Today I’m going to show you how to create a time block schedule that works perfectly for me as a work at home mom.
As a rule, you may easily get stuck on how to start time blocking so I hope my work at home mom schedule can help you get inspired and, after some tweaks, make a perfect one for yourself.
So if you:
- have a lot on your plate as a work at home mom and home manager
- struggle with your life organization and need to improve your daily mom schedule
- can never stick with your planning tool (and it doesn’t matter if it’s a bullet journal or Trello)
- always feel behind but finally, you want to feel that at the end of the day you actually accomplish something
- feel daunting because of the never-ending to-do list
- get easily distracted and lose track of time
- want to stop procrastinating
- need some work at home mom schedule inspiration to follow
Then you’ll love this blog post, where you’ll learn:
- what time-blocking, task batching, and daily theming are
- why (and if) it can be potentially your time, life, and sanity saver
- how to create time-blocking schedule step-by-step in a bullet journal
- how my work at home mom schedule looks like
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What is Time Blocking
I’ve worked from home for over two years. In this time, the thing I was struggling the most with, was my schedule. Not only I always felt behind with my blog, but also my home was a total mess, I considered myself as a terrible mom, and my overall health had been getting worse – until I discovered time-blocking.
Generally, if you’re wondering what time-blocking is, think about your high school time table. You’ve got a biology block, math block, etc.
Time-blocking looks pretty much the same.
Basically, you create time blocks for a day.
For example, your time blocks could be:
- morning routine
- work time
- afternoon / after school routine
- evening routine
What is Task Batching & Daily Theme
Furthermore, batching all your tasks will take your time-blocking schedule to completely another level.
Basically, it’s a system where you group all similar tasks together and complete them within a time-block.
Additionally, starting theming your day is an awesome way to become even more efficient as well.
For example, as a full-time blogger, here’s how my task batching and daily theme looks like (day of the week – daily theme – tasks):
- Monday: research & development (notes, keywords, new content ideas)
- Tuesday: writing (title, headlines, outline, intro, final thoughts)
- Wednesday: images (photoshoot, editing, social media graphics, new pins)
- Thursday: publishing & promoting (proofreading, alt-texts, links, affiliate links, backlinks, Pinterest schedule)
- Friday: admin (emails, WordPress updates, archiving) & education (webinars, courses, articles)
Also, I pay attention to my energy level (mornings vs evenings, Monday vs Tuesday) and my menstrual cycle so I can move time blocks and day theming accordingly.
Why Use Time Blocks in Work At Home Mom Schedule
As Cal Newport, an author of Deep Work said:
“A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”
Definitely, it’s worth to create some kind of system, where as soon as you wake up, you already know what to do instead of wasting time something unimportant.
Also, it’s a great tool for all of us who’re struggling with being always distracted. It’s a lot easier to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time when you have a block schedule with specific tasks to be done.
Is Time Blocking Effective?
Shortly say- absolutely yes.
Indeed, time-blocking helped me:
- organize my daily work-at-home mom schedule in a simple way
- stick with a weekly schedule
- become more efficient
- remember taking breaks
- overcome feeling overwhelmed trying to complete all of many different tasks on the daily to-do list
- get more things done not only as a work-at-home mom but also as a home manager
- plan my favorite activities
- feel less guilty about “me” time
- save time now and in the future
Is Time Blocking For Me?
Definitely, it isn’t a “one size fit all” schedule. For this reason, if you expect a ready-to-go schedule given on a plate, you’ll be disappointed.
In fact, it’s a process.
Moreover, I’d say even it’s a quite long trial and error journey.
For sure, creating your customized block schedule is all about trying out new solutions, making mistakes, and, more importantly, learning from them.
Clearly, you don’t make it within one or two days. However, when you succeed, the end result is amazing.
Also, you may thing a time-blocking system isn’t for you because your life is very busy, hectic, and dynamic.
However, I think that in general, your daily schedule is pretty much repetitive, only every day you face different tasks so I’d definitely give it a try.
As well as that, if you’re a perfectionist, you can have a hard time with time-blocking for the simple reason. This system is awesome but life is life – sooner or later something unexpected may happen and everything can go wrong. Moreover, you can be bothered by the fact, that not everything on your list will be done now or even today.
For this reason, it’s definitely a good idea to create an alternative schedule for such emergency cases like, for instance, kids’ illness.
Work At Home Mom Schedule: How To Create Time Blocks
Now, when you know what time-blocking, task batching and daily theming are, it’s time to show you how to schedule your day effectively in 5 actionable easy steps.
1. Get Your Favorite Time Blocking Tool
First and foremost, you need to choose a planning tool.
Obviously, a bullet journal is my go-to notebook. I don’t know why, but digital time-blocking tools like, for instance, Google calendar don’t work for me. Maybe it’s because of how my brain works. Indeed, I strongly believe in the power of written (by hand) words.
But, for those of you who prefer digital tools, here’s a list of some great time-blocking apps to choose from.
The Best Apps for Time Blocking
2. Start Your Time Blocking Schedule From What You Already Know
Now, when you chose your time-block planning tool, you can start developing your schedule from blocks you already know about.
For example, you know you’re able to work only when your kids are napping between 1 pm – 3 pm.
