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Time Management Tips for Busy Mompreneurs

Thank you to Office Depot for sponsoring this post. As always, all ideas and opinions are my own. 

Mompreneur was a term I hadn't even heard of before having kids, but through a series of life events I've found myself with this title and all of the perks and challenges that come with it. Balancing being a small-business-owner and work-from-home mom is a constant work in progress, but this year, as my business has grown, I've come up with some pretty good systems to keep me on track. 

I get asked all the time how I manage to get everything done. That question always makes me laugh, because as a working mom there is really no such thing as getting everything done, but I can share some time management tips that I've learned along the way. These tips are helpful year-round, but during Q4 and the holiday season, they are the keys to my sanity! I also couldn't do it all without the help of brands I can count on, like Office Depot and OfficeMax.

time management tips for mompreneurs
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1. CREATE A DEDICATED HOME OFFICE SPACE TO SEPARATE WORK & FAMILY

Moms are the queens of multitasking, and while this is an essential and valuable skill for keeping the train on the track most days, when it comes to running a business from home, there is great value in separating work and family as much as possible.  

For years, I did most of my work sitting at the kitchen table or on the couch, but all the while I knew this wasn't the best for my productivity, or for my family. I needed a better place to focus on my work, and to create boundaries between work and family time.

The good news is that you don't have to have a home office, or even a lot of space. What's important is to designate a dedicated work zone, even if it's just a corner of a room.

work from home mom's need a dedicated work space

Earlier this year, I claimed the mini nightstand-desk in our guest room as my "office," and I was able to pack tons of function into this small space. I have plans to convert a basement bedroom into a larger office for myself in the future, but for now, this little desk gives me everything I need.

Creating this dedicated work space helps me be more productive and helps my kids to understand that when I am sitting at that desk, I need to focus on my work, but that when I'm not at that desk, they can have my full attention.

Additionally, I am now able to keep my blog and client paperwork from getting mixed in with our family mail and papers. I'm also able to keep my business deadlines separate from our family calendar, and my pens, notebooks, and other office supplies no longer get confiscated for the kids' homework. 

2. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY TO WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Years ago, I left my legal practice because I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Along the way, I started my blog which then turned into a full-blown business, and I now provide decor and organizing services to many clients as well. But the one thing that hasn't changed is my desire to keep my schedule flexible enough that I can be very involved in all things the kids have going on - so involved in fact, that this year I'm the PTA President {which is often like a full time job in and of itself}.

Running a small business while trying to maintain all the perks of stay-at-home mom life has required that I learn to work smarter, not harder, and embracing technology has been the number one key to balancing all of my home, life, and business responsibilities.

I rely on to technology keep me organized, track my client and consulting projects, stay on top of my finances, and even plan out my holiday shopping and gift gifting.  
There are a few business websites that are pretty much always open in tabs on both my iPad and my laptop, because they help me meet all of my business and personal needs during this busiest time of the year.

mompreneurs embrace technology
As a work from home mom, I get a lot of work done outside of standard business hours. I often hop on officedepot.com after the kids go to bed to order the large format photo prints that I'll be framing a for a client decor project, order copies of a PTA event poster I need for my boys' school, and re-order business cards for an upcoming conference I'll be attending. 

And now that I'm in holiday prep mode, I'll also be relying on the Office Depot and OfficeMax print and copy services for many of my holiday needs, like creating personalized photo gifts for the grandparents and ordering our holiday cards to mail to friends and family near and far. The ability to hop online and get all of my business and personal to-dos checked off my list in one place definitely helps me to be more efficient and relieves some of the fourth quarter/holiday rush stress!

3. MAKE REALISTIC WEEKLY AND DAILY TO-DO LISTS

I've always been a list maker, but these days, as a small-business owner, PTA President, and mom, I live and die by my lists! If I don't write it down, there's a very real possibility it won't get done on time, or I'll forget about it all together. 

