If you’re a busy mom, I’m sure you’ve been feeling the overwhelm of your to-do list. It’s okay! You don’t have to do it all…even if it feels like it.
It’s no secret that being a mom is hard. You’re always juggling work, family, home life, and your own sanity while trying to maintain some sense of balance in the process.
But there is one thing you can do daily that will help you stay focused and productive; a to-do list that works for you (not the other way around!)
Why To-Do Lists are Crucial for a Busy Mom
I know, I know.
A to-do list may be the last thing you want to add to your plate. But, hear me out! It can be absolutely life-changing!
Doing things on your to-do list gives you a sense of control, which can counteract the busy mom guilt that can easily take over.
Think about it: How many times has busy mom guilt got the best of you? You’re at home with your kids all day and fall into bed exhausted. Or you’re a working mom feeling pulled in many directions. As you are laying there, trying to sleep the guilt starts to set in…why didn’t you get more done?
Imagine being able to look at a list that tells you exactly what you did each day. And if you didn’t accomplish everything, it gives you the chance to plan ahead for the next day so that your mornings are more manageable. This all creates room for some actual free time to spend your time as you really want to.
How to Get Through Your To-Do List Without Feeling Overwhelmed
I’m a mom of four, a business owner, a homeschooler, and I even like to have a friend or two. 😉 I can definitely relate to the overwhelm every mom has. But, when I implemented these tips, I found myself getting more done without feeling so overwhelmed and guilty.
Here are 10 tips and tricks, including some doable time management hints, that have served me well throughout the chaotic days of motherhood. No fancy planners needed!
1) Break your list into smaller pieces.
It’s so much easier to feel accomplished when you’re not trying to do it all at once. Instead, divide your list into smaller items that can be completed in one or two sittings. This takes less time and is far more satisfying!
For example: instead of “organize the garage”, break it down into easier, more manageable sections.
You can even apply this to common tasks like going to the grocery store. If you haven’t had time to check what’s in your deep freezer, just make a simple grocery list and get the basics. No need to feel guilty for buying more frozen pizza when you’re already stocked; hey it happens and your family is fed which is the most important thing.
2) Give yourself more time.
Don’t expect to deep clean your entire house in one afternoon. No busy mom can do this! You have to be realistic or you’ll set yourself up for failure and burnout.
Start by splitting that huge chore into smaller tasks, then figure out how much is reasonable to expect in one afternoon and move the remaining chores to later dates.
This is one of my favorite tips for moms.
3) Beat procrastination with a timer.
Procrastinating? Distracted? No longer! Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, but give yourself permission to stop when the time is up.
You can accomplish a lot of small tasks in 10 minutes. A few includes:
- clearing off the kitchen counter
- starting a load of dishes
- throwing in a load of laundry
- wiping down the bathroom sink
Often you will be in the middle of something working hard when the time is up and you may feel motivated to keep going. But if not, stop and realize you did 10 minutes’ worth of work and that’s something!
By the way, this tip also works great for self-care things you may be avoiding! Hate exercise? You can powerwalk for 10 minutes or spend 15 minutes stretching. Something is better than nothing!
4) Keep your momentum.
Once you get started, try your best to keep going until you finish.
Think of something new to do? Don’t lose your momentum or get distracted by a new task.
Simply add that new item to your to-do list, then continue on with your current task. This is also a fantastic time management tip that is often overlooked.
Don’t buy into the hype of doing multiple things at once! Multi-tasking almost always makes you far less productive.
5) Keep goals separate.
One of my most crucial tips for moms is not to mix up goals with tasks.
Don’t get me wrong: I am all about goal-setting and tracking! However, they have a time and a place and your to-do list isn’t it.
As a busy mom, I recommend you avoid putting goals on your task list. This can make you feel even more overwhelmed!
Instead, keep your to-do list for actual tasks. You can have a separate list for goals if you want, but keep them off your daily to-do list.
6) Remember you’re the boss.
If the thought of making, and sticking to, a task list overwhelms you, try a mental shift.
Remember that your to-do list works for you, not the other way around.
If you are overwhelmed or feeling like a failure because your to-do list is impossible to complete, remember that you’re the boss! You can (and should) rearrange, reschedule, or even completely start over with your list.
This goes beyond your to-do list too; change those long, complicated recipes on your menu plan to quick, easy, and doable ones; you’ll be so glad you did!
7) Add some positivity.
What better way to get through your busy day than adding in positive thoughts?
Before you start each task, take a few deep breaths and visualize the end result. This will help motivate you through the busy tasks of motherhood until they are completed.
Plus, why not add some encouragement to your to-do list. How about a little reminder that you are pretty amazing? Add affirmations, encouraging quotes, anything you want to help support yourself.
I personally love affirmations. Here are 25 affirmations specifically for a busy mom!
And sometimes that positivity can mean deliberately avoiding sources of negativity, like social media. It’s okay to take a break from that too.
8) Decide on your priorities…and prioritize them!
Remember your priorities.
If you have a goal of organizing the house to reduce clutter and make a calmer home environment but are really stressing out about finishing it by a certain date, it defeats the purpose.
It’s okay if it takes you longer to complete a task.
As a busy mom, we are swamped with many different roles both inside and out of our homes. It’s likely that you don’t have time for everything every day, which is totally okay!
Be sure to prioritize each day according to your family situation. This may include morning routines based on what your family is doing (school days, weekends, etc.) Then adjust as needed.
You may also want to prioritize by choosing which task is the best time to do it. You may be more productive for those challenging tasks on Monday when you’re (hopefully) refreshed from the weekend.
9) Look at upcoming events
This is a tip every busy mom needs to hear!
Look at your calendar and the rest of your plans before scheduling big projects.
If you have a busy week full of play dates and visits from grandma, it’s probably not the best time for a deep cleaning. But if your calendar is free and clear, proceed!
10) Make a list of completed tasks too.
Here’s one of my all-time favorite tips for moms: celebrate the small wins!
Make a “completed” list and move anything you’ve done over there. We’re often more productive than we realize; it may have just been not as planned.
For example, there was one evening recently when I looked around, and all I saw was a pile of unwashed dishes, and overflowing inbox, and laundry absolutely everywhere.
But, you know what?
That day I had multiple sick kiddos and (as any mom will know) a sick child takes up the majority of your day. Does that mean I didn’t accomplish anything? Not at all!
I was there for my kids when they needed me…and you can bet I wrote it down on my list as my completed task for the day. 😉
Calm the Chaos: More Helpful Ideas for a Busy Mom
What if I told you that in just five short days you could find more balance and joy in your daily life?
I know. You may think this is absolutely impossible. I get it! I’m a busy mom too and I know just how much is on our plates.
However, if you feel like you are barely making it through each day, I want to help.
Imagine a world where you can handle all your to-do list and enjoy being with family, while also being more rested and less stressed. You’re in control, but not controlling, knowing that everything will get done at the right time!
If this speaks to you, check out my new mini-course, Calm the Chaos.
In just 15 minutes per day (and just five short days!) you’ll be able to navigate your daily life with ease. And, before you ask, there is NO complicated technology involved.
Final Thoughts for a Busy Mom
And remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed or guilty about not getting enough done during the day, try some of these tips to help get through your busy schedule.
Whether it’s adding in positivity and affirmations, looking at upcoming events on your calendar, prioritizing your tasks according to family needs, making a list of completed tasks too- there are many ways a busy mom can calm themselves down when they feel like their brains are spinning with overwhelm.
Don’t forget to give yourself space to relax, unwind, and yes, even some screen time binging your favorite tv show!
I believe in you!