19 time-saving tips to help increase your productivity

Working any kind of job—whether as an entrepreneur or employee—will always present challenges. But being a working mom? Anyone who has been there knows that this is by far one of the most demanding labor of loves there is. While it’s unrealistic to effortlessly balance it all, certain productivity hacks and time saving tips can make life as a working mom just a little bit easier.

From journaling regularly to harnessing the power of a calendar, getting comfortable with outsourcing, and everything in between, we spoke with 30 mothers from the Dreamers & Doers collective to get you the inside scoop on their most trusted time savers. Their tried-and-true insights are a glimmer of hope that attaining a resemblance of balance may be a possibility after all with a bit of creativity and an open mind.

Despite the abundance of hacks available, it’s also important to be gentle with ourselves. “Planning and having life hacks are wonderful and do make things easier, but there are still going to be days where everything goes wrong and we feel like a failure,” said Katie Ward. “But, if we can take those days with an inner knowing that we showed up and did our best, it will make tomorrow go easier.”

Productivity tips from busy working moms

1. Capitalize your time on walks

Shang Saavedra

“I take my baby out on two to three stroller walks each day, and during these walks not only do I get exercise and fresh air, I can also take phone calls with friends, and even do live streams for my business.” —Shang Saavedra, Owner of Save My Cents

Tish Scolnik

“I turn the walk with my son to and from preschool into my daily exercise and skip the gym. It’s way more fun to skip and jump with him outside. And it’s special for both of us.” —Tish Scolnik, Founder and CEO of GRIT

2. Get comfortable with outsourcing 

Ellen Hockley

“My mother-in-law convinced me it’s okay to outsource. She said that when her kids were small they absolutely couldn’t afford a cleaner, but they paid for it because it made everyone happier, healthier, and less resentful. This flipped a switch in me and I realized I didn’t have to do it all, and I absolutely didn’t have to do it all perfectly.” —Ellen Hockley, Founder and CEO of Evergreen Activewear

3. Plan your meals in advance

Julie Laux

“Evenings are super busy and knowing what I’m making for dinner each night, and that I have all of the groceries I need in the fridge, makes all the difference. I don’t recommend trying to meal plan for every single day—leave space for eating leftovers or takeout. We meal plan for five days a week and take the weekend off from cooking.” —Julie Laux, Founder and CEO of 101 before one

4. Plan your work around your peak productivity

Renia Carsillo

“When I’m ovulating, I can work 14-hour days and plow through projects with little stress. At other points, I need big amounts of rest. Looking at my work in 28-ish day cycles instead of just week-to-week or day-to-day helped me balance, be more aware of when I needed to spend more time working versus more time playing with my kids, and helped me feel like work was working for my life as a mother instead of constantly colliding with it.” —Renia Carsillo, Chief Strategist at Realign Consulting

Katie Ward

“I take time for myself every day to get centered. I always take time to shower and I’ll go for a walk or exercise. I’ve also stopped forcing myself to work through fatigue, instead giving myself grace in knowing that the most important things will always get done and that I deserve the rest I need to be the most productive and happiest version of myself.” —Katie Ward, Owner of Katie Ward Photography, LLC

Betty Ban

“I make sure to center my day with a quick meditation—even just a few minutes can make a difference. I prioritize my to-do list by identifying the three most important tasks that need to be completed. I keep my most important apps on my phone and use downtime to quickly send out emails or read a chapter of a book. By finding small moments throughout the day to focus on important tasks and taking breaks to manage stress, I am able to optimize my productivity without sacrificing my well-being.” —Betty Ban, Co-Founder and CEO of Evermeal Labs

5. Implement time blocking strategies

Jasmine Crockett

“I’m a firm believer that time blocking and having specific days for tasks helps so much. For example, Mondays are my admin and meeting days. Tuesdays, I block my entire calendar and I don’t take any meetings unless absolutely necessary and I can work from home. This gives me a mental break of having to wake up and get to the office on the grind and I use this day to focus on personal tasks, like content creation and business admin.” —Ôasmine Crockett, Founder and CEO of Joy Meets Home

