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HomeBudgetOptimal Daily Schedule for Working Moms (In Every Situation)

Optimal Daily Schedule for Working Moms (In Every Situation)


This is going to be a comprehensive guide to an optimal daily schedule for working moms with a lot of examples because not everyone has the same situation. If you take 5-8 minutes to read the highlights below, it will change your life and it will mean that you’re actually able to implement and stick to that schedule.

I know in your heart, you’re thinking this part is like when you need a recipe for Texas sheet cake and you have to scroll through the entire story of why they love Texas sheet cake which serves no purpose to the recipe.

This isn’t like that. Scroll the headlines below to see which ones relate to you. When I originally wrote this, I included 8 different schedules to incorporate every feasible schedule because everyone’s life looks a little different.

Some busy moms work shift work, and overnights, and evenings like the 2-10 pm shift, or the midnight shift. Some moms have newborns or babies, some have toddlers and some moms have teens or elementary school kids and their needs are completely unique to:

  • The age of their children
  • The work schedule they have
  • What other obligations they have.
  • Commute times. A long commute can make an 8-hour job a 12-hour ordeal with traffic and kid drop off and pick up.
  • Do they live on a farm? Do they care for an aging parent? Do they have a side job? Are they on the school PTO board, do they volunteer, are their kids in travel soccer (in which case it may be easier just to live in your car… I’m kidding… kind of).

Even without any of these special circumstances, you don’t have much time to do the things you need to do so we need to carefully plan for the remainder of your time. After it was all written, we decided that it’s more helpful to go into detail with one example schedule. Consider this a typical day and adjust as needed. But if you’d like to see the schedule adjusted for a certain shift, comment below and we’ll add it or make a new post for that specific schedule.  

A lot of thought went into organizing this post so that it’s the most helpful for you. I made these example schedules using what I think is the best way to prioritize and conquer tasks. But your best way may be different than my best way and that’s ok. But I know from my own experience and from helping over 18 million readers tackle chronic disorganization and overcome a lack of willpower that it’s priceless to have a reasonable place to start that works for most people. Then you can a/b test and change as needed.

Standard Tasks (In Order of Importance): 

To help us make schedules – We have a list of standard tasks that’s assumed that everyone will need to or want to do. Your list may be a little different from this but this gives you a jumping-off point to customize it to your life.

Daily Routine:

  • Create a “Mom Morning Routine”: This is a great way to set up your day. This will vary for different personalities – Here’s a few examples. 
    • Productive morning routine – “Power Hour” focus block on your biggest project while you pound coffee.
    • Serene morning routine- 10 Minute wake-up yoga and journaling your intentions for the day.)
    • Fashionista morning routine – Skincare, full makeup routine and blown out hair.
  • Before Work Routine: Unload dishwasher (if you didn’t do it last night), put in laundry, load dishes from breakfast.
  • After Work Routine: Switch over laundry
  • Evening Routines: Dinner, dishwasher, 15 min reset.
  • Bedtime routine: Vitamins, retainer (if you have one), face routine or skincare (if you have one). Warning: Not the time for social media. We don’t want that to be the last thing we see before sleep! We want to end the day in an enjoyable way and unwind. But I also know this is one of the hardest habits to break, so if you already struggle with that- this paragraph isn’t going to be the thing that fixes that but also this isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed today. 

A Note About After-School Sports and Extracurricular Activities:

Fair warning: I’m not a child psychologist or an expert in child development. My expertise is in behavioral management and working with unique personalities to improve outcomes when nothing else has worked. And actual experts are mostly split on after-school sports and extracurricular activities in kids anyway.

There are experts who feel that we’re overscheduling our kids and teaching them to have the same time constraint crisis that we as adults face, and that the victims of that are family bonding time. There are also experts who say that this is such an exciting time in development for kids and that exposing them to as many new things and concepts is a fantastic opportunity for kids and when done in moderation can actually enhance family bonding.

