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I am a work-at-home mom. Every time I mention my work situation to family or friends, they say, “You are so lucky! You can stay at home and earn money. I wish I could be a work-at-home mom and earn my salary sitting in the comfort of my home.” Well, I agree. Staying home, earning money, and watching my child grow up is a blessing. But I also tell my family and friends, my work-at-home situation isn’t a bed of roses…work-at-home moms have to be really smart and disciplined to save their sanity.

When I was working in my corporate job, we were encouraged to follow Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which is a very effective tool to help you identify and prioritize tasks that are truly important and/or urgent. To this day, I use it to manage my day-to-day responsibilities and especially work-related ones.

Today, I want to share with you the process I have devised for myself based on this wonderful time management tool. As with me, I am sure other work-at-home moms can also greatly benefit from it. Without further ado, let me show how you can adapt the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to make your day more productive as a work-at-home mom.

5 Productivity Tips for Work-from-Home Moms

Step 1: Identify the Time Sucks

This is the number 1 tip for work-at-home moms to be a more productive professional or businessperson–identify the time sucks.

Look at your To-Do list and ask yourself, “which tasks are neither important nor urgent?” Ask yourself, “is it really necessary to check my personal Facebook profile during work hours?” Or, “do I NEED TO sort through my email spam folder every day?”

These kind of tasks are simply unnecessary–and going by the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, are neither important nor urgent. These are simply time sucks. They do nothing but distract you and pull you down. Do yourself a favor and eliminate these time suckers from your To-Do list. That, my friend, is the first step towards eliminating overwhelm and being productive.

Eisenhower matrix is a great tool for work-from-home moms to prioritize their days, months, and years.

Step 2: Prioritize Tasks

After you have identified and eliminated the time suckers, it’s time to work on the remaining tasks. First, you want to identify tasks the tasks that are urgent but not important. These are tasks that are due soon but do not contribute significantly towards your long-term work goal. For example, maybe you have to go for a conference two weeks from now. Now, you could spend one hour trying to find the best deal, or you could hire or request someone to do this for you. And you, on the other hand, can use the one hour you just freed up to work on something important. In other words, you need to delegate tasks that are urgent but not important.

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Step 3: Schedule Your Day

Now you are left with two types of tasks–those that are important but not urgent, and those that are important and urgent. I am sure you know the difference between the two terms, but just to reiterate for clarity sake:

  • Urgent tasks are those that help you achieve your long-term work goal, and are due on an immediate basis. Not addressing these tasks immediately may result in missed deadlines or lost customers.
  • Important tasks are the other tasks that help you achieve your long-term work goal, but is not due immediately.

It is essential that you clearly distinguish between the two, otherwise, you can misconstrue an ‘important’ task as ‘urgent,’ which will eat into your hours. So what’s the solution? Schedule the ‘important’ tasks in your calendar for a more appropriate later time while the urgent tasks take up the more immediate calendar space. For example, if you need to email your project status to your client, it is an important task but not usually urgent. You can schedule a time in your day when you can draft and send an email to your client with the requested updates. Maybe that time is 2 PM every day. On the other hand, an article that is due today is an important and urgent task that you should address before taking up other ‘important’ tasks.

Step 4: Hold Your Work Hours Sacred

So, now you know how to follow Eisenhower Decision Matrix to design your workday to be more productive. The matrix can help you achieve your short- and long-term goals and make your day more productive.

In addition, I recommend establishing routines in and around your work hours. There is no denying that routines help bring semblance to your day. For a work-at-home mom, it is important to distinguish work hours from non-work hours. When your day begins and ends within the same four walls, it’s easy to lose the distinction. But if you design routines that will help you ease in and out of your work day, it will bring more satisfaction and fewer frustrations. Ensure that you hold your work hours sacred.

Decide which hours of the day you will work, and stick to those hours. Do not be distracted by any personal chores or whims during these hours. It may take some trial and error before you can settle on your best hours for working, but when you find that sweet spot, stick to it. For example, perhaps your best time to work is while your children are away in school. Use those hours to complete your work tasks. Do not get sucked into the social media whirlpool or picking the grocery. Remember, everything in its own time.

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Step 5: Set Aside Time for Self-Care

Lastly, in a previous post, I mentioned how, as moms, we don’t take the time for self-care. How many times have you used your work break to run an errand? You might say “I am a busy mom. I do not have another time to run these errands!” I understand, and it may even be true for some of you on certain days. But if you don’t use the break to nourish your mind, body, and soul, you will soon run out of the motivation. Say to yourself, “I am already a super mom. I do not need to pack in more into my day.” You know what I say to myself though? “I may not be a supermom or best mom. But I am a good-enough mom. And that’s okay!”

