Get Yourself More Time As A Work At Home Mum – 8 Top Tips

If you’re a mum to small children, there’s never enough time, especially to run a business. My theory is that if I can claw back as much time as possible from household tasks, I can use that time on my business.

Yes, I’ll admit I’m not the world’s best housewife, but life’s too short for perfection.

This was going to be a top ten list, but I had to go and clean the kitchen! Do you have a tip you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it so please do drop me a comment.

1. Decide on the level of chaos you can tolerate and don’t do any more housework than you need to keep your sanity

We all have different standards when it comes to cleanliness and tidiness, so make sure you’re working to your own standards rather than someone elses. After all, it’s your house.

It’s OK to leave a certain amount of mess for later. If everything has to be  clean and tidy before you start work, you’ll never start work! On the other hand, a lot of mess can be distracting and depressing if you have to work in the midst of it. Decide what level of mess you can tolerate and let the rest go, for now at least.

2. Don’t iron unless you really need to

Where possible, buy clothes that don’t need ironing. And don’t iron things that don’t really need ironing such as bed sheets, jeans and t shirts. If you hang out clothes to dry carefully, it’s amazing how many items you can get away with not ironing.

3. Clean the bathroom when the kids are in the bath

Clean the loo and washbasin when the kids are in the bath. You’ll be there to supervise them and you’ll just need to whizz around the bath after they get out.

4. Get a slow cooker

These are absolutely brilliant. You spend 10 minutes throwing in some meat, veg and sauce ingredients at breakfast time and you have a delicious home-cooked meal ready and waiting in the evening.You can even cheat and use a packet sauce, many are pretty healthy these days (check the label, obviously). I get a wonderful smug feeling knowing that my eveing meal is taken care of by 9.30 in the morning!

You can do much more than just casseroles too-  try curries, pasta sauces, soups and pot roasting joints. Even rice pudding!

My top tip is to buy one with both a high and low heat setting. The low setting takes 6 to 8 hours to cook, the high setting takes 3 to 4 hours. Which means that if you have an especially chaotic breakfast time, you can get the slow cooker on at lunchtime instead.

Even better, get a slow cooker that’s bigger than you need so you can cook extra and  freeze a couple of portions for another day.

5. Get a breadmaker

This means you never have to stop what you’re doing, bundle everyone into their coats and pushchairs and dash down the shops because you’ve run out of bread. Providing you’ve got a stash of flour, dried yeast, salt, sugar and margarine, which isn’t hard to do as they all keep for ages.

6. Do your grocery shopping online

I thought this was a no-brainer, but I’m surprised how many people have said to me  ‘I bet the supermarket isn’t much fun with a baby and a toddler, is it?’. Er, no it’s not!

7. Have a ‘ten minute tidy’ at the start of nap time, then get down to work

If you’re lucky enough to have children that nap, spend ten minutes having a speedy tidy up then leave the rest. Tidying is much quicker without little people around, but don’t let it suck you in so you accidentally spend the whole of nap time cleaning.

I kid myself that the faster I go, the more calories I burn. Well, I can dream!

8. Ask for help

If you work from home, it’s easy for other family members to assume that you’ll do all the housework and cooking, just because you’re there. Not only does this eat into your working time, if you teach young children that mummy isn’t the only one who does housework, they’ll be in good habits for later in life.

Comments

  1. “This was going to be a top ten list, but I had to go and clean the kitchen” Smirk!

    I agree with all those – had to go to the shops with DS1 and DS2 yesterday as the online delivery got cancelled due to snow. I spent more, bought cakes (oops) and had to carry it all home and unlaod it. No fun at all!

    I really don’t iron – totally unneccessary for most things. My tip would be to hunt down local teenagers who can baby sit. Look for those who might have occasional day time availability and are trustworthy/clued up enough to pick and pack or do a post office run and it can really help at times of crisis and busy periods.

  2. Oh no, not cakes! :0)

    That’s a great tip. I usually feel I need to do everything myself, until I’m so busy that I physically can’t do it anymore, that is. But you’ve reminded me that you can outsource relatively simple and inexpensive tasks right from the start. Thank you!

  3. What a refreshing set of tips. No mantras, business coaches or five year plans in sight. I clean the bathroom while bear is ib the tub so relieved to hear i’m not alone. Am going to invest in a slow cooker and revert to shopping online and spend the time elsewhere. Maybe in tub.

    • Thanks Catherine! As you can see, I’m a practical kind of gal and as for 5 year plans ….ha ha ha, with kids aged 1 and 2 I’m lucky if I can manage a 5 minute plan! Actually I did train as a business coach but struggled with the visualisations and long-term plans. I’m much happier working out a direction to go in and to then rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in to the work. Enjoy that tub!

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  1. […] Daly of the Accidental Business Mum relaxes with her Wii after a tough week.  I’ve listed my top eight tips for saving time on household tasks (it would have been ten, but I had to clean the kitchen!). Becky Goddard-Hill, author of ‘How […]

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