Interestingly, in the 10 years I’ve worked with families on this topic – I see guilt in mothers who do either. Guilt for not being able to afford (time or money) after school activities and guilt for mothers who do it (because they’ve overpacked their kids’ schedule).  I’m not here to tell you to do them or not, there’s plenty of evidence in both directions, but I am here to give you some out-of-the-box ideas on how to manage the after-school sports and extracurricular activities if you choose to do them.

Ways To Manage Extra Curricular Activities Successfully 

  • Share practice duties with other moms in your area. 
  • Hire a team babysitter with other moms. So paying one adult babysitter $20 an hour to pick up 4 kids and bring them to sports practice for 2.5 hours with travel time is $60 divided by 4 kids = $15 per kid per week. 
  • Limit one activity per kid per season.
  • Limit one activity per kid per year.
  • Limit activities until they can be done after school at the school – depending on your school district though – some sports teams even in middle school are really competitive and it would be hard to make the team if you haven’t already done the sport from a younger age. And yes – that system is insane.
  • Seek out same-day practice and game options – so it’s just one day a week.
  • Have a dinner out policy for practice days so you can just go ahead and budget and plan for Chickfila (or whatever) those days. 
  • Grandparent duty – one reader had a grandmother move to town and took over after-school sports giving them bonding time (I’m super jelous!)
  • With more intense after-school schedules (travel teams especially), remove screens as an option during the week if they choose to join the travel team. First, because their schedule is nuts and you want them to have time to do homework and to have creative and unstructured time but also because we want them to feel a little bit of sacrifice too because you’re going to be sacrificing a lot of time. Losing weekday screen time helps them immediately understand that this is a huge commitment and not something to agree to on a whim.

A Note About Screen Time:

So most experts out there agree to limit screen time to 1 hour from 2-5 years old, viewing things with an adult (they clearly haven’t sat through an episode of Caillou on repeat), and over 5 years old up to 2 hours a day. Under 2 should have no screen time.

So first off, I know of very few people who successfully stick to that. But I view this as an ideal and not a minimum standard. So, if you’re above that – be easy on yourself and understand that you’re in the vast majority.

Maybe your kid will grow up to be a video game coder and it’s all thanks to your letting them have excessive screen time. Go you, mom! That being said – I’ve seen this in my own family and in a lot of others – limiting screen time brought a lot of long-term benefits (but admittedly a lot of misery for the initial day or two) there’s been ways that we’ve successfully limited screen time.

Ways to Regulate Screen Time Successfully 

  • Unlimited screen time in mornings after completing kids’ morning checklist including getting dressed for school (this completely made both of our kids very independent with waking up and getting ready for school and ended a lot of morning struggles). 
  • Taking a two-week break to “regulate” what’s normal (if you’ve ever done a spending freeze – this is the same concept and works the same way) – this will SUCK for two-three days, your kids will drive you insane, after that – they regulate and you’ll get to see what their like without screens. (Hint: Less emotional, more grateful, more creative, and very fun). 
  • The absolute best thing you can do to make these limits possible is to get them addicted to reading (a two week break or “reading time” helps with that, so does searching for craveable book series in their age group. 
  • Use Gryphon Guardian Mesh Wi-Fi Router which handles ALL of your kids’ devices on one app because it controls times at the wifi level instead of on the device level. It also has an app that can filter content, show you total browsing history, lets you set bedtimes or homework times or just limit screen time. It can also regulate safe search on all devices, and you can easily suspect suspend the internet to a kid’s devices at any time. It Covers 1,800 sq. ft and costs about $80.

A Note About Mom Guilt:

In 10 years of working with families who are chronically disorganized or very overwhelmed, I have never met a mother without mom guilt. It’s so ubiquitous that it spans every household income level… from poverty to household incomes over 300k a year, and every type of setup, from moms that homeschool, to moms that stay at home with their kids, to corporate career moms, working moms, and every personality type.

I used to have a lot of it too – until I realized that every single one of us suffers from this regardless of the choices we make, and it serves no purpose other than adding stress to our already stressful lives. Every decision you make, has benefits to your kids and drawbacks as well. The mere fact that you HAVE mom guilt means that you love your kids and are trying to be a good parent, which means that you are a good parent.

