5 Time Management Hacks that Save Me as a Mom

Woman writing on planner notebook
Photo by Covene on Unsplash

As the phrase goes… “Mommin’ ain’t easy.” Let’s face it, sometimes it’s downright overwhelming. It feels like there are a million and one things we need to do at once. There’s juggling the home and the laundry, the meals and the appointments. Let’s not even mention behavior management. Oh yeah, and what about taking care of ourselves!? Time management as a mom is difficult – dare I say, not something I see any mom ever perfecting. 

So how do we manage it all? How do we find time to manage it all? 

I don’t think we’ll ever feel like we’re doing all the things we could in motherhood. And while we can’t “hack” our way through motherhood (or life!), I’ve found a few trusty time management techniques that save me as a mom daily. 

Daily Rhythms

I love the concept of rhythms (and friends might claim I share about them too often!). Rhythms feel natural and effortless. I like to think of them as a combination of expectations and intentionally planted routines you hone over time. 

Unlike routines, rhythms roll into each other. While routines ground us as well, rhythms save us. Our rhythms may change through the seasons and years. They may adjust as our kids get older. Or do more or different activities. But they have consistently become the thing that grounds our household. 

Since I work from home, I break my day down into three chunks. I have a morning rhythm, an afternoon/evening rhythm, and a post-bedtime rhythm. This helps me separate the day into designated sections. In a sense, it helps me to open the day and then close it. 

Dedicated Planning Time 

For me, this happens weekly. Usually on Sunday afternoon or evening. Sometimes I use a planner. Sometimes I break down my weeks or days in broad lists or by hour. It really just depends on what we have going on and what season of life we’re in.

First, I look for big events happening, appointments, trips, or meetings. Then, I factor in meals around what we’re doing. I fill in the gaps of things to do, places to go. Then I add in anything myself, my kids, or my husband needs to get done within the week (or on specific days).

Handwritten list with checkboxes
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

For example, I don’t plan a complicated dinner on a night we rush through the door two minutes before we usually eat. Lists help too. Grocery lists. A list of meals I can make with what we already have. Notice I didn’t say specific days – this gives some flexibility! 

Prep Work

A lot of ways I use time management as a mom is to try to get ahead. By putting in small efforts of prep work before I need them, I feel more successful. 

Some minor efforts that make an enormous difference in my day are: 

  • Getting clothes out the night before.
  • “Closing my kitchen” at night – dishes, wipe down, load the dishwasher – even if it’s quickly or messily done. 
  • Clear/decluttered spaces
  • Teaching my kids how to do the simple (but time-sucking tasks themselves as young as they were capable – grab their own breakfasts, put their shoes on, get themselves dressed, tidy up, put their dishes in the sink/scrape off the dinner scraps, etc. 

Now… was my 6-month-old getting themselves dressed each day? Of course not. But as my kids have gotten older and our seasons have changed (and I’ve gained confidence and they’ve gained independence, I’m aware of all that they’re capable of doing. We work to teach our kids that their efforts and contributions in our family and our home make a world of difference—that we all contribute as part of a team. 

Blocking Out Our Day

When I found out that not everyone used metaphorical blocks within their day, it blew my mind! This might feel like the rhythms I mentioned earlier, but time blocking is labeling your day into specific, different sections. 

Note: For reference, my kids are currently 6.5 and 3.5 years old. In the baby stages, this looked much different! Everyone’s day will be broken down differently. I implore you to find what works for you. Rather than fitting what someone else does something to your needs!

Woman writing on planner notebook
Photo by Covene on Unsplash

When the kids aren’t in school, I break our day down into these time blocks: 

  • Morning (wake up-11:30 am)
  • Midday (11:30 am/12:00 pm-2:00 pm)
  • Afternoon (2:00 pm-5:00 pm)
  • Evening (5:00 pm-7:30 pm)
  • Post-bedtime (7:30pm+)

When the kids are in school and I work from home or am Mom Shuttle Service, I break our day down into these time blocks:

  • Morning (wake-up – school drop off/8 am)
  • Mid Morning (post drop off-lunchtime)
  • Afternoon (after lunch/12 pm – school pick up)
  • After school (pick-up – dinner)
  • Evening (dinner/5 pm – kid bedtime)
  • Post-kid bedtime


Before you roll your eyes at this word, I want to say that I do not consider myself a minimalist –  that the act of minimizing has been life-changing for me. 

Less clutter? Less to clean. 

Less stuff in our home? Calmer space. 

Fewer activities? Less overstimulated kids.

Less business? Slower pace. 

Less laundry. Less chaos. Less cleaning. Less stress. Essentially, I’ve just gotten a lot better at saying no as I grew into motherhood. Now, my kids have plenty of toys. And friends. And there are plenty of activities on our calendar. We go out and do things. Nothing extreme over here. 

But when I started looking at the things we had and did and spent time and energy on more intentionally, life got a lot easier to manage. 

Some other ways I manage my or my household’s time well (that may not seem like “time management hacks” but I promise you they are!): 

  • Breakfast before school is self serve
  • I allow TV each morning. In fact, I encourage it! Okay, hear me out – This is a grace-filled gift I’ve given myself as my kids get older. I am not a morning person. I think I’m the opposite of a morning person. I hate them. And I have to get myself and two small children out the door in a timely manner. I get the kids ready first, then they watch a little tv. Then I have time and space (and sanity!) to get myself ready, tidy up, and get us out the door. They’re motivated to get ready and do it quickly. And I sip my coffee in peace while getting my hair and makeup done. Before both my kids were independent enough to do this, my oldest got herself ready and helped dress the toddler. 
  • Lists. Always lists. Making a to-do list the night before helps a ton.
  • Write plans in pencil – I am a planner through and through. But in motherhood and military life, I cling to plans… in pencil. Rigid flexibility is the name of the game!