Time blocking is an easy and simple way to be more productive, especially for work at home moms. Juggling the demands of housework, kids, business, and all the other things that life throws at you can be overwhelming. That’s why using time blocking is so beneficial, it allows you the flexibility to deal with unexpected issues while also giving you the opportunity to be successful.
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What is Time Blocking?
Essentially you set aside blocks of time each day for all daily tasks like checking email, returning calls, etc. Then, you set aside blocks of time each week for larger projects. I break it down even further and designate certain days to work on certain projects.
The Ultimate Schedule
You see, I have four “jobs.” I run an Amazon FBA business, I’m working on my PhD, I blog, and I’m a mom. Wearing so many hats throughout the week is overwhelming at times. If I didn’t use time blocking, distractions and deadlines would kill me!
Distractions can be a big time waster. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend all day putting out fires instead of focusing on your real goals. Distractions can be important things, like an urgent email, or as simple as noticing a pile of dog hair on the floor.
It’s too easy to drop what you’re doing and take care of the “distraction” at hand. With time blocking, you have a designated block during the day to take care of said distraction. For example, if I notice I have an “urgent” email, I know it can wait until my designated time to check emails. (Really if it’s THAT urgent they’ll call right?)
Schedule Routine Tasks
Each day I set aside certain times to check email and do follow-ups. I usually set aside half an hour to check on my social media, check blog stats, answer comments, etc. I also set aside about 20-30 minutes to read other blogs and comment on them. Lastly, I set aside at least 15 minutes to clean something in the house.
In addition to the daily tasks, I designate different days of the week for different projects. Mondays are usually set aside for Amazon business. Tuesday-Friday for dissertation research and writing. I leave Saturdays free and Sundays are for writing blog posts and filling out my planner for the coming week.
Depending on deadlines, these days can be moved around. That’s the beauty of a time blocking schedule.
Time Blocking Works
Time blocking allows me to work roughly 9-5 and have weeknights and most of the weekend free. This is really important because it lets me have a relatively balanced life. Does it go off kilter sometimes? Sure does! BUT, because I have blocks of time sectioned off, I know that I can just rearrange my blocks to make up for any unexpected events.
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Schedule Being a Mom
Yes, perhaps this sounds harsh but I’d rather give my kids large chunks of my undivided attention instead of little bits of half-distracted attention. Luckily I have a very devoted partner who is equally involved in our children’s lives and spends quality time with them when I can’t.
I plan my day as best I can to maximize my time with the kids. We always spend mornings together and eat breakfast together. We also eat dinner together. Although my husband is usually working during dinner time, he has a really funky schedule, the kids and I still sit down for a family dinner. We also read a lot at night. I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series to them (we’re on book 4). These are special times and my time-blocking schedule allows me to spend this quality time with my kids.
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I rarely schedule anything for Saturdays. This is the one day I spend all day with my kids. We often go to free events at the library and visit the local science museum. I also grocery shop on Saturdays, usually in the morning so my husband can watch the kids. (Kids + Grocery Store = Frazzled Mama.)
Ability to Change Priorities
Using a time blocking schedule allows me to think about my to-do list in weeks and months, instead of days. Sure, sometimes something has to get done that day. Usually, most things can be thought of in longer time frames.
Here’s a sample schedule:
6-7 am: Morning Routine. Quiet time, start a load of laundry, meditation, and about 15 minutes of cleaning.
7-8 am: Write for an hour.
8-9 am: Get everyone ready for school and eat breakfast.
9-9:30 am: Email.
9:30-10 am: Social media and check blog.
10 am – 12 noon: Time block 1. What I do depends on the day, either dissertation work, blog work, or Amazon.
12 – 12:30 pm: Lunch. I’ll also put the laundry in the dryer.
12:30 – 3 pm: Time block 2. Either continue working on or household chores.
3 – 4 pm: Pick up kids from school.
4 – 6 pm: Gym (with travel time.)
6 – 7 pm: Dinner.
7 – 8 pm: Free time with kids.
8 – 9 pm: Reading and bedtime. Kids put away their clean laundry.
9 – 11 pm: Time Block 3. I usually work on blog stuff.
11 pm: Hubby gets home. Hang out with him until about midnight.
