This is some sample text.
Learn More

Three Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

It is officially March and we have officially hit March madness at our house!  Spring is coming and along with the pretty flowers it also brings ALL the activities and due dates and sports and birthdays and competitions and events, etc. etc. etc.   My head seriously starts to spin just thinking about our calendar! Can anyone relate!? When things pick up like this with my kids’ activities I’ve found that I have to be especially careful with the time I do have to work and get things done around my house. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a tad obsessed with the subject of time management. Kind of nerdy I know.. but it’s my favorite thing to read and learn about! Partly because it involves organization (my true passion) but also because in the past I’ve struggled with managing my time. I’m constantly searching for ways to be less “busy” just putting out fires all day long and to be more deliberate and productive. I’ve learned SO much about this topic this past year and have found three time management tips that help me increase my productivity and manage my time better than anything else!

3 time management tips to increase productivity

A few weeks ago I came home from dropping the kids off at school, went straight to my office and sat down and got to work. I was in the ZONE. Just checking things off my to-do list and having such a productive morning. (Love that feeling, don’t you!?)  Around 11:00 am our home phone rang and it was my husband wondering where I’d been all morning. I told him I had been home and was having the BEST most efficient morning getting so much done. He told me that he had been trying to reach me on my cell all morning but I wasn’t answering. I looked around for my iPhone and realized that I had left it in the car after I dropped my kids off at school.

And then it hit me. That was it.. right there. The reason I was having such a productive morning. I didn’t have access to my cell phone! I don’t think I was truly aware of what a huge distraction my cell phone was to me during the day until I spent a morning without it!  We are constantly being bombarded with e-mails and text messages and phone calls and social media and while it seems harmless to pop in and quickly check on those things, taking time to do that switches your mind set and then it’s hard to get back in the zone focused on your work after. I was so productive that morning without my phone because I was able to really focus on what I needed to get done without any distractions!

I hung up with Kenny and went to my car and picked up my phone and had 23 text messages, over 60 new e-mails and 7 missed calls. I didn’t even dare look at my IG comments and DM’s!  I had to laugh.  That would have been my morning instead of checking things off of my to-do list that I really wanted and needed to get done. I spent the afternoon responding to messages and e-mails and calls and realized that every single bit of it was fine waiting until later in the day.  Ever since that day I drop my kids off at school, come home and then quickly set my phone in the other room away from me and get to work!  I’d leave it in the car except I’m worried about missing an emergency call about one of my kids so I just set it in a different room where I can hear it ring, but don’t have it next to me with the temptation to check messages.  If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I don’t post in the morning.  I really try to spend the morning “eating my frogs” and getting the most important things done that need to be completed that day. (I wrote a whole post about that topic here.)  

TIP #1) When you are ready to focus and get work done, set your phone in a different room!  Also turn off pop up notifications on your computer so that you can get lost in your work and stay focused.

The next tip that has been a total game changer for my productivity is called “batching.”  If you haven’t heard of batching before it’s simply grouping similar tasks together.  I’ve been working on getting better at this for a while now and feel like it is starting to really make a difference!  For example, instead of checking your e-mails all throughout the day, you would establish a set time to work on e-mails and only check/answer e-mails during that time.  By batching tasks you can set aside some time in the morning to knock out your top priorities and know you will have time to catch up on other things during other parts of your day.  There are SO many things that can be batched together to save time.  These are some of the things that I “batch” throughout my week:

E-mails:  I try to quickly go through my two inboxes once in the afternoon after I pick up my kids from school while they are doing homework (different time each day depending on their activities) and once again in the evening before I go to bed.  I don’t always make it through all of my e-mails, but I knock out as many as I can during those two times.  If I answered e-mails as they came in I would be doing nothing but e-mails all day long.  It really helps me to set a time to work on e-mail and then to have a time to cut it off even if I don’t get through them all.  I just do the best I can with the time I have!

Laundry/Cleaning:  I throw in a load of laundry here and there and pick up my house a little bit every day, but I have a main cleaning day each week when I do most of the cleaning and most of the laundry including towels and sheets.  I wrote more about my cleaning routine in this post on my 10 secrets to keeping your house clean and organized.

