there are a lot of stages, yes, but they will only be small for so long. I encourage you to stay present and enjoy the different phases. Many of us are trying to work at home, so we don’t miss out on their milestones. That’s why it’s my goal to help you skyrocket your productivity so you can get more done while they are sleeping.
We have to let go of the idea of being super mom and doing it ALL. It’s not feasible.
Toddlerhood is perhaps not the time for a spotless house (unless that’s a priority of yours, go you!).
Pick and choose what matters to you, and the rest will come in time.
Right now I am focused on 3 things: nurturing my marriage, being present and playful with my daughter, and growing a business while she sleeps. The other things are taking a bit of a back seat at the moment and I’ve finally learned to be ok with that.
It’s a season. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts, before we are on to the next one!