I’m also completely convinced that however we raise our kids is going to screw them up in some sort of way, none of us (or them) are perfect. I grew up with two parents who loved and adored me and a mom that literally did everything for me. I never had to lift a finger. She is the best caretaker in the world and they praised me and “celebrated mediocrity” in every way.

Because of that upbringing, I entered into adulthood having absolutely no idea how to do anything from laundry to dishes, to budgeting and life in general. But on the flip side, I have great self-esteem from that same upbringing.

Because of my upbringing, I’m trying to “fix” those mistakes, and my kids have absolutely rocked chores from young ages. When they graduate from high school they’ll be easily able to transition to “adulting”, I’m positive of that.

I’m also positive that I’m failing them in some other way, that I don’t even know about right now. My mom did the best she could with the skills, choices, and personality she had access to. So am I. And so are you. We all ended up fine and so will they.

What About a Weekly Cleaning Schedule?:

You may have noticed that in our daily tasks lists we don’t have a lot of cleaning tasks like vacuuming, deep cleaning, mopping, or god forbid… window washing. That’s because we teach bare minimum effort on a consistent basis to people who are seriously overwhelmed, are chronically disorganized, or have something that affects their ability to manage their life – like ADHD, fibromyalgia, or caring for someone with special needs.

We help them by teaching them how to work with their unique personality to bypass their own motivation levels (so they actually want to stick to the program), and then do the bare minimum effort on a consistent basis (so they CAN stick to the program), and then teach them how to skill build so that each improvement they make – actually makes it easier to tackle the next skill (consistently improving their life in the meantime). You can learn our system by grabbing a (free with this link) copy of our Trashed to Total Home Trasnformation Starter Program here

Does this mean you’ll never vacuum again? No. (Especially if you have a German Shepherd.) In our signature course that teaches our methods for both home management and budgeting, we teach you how to automate most of that, but we leave you time in the schedules to do additional tasks that are important to you (like vacuuming… though I’m hoping you have better things to do than window washing? If not – I have a giant list of every hobby in the world that you should peruse here). 

A Note on ADHD, Pain Disorders, Medical Exhaustion:

If you’re not already aware of the spoon theory, it’s life-changing for people with medical issues that affect their daily living. The spoon theory is that if you have 12 spoons a day and each of your basic daily activities cost you one spoon, how would you spend your 12 spoons a day?

You’ll quickly understand that you cannot do all of the things that you want to do if you only have 12 spoons a day, so in order to make things work, you’ll need to become an expert in prioritizing the things that are most important to you in any given moment. Which one of these balls am I ok with dropping? Example: I need laundry clean. I need laundry clean so the kids have underwear for school but don’t care if my car looks like a roller dumpster in the pick-up line.

YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING. I say all of this because there are several conditions that could make you unable to keep up with a schedule like the ones outlined below. These schedules are “spoon-friendly” which means I’ll give you examples of some changes you can try to the schedule if you’re working with limited spoons in a day for conditions that wouldn’t be able to follow the below schedules.

But also keep in mind that we’re your people. A large portion of the people I work with have something that makes it difficult for them to stick to a program and/or schedule.

And my expertise in working with whatever that is, whether it be a difficult personality or ADHD, or a medical condition to change the outcome of your situation without changing who you are (hint: because you can’t). If you want to learn our system, you can get the Trashed To Total Home Transformation (free with this link) here.

Time Management Foundation:

The secret to time management is to widen the gap between what you have to do and the time you have to do it in. Make decisions in your life that free up time and free up money resources. This is the secret to work-life balance too. People that have work-life balance are able to manipulate time in either direction as needed. Giving more to home if it needs it or more to work if it needs it.

Expectations of Time Management:

The expectations on you, whether put there by society or by yourself are bull. The two most common words I’ve heard moms describe themselves as are “busy” and “exhausted” (want the third? It’s overwhelmed). If I could teach you just one thing, it’s to stop comparing yourself to what you (falsely) think the women around you are accomplishing and start comparing yourself to yourself.