Spring Home Tour (Sunny Side Up)

{Recent Spring tour and home sources here}

Errands:  I always have a running list of things I need to buy and try to just go shopping one afternoon or morning each week.  If I have an appointment (hair, dentist, doctor, etc.) I usually schedule my errands around that appointment so that I’m only away from my home one morning or afternoon a week and can work the other days.  This has been a huge time saver for me because I used to run one simple errand or have an appointment most days of the week and then it was so hard to block out time to really focus on my blog or other things that needed to get done.

3 time management tips to increase productivity

*Quick tip: Keep a basket in a closet close to your door to hold items you need to return.  That way when you are running errands you have them ready to grab and go!  

Meal prep: So you all know that meal prep isn’t my thing and I’m not going to pretend that I have this one figured out because I don’t!  But one thing I’ve been trying to do more often is to make two meals at the same time once a week.  I really don’t enjoy cooking so I try to just knock out the dinner prep out all at once and then I don’t have to think about it again!  I make two simple meals one morning and then put them in the fridge so that we have a couple of options for our busy evenings.  Two is usually enough for my family for the week because our schedule is so hectic and most evenings we are on the go or in different places at dinner time.  (We make a quick sandwich for dinner or grab something on the go.)  Over the weekend we usually take the kids out one night (or get them pizza if we’re going out) and then my husband cooks one night.  I absolutely love weeks when I prepare two meals ahead of time!  I’ve been doing this on Monday mornings, but would love to find a way to make it happen on Sundays so that I can free my Monday for work.  I also want to get my girls involved more so that they learn to cook and do better than their mom does in that department. ;)  This one is a work in progress for me but I’m trying!  I’ll share a few simple meals I batch soon.  EASY stuff.

3 Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

(Getting ready to help mom cook – you know he means business when the stool and his favorite monster book comes out) ;)

Organization:  I organize a lot.  As you know. :)  Because my mornings need to be spent on my computer writing and working I’ve found that my best time to organize my home is in the afternoon.  I work straight through lunch and just eat at my desk so usually by 1:30 pm I need a break from computer work and I have one hour before I have to start picking up kids from school.  This has become my organizing time.  Sometimes I pick up and clean the house during this time, but if I’m working on organizing a specific space or thing I try to do it around this time of day.  One day last week I spent an hour cleaning out our freezer.  Right now I’m tackling my kids’ school work that has been piling up.  Hopefully I’ll have some progress to share soon!

Phone calls:  I make a list of calls I need to make and then try to do them while I’m organizing or cleaning at the end of my work day.  I don’t need to be as focused when I’m cleaning/organizing so it’s a perfect time to also knock out some phone calls.

Blog to-do’s:  I have also been trying to batch a lot of my blog tasks.  For example, if I’m taking pictures one morning I’ll try to take pictures for more than just one post.  (Because Thursday is my main cleaning day this year I take a lot of pictures on Fridays when the house is clean!)  I have a lot of blog friends who schedule their social media posts and do it all at a set time so that it’s done for the week.  I haven’t found that this works for me because I like my social media posts to be a little more organic, but I’m sure that batching social media tasks would be a huge time saver!  If I have some quiet writing time I’ll try to write more than one post and then I can add pictures later.  I also edit pictures and get them ready for posts all at the same time.  Usually after 9:00 in the evening when the kids are asleep or in their rooms and I’m watching TV with my husband.  Popcorn in hand of course. :)

Those are just a few tasks I try to batch to help me manage my time.  If this is something you think would be helpful for you, use a piece of paper to brainstorm all of the activities that fill your days.  See which activities can be batched together to help you save time!  It’s such a simple idea, but once you figure out a way to make it work for you it can really increase productivity during the day!

Tip #2) “Batch” similar tasks together to save time.  Focus on your most important tasks first thing in the morning.