I use an app on my phone to keep track of everything I need to-do (categorized by business, school, and home). I'm constantly adding things to it constantly throughout each day. Of course, this list is totally overwhelming, but if I don't input it on my master list, I'm likely to forget. 

Each Sunday night I go through that long list of everything, and prioritize the tasks that must be done during that week. After making my weekly to-do list, I consult my calendar and begin to plan out what tasks I need to accomplish each day. 

While I rely on my app to keep my master to-do list and prioritize my weekly action items, I still find it very helpful to hand write my daily to-do list. At the end of the night, I sit down with pen and paper and create my list for the following day. The act of writing it down helps me to think through what I can realistically get done, and to focus on those tasks separately from everything else on my longer to-do list.

Make realistic daily to do lists

The to-do list pad in the front of my TUL Discbound Notebook gives me the perfect place to create my daily list, and I get so much satisfaction when I check those little boxes throughout the day. It's like giving myself a little high five for each task I check off. 

This notebook system is also great because I can easily add and remove pages, and I can even punch just about any document to slip inside. 

At the end of day, I pull out that day's list and add anything that I didn't accomplish to a new list for the next day. Starting a new handwritten list for each new day gives me the feeling of a fresh start and ensures that I don't lose track of anything.

4. CREATE AN ON-THE-GO WORK BAG

Now that both of my boys are in school full time, I've started to take on more client work. On any given week, I'm spending time at multiple clients' houses working on a variety of decor and organizing projects.

Mornings with kids get pretty hectic, and most days I'm doing good just to get breakfast in their stomachs, lunches packed, and the boys out the door with backpacks on their backs and shoes on their feet. Trying to also make sure I packed what I needed for my client projects on any given day was more than I could handle in the mornings. 

Finally, I created an on-the-go work bag for myself that I filled with all the basics that I use for client projects. I still have to add a few things now and then depending on the project, but having a prepacked bag has cut down on a lot of morning stress. 

Create an on-the-go work bag


My on-the-go work bag includes things like my label maker and label making tape refills, pens, markers {a variety of colors for hand-written labels, scissors, picture hanging strips, various sizes of nails, a hammer, a measuring tape, and a level, among other things. I also keep my TUL Discbound Notebook in my work bag, with my project notes organized behind colored tabs, and graph paper for sketching out space plans.


5. PLAN AND CONSOLIDATE ERRANDS

Keeping up with business, school, and family life on a weekly basis not only requires a solid plan, it also requires some major time management skills. Having a dedicated work space at home has helped me to focus and make better use of my work hours at home, and I've learned to plan carefully and to consolidate my errands so that I can make as few stops as possible. 

While there are other places that I could handle my printing and copying needs, I choose Office Depot or OfficeMax because I can also restock my work bag, grab school supplies, and even pick up holiday gifts for my tech-loving husband, art-loving kids, and hard-working teachers all in one place! And since I'm always in a hurry, I really appreciate that I can hop on my iPad or laptop and order everything on officedepot.com for free store pickup.

work-from-home mom time management consolidate errands

My online orders are ready at my local Office Depot store in just an hour, but I often place my orders the night before or first thing in the morning, and then swing past the store after I finish up with a client and on my way to pick the kids up from school. Knowing that I'll be in and out of the store quickly allows me to fit in this errand in without having to drag the kids out to a store after dinner.

With the holidays upon us, I'll also be taking advantage of pack and ship services at Office Depot and OfficeMax. I don't have time to stand in long lines at the post office, so being able shipping all of my holiday gifts via FedEx or USPS without making an extra stop is a huge time-saving win for this mompreneur!

You can buy stamps there for your greeting cards, and ship via USPS, FedEx Ground or FedEx Express, and they ship to both national and international military locations seven days a week. Talk about making holiday prep easier!

time management tips for work from home moms


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Office Depot, but all ideas and opinions are, as always, my own.


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