Remember this: You are doing a wonderful job raising your child. And boy! You also work-from-home. Like others say, “it’s the best of both worlds.” But it’s easy for this world to fall apart without the necessary discipline. I wish for you a fruitful and blessed personal and work life.

I would love if you can share some of your tips as a work-at-home mom.

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70 Responses

  1. I love the time management matrix. I used this when I was working, but as a SAHM I really forgot that following this matrix could actually save me so much time for myself to do things that I love.

  2. I really felt this post was written for me so I could read and find some balance given how crazy things have been lately work wise. Thanks for the tips. I definitely have some organising and time management to do based on this. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tips! I cannot survive without my handy to-do list. Plus, I feel like I’ve actually achieved something when I can see a couple items marked off by the end of the day. It’s for mental well-being as well!

    • Planning is important for sure. And to be mindful about not biting off more than we can stomach.
      Thank you for your comment.

  4. I would like to call this post-perfect! I am bookmarking this page .. Such a detailed and informative post this is .. Its helpful not just for work-from-home moms .. but just for anybody! <3 🙂

    • I have been using the EDM for at least 7 years now. For one, it helps me focus on the important and urgent things. Otherwise, it’s so easy to get distracted by a laundry list. And it’s a disservice to your time and energy.

  5. I am a sucker at time management, though my day starts with a To-do list but ends up lying somewhere under the toys, I am not working but still struggle with managing chores within the time frame. I loved reading about Eisenhower Decision Matrix and the way you explained it is really worth the read. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Neha. I can relate to the To-Do list hiding under the toys. I have a 4-year-old son. I make sure all my “work” is done while he is at school. No compromises there.

  6. I have only recently started working from home and still trying to figure out the best schedule. Will use this matrix to make life easy for me. Apart from the above mentioned, another thing that worked for me is to have a dedicated office space at home.. even if it’s just a table.. helps immensely.

  7. The most important thing is discipline..if we respect our time and schedule ..then only others will. I have worked from home before being a mom and found that to be difficult ..can only imagine how diff it must be post motherhood. All your points are relevant and one needs to read and reinforce them to be successful. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I agree. Discipline comes with practice. But it needs the support of prioritization and time management to succeed.

      Working from home is tough and clear boundaries need to be set re: one’s time.

      Thank you for your comment.

  8. That’s a great matrix. I’ve worked from home for a long time now, and agree with a lot of these tips – especially the need to prioritize. Delegation is another skill I’m working on!

    • Yes. Often, we confuse delegation with outsourcing. But it could simply mean asking another family member to clean the kitchen at night 🙂

  9. I don’t work but I’m a sahm and I could relate to the post! I also agree that a to do list is necessary to organise and to my blog work in a framed pattern!

    • When you have a blog and you update it regularly, that is “work” 🙂 You are a work-from-home mom. Please don’t shortchange yourself.

  10. I feel like the work-at-home concept is very misunderstood by so many. Working from home means that you have to do everything a stay-at-home mom does plus what a working mom does, all at the same time. You can’t just take off and go anywhere you want or spend hours on the phone with a chatty friend. You wouldn’t do that at work because your employer would be very unhappy, and rightly so. Great post!

    • That’s true. But then, one has to zero-in on a window of time when they will only work. Not always possible, especially with kids at home, but all other arrangements are full of distraction.

  11. Agree that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows working at home! Not only do we have to manage getting work done while also making sure our children’s needs are met, we have to make sure that we are taking time to take care of the house, the family, ourselves, and have a whole slew of jobs that parents working outside of the home don’t need to worry about because their child is in daycare (like ensuring balance in their learning, socialization, exercise, nutrition, etc.)!

  12. I don’t work from home but I do stay home with my kids. Even still, I feel like I need to have a to-do list to get everything done! There isn’t enough time in the day when you have two under two!

    • Raising a child is real work! I have one and there is not a moment to breathe when he is home hehe. I focus on my blog during the four hours he is away at school. Nothing else takes precedence during that window.

  13. Being a work at home mom is definitely not what everyone thinks. I run home daycare and am a blogger/ aspiring writer. I’m taking an online course and am on my own with my 2 children virtually from morning to night (hubby works LONG hours). It’s exhausting and I often think nobody except those who work from home get it! Thank you for some really excellent tips…

    • Wow, that’s a lot, Gayle. I have to agree about others “not getting it” part. Certain people think I am “chilling” at home 😀
      I wish you the very best for all that you do.

  14. I work from home as well. Love the time sucker graphic! I definitely agree that you have to set your priorities and work towards those every day.

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