The last tip goes hand in hand with batching.  In order to really be able to batch your tasks together like I shared above, you have to be organized!  You have to have your week organized and planned out ahead of time so that you know which tasks you will be grouping together and when.  I have two planning sessions that I can’t live without!  One at the end of each day when I re-write my to-do list and go over what I have going on the next day.  Then on Friday I have my “Week Ahead Prep” time.  I used to try to prep for the week ahead over the weekend but we are in a stage of life with our kids where the weekends are often just as busy as our weeks!  I couldn’t find a good, quiet time on Saturday or Sunday to do it so I spend some time first thing every Friday morning going over the next week.  I write a list of everything I still need to get done before Monday and then a separate list of things that can wait until the following week.  I also spend some time thinking about how my schedule will be laid out and which tasks I can batch to save time.  That way when Monday morning hits I know exactly what I need to be working on.  These planning times are so engrained in my schedule that I don’t even have to think about them!  They are a daily and weekly habit that makes my life run so much smoother and really helps with my productivity.

Tip #3) Establish set planning times in your schedule (one at the end of each day and a longer planning time once a week) to go over your goals and to-do’s and to plan for the day/week ahead.

Moving my cell phone, batching tasks, and set planning times.  Those are the three time management tips that really help me manage my time and increase productivity!  Such simple changes I’ve implemented that have made a HUGE difference for me.  I hope something in this post helps you with time management too!  To the moms out there.. hang on tight for the next few months, right? :)

Is there anything you are doing that saves time and helps you increase your productivity?  I’d love to hear about it!

Because I’m nerdy like that.


xoxo, Erin
Join the Conversation

36 thoughts on “Three Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

  1. I could not function with out my planner, to do lists and my calendar . I feel like if I plan ahead I have some control over my week. Even when unexpected things come up I can still fall back on my list to help me navigate through my week. Loved this post Erin

    1. I couldn’t either Cathy! That word is spot on.. it’s about feeling somewhat in CONTROL! So easy for a million things to get in the way of what we really want to get done every day. I’m so happy you like this post! And I hope you’re doing well! xo

  2. I never waste a minute….when I’m in the kitchen waiting for water to boil, I clean out a drawer or scrub cabinets, or clean out the fridge. When I’m packing for a trip, I clean out my bedroom drawers and go through my clothes and de hoard them. When I’m getting ready in the morning, I listen to productivity podcasts. When I’m done in the shower, I clean the shower while I’m still in it. :) Try to find things to do in the “waiting time”. Finally, when I’m at a stop light, I clean my car with little wipes I have in the car.

    1. Love this Kelly! I’m the same way! All those minutes throughout the day really add up, don’t they!? I love productivity podcasts too and listen to them when I clean. Sounds like the two of us would get along famously. ;) Thank you so much for sharing these good tips! xo

      1. Please share some of your favorite productivity podcasts. I love productivity books and have just begun to get into the world of podcasts! Thanks.

  3. Great tips, Erin. I’m still definitely a work in progress. Got the not checking email down. I also will not put email access on my phone. It’s different for you with your bigger blog than mine, but I honestly do not want to be that connected. My Instagram is on silent. Don’t ask me how I did that, because I’m not sure. The only things that ping on my phone are text messages, and I’m fairly certain, no one wants to contact me like they do you. ;) My deal is I’m now working outside the home. My best and most productive time is in the morning and I’m using it at work. When I get home I am literally tired and I make dinner every night. So generally, that’s about all I get done, aside from getting kids where they need to be. I’m trying to psyche myself up to getting more tasks done in the evening, but honestly haven’t gotten there yet. LOL I like the idea of batching and try to do that when running errands. Thank you so much for sharing what is working for you! Gives me food for thought for sure. :) Have a happy and productive week!

    1. Thank you Jeanne! I’m glad you liked this post! I know the feeling of being burned out by evening.. it’s so hard to find the energy at the end of the day when you’ve already worked and cooked and driven kids all over the place. I usually hit a low tired time around 7 or 8 and then magically get a second wind around 9:00 pm and go strong until midnight. The only bad thing about that is I’m usually sleep deprived and dragging in the morning. There are never enough minutes to do it all right? But batching has definitely helped me save some time. I’ll take all the little tricks I can find! My suggestion to you is to pick one evening each week and not cook! Have your kids make sandwiches or pancakes or something easy and spend that time/energy doing something you want or need to get done. Although your kids might not like that idea.. ha! ;) They are lucky to have a mom who makes them meals every evening! So impressive Jeanne! xo

  4. You are totally right on with the phone! I stopped bringing my phone upstairs with me while the kids are doing their nighttime routines. Instead of checking instagram and facebook, I do my routine as well at that time (washing face, brushing teeth), so I don’t skip it later before bed when I’m too tired to be bothered by it. If the phone is there., its a guaranteed distraction and next thing you know I’m on the bed on my phone. So much productivity gained by something so simple!