Why don’t you share your organizational skills with the rest of the world by starting your own blog? Or, if you’re struggling with time-management and the everyday overwhelm, share that too! A blog is a great way to document your experiences and transformations (and perhaps make some money.) Setting up a blog is quick and cheap. Host your blog with Bluehost for as little as $3.49 per month and if you click my link you’ll receive a free domain name. I wrote an easy step-by-step tutorial here, explaining how to set up your blog in minutes.
Do you use time blocking? What are some ways you organize your life? I’d love to hear about them.
100 thoughts on “Why Time Blocking is the Best Schedule for Work at Home Moms”
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I love your post! I swear without time blocking everything would go into chaos. When I first started my blog I never had time to work on it and my house never looked the way I wanted it.
This is such a great post! I love that you included travel time to the gym. I think I would need to include the 10 minutes I fight with my 3 year old to put his seatbelt on 😉
I work from home as a search engine evaluator and I’m trying to squeeze in work time before the kids get up!
I was looking for a an explanation and example on time blocking – this was perfect – thank you! I am a mom of four and I babysit four other toddlers during the day. Some are in school – I only have five toddlers at home during the day. But, I’m in nursing school and getting ready to start an Amazon biz. and blog too – nice to see someone as crazy as me!!! Time blocking might be just the thing to help me finally feel like I’ve actually acomplished something – instead of ‘putting out fires’ all day like you mentioned. Thanks again and good luck with everything!!
Awesome! I’m glad you found it helpful! 🙂
You are superwoman! Before reading this I felt like I had a lot on my plate. Not so much anymore 🙂 But I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient – this is a great idea!
Hey! I’m no superwoman, just super booked. LOL
Glad you found this helpful! Hope it helps 🙂
I love your thoughts on time blocking. And amen to distractions, I am always stopping in the middle of a task to work on some kind of distraction or another!
Yes! It’s super hard to ignore distractions, especially when working from home.
Great tips, thank you! Running my own business and publishing a book, while raising three boys ages 5 and under has been a crash course for me, and seasoned tips like these are always so helpful. This is so true: “I’d rather give my kids large chunks of my undivided attention instead of little bits of half-distracted attention.” Thank you!
Absolutely! Sounds like you have a full plate! Best of luck on your book.
I am working on tweaking my schedule now that the big kids are in school, this is a great suggestion! I use a bullet journal to plan out my weekly tasks, so this would fit right in. Thanks!
Awesome! I haven’t mastered the bullet journal thing yet. 🙂
Coming from the highly scheduled corporate world, this kind of a plan helps me feel more accomplished. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome! Sometimes we need a little reminder that we ARE getting stuff done. 🙂
I have been trying to do more of this, and it is helpful! Even if I don’t stick to it exactly, at least I have a plan.
Right! That’s what I like about this schedule. It’s flexible so if things don’t happen exactly as planned, you still get stuff done.
This, so much this. I need to implement this into my chaotic life now that I have a preschooler to home school. Thank you!
You’re welcome. Best of luck on your homeschooling endeavor!
I think this is such a great idea, even with the little tasks within the main ones. For example, when I’m working on blogging…I need to do one thing at a time. I need to respond to emails, then I need to respond to comments. Sometimes I get so distracted going from one thing to another and then it just wastes so much time.
I totally understand. I have to force myself to stick to this schedule. Otherwise I get completely distracted.
I’ve sold on FBA too! I’m not currently active, but it is such a fun side hustle. Mom life is definitely busy. Thanks for these tips. I really need to improve my schedule.
Cool. I’m in the process of getting ready for Q4. It’s definitely worth it.
LOVE these tips Elizabeth, and I am just getting used to time blocking. GREAT POST. Thank you for sharing.
Thank YOU for reading! Best of luck. 🙂
I love for time blocking! It is a real game changer, I also like to do some short timed sessions during a block, to work soley on one task for a certain amount of time.
Yes! Good reminder. I try to implement the Pomodoro technique but I tend to keep working through the breaks. Need to work on that. 🙂
This is really great. I need to get better at this especially as a blogger so, that it doesn’t take over your life. Really great tips.
Right?!? It’s sooooo easy for a blog to take over your life!
Yes, i am a big fan of time blocking as well! Makes you get so much more done!
Awesome, glad to hear someone else likes it too!
I really like this! It’s so simple and it’s great that you haven’t got like every single minute of your day planned only like general times when you want to start doing certain things. This is very similar to what I like to do, except I’d want to make sure to schedule in lunch breaks and such otherwise I’d forget to eat and become hangry and distracted 🙂
haha yes! Hangry is never a good place to be!