Congratulation, you’ve just made your first time block.
Obviously, it could be literally everything – from your kids’ alone time, through school time table, to preschool opening hours.
In mom’s life, a lot of things are out of a place, but you always can find even the smallest part of your day that repeats constantly.
Furthermore, for the most part, your days look pretty similar. Of course, weekly tasks probably will be varied, but the general structure remains the same. Undoubtedly, every day you need to wake up, work, take care of your kids, home, etc.
With this in mind, all you have to do is to create your general daily structure, keeping your sleep and “me” time in the back of your mind.
Here’s my time-blocking schedule overview I made in a bullet journal:
- Morning Routine (6 am – 9:30 am)
- Work (9:30 am – 3.30 pm)
- Family Time (3:30 pm – 6:30 pm)
- “Me” Time (6:30 pm – 8 30 pm)
- Evening Routine (8:30 pm – 11 pm)
Do You Use Time Blocking on Weekends To?
As you can see, I usually leave the weekends empty.
I only block time for bullet journaling, meal planning (MPL), meal prepping (MPR), bullet journaling (BUJO) and budgeting (BUD).
Definitely I like to leave some “unblocked” time for spontaneous weekend trips, blind dates with husband, and other surprises.
3. Set a Daily Theme
As I mentioned before, as a full-time blogger, my daily themes are:
- Monday – Research & Development
- Tuesday – Writing
- Wednesday – Images
- Thursday – Publishing & Promoting
- Friday – Admin & Education
4. Plan Out Your Weekly Tasks
Definitely, one of the biggest pros of using the time-blocking system is that it allows you to realize how much time you realistically have for your tasks.
For this reason, before you plan your next week, it’s good to find out which tasks are the most valuable and important in order to achieve your goals by:
- doing a weekly review
- making a braindump session
- checking your goals
- prioritizing tasks with an Eisenhower matrix
As well as that, you may want to check with a timer and estimate how long do your main tasks take.
In most cases, we tend to underestimate the number of hours we need to accomplish a specific task.
As a result, your to-do list can be simply overloaded and unrealistically to complete within a time block.
For more information, check out my blog post on how to plan your week with a bullet journal.
5. Set The Timer
Last, but not least, it’s time to set the timer.
Personally, when it comes to my “work” block I like to use the Pomodoro technique in 25 work -5 minute break intervals.
Definitely, you get more done when the timer is set up, and the Pomodoro timer seems to work the best for me.
Also, when it comes generally to my daily schedule, I set an alarm clock on my phone for each of my time blocks.
Indeed, it’s exactly like in school, when the ringing of a school bell is a signal to move to another class.
My Work At Home Mom Schedule with Time Blocking, Task Batching & Daily Themes
From creating a general daily time-blocking structure, through planning the most important weekly tasks, to batching them within daily themes, it allows me to focus only on one thing at a time and, in the end result, curve more time for yourself.
As a result, not only I finally stop multitasking but also I’m able to control time more. And it, as we all know, can magically slip through our fingers.
Bullet Journal Time Blocking Schedule
To sum up, this is how my work-at-home mom schedule looks like.
Although this weekly bullet journal spread seems to be busy and a little bit cluttered, I assure you that every single element has a role to play.
First of all, in the left corner, I create the mini calendar and mark the current week.
Secondly, at the top of both pages, I make a place for weekly goals, next week’s tasks, and notes.
Then I make a table with seven rows and block time for the morning routine, work, family time, health time, evening routine, and “me” time. Also, I put numbers from 6 (am) to 11 (pm) and daily themes.
Additionally, within each of the work blocks, I put twelve little squares as a bullet journal Pomodoro tracker.
Last but not least, I create an expense tracker as part of must-have bullet journal budgeting spreads.
Alternative Schedule [When The Unexpected Happens]
Moreover, creating an alternative schedule just in case of any emergencies like illness, etc. helps you avoid all the mess and chaos caused by breaking away from your daily routine.
For example, in March 2020 I had to stay with my kid at home because all preschools are closed due to the global situation. It forced me to rearrange the entire schedule.
First and foremost, I had to accept that I won’t be able to everything on my list.
Secondly, I had to come up with a plan that worked for both of us and be extremely realistic about it.
With this in mind, I drew on our family command center the emergency time-blocking schedule.
And yes, while I know the 30-minute blocks don’t work as well as 3-hour ones when it comes to productivity, at the same time I prefer doing something every day instead of waiting for the opportunity of a 3-hour time-block [what, to tell the truth, could never happen].
Work At Home Mom Schedule [With Time Blocking Tips] – Final Thoughts
Unquestionably, working from home is great for many reasons like, for example, the flexible schedule.
However, it can be a curse and a blessing together.
This is a new tool so you have to permit yourself to learn your routines, develop good new ones, and get rid of these bad or unnecessary ones.
Altogether, I hope you see how the time-blocking schedule helps you deal with getting overwhelmed when there’s too much going on.
Overall, the lack of a structured schedule leads to procrastination, burnout, and feeling unfulfilled.
Definitely, the time-blocking system allows you to run your schedule smoothly, get more done in less time, and crush your goals.
Just remember – you have time only you need to improve managing yourself in it.