    1. Tara! SO smart to recognize that and not bring the phone with you when you go upstairs! I do my nighttime routine (wash face, etc.) early too because when I finally go to bed I’m always too tired to do much! Such a good tip! I’m sure you’re more present for your kids that way too. I know when I have my phone nearby I’m always tempted to grab it and answer someone and before I know it I’ve totally disconnected from everyone around me. Like you said.. such a simple thing that makes a huge difference! xo

  5. Really enjoyed and appreciated this post. I’ve struggled with staying organized at home for years. In my work office, it’s a breeze and I’m a pro at it, but at home……arrgghh! I can’t stay focused and I feel like I have so much to do that I flit from one thing to another so pretty much everything looks and is only half done. But….I’m a work in progress and hopefully I’ll get there one of these days.

    1. I know the feeling Amy! There’s just so much to get done and keep track of in our homes isn’t there!? It’s crazy. I don’t think we’ll ever feel “done” but batching tasks has definitely helped me feel a little more on top of things that I have in the past. I’ve gained some time back by being more efficient with how/when I do things and that has really helped me with that overwhelmed feeling. And I do the same.. last week I only posted once because I had four different posts going and all of them were half way finished.. ha! I was finally like “ok.. time to just FINISH one and get it done.” I think we all get scattered and do that sometimes! I’m definitely a work in progress too. ;) xo

  6. Well written and excellent ideas! I always batch my errands since I’m 12 miles from the city I shop in. I go about every 10 days and hit my favorites like HomeGoods then my food shopping like Trader Joe’s and Costco. It’s a full day for me but so much more efficient than running down more often.

    I live by ‘to do’ lists!!!

    It’s more difficult at home since we both retired. The husband is around all day so my interruptions and change in plans are often but I really can’t complain, can I?

    1. You are so smart to do all of your errands on one day Dianne! Especially since you are a ways out from where you shop. My problem is that everything is so close to me. It’s easy to drop by a store once a day but that was killing my productivity! And yes.. what would we do w/o our to-do lists!? I’m so happy for you that you’re retired! My parents are too and are loving life. :) xo

  7. Ooooh! Great idea on Productivity Podcasts!! Which ones do you listen to? I looooved your pantry by the way- thanks for your great tips! Have a super day.

  8. I have 6 kids and 5 of them take a lunch to school everyday. I make 32 sandwiches every two weeks (a couple of kids have half day Wed. so it works out) and freeze them. It has been a game changer. I started doing them on regular bread or rolls but my kids said they got soggy so I tried those sandwich rounds or thin bagels and they work great. I put 2 slices of turkey, 2 slices of ham and a slice of cheese. I ordered a box of MW packets off of amazon and they throw that in their lunch box, by the time lunch rolls around they’re unthawed but still cool. It has helped our morning routine a ton.

    1. Ashley!! 6 kids.. 5 lunches a day.. 32 sandwiches every 2 weeks.. my jaw is on the floor! You are my hero!! Ha! Seriously though. Such a great time saving tip. You are amazing! xo

  9. I’m with Dianne on the ‘one trip to town’ tip :) I keep a list on my fridge I add to as I think of something we need and plan it all in one trip about every 2 weeks. This doesn’t include groceries. Keeps me away from the shops & saves my sanity shopping with a toddler lol
    Erin your post on your Friday afternoon schedule was life changing for me way back when I first read it! I learned so much! I still do it every Friday, then instead of washing uniforms on sundays I can spend the day having fun with my 2 kids :)
    Krystal in Australia x

  10. These are all really great tips. I feel so much more productive when I have my time planned out. I do try to buffer in some time each day for the unplanned and unexpected. But even that is helpful to keeping me on track the rest of the time. Thanks you for sharing your tips as well. I think the batching might be helpful for me.

