Home Management, Homemaking., Traditional Homemaking

Time Blocking – Time Management for Stay at Home Moms

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Finding ways to manage time as a stay at home mom can always be a challenge. Balancing the needs of the family while finding time for personal well-being can be overwhelming. One effective strategy to regain control and boost productivity is the practice of time blocking. In this blog post, we’ll explore how stay-at-home moms can master the art of time blocking, set realistic goals, and use timers effectively to make the most out of each day.

Why Time Blocking Works

First, let’s talk about why time blocking is such an effective tool as a stay at home mom. Time blocking is a productivity technique that involves scheduling specific tasks during designated time periods. By allocating time to different activities, stay-at-home moms can create structure and achieve a sense of accomplishment throughout the day. What does that mean for you? The benefits of time blocking include increased focus, efficiency, and a more organized approach to daily responsibilities.

Why MultiTasking Doesn’t Work

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Studies consistently show that when people switch between tasks, the brain takes time to disengage from one and re-engage with another. This “switching cost” leads to decreased efficiency compared to focusing on one task at a time. The brain doesn’t toggle on and off seamlessly; it needs time to adjust to new information or a different type of cognitive activity.

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MultiTasking Experiment for Moms
Exercise: The Multitasking Myth – A Task-Switching Experiment

Here is an excellent task-switching experiment you can do to demonstrate the inefficiency of multitasking.

Materials Needed:

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Timer

Instructions:

Time yourself writing both your full name on a piece of paper, then below it number each letter. For example, you might write “Alex Clark” then underneath write “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9”. Stop the timer and write down the time it took. Do this exercise once more and document the time.

Next, I want you to write your name again, but this time you are going to write the number after you write each individual letter. For example you would write “A”, below it write 1, “L”, below it write 2, and continue. Time yourself and write down your time.

This exercise demonstrates the effects associated with multitasking. Your brain needs time to shift between different types of cognitive activities, making the combined task less efficient than performing each task separately. Most people may find this difficult because switching between letters and numbers takes longer, or you may make mistakes or have more stress emotions.

Doing this exercise may help you see why multitasking may not be as productive as we are taught to believe. This may help you see the value of focusing on one task at a time. Introducing, time blocking.

Here is How to Time Block as a Mom

First, you will want to identify your priorities and what truly needs a block of focused time. As a stay-at-home mom, identifying priorities is crucial. Begin by listing your most important tasks for the day, cleaning, meal preparation, working out or walks, and essential errands. Allocate dedicated time blocks to these high-priority tasks to ensure they receive the attention they deserve. I personally will allocate two, 15-minute time blocks just for picking up toys and clutter from the counter. This helps, 1. keep things from being overwhelming at night and 2., then I don’t spend too much time picking up toys all day long.

I keep track of my time blocks and schedule in a planner that I LOVE and have used over the last several years. The best part is, it is not printed with dates inside. You can purchase this planner at any time and begin using it without wasting any of the calendar pages.

You may say from 8am-9am it is time for focused homeschooling effort. You could also carve out a time block for taking a 30 minute walk each day with your kids. Be flexible, but also plan your time blocks when you can.

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Realistic Time Blocking Examples

Time Block Examples: Let’s break down how to apply time blocking to common tasks. For instance, instead of overwhelming yourself with a massive cleaning session, dedicate specific time blocks to decluttering and focus on one room or area at a time. This targeted approach makes the task more manageable and less daunting.

  • Morning (7:00 AM – 8:30 AM): playtime and breakfast
  • Late Morning (9:00 AM – 10:00 AM): homeschooling at the table
  • Afternoon Tidy/Declutter (3:00 PM -3:30PM)
  • Late Afternoon (3:30 PM – 4:30 PM): focused Playtime with children

How to Use Time Blocking Efficiently

Do not leave your time blocks to chance and be sure to use a timer. Your phone or oven timer will work, but this timer is an excellent way to visually see your time without becoming distracted by the phone/pings. Set a timer for each time block to maintain focus and prevent tasks from dragging on. Timers create a sense of urgency, encouraging efficiency and helping you stay on track throughout the day.

One Tip to Be Sure to Follow for Time Blocking

This one tip is very important to follow, so listen up. Do not allow yourself to become distracted by other tasks (other than taking care of or tending to emergent needs of your children). What I mean is, do not take those pair of shoes you found in the kitchen all the way upstairs to put the single item away. What you will do instead is find a basket or a dedicated laundry basket to put things in that belong in another area.

Those items can be put away at another time. You will inevitably get distracted by another task if you are bouncing around your home.

Time Blocks are for Moms

Incorporating time blocking into your routine can truly change the way you manage your time as a stay-at-home mom. By setting realistic goals, identifying priorities, and using timers effectively, you can create a more organized and fulfilling daily life. Remember, flexibility is key, and mastering time blocks is a journey that evolves with your unique needs and circumstances.

I would love to hear from you! Share your experiences with time blocking or any tips you’ve found effective in the comments below. As stay-at-home moms, supporting each other on this journey is invaluable, and your insights may inspire and help others seeking a more balanced and productive lifestyle.

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