Being productive can often feel like a lost cause when you’re a mom of little ones. There’s always so much to do, but raising babies and toddlers takes a lot of our time and attention. But that’s where productive habits come in.
Here’s the thing. Being a productive mom doesn’t have to be a unicorn wish that never comes true. It is entirely possible for you—yes, you!—to become more productive.
And that starts with forming productive habits.
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Habits of Productive Moms
Maybe it feels like you’re no where near as productive as the other moms you know. Maybe it seems you can never get everything on your to do list done.
If that sounds like you, you’re in good company. Many moms struggle to feel like they’re getting enough done during their day.
But girl, you are likely far more productive than you think. After all, not all productivity shows up on paper. There is a very real reality of intangible things you’re accomplishing, even on the days it doesn’t feel like you got anything done.
It’s time for us to redefine what productivity looks like for moms.
That being said, there are things you can do to help you get more checked off your list.
Being productive starts with recognizing where our true productivity lies, and ends with developing good habits. The following are ten habits productive moms practice on a daily basis.
1. Have a morning routine
I’m not going to tell you to get up extra early—although many moms have more productive days when they do this.
I am well aware that not everyone is a morning person. I’m sure not!
What I am telling you is that when you do get up, whenever that is, develop a regular morning routine to jumpstart your day.
Having a morning routine can help you wake up, feel better, and get you started on your day faster.
The reality is that a lot of people lose valuable momentum by not starting their day well. Morning routines help you start well and maintain that early momentum.
Here’s a loose idea of what my morning routine looks like right now:
- Wake up whenever my toddler gets up (sometime between 7-8am)
- Help him use the bathroom and get out of his diaper (hello, potty training)
- Get my toddler breakfast
- Make my bed
- Shower while my toddler eats
- Eat breakfast — I often start checking emails or doing a bit of blog work while I eat
- Start working on my to do list!
2. Focus on one thing at a time
Everyone likes to try to multitask, but the reality is that it’s counterproductive most of the time.
Your brain can only truly focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do multiple things at the same time, it typically ends up taking more time. And you end up with lower quality work.
Instead of trying to multitask, start focusing on one thing at a time. You’ll likely find yourself getting it done faster, and the job will be done better.
It allows me to accomplish two things in the same amount of time, and reading helps distract me from the work of exercising.
However, that is the only time I’ve found that multitasking doesn’t ultimately slow me down.
3. Delegate responsibilities
Mama, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
As a society, we’ve fallen into this trap of thinking that moms need to be completely independent. That they cannot ask for help, and that they need to do everything themselves.
Girl, that is not the way God intended it to be.
You don’t need to do everything yourself—that’s not realistic or healthy.
Learn to delegate some responsibilities to others. Ask your spouse to help you. Hire a babysitter for a few hours so you can get some things done. Assign chores—even toddlers can help out.
Stop expecting yourself to do everything, and perfectly at that.
4. Make a to-do list the night before
One of the keys of being productive is knowing what needs to be done. You won’t get the things done that need to be done if you don’t know what they are.
If you really want to increase how productive you are, start making habits of making detailed to do lists. Preferably the night before!
I’ve found that including detailed steps to my tasks helps me stay motivated and divide things up throughout the week.
For example, I write down each load of laundry that needs to be done that week. That way nothing gets missed, and I can break it up as needed. I do the same with all my blogging related tasks as well.
Having a plan a written out to do list the night before can help you save valuable time. It’ll also help you get moving faster, and accomplish more during your day.
I like to use either a Trello board or a Happy Planner to write out my to do lists. These also keep me organized and help me easily plan out my day.
5. Use your most productive windows
As I mentioned earlier, not everyone is a morning person. If you are, more power to you! While I do think mornings tend to be the most productive time for the majority of people, it isn’t necessarily the case for everyone.
Take some time to figure out what time of day is the most productive for you. And then structure your day around those productive windows.
Do you get more done in the afternoon? Or do you work better in the evening?
Personally, I’ve found my most productive hours are in the morning, even though I’m not a morning person. Even though I hate getting up early, I get the most stuff done in the morning hours.
As the day goes on, I find my motivation waning and eventually disappearing all together.
For that reason, even though I don’t get up particularly early, I do try to make the most of my morning. I also keep in mind that the afternoon is my least productive time.
So as I plan my day out, I aim to have few tasks in the afternoon because I know my motivation and energy level will lower during those hours.
6. Take time to relax and refill
Do you know what the true killer of productivity is? Trying to get too much done. Ironic, right?
We live in a culture that is constantly pushing us to do more, and be more. Even moms, who are already kept plenty busy raising little ones.
The reality is that you can only do so much. If you never take time to rest and refill your cup, you’ll quickly find yourself burning out. And then you will truly be unproductive.
Productive moms know that it’s important to make habits that allow for regular relaxing. They know the incredible importance of taking time to slow down, and do things that breathe life back into them.
7. Make self care a priority
And on that note, productive moms also know the importance of working in self care habits into their day. While this is similar to the previous point, it doesn’t always look the same.
Depending on what season of life you’re in, self care can look very differently. For example, in the newborn stage, it might simply look like fitting in a shower or taking a nap.
Later on in motherhood, it might look like making time to read, or doing your makeup and getting ready for the day.
Maybe self care for you looks like exercising or getting outside for a bit.
Self care doesn’t always look like “relaxing,” but it should be things that care for you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Because those parts of you are far more important than whether or not you checked everything off your list today.
8. Get enough sleep
I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of not getting enough sleep—at least not consistently. I go through phases of going to bed at a reasonable hour, and staying up way too late and needing a crash-nap in the afternoon.
But here’s what you need to know. When you get enough sleep, you function better. That’s universally true of everyone.
Now, how much sleep is enough sleep varies from person to person. I know some people who function fine on just a few hours. On the other hand, I need a solid 9 hours to be at my best.
Figure out how much sleep you need in the season you’re in, and then make a habit of getting that many hours, every single night.
It’s important, and I can guarantee you’ll see your productivity level rising when you do.
9. Don’t be bound by your to do list
This may sound like the opposite of what I already said about making a to do list, but it’s not.
I absolutely think you need to make a list. It’s the best way to remember and see what needs to be done. But you don’t need to be bound to it.
For most people, productivity comes in waves. Some of us are more productive during certain time frames, and many of us are easily derailed between tasks.
And some days things just don’t go as planned. But productivity starts in your mental space. Beating yourself up for not getting things done does nothing but set you up for another unproductive day.
To do lists are great. But don’t let yourself become bound to it.
10. Ask for help
This is one of the habits I struggle with the most! Girl, it’s time to learn to ask for help.
Productive moms aren’t supermoms. They’re just regular moms who know their limits and ask for help when they need it.
They don’t try to do it all. They are well aware that they can’t, and that some jobs will be done better by someone else.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay admit that you’re at the end of your rope, or that you can’t do it all. This isn’t a sign of weakness or failure—it’s a sign of strength and leadership.
Stop feeling you have to do it all by yourself. Start leaning into your support system.
Ready to start some productive habits, mama?
Some of these habits are simple, but can still be difficult to put into practice. Give yourself grace.
You’re an amazing, strong woman and mother, and you will get there. Give yourself time to build these productive habits.
Don’t expect it to happen overnight, but don’t put off working on it, either.
You got this, mama!