Tanya Alvarez

“I allocate time slots on my calendar for all aspects of my life: work, family, and some much-needed personal time. Seeing everything laid out visually helps me prioritize effectively and stay true to my values. When faced with requests that don’t align with my priorities, I can confidently decline without feeling guilty and understand the opportunity cost if I choose to change my schedule.” —Tanya Alvarez, Founder of OwnersUP

6. Put your calendar to work

Sydney Sherman de Arenas

“I use my calendar for everything I have to do by setting specific work hours so that my kids don’t see me staring at screens all of the time. Don’t be afraid to set structure and boundaries. Being a working mother can be a wonderful thing and, if you let it, it can push you to focus on only the most important goals and tasks, making you even better at what you do!” —Sydney Sherman de Arenas, CEO of Montie & Joie

Georgie Ann Getton

“I have multiple calendars for kid’s activities, my activities, clients, and work. With Google Calendar, I can add everything in one place for me to see visually but have different privacy settings for others who may look at my calendar. Connecting that calendar to Calendly allows me to book times with clients and team members while the software cross-references all my calendars to find a time when I am truly free.” —Georgie-Ann Getton, Founder and CEO of GSD Solutions

Rachel Pereyra

“I created a shared family Google calendar. We all have access so now all the things that need to be remembered and all of the events live in a shared place so my wife, my kids, and I can all support each other more effectively.” —Rachel Pereyra, Founder of Mastermind Business Services

Emilie Mascarell

“Make it easy to update. We keep it on the calendar app of our phones along with our personal calendars to view everything in one place. I also recommend inputting dates, such as the school calendar, as soon as you receive them, so you don’t have to worry about remembering them later on.” —Emilie Mascarell, Fragrance and Beauty Product Development Consultant at Emilie Consulting

Brittany Busse MD

“If it’s important, it should be on your calendar. I scheduled my lunch break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. every day and made this sacred time. My son knows I will show up to share lunch with him, and then when lunch is over, I will return to my office until the end of the day. No more tantrums, just blown kisses, and he looks forward to this time and greets me with a huge smile.” —Brittany Busse, MD, Co-Founder of ViTel Health

7. Use the evenings to prepare for the mornings

Kristen Carbone

“Lunches get packed, clothes get laid out, and I even put everything for breakfast out so we don’t have to scramble in the morning. Having a nightly routine makes for easier mornings. A calm start to the day is a great foundation.” —​​Kristen Carbone, Founder and CEO of Brilliantly

8. Do your work out of the house

Elena Rue

“I just started renting my own office and it has been a game-changer for me. Although working from home was convenient in a lot of ways, I found that my work brain overlapped with my family brain way too much. Physically leaving the house and then coming home has given me the necessary breathing room that I need to make that transition.” —Elena Rue, Creative Director at StoryMine

9. Journal regularly

Allie Mirosevic

“Life can feel really overwhelming sometimes and journaling has become one of my favorite forms of self care. It helps me release the stress from the day-to-day of motherhood and work by getting what’s in my head out. It’s helped me gain insights into my triggers so that I can be less reactive in challenging situations. I usually journal right before bed and I truly believe it helps me sleep better as I’m less likely to go to bed with a running, anxious mind.” —Allie Mirosevic, Founder of Bliss’d Co – Journals & Self Care

10. Streamline mealtime

Kalyn Salinas

“Instead of worrying about purees, finger foods, and cooking ‘kid’ meals, we only prepare one nutritious meal for the family. I have such limited time outside of launching my business and with baby-led weaning, I get to spend it connecting with my family instead of spending time I don’t have in the kitchen.” —Kalyn Salinas, Founder of The Citrine Compass

11. Implement the OHIO productivity method

Jessica Meunier

“OHIO = only. handle. it. once. Meaning, if it can be done right now, do it. Leaving it on your mind adds to mental clutter. Moms don’t need any more added to their mental load. If you do need more dedicated time to get it done, set a reminder of when you will get to it, so it’s off your mind for now, and you can focus on what else is important.” —Jessica Meunier, Founder of Empowered Personal Finance

