When you’re homeschooling while working from home, time management is the glue that holds your schedule and sanity together. I know – because it is one of the things I struggled with most early on. And one of the first things searched online when I started homeschooling my two youngest children was “time management tips for homeschooling moms.”
I worked outside the home for over 10 years as a financial advisor. I juggled the same sort of busy career, home, community, and parenting responsibilities that most working parents do.
And I know that trying to juggle multiple things without a plan and some sort of organization is a recipe for disaster. ESPECIALLY when you are responsible for All. The. Things.
The plain truth is this. Not managing your time well as a homeschooling work from home parent will negatively impact your family relationships, your health, your work, and yes, your homeschool.
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Make Time for Time Management
Do you ever feel like you’re too busy to organize your calendar? To write something in your daytimer? And then discover your day gets so hectic that by bedtime you’ve long forgotten what it was that you planned to add to your calendar or daytimer? I have.
Making time for time management will save you hours of frustration and inefficiency. And it will help your workday AND your homeschool day go much smoother.
Time Management Tips for Homeschooling While Working
Before diving into my list of time management for homeschooling tips, I’d like to mention three things that have helped me to keep an eye on the time.
Get a Planner… or Two
For starters, get a good business planner, a homeschool planner, or a combination of both. I’ve experimented with a whole lot of planners over the past thirty years of my adult life. In fact, in my former workaholic life you could say I was a bit of a planner junkie.
For years, a coltsfoot leather-bound Franklin Covey planner ruled my home, work, and football-mom-driving-all-over-the-place life.
However, now I now use two planners to help with time management. One for homeschool/home life (The Well-Planned Day), and the other for my business planning and organizing and also my mom health and self-care. (The Push Journal system – it has been incredibly effective in helping me achieve my business goals for the past six months.)
Get a Clock. Or Two
Second, I recommend using clocks. And I don’t mean just one or two here or there. I’m talking about one in every room.
Why? Because it’s important to not always depend on your phone to tell you the time. It’s just too easy to check emails, news headlines, or social media as well as the time. As a matter of fact, I actually leave my phone in another room when I really need to focus to get things done. So I need a clock.
Dedicate Space to Work and School
Lastly, dedicate areas of your home for working and homeschooling. Now, this doesn’t mean you need two extra rooms in your home. In fact, we didn’t have a homeschool room for many years. And although I do have a comfortable home office now, I didn’t always.
Yet knowing WHERE your homeschool supplies and work supplies should be saves time. Your kids can’t drag their heels over math because they’re looking for pencils, the Singapore Math workbook, or an eraser.
And make sure your kids know that when mom closes the bedroom door, it becomes her workspace.
Time Management Tips for Homeschool and Working From Home
Establish Work Hours
Establishing work hours at home while you’re also homeschooling can be tricky, especially when your children are toddlers and preschoolers. In this case, my best tip is to work when they’re sleeping, or at least save your most brain-draining work for their sleep time. And take heart, they’ll get older — faster than you expected — and you’ll soon find it a bit easier to manage.
During this season of my life, our five eldest children have grown and flown the coop. Our two youngest are aged 10 and seven. Generally, I work from 5:00 am to 8:00 am, and homeschool from about 9:00 am through 1:30 to 2:00 pm.
The girls have a “quiet time” (they can read, draw, or play quietly in their room) from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and these are also working hours. We then have outdoor time, chores, dinner prep, and dinner. Most nights I squeeze in a couple more hours of work as well.
Set Your Quitting Time Boundaries
Full disclosure: As a (slowly) recovering workaholic, I have a tough time calling it quits and setting boundaries on my business activities. Especially if I’m working on a project that I’m passionate about. However, I’m getting better at setting an “end of the day” time as part of my new commitment to self-care in the quest to become healthier.
Establishing your work from home hours is an important part of time management. And it will help you work more efficiently. (Tip: a self-imposed deadline plus a fun reward is also a great way to encourage yourself to finish work on time.)
This is absolutely necessary if you don’t want to find yourself working all day yet never feeling fully accomplished. Many newbie work from home moms find themselves sitting behind the computer all day long.
And then they feel disheartened when they don’t have anything to show for it because they don’t have a clear plan of action. They fly by the seat of their pants.
This is something that you do not want to do, as it leads directly to feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
How Many Hours Must you Work?
Instead, establish a set of work hours based on your business and how many hours you need to work per week. Include the time you’ll need for both IPA (income-producing activities) and NIPA (non-income producing activities).
Set a Daily Schedule
The daily schedule is for you and your business just as much as it is for everything else you have going on. Keep your work hours in mind, then plug in everything else around it.
Always remember, your schedule can be flexible, It can even change depending on the day. For example, you might choose shorter workdays on Mondays and Thursdays to accommodate extracurricular or family activities. then you can plan accordingly.
The idea is to give yourself and everyone in your home an idea of what the day-to-day typically looks like. Don’t hesitate to change it up if necessary.
Prioritize Tasks and Activities
This goes hand-in-hand with a daily schedule. However, it considers the next step. Ask yourself, “What will I be doing during my work hours or during homeschooling?”
The answer to that question will determine what is on your schedule and when you’ll get it done. Block scheduling is a concept that works for most people who typically have the same tasks and activities to do each day. If this is the case for you, consider giving each task a certain block of time.
Do whatever you need to do in order to stay productive and not distracted – whether you’re working or homeschooling. And before I forget, prioritize meal planning to keep on top of feeding your family.
For example, I often set the “do not disturb” on my phone during our morning homeschool lessons. I’ve also used a timer to stay within the allotted block of time when I’m brainstorming for work, or encouraging a dawdling child to finish grammar work.
If you’ve given yourself an hour to work on something, set a timer then get ready to move to the next activity once the timer goes off.
I know these tips will help you stay on track and make the most of your time without getting sidetracked and overwhelmed.
I’d love to hear from you! What are some things you do to help manage your time as a working from home homeschooling mom?