If you’re a work at home mom, creating a productive work from home schedule can be a bit like piecing together a large jigsaw puzzle. Read below to learn about four simple steps for developing an organized, efficient, and most importantly, productive work from home schedule:

Step One: Find Your Happy Medium

There are many resources and tools available to help you create a productive work from home schedule. In fact, there’s probably too many. There are dozens of digital calendars and apps you can use to create and manage to do lists, keep calendars, and take notes.

My best advice is to try out different methods and see what works best for you. No two people are alike. I know moms who keep everything in hard copy. If you are someone like this you might want check out The Bullet Journal Method  by Ryder Carroll. This is a relatively new phenomenon of keeping your schedule, to do’s, and notes all in one hard copy journal.

If you prefer digital formats, Google calendar is incredibly easy to use, is available on all platforms, and best of all, it’s free. All you have to do is sign up for a free gmail account. If you’ve already got an account, you start using Google calendar today! I have been using Google calendar for over ten years. What I love the most about it is that I can send my husband invitations so we are always on the same page regarding family events and activities.

Evernote is also a popular app that has a free plan available, is simple to use, and is accessible on all platforms. Evernote allows you to create lists, notes, and reminders, and you can even access it offline. The great thing about Evernote is that you can also take and save pictures within your notes, and you can save audio notes as well.

Trello is another popular organization and planning app for moms and families. You can create to do lists, bulletin boards, and cards, allowing you to stay on top of your projects and activities.

Or, maybe you are more of a combo person like me, who swears by her Google calendar, but who also likes to keep a running hard copy weekly calendar and to do list. With this increasingly digital world we live in, I find that it’s nice to have something tangible right in front of me.

Find what works for you and use it. Even if you are a person who doesn’t like schedules and structure, having some type of organization and scheduling system in place will most likely help you stay motivated and make your work at home schedule more productive.

Step Two: Figure Out When You’re Most Productive

Are you a night owl or a morning person?  When you work from home, it helps to schedule your work tasks that need total concentration during the time of day when you’re most alert. For me that’s in the early morning when I’ve just had my coffee and my kids are still blessedly asleep. In these early hours I write blog articles. I also have a career coaching position, and when I coach clients it requires my undivided attention. Therefore I try to schedule these sessions early in the day if possible.

I save work tasks like checking personal email and updating social media for after the kids go to sleep. It’s taken me some time to realize trying to force myself to concentrate on more complex tasks at night after I turn into “Mommy Zombie” is virtually impossible.

Step Three: Create a Designated Work Space

I will admit it: I’m a total neat freak. Some might call me OCD. In other words, I need a neat, organized, and pristine work space. You might not be as anal retentive as me, but every work at home mom needs a relatively organized, quiet space that is designated for you.  And if you can put a deadlock on it to keep the kiddos out, even better!

Even though I like things organized, I truly hate filing with a passion. But every now and again I add filing to my weekly to do’s just to keep my work area clutter-free.

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Step Four: Make Time for Yourself

I will repeat this last step: make time for yourself. If you are a work at home mama, you probably feel like you’re in a circus act most of the time, constantly juggling work projects, home projects, kids, and family. As moms we are usually the last people to actually make time for ourselves. But it is necessary for your sanity. No matter how busy my day is, I always try to set aside at least 30 minutes of me time. I try to run when I can. But sometimes I’ll take a warm bath and just sit and think about nothing.

If you feel overwhelmed, try to incorporate just one step per week toward making your work from home schedule more productive!