Grey squirrel eating nut with blog title text in white letters


I go to bed each night with the intention of waking up early to have a few moments of quiet time before my kids wake up. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and pray that the 3-year-old sleeps past my alarm.

I consider myself lucky if I can wake up and get the coffee brewing before he tiptoes down the hallways demanding snacks. Most mornings, he actually beats my alarm clock and is either 1) already in my bed climbing all over me or 2) coming down the stairs so loudly that I jump out of bed and shush him so he doesn’t wake the baby.

This means that many mornings, my hopes and dreams of sipping my coffee as I have quiet time or sneak in a solo workout are sent packing. I grumble and complain to myself as I quickly rack my brain to reshuffle the day’s focus.

Some mornings it’s easier than others to just roll with the punches. I am a morning person (and obviously so is my son) and I am most productive earlier in the day. I like to get my work done early, so when my I can’t complete my to-do list on my schedule it reallys throws my day out of whack. Some people, aka my husband, tell me to just stay up later and get it all done after the kids have gone to bed. That may work for him, or you even, but by the time I get both kids asleep after 732 stories, trips to the bathroom, nursing sessions and drinks of water, I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I’ve been known  asleep with them because I was so drained.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, obviously you’re not alone.  There’s another mama (or likely thousands) out there who’s just as sleep-deprived and flustered as you. In the thick of the moment, we may feel like the only mom out there who is always running behind on her mile long to-do list.

It can be sooooo frustrating to have to reschedule your workout because of a crying baby or having to search for your kid’s left shoe EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING! Believe me, I’ve been there with ya sister.

Sometimes, we just need full concentration on a task without making sure the baby isn’t climbing the stairs or the toddler isn’t asking what the color purple smells like. Sometimes, we just need to get need a moment to ourselves or even to talk to another adult without interruptions.

Let me share some tips with you that have helped me stay focused and check of items on my daily to do list.

  1. Be flexible.
    • Can you shift your work time to another part of the day?
    • Can you get the work done with the children playing?
  2. Plan ahead. Plan for chaos
    • Pack lunches the night before
    • Pick out clothes
  3. Give yourself time.
    • If you have a hard deadline, don’t procrastinate. Map out a plan ahead of time to meet that deadline ahead of time instead of rushing at the last minute. You’ll feel much less stressed, I promise!
  4. Eat that frogGreen frog with white belly
    • I’m borrowing this one from author Brian Tracy, who built a book around the quote from Mark Twain.
    • Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

  5. Make nap time your time
    • Some days, by the time nap time rolls around you just want to crash and nap yourself. Girl, I get it and some days, I nap right there with my kids and I don’t shame myself. Those days, my body needed sleep more than it needed to tackle the pile of laundry or emails in my inbox.
    • We never know how long those ticking-time bombs will sleep. Some days, they’ll sleep for 3 hours and we’ll go check on them 5x to make sure they are still breathing and other days, they’ll be fully rested and ready to tackle the jungle gym in 30 minutes.
      • Use those precious moments as if they will wake up in 30 minutes so that you work with focus and motivation. If you longer stretches, GREAT! Check off one box and move onto the next. And if that next box means catching up on a quick Netflix binge, cool!
  6. Babywearing for the winblack and white photo of mom wearing baby in soft structured carrier
    • A baby carrier or wrap has helped me answer while cooking dinner, wrangling an overtired toddler or just kept the baby in one spot while I emptied the dishwasher.
    • There are a variety of brands, styles and price ranges for the various carriers. I am a bit of a babywearing enthusiast and have at least a half a dozen different carriers and wraps for both of my kids. (Even my almost four-year-old still loves to go up on my back for a “backpack ride.”
  7. Utilize distractions
    • Sometimes, you just gotta get 💩 done and you need to entertain your kids. It’s reality. I know in our perfect made for social media world we’d always be there for our kids and lovingly give them every moment of our day. But, come on.
      • Use a special toy that your kids don’t normally play with so it buys you more time. Something that will engage them without needing your assistance (and hopefully doesn’t make a ton of noise).
      • Books or other quiet activities
      • Snacks. Food is always good. Especially for HANGRY kids.
      • And of course, tablet/movie or TV time.
        • It doesn’t make you a bad mama if Daniel Tiger’s mom is hanging out with your kid for 20 minutes.
  8. Phone a friend
    • If you have a hard deadline, seek out the help of a friend, neighbor, family member, spouse or even a hired sitter.
  9. Create a new “normal”
    • If you absolutely need an hour a day to fold clothes, send emails, prepare dinner, etc. build it into your daily routine so the kids can begin to expect what’s next. Kids thrive on consistency and routine, so this is a great way to carve out routine in your day and (hopefully) minimize whining and interruptions.
      • Now of course, if you have infants at home this routine is a bit harder to create. But even young babies can begin to understand routines and consistency within reason and age expectations.
      • Try creating a visual “to do” list for you kids. This lets them see the daily routine and they’ll enjoy checking off their own “to do” list along with you. Check out Pinterest for some inspiration.
  10. Forecast the day
    • Give them a plan of what to expect for the day or even the next hour or the next experience.
      • “After Mommy makes this phone call, we will go outside and play on the swing set. “Once we finish grocery shopping, we will go visit our neighborhood friends.”
        • Personally, I thrive on having a daily agenda and it helps me know what to expect each day. Many kids, even young babies, like knowing what to expect for their day. Just think, how do you feel when you don’t know what to expect in a new situation or even a random Saturday?


Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list and it won’t work every day. Just keep some of the ideas in the back of your head when the squirrels start invading your brain and you get sidetracked.


How do you stay focused during your day? Share some ideas in the comments below.