  11. My husband and I do our cooking for the week on Sunday afternoon. We both work outside the home and cooking our meal for the week in the weekend is so helpful for us. We eat healthier because we don’t grab something on the fly on our way home from work, and I have a healthy lunch to bring to work every day. I’ve tried cooking once I get home from work but by the time I finish cooking and cleaning it’s already time for bed and I don’t get any down time. Cooking after work is doable but it’s not as enjoyable. I also clean our shower while I’m in the shower, grab stuff to put away in another room if I’m already going to that room to get something else. Like you, I do errands if I already have an appointment that’s taking me to that part of town. S

  12. I love this post! Thank you for the incredibly helpful tips and reminders!! :) Time is a gift, so using it efficiently is such a rewarding feeling!

  13. Batching is a buzzword in the teacher universe too and as a SpEd teacher, with all our crazy paperwork for each kiddo, it’s extremely efficient. Our phones have to be on silent in class, so that helps as well ( as you have found out!)

    Like you, I have always needed to be organized-its the only thing that helped me feel like I had some semblance of a clean and functioning household back when my now-adult twins were babies/toddlers/middle schoolers.
    Time management rules! Parkinson’s Law, The Pomodoro Technique, Pareto’s principle-it’s all fascinating to me.
    We’re on Spring Break in a week and we’ll be getting ready for daughter’s wedding in May!!!!
    Talk about organizing/cleaning/refreshing…everything. Now there’s a to-do list!

    Meal prep is always an issue to this day ( hubs and I work full time)-planning it, buying it cooking it UGH.
    We do it b/c it has to be done (however I do love to cook for big events/parties/holidays and I love to bake) .
    One easy thing we do is buy the pre-made teriyaki chicken meatballs from Costco and throw them in a crock pot full of decent vodka sauce. Then all you need is salad and pasta.

    Another fast thing we make is what we call taco bake-( it’s neither tacos nor baked, LOL go figure)
    Brown some ground turkey/beef, add a jar of you fave salsa, and simmer for ten minutes.
    Grate some cheddar ( its what hubs like most) on top then (1) turn the burner OFF and (2) cover until the cheese melts.
    You can put this in taco shells or do like us and just use corn chips to scoop it up.
    Sour cream, avocados and green onions make it fancy.

    Back in the day my Ma had it down to a science-if it was Wednesday, for example, it was spaghetti for dinner. Thursday? Pork chops and mac-n-cheese. Friday was fish. I can still recite her weekly list-which she took to the grocery store every Saturday AM. She did not cook on Saturdays-it was a fend for yourself day. Sunday she would make a huge dinner that would last through leftovers on Monday. She was the original organized working woman lol!

  14. Hi Erin,

    I found you on IG and now follow your BLOG which I sooooo ENJOY! Thank you so much for your efforts to share all of your amazing decorating ideas and organizational talents.! You are not only inspiring but you are changing lives by making the world (and our homes) around us much more beautiful. I love that you are full exposure and share all of your beautiful ideas. NOTHING more frustrating to me, personally, to adore someone else’s designs and then they do not share any details. Why put it out there if you are not willing to share?

    Keep doing what you are doing. I am a nurse and I do what I know best. You are making a difference in all of our lives.
    You have been blessed with an amazing eye for beauty to which you have been blessed by GOD.

    Thank you again. And keep doing what you are doing!!
    Amy Cummings

  15. Hi Erin!
    I’m curious to know how you keep track of your to do lists? Is it an app or old school paper? Ive been struggling to find one good place to mind dump things I need to do!

    1. Hi again Wendy! K I’m laughing.. you’ll see how I do my brain dumps in my next post! I have a free printable for everyone so check back tomorrow! Then my office organization post will follow. We are so on the same page it’s funny! :)

      1. I was seriously reading your posts to my husband and laughing because we are so alike, I just wish I was as motivated as you are and could decorate like you!!

  16. Hi Erin! I love this post! So true about the phone being a distraction all day long. I am trying to get better about only checking email/social media during set times of the day, and I agree, it makes a huge difference in my productivity. One thing I do in the morning like clockwork, is write in my journal. It helps to pour out what’s going on in my head, review what I accomplished the day before, and prepare myself for the day ahead. This “me” time, with a fresh page in my journal and a hot cup of coffee has come to be one of the most treasured parts of my day!

    1. I love that idea Pamela! Such a great way to start your day! I’ve been working on my morning routine and might have to add some journaling! :) xo

Shop my instagram

View All Posts