Are you getting better or worse? If you keep improving you, you get sustainable results and growth without the defeatist mentality of no matter how much you improve, you’re not nearly as good as “so and so” and you still suck in all of these other areas.

Depending on how you or your spouse were raised you may view moms as needing to serve the other family members. Your views of housework may be that mom does all the laundry, and dishes, and cleaning. But that may have been passed on from your grandmother’s generation where women didn’t work. Most families now incorporate their kids into chores and their spouses into helping with domestic chores.

Use Your Time to Uplevel Into More Time:

One of the best skills I have ever learned is to uplevel the time I have into exponential time later. Here’s how that worked: I used the program laid out in Exit Strategy– to go from working as a career state trooper with mandatory overtime, frequent shift changes, rotating days off, and very little work-life balance and then needing to fit in all of the home and life tasks I had in the pockets of time I could fit in around work.

I can remember months where I worked 16 days in a row. I had very little control of my schedule. Including on my days off because I could be called in at any minute and I was always adjusting my sleep schedule to make sure I was ready for the next day.

Your Career Has The Biggest Impact On Your Schedule. 

I switched from that to running a home daycare for my son and 3 other kids, making the same amount of money every month once you factor in taxes and worked a straight schedule of 50 hours a week. but I could fit ALL of my home management and life management into that 50 hours a week. Which was absolutely glorious after 9 years of having very little control of my time. I love my time running that home daycare because I was basically paid to be a Pinterest mom.

Then I used my extra hours to start and grow an online business teaching others the things I was figuring out about how to hack your personality when you don’t have natural willpower and you’re chronically disorganized or overwhelmed. That increased my income significantly, and reduced my working hours to under 20 a week and gave me the ultimate flexibility – what I call “flippability” which is the ability to flip on a dime between focusing more on home when it needs it and more on work when it needs it.

You can Uplevel Money Too. 

Money works the same way by the way – investing money into areas that have growth potential rather than just spending it. Keep in mind, we’ve helped thousands of students create more time in Exit Strategy – which is personalized to your unique circumstances. So the answer is never the same for multiple people, that’s the path that my skills, unique needs, and interests generated.

But the thing I need you to realize is that if you feel constantly trapped for time and like you’re drowning in all the things – The way things are now are not the way they have to be.

There are absolutely things you can do to increase your resources of both time and money. And it’s not just for new careers, wish you could be a stay-at-home mom? You can be with a little luck and some smart positioning.

School Year Schedule versus Summer Schedule:

I wrote the below optimal schedule, assuming that your schedule will stay similar for the summer, either with your kids going to an all-day summer camp while you’re at work, or your older kids entertaining themselves at home (this is a great time to implement kids’ chores (we have family chore chart printables here) because they’re old enough to do that.

The exception to that of course is teachers and school staff, who have the summers off from work. If you’re staying home with kids, just switch over for the summer to an optimal stay-at-home mom schedule (If I haven’t released that schedule yet, leave me a comment below this post and I’ll make it a priority).

Early Bird versus Night Owl:

I wanted to make sure that I address the fact that along with your unique personality, you’re either a morning person or a night owl. Some people wake up at 5 am and get tons of stuff done before they go to work. Some people wake up 5 minutes before they leave but have tons of creative energy at 11 pm at night. Always work with your natural personality instead of against it to get the optimal results. That’s why these schedules are base schedules for you to adjust and a/b test as needed.

Mom Routine versus Dad Routine:

98% of my readers are women, hence why this article is written as “optimal schedules for working moms”, but if you’re a dad – this schedule would also apply to you.

Help From Other Members of the Family:

We have some readers who are single moms or moms with partners on active duty or often away so we teach our material as if you had to do it all. But obviously, you don’t. Give them areas of complete control (where you give up the task and organizing, and management – for instance, if you were going to do this for dinners – it would be “you’re in charge of feeding the family for dinner including picking what to eat, making it, etc.) If you have no idea how to get your family to help, or if you have a reluctant spouse – you can learn our way to manage that here.