12. Incorporate your kids into your work

Anouck Gotlib

“I find jobs for them that are work-related and require a lot of time. For instance, stickering boxes of samples, their lunchboxes, or plain paper with our themed stickers and logo. They feel like they contribute as they help Mom with marketing.” —Anouck Gotlib, CEO of Belgian Boys

Devanshi Garg

“Children love being in the know so I’m always on the look out for where I can involve them so my ‘work’ becomes more tangible to them and so they feel they are being helpful. It’s a hack because we’ve turned an opportunity to work apart to time together. It isn’t always easy to break complex tasks into simpler ones but it’s a practice in delegation and time management.” —Devanshi Garg, Founder and CEO of Motif Beauty

13. Create a time budget

Tamara Kostova

“For two weeks, use a time-tracking software and be disciplined about tracking every single action you take. Really figure out what categories you spend the most time on. You might find the results to be surprising. Then, figure out what the “time-expensive” things are that you can outsource or delegate. You can use this “time budget” to set boundaries about how much time you want to spend on family, work, personal, and other categories.” —Tamara Kostova, CEO of Velexa

14. Get clear on your “why”

Nomiki Petrolla

“Define what success looks like to you and only you before you dive into the granular details of completing items. If you don’t have a North Star, you’ll be running on a hamster wheel wondering where you’re going. I solidify my goals each week and make a task list in Notion so I visually represent my achievements. I practice a growth mindset and ensure I complete the tasks I can control and see the results each week at hand.” —Nomiki Petrolla, Founder of The Modern Gardens

Jess Villela

“The habit and practice of redefining productivity for yourself is critical to thriving as a working mother. Each new stage of motherhood and work requires assessing and adapting. Schedule time to reflect. Don’t be afraid to slow down to ensure you’re on the path and pace that’s right for you and your family.” — Jess Villela, Founder of Jess Villela Coaching

15. Harness the early hours of the morning

Sarah Loughry

“I started waking up at 4 a.m. It was really difficult at first but allowed me to get nearly three hours of work done before my daughter woke up. As an added bonus, everyone else is asleep so I’m not monopolized by Slack messages or incoming emails.” —Sarah Loughry, Founder and CEO of Em Dash Blogging

16. Take adequate breaks

Veni Kunche

“It’s important to prioritize rest. Taking breaks can actually make you more creative and productive by clearing your mind. My productivity hack is taking naps. With a 6 month old and a 5 year old, I’m often exhausted after getting them ready in the morning, even before starting work. On rough days, I take a nap right after dropping them off at daycare and school.” —Veni Kunche, Founder of Diversify Tech

17. Empower your children to be independent

Erin Tarr

“All three of my children have been taught to cook and bake, and can problem solve for themselves in the kitchen since around the time they were six. Start at a developmentally-appropriate level and work up from there. We began with the toaster and microwavable items, then the hot plate and airfryer, and finally the stove and oven.” —Erin Tarr, CEO of fierce&flourish

18. Identify and utilize a support system

Theresa Lennahan

“My closest friends and I have an emoji we only use when we are having a bad day. For us, it is the salad bowl emoji. Whenever I am having an off day or doubting myself, whether it has to do with work or family, all I have to do is send a text with a salad emoji. My inner circle knows that if I send that emoji I could use a boost, some extra support, or something to smile about that day.” —Theresa Lennahan, Co-Founder of Little Sundays Studio

Katharine Campbell Hirst

“We coordinated with my sister-in-law and her husband to rent apartments a five-minute walk from each other. We have flexible childcare with a fantastic nanny share, four grown-ups to share pick ups and drop offs, and sleepovers whenever. All of us parents have more flexibility, we’re less stressed and our kids are having a ton of fun growing up together.” —Katharine Campbell Hirst, Founder of IdeaShift

19. Implement habit stacking

Rossalvi Marte

“This hack can help working moms prioritize self care and personal growth, which will lead to increased productivity, better mental health, and more fulfilling lives. Here are some examples of habit stacking: walking on a treadmill while having a meeting; listening to a podcast while cooking; doing a five-minute stretch while your coffee brews.” —Rossalvi Marte, Founder and CEO of Marte Group

All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community that amplifies extraordinary women entrepreneurs and leaders by securing PR opportunities, forging authentic connections, and curating high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and get involved here.

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