Finding Balance: Productivity Tips for Work-from-Home Mums to Prevent Burnout

The increase in remote working in the UK has seen mums being left alone at home to tend to childcare duties, and household tasks, try to maintain a sense of happiness, all while staying on top of their workload. Of course we’d all like more equality in the household, but all the research says that women continue to bear the greatest domestic burden. 

Balancing all of these obligations can lead to burnout, which is why we have outlined seven effective methods to increase your productivity while working from home. 

From using a productivity timer to prioritising what tasks to do each day, this article will provide a helpful guide to success for work-from-home moms.

Prioritising Daily Tasks

Choosing what tasks to prioritise can be confusing, especially when there are lots of tasks competing for your time

By prioritising what tasks to complete at the start of every day, our productivity levels can remain high, reducing the stress of daily life and potential burnout. 

Set up a morning routine to start your day with a positive tone. Next, identify key tasks and note down everything you need to accomplish for the day, including both work-related tasks and household responsibilities. Self-care is also a priority!

Prioritise these tasks based on urgency and importance, starting with tasks you may have carried over from the previous days. Batch similar tasks together to streamline your workflow and use tools like the Eisenhower Matrix to help with task management.

Be Realistic About Duties

Be realistic about the tasks you can manage in the time you have available. Be open to delegating household chores or consider outsourcing tasks where feasible. 

Talk with your partner about how much they can help with your work day and household duties. Ensure you have established clear boundaries with work and family, scheduling dedicated time for each.

Communicate openly with employers about workload constraints and negotiate flexible hours if possible. Embrace imperfection and let go of unrealistic expectations, focusing on your achievable goals. 

Regularly reassess your priorities and adjust responsibilities accordingly to maintain a sustainable balance. Taking on too much will lead to burnout and stress. 

Adopting this realistic mindset will go a long way in helping you to feel accomplished and productive.

Time Management with a Productivity Timer

Adopt the Pomodoro Technique, a simple method that involves working for twenty-five minutes, followed by a five-minute break. When you sit down in front of your laptop, pop on a productivity timer to implement the Pomodoro Technique while you work on your current task/project/emails.

Use your break time wisely to recharge and refresh. Engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate, such as stretching, walking, listening to music, or practicing mindfulness.

Consistency is key to maximizing the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique. Make it a habit to use the timer regularly, and try to stick to your Pomodoro sessions even on days when you feel less motivated. It’s equally important to adjust your break periods as needed. Some tasks may require more time than others, so don’t hesitate to make the changes you need to properly focus on the tasks at hand. 

Time Blocking

As a way to combat brain fog and multitasking, block out your day into manageable sections to help streamline your day. Time blocking involves sectioning out your day into manageable and clear chunks. You can also allocate different days of the week to specific tasks or responsibilities. It’s important to keep that realistic mindset while allocating these time slots.

This will help create a maintainable structure in your work schedule while allowing time for family. Clearly define your schedule to your family to minimise interruptions during time blocked for work. It’s important to let them know that you have dedicated time for them too. It’s all about achieving the best work-life balance for you and your family. This also includes time for self-care! 

It can be tempting to try and multitask. Avoid this wherever possible. Trying to get too many things done at once will lead to stress and burnout. Blocking time for specific tasks and responsibilities will help you to feel accomplished as you move through your day, and allow your full attention on tasks. Work smarter, not harder. 

Create a fun and colourful calendar or planner, or adopt a digital scheduling tool to visualise your work blocks. This will give you an easy way to identify and prioritise tasks at a glance. Keep it updated, and review it daily to stay organised. Be flexible about your schedule for unforeseen events or emergencies, and ensure you reflect on a daily or weekly basis in case adjustments need to be made. It can take a few tries to get this schedule right. 

Identify Your Workspace

One of the best ways to increase productivity from home is to have a dedicated workspace. This could be the kitchen table/counter when the kids are at school, or it could be a desk in the sitting room. Ideally, it should be a dedicated office space if that’s available. Wherever this might be, it should be quiet, comfortable and well-lit, with minimal foot traffic. 

Noise-cancelling headphones are a great way to minimize noise and distractions if you are in a busy area of your home. Communicate clear boundaries with your family. When mum is in her office, or has her headphones on, she should be left alone as much as possible to focus on work. 

Personalize your workspace to make it a comfortable and functional space to get work done. Bring in items that inspire you, make you happy and reflect your personality. This will make you feel more at ease even during more stressful work days. Keep it organised and regularly declutter to promote focus. Find practical storage solutions to keep supplies and documents neat and tidy. 

Ergonomics plays a big factor in a comfortable workspace, especially for long work hours. Get yourself a good chair that provides lumbar support and comfortability. Some work-from-home workers prefer a standing desk, but you can get a desk that can be height adjustable as well. 

Having a dedicated office means you can close the door when you are working and ‘leave the office’ at the end of the day and this is the most important productivity tip we can provide. If you don’t have the space in your home, consider a work pod or shed in the garden, or privacy boards to separate your work life from your home life. This separation helps prevent work from spilling over into your personal life and reduces the risk of burnout. 

Combine Playtime With Household Duties

A fun and clever way to merge responsibilities is to get your children to help in the tidying-up process. 

Teach your little ones to fold laundry and turn it into a game such as “Who can fold their clothing better?” 

The same concept applies to cleaning up after themselves. Once playtime is over, challenge them to a game of “Who can clean up quicker?” This teaches them valuable life lessons and takes a burden off your shoulders. 

Dress for Success

Put on a simple business outfit to trick the brain into thinking it is work time. This simple ritual helps maintain a sense of structure and motivation while reducing the risk of burnout.

Pick two or three outfits from your wardrobe that can become your work clothes. Once household tasks are done for the morning (because successful work-from-home mums block their work), switch over to your business outfit.