Single Mom: 

This optimized schedule is written as if you were single or the only help you have is your kids. We did this for a few reasons, 1. Because a lot of you don’t have additional help at home, either because you’re single, or your spouses are often away or they’re just not that helpful (we have a guide to help with reluctant spouses here) So if you’re single, these should work for you as well, with some small adjustments to your personal schedule.

Overtime, Second Job, or Second Shift Schedules: 

Because there are so many possible second job or overtime scenarios – I couldn’t give you examples of those schedules, but my hope is that you’re able to take these base schedules and adjust them to fit in your overtime or second jobs schedules.

Weekends:

I’m including this optimized way of breaking down your weekend, but this will look different if you have days off during the week instead of the weekend. So I’ll give you two Common Schedules for that:

Normal Weekends Off: 

Saturday: Fun Day

Do things together as a family, or in separate pursuits of things you think are fun. We keep a giant list of bucket list ideas for the season (along with costs) and then try to work through that list on Saturdays. I find that Fun day is my favorite for quality time as a family. But this is also a popular day to meet friends out, have people over, or just generally do fun things.

We do a lot of 1:1 nights on Saturdays for dinners too – So maybe Jon and our son will play video games at home and order in pizza and my daughter and I will go thrifting and pack a picnic or go to Target and Chick-fil-A. Or we’ll switch and My son and I will go to the game store cafe to play games, and my daughter and Jon will go out to dinner. Or Jon and I will go out.

Sunday: Reset Day

This is a day that I make no plans. (Church doesn’t count obviously if you’re into that). Our only job on Sundays is to reset and recover from the week. You can set your meal plan, look at your budget, make sure all your laundry from the week was put away. Set up your schedule for the week. Go grocery shopping (or have it delivered), or you can lay on the couch and watch 2 seasons of Suits in one sitting. The choice is yours.

That’s not to say that you’ll spend the entire day resetting on Sundays. We do frequently, but the idea is that there’s no plans looming in your head and you have ultimate control of your time on Sundays. Do the things you need to do to be good for the week and then go do whatever you want to. Often this ends up being a different kind of family time. But just as important. 

Alternative Reset Days (for random days off): 

So most people get two days “off” of traditional work a week. Though certainly not everyone, because a lot of people work second jobs etc. If you’re in a situation that you’re working a second job so you don’t actually have two days off a week, I’d make it a priority to figure out what needs to happen to be able to transition into a schedule that lets you have two days off a week.

When you have off when the kids are at school, I’d suggest this as your optimal schedule:

  • Day 1 off: Fun for You Day. Go out and seek out individual pursuits and things you love doing. Hint: Find friends with similar work schedules (not replacing your friends obviously but it’s going to make this schedule a lot more fun if you have someone to meet for an adventure when the rest of the world is working. Peanut is an app similar to Tinder but for moms to find friends.
  •  Day 2 off: Use this as your reset day as described above. When you plan and reset your weeks, reset them from this day and plan  the week until your next day off (which may be longer than 7 days if your days off float or rotate).
  • Saturday and Sunday when the kids are off: After or before work – plan something fun to do with your family or kids that also doesn’t exhaust you. So this may be game nights at home, or even just snuggling to watch a movie. 

Things That Level Up Your “Daily Optimal Schedule”: 

(Heads up these are Affiliate links where they’re available – but all are chosen because I use and love them).

A layout in a beige and white neutral colored business planner with photos washi taped into the left side in neutral beige washi tape and on the right is a business planning page.

Working Routine Upgrade: Business Planner 

I ADORE my business planning system and after years of searching – I found a random business planner called the Daily Grind Planner that lets me do my entire system in just one book. It was actually built originally as a life planner, but I think they’re misbranding it. It’s an exceptional business planner. I explain how I use it in step-by-step detail here.

