44 Personal Automation Hacks for Self-Employed Mums

Unless you’ve been under a rock then you’ve probably seen the video of the BBC expert whose live interview was interrupted by his adorable kids. Comedy gold.

But did you also catch the parody sketch of a how a mother would have handled the situation? Check it out above. Not so hilarious, but not that far fetched either!

The research shows time and time again that women still do the running of the home (which is why we all deserve a big fat treat this coming Mother’s Day).

But if you’re running a business, too. Then you can add about 100 more things to your daily to-do list. Even more if you’re a self-employed single mum.

That’s a hell of a lot of juggling.

The problem is that you can’t actually work more hours as you don’t want to compromise the time you spend with your kids. Having a life is nice, too.

The solution? AUTOMATION. Something which has been a hot topic in marketing for several years but that can be applied to all areas of life.

It’s not just about clever tech and hacks either.

I’ve found that the trick is making the must-do jobs in your life an automatic habit so they take up less brain space. And it’s also about delegating those things you’re just not very good at.

I freely admit I’m a beginner at this; I’ve got a long way to go to improve my automation and systems, but I wanted to share what I’ve done so far in the hopes of inspiring others and inviting ideas for easy-wins I may have missed along the way.


1) Since the lovely Gemma Went introduced me to her 90-day planning method, I’ve been setting (and achieving - woohoo!) 1-3 key business goals every 90-days. It’s powerful stuff - just long enough to make progress, just short enough not to lose momentum.

2) You’ll need to first dream-up a compelling vision and set of goals that you‘ll add to a Trello board and review daily.

3) Every Monday morning, add goal-achieving actions to your calendar. Last year I used a mix of Google Calendar and Teuxdeux but I’m going analogue with this paper planner in 2017.

4) Set daily reminders on your phone to remind yourself of your key goals and what they mean to you.

5) Change your passwords to your one key goal. For example, say you want to turnover £100,000 this year, then make your computer password hundredthousand or 100000. That’s not my password by the way ;-)

6) Delegate everything that’s not in your zone of genius. I never touch design work. The world is a prettier place for it.


7) Batch produce your content marketing in a concentrated time slot, ensuring that you’re set up for months in advance; we talk about that in this post.

8) Schedule social media at least a week or two in advance. We love Buffer.

9) Try Emma Louise-Smith’s social media planner to cut your content curation time down to the minimum you need to have an impact.

10) Don’t feel pressured to do ALL THE CHANNELS.

11) Get a Digital Mum to handle your social media for you. £500 for 6 months is bargainous.

12) Create welcome sequences for your email subscribers.

13) Use the Pomodoro technique for days when you catch yourself time-wasting.

14) Create email scripts that you can send out to potential clients, collaborators or the media. Obviously you can tailor them but just having the templates down makes it easier.


15) Use Calendly or Acuity to avoid dozens of emails back and forth. We even have Acuity embedded on our website.

16) Open your post as soon as it arrives. Then deal with it there and then. As my children’s school still does everything on paper, I take a photo of important letters and reminders.

17) After trying the KonMari method. I keep very few documents now. The ones I need are kept in a single file.

18) Use unroll.me to unsubscribe and manage your email subscriptions in one daily message. Life changing!

19) Put ALL your meetings, events and plans onto your calendar as soon as you arrange them - otherwise they just take up brainspace.

20) Do “Tidy Friday” so clear off your desk of all those niggly things on a Friday afternoon, empty your waste paper bin and jot down priorities for the next week, ready for a fresh start on Monday.


21) Don’t waste time watching movies or reading books you wouldn’t rate above a ‘7’. I find IMDB pretty reliable on the movie score.

22) Delete Facebook from your phone.

23) Use self control apps for social media during times you want to chill out.

24) Automate digital back ups.

25) I’ve found audiobooks to be awesome downtime with my kids. We have all (parents included) absolutely adored the Northern Lights trilogy and the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness on Audible.

26) I feel like it’s sacrilege saying this but I’ve given up on paper books. Kindle books don’t take up space or gather dust and as I’m always reading about 5 at a time it’s easy to swap between them.

27) Online exercise classes mean there’s always time to fit a class in, I love YogaToday’s 20 minute classes.

28) Create checklists on your phone for different types of travel, e.g. one-day events, overnight trips, camping trips, ski-holidays, beach holidays etc.


29) Ensure that all your bills are on direct debit.

30) Keep to a regular monthly invoice schedule with as many clients as possible.

31) I’m a big fan of Money Saving Expert’s Money Makeover technique- it’s in the diary for the same time every year. I do it on that day and now I’m on the best tariffs across all bills.

32) Use YNAB for personal and business budgets.

33) Do your research and set up a regular donation to charity. Pick a few new charities a year and only donate to them, unless you’re moved to give in the moment.

34) Set annual reminders to renew insurances, or to cancel them.


35) Do your laundry on a set day of the week. Or hire someone else to do it! Likewise the cleaning.

36) After your evening meal when you’re already full and able to make healthier choices - plan (and preferably make) your breakfast and packed lunch for the next day.

37) Use these green powders instead of green juicing; they have the same effect but without the nightmare juicer clean-up.

38) Set up your go-to supplements and vitamins via Amazon Subscribe and Save.

39) Spend a couple of hours every 2-weeks creating 14-day menu plans and then schedule your online food shopping in advance. Obviously you can switch meals around but again, there’s way less thinking required this way.

40) Have a capsule wardrobe or ‘uniform’ to cut down on getting-dressed decisions and prevent poor choices on dark winter mornings when you can’t see properly.

41) Likewise (if you bother with it) have a simple 10-minute make-up regime.

42) Lay out clothes the night before or before your shower so you can just grab and go.

43) Preset your alarm clock for weekdays, so you never have to think about it. I love the Bedtime function on the iPhone for this and the fact it reminds me to go to bed too!

44) Make it easy for your kids to do things for themselves; organise clothes, snacks and school things so they can grab what they need on any given day

OK. That’s as far as I’ve got! I have to admit that it looks kind of insane to see it all written down. But that, my friends, is the reality of the self-employed mum.

Plus, now that all of the above are automatic habits, they take little brainpower but give me way more time in the day than I used to have. Including time to do absolutely nothing at least one day a week.

Still, I’m sure there are a tonne more hacks, systems and habits I haven’t yet learned.

What am I missing? Are there any obvious things that I’ve overlooked? Enlighten me!

Oh, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to every mother out there, including my wonderful mum, you all keep the world going round x

About the Author: Anna McLoughlin

Anna McLoughlin, Copywriter

Anna is Director of Inkspiller. An incurably curious writer and brand strategist, she has made it her life's mission to truly see others, then reflect their brilliance back out to the world.

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