7 Productivity Tips for Working Mothers
Updated: Oct 7
Working mothers are nothing short of superheroes. So if you are a working mom reading this blog, give a little pat on your back.
Being a mother is one of the hardest yet fulfilling jobs and when coupled with a full-fledged professional life, a working mom has a daunting task to fulfill.
As working moms, we get to hear a lot of these lines:
You can’t take care of kids and work at the same time. Just not humanly possible to be perfect at both.
Do you get any time at all for yourself?
I don’t know how you do it. I know you must be in a lot of guilt leaving your kids and home behind.
You would be average at everything. Focus on either home or work and be great at it.
Didn’t they teach you in MBA to manage everything perfectly?
Lets take a look at this astonishing fact.
Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reveals that mothers outperform their childless peers at every stage of their lives, and those with two or more children are the most productive of them all.
This groundbreaking study analyzed the job performance of over 10,000 academic economists throughout their 30-year careers, shedding light on the incredible capabilities of moms.
It's worth noting that these women were well-educated, gainfully employed, and likely had access to resources such as paid maternity leave and childcare support. Therefore, the results might not universally apply, but they do highlight the potential of mothers with the right resources.
Interestingly, the study showed that within the first five years of their careers, women without children underperformed compared to their peers who were mothers.
However, women with two kids performed the best. While there was a decrease in productivity when caring for young children (approximately 15 to 17 per cent), mothers compensated for this dip after their children grew up.
The next time someone undermines you and questions your productivity, tell them about the above research.
Whatever everyone says, we have a lot to manage. We can’t deny that.
In this blog, I am going to share top 5 productivity tips, meant especially for working mothers. Though a few of them are more applicable to work from home mothers or mothers who follow hybrid work pattern, most of them are applicable to all the working mothers.
1. Prioritize Your Top 3 Tasks when your kids are not around:
If you are a mom of small kids or big, you get a chunk of time when they are sleeping or At school. Plan those 3-4 hours diligently, with utmost focus and motivation free from all distractions. Your top 3 tasks must be scheduled for these hours. the 20% of your tasks that give 80% of the results.
Scientific studies have shown that when we work with a clear set of priorities, we can significantly enhance productivity. According to a study published in the journal "Psychological Science," setting specific goals and prioritizing tasks increases motivation and focus.
For me, 10:30 am to 1:30 PM is the time when my kids are not around and plan this chunk of time for deep undistracted and important work.
2. Take Control of Your Calendar for Improved Efficiency:
Manage your calendar intelligently by reducing unproductive meetings, allowing you to have more time for essential work and making things run more smoothly. Analyze your calendar to see what you can eliminate, or shorten. Don't make a 10 minute meeting a 40 minute meeting, Have an agenda in place and stick to it.
3. See where you can squeeze in more office work while taking care of kids activities in the backdrop.
Example, when I take my child to tennis classes, I carry my laptop and do menial tasks like answering to email, delegating tasks, checking work of others. At this time, I don’t do deep work.
4. Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is applicable for every area of life, work or home. 20% of tasks give 80% of results.
If there is something that anyone else can do, like letting your house help decide what to cook, let them do it without feeling guilty. Focus on those tasks, where you know you can’t be replaced and the tasks that give the maximum results.
Look at your everyday schedule and see the tasks that you can do without or just outsource.
5. Pause Before Saying 'Yes':
We moms are conditioned to say a yes. To be responsible, helpful, useful people at work and at home, we do what we are told or asked to do.
Remember, if its not a clear yes, then its a no. Think carefully before accepting more work, ensuring it aligns with what you can handle without becoming too tired or overwhelmed. And if you do take on more work, as for additional compensation.
Research from Lean In and McKinsey Company indicates that women often take on additional tasks, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion work, without commensurate compensation.
And not just a no at work but also at home. By pausing before accepting new responsibilities and considering your existing workload, you align your efforts with your capacity. Saying "no" to overload is a sign of strength, not weakness. It signifies that moms feel empowered to advocate for what they need to be more successful and productive in their day-to-day.
This approach not only prevents burnout but also maintains sustainable productivity levels.
6. Don’t multitask and Embrace Short Brain Breaks
Remember the time when you were at work, while worrying about if the hardwork your child did was good or when you playing with your child while also being on a work call.
Numerous studies, including one from the National Institute of Health, confirm that the human brain is not designed for continuous multitasking. If you are with your child, even for an hour, give your full attention.
Also, Taking short breaks between tasks allows your brain to recharge, improving concentration and decision-making.
The Pomodoro Technique, which suggests working in focused 25-minute intervals followed by a 5-minute break, has been scientifically proven to boost productivity.
7. Allocate Time for Strategic Thinking:
Set aside quiet moments for deep thinking, during which you can generate smart solutions and new ideas without interruptions.
By allocating dedicated time for strategic thinking, as recommended by experts, you tap into your brain's full potential and significantly enhance your problem-solving abilities.
In conclusion, while the study's focus on well-resourced working mothers may not encompass all scenarios, it highlights the impressive capabilities of mothers when provided with the right support.
These productivity tips offer valuable strategies for all working women, whether they are mothers or not, to excel in their careers and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Embrace your inner superhero and unlock your full potential!