Blonde 40 year old woman smiling holding a planner in front of white built in styled bookshelves. The planner is white and coiled and says

Home Routine Upgrade: Home Planner

The Home Success Planner is the best planner in the world to use with our home management system. It tracks your foundation for you and has spots for the bucket list we talked about above. 

Evening Routine Upgrade: “One Line a Day” 5-Year Reflection Journal

I love this. I leave this on my bed with an attached pen and it’s the very last thing I do every night. This is mine because I love the asthetics, but Amazon has tons to choose from. 

Sleep Routine Upgrade: Light Therapy Alarm Clock

If you struggle with waking up in the mornings, this is a great investment (I got this one because the price is insanely low and it has a ton of good reviews – NYT says this one is better but it’s also $100– I haven’t compared the two – I figured I’d buy the $40 because it’s Amazon and I can return it if I wasn’t happy – but I was happy). It simulates sunlight BEFORE your alarm goes off and gently gets brighter. So you’ll often wake up BEFORE your alarm clock with this and it’s a glorious way to start your day.

Bad Day Upgrade: Self-Care Kit:

Break this open in case of a very long day that you can’t get over easily. Put in it whatever you need to get through a tough day. TV dinners, bubble baths, and a book is mine. Let the kids eat Cheerios for dinner if needed. Everyone will survive until tomorrow. That’s all that matters.

This is more of a mental self-care kit and not an actual box in your emergency supplies. But know that you always have the option to call it in. In the beginning, to help you remember that you have this option, write it out on a little post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror. 

There’s literally dozens of things I use in my daily life that I have no idea how I existed without, those are the most important. If you want more of my daily life savers, you can find them here. 

Optiminal Daily Schedule For Working Moms: 

6:00-7:30 AM: Morning Routine

  • Wake up, shower, dress, monitor kids.
  • Breakfast, pack lunches.
  • Load dishes into an empty dishwasher, start preloaded laundry.
  • Sneak a peek at the schedule for dinner plans or reminders.
  • Check the schedule book for any updates needed from the previous day.

7:30 AM: School Drop-off

  • Bring kids to school/bus stop or arrange a carpool with neighborhood moms.

8:00 AM: Commute to Work

  • Listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or playlists.
  • If early, consider a quick workout or a peaceful morning routine to plan your workday.

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Work Hours

12:00 PM: Lunch

  • Eat packed lunch, handle any personal calls noted in the morning.
  • Optional: Another quick workout or walk.

12:30 – 5:00 PM: Continue Work Hours

5:00 PM: After School Pickup

  • Consider ride-sharing for after-school activities.
  • Weekly errand day on Wednesdays (library, grocery, dry cleaning).

6:00 PM: Evening Routine at Home

  • Kids start chores (laundry, cleaning up).
  • Prepare dinner together or alternate cooking responsibilities with older kids/partner.
  • For kids in afterschool programs, ensure homework completion.

6:30 PM: Dinner and Reset

  • Eat dinner then do a 15-minute reset (dishes, laundry, decluttering).
  • Great time for kids to pack their lunches.

7:15 PM: Off/Reward Time

  • Free time for relaxation or personal activities.

9:45 PM: Nighttime Routine

  • Empty dishwasher, start nighttime skincare, lay out clothes for the next day.

10:00 PM: Bedtime

  • Ensure 8 hours of sleep. Opt for reading over screen time (I have the best habit of reading non fiction “good for me but kind of boring self help books” during this time. It puts me right to sleep). 
  • Consider partner bonding time or playing sleep meditations through Alexa or Youtube to help you sleep. 
  • Also consider a silk eye mask and comfortable earplugs made for sleeping (like these) if your partner stays up later than you so they don’t keep you up. 

Note: Weekend meal planning and grocery shopping are done on reset day or errands day.

 

 

Was this helpful? What specific schedule should I optimize next?

 

FTC DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: IN ORDER FOR US TO MAINTAIN THIS WEBSITE, SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE POST ABOVE MAY BE AFFILIATE LINKS. REGARDLESS, WE ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES WE USE PERSONALLY AND/OR BELIEVE WILL ADD VALUE TO READERS

FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers



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