How do you organize your time?

As mother of a small child - currently on maternity leave - I find it quite a challenge to organize some free time for coding besides all the other things I’ve got to do. I’m only coding during my daughter’s daily nap times! :sleeping:

I’m wondering how I will be able do this when I’m back at my regular job in a few month.
I really want to reach my goals. Sometimes I think that maybe I’ve set them too high. :confused:

I’m really curious how you guys are managing this besides family, job, etc.
Where and when do you study?
On a weekly basis, how many time slots are there available for you to use?
Any really effective time management skills / tools you’d like to share with me?


How do you organise your time?



As a childless bachelor with almost no responsibilities, I find it quite a challenge to organize my time, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for you.

What are your goals?


@PortableStick Yes! I know what you mean. I’m still wondering what I did with all my precious time before my daughter was born.

At least I’d like to reach an intermediate level of front end development skills.
Further I’d like to be able to create a free mobile app of pedagogical value for children in, let’s say, 3 years.
(I’ve got a master’s degree in educational science and I’m working as an educator.)

Difficult question because this also involves personal habits as well.

I have a basic schedule which involves getting up and going to bed. I made it a “No Compromise” schedule. Going to bed is much more important than getting up in my opinion since everyone seem to think they can do an all nighter and sleep for 2 hours. Also, is because I drive for Uber. :smiley: I needed the extra sleep.

Then I got work schedule which predominately based on monthly needs, if I need more money in one month I would work more, if I need less I would work less. Typically between 30-40 hours per week split between the 7 days. I do this because I know driving for Uber is a dead end job, you get pay for that day and that’s all you get. No future to expand on except driving for the city which I don’t want to. Therefore I don’t grind it how most Uber drivers do.

Then I got personal schedule which is gaming and learning new things. This is the most important part because that is where improvement comes in or it can be your worst nightmare with house chores and errands. For me gaming is an issue. It is a big distraction but also stress relieve.

In this category, I try to pile up house work like laundry to limit once per month. Most people can’t do that because of kids, but as a single it is possible. If I am going to eat, I eat something that can be prep in 5 - 30 minutes and no more.

Gaming issue or anything distracting must be eliminated in order to be productive. I delete all my game icons on the computer so I don’t see it. But at the same time you need some form of entertainment to keep the stress levels down. So I don’t entirely delete the games, but made it harder to access.

But overall, I am a lazy person… I should get back to looking for programming jobs. LOL

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In a general way, I think that the first thing to do is list the things you normally do in your day and list the things that you need to do in your day. After that, see what you can remove of your first list and replace for something from your second list in order of priority.

I know it’s not always so simple to list these things because some events in a mother’s life are unpredictable, but I think that’s a good way to start.

Good luck. :smiley:


That’s awesome! There was a time when I wanted to get my master’s in educational psychology, but my bachelor’s put me in enough debt that I decided against it.

I wish I had more solid advice for making more time in your day. Is it possible to pay attention to programming videos while holding or feeding the little one? If so, you may want to check out YouTube for some introductory videos. It’s hard for me to recommend any for beginners, but I really like LearnCode.Academy’s work in general. He has some playlists for basic JavaScript and Bootstrap. Another option would be to consider a paid service, like Treehouse (my favorite). They hold your hand through many of the basics and get you building things pretty quickly. I think most of their videos run from 3-5 mins, and their user interface helps you keep track of what you’ve learned and will learn. This could help you review concepts quickly and rebound from distractions more easily. Their instruction doesn’t go very deep, though. Most of your learning will happen when you build the front-end projects for Free Code Camp.

In my experience, the biggest hurdle to learning how to program isn’t getting access to the information, but keeping it all straight in your head. Now, you have a master’s degree, and in educational science no less, so you know how to learn, but if I may suggest a learning strategy I’ve found to be very efficient, it’s not to assume you don’t know what you’re doing. In programming, we have the concept of rubber duck debugging where you explain how you think your code works to a rubber duck. By forcing yourself to think about the moving parts, you can be struck with insight into why it might not be working. This is also a useful way to learn, and is the idea behind the so-called “Feynman Technique”. I imagine this would work if you explain the concepts you’re learning to your baby as well, even though s/he isn’t as yellow or buoyant.

So, maybe you would find more success by trying to ingest and digest information outside of nap time, and then during nap time you’ll be able to practice coding?


This may sound odd - but I try to organize my learning around caffeine intake/energy level.

I tend to be at an optimal state for learning when I’m chugging my morning iced coffee. I try to maximize my learning time by timing my caffeine intake accordingly.

I have a full time day job that has a few busy intense months followed by slower months. I try to maximize my down time during those slow times. I found my best times for working at home are in the morning.

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When I’m in vacations

5:00 wake up, take a bath, brush my teeth and drink coffee.
5:30 read emails
6:00 read quora, reply to messages on facebook, view twitter
7:00 Breakfast, brush teeth again
7:30 start coding
9:00 break
9:30 back to code
12:30 break
13:00 eat lunch, brush teeth again
14:00 back to code
18:00 start reading blogs, medium
19:00 eat dinner, brush teeth
19:30 read blogs again
20:00 read a book
21:00 chat with friends
22:00 time to sleep

Rinse and repeat.

I don’t want to type my organization when I’m in college because it’s freaking messy.

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From author of “clean coder” he just recommend 20 hours a week dedicated to learning and practice coding which he mentions even listening to a podcast for an hour during a break with whatever programming you are interested, counts as well.

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I don’t have many responsibilities at the moment, so my time is pretty easy to manage. Especially since I work from home:

Monday - Friday
7:45AM - Wake Up
7:45AM to 8:00AM - Make coffee & maybe toast/bagel
8:00AM to 4:00PM - Work + Lunch
4:00PM to 5:00PM - Study in FCC
5:00PM to 6:00PM - Dinner
6:00PM to 9:00PM - Group Study Underbar.js / Solo study FCC
9:00PM to 10:00PM (or later) - Watch a show / play a game

10:00AM to 8:00PM (With Lunch & Dinner) - Group study Underbar.js / Solo study FCC
8:00PM to 10:00PM (or later) - Watch a show / play a game

FREE DAY / Family Day with 1 hour Underbar.js review or study FCC

I’ve been doing it this way for about a month and I haven’t gotten burnt out yet! Although some days I do cheat and end an hour early, haha!

Hi, I have a new daughter in the house, only 3 months old, so I feel your pain / joy.

Life happens. I picked up a decent coding skill set a few years ago, but I currently work full time, help my wife with the kids when I’m home, run a large coding group, and try to work on my own projects when I can.

When the kids are asleep is the best time. To take advantage of this time I do unhealthy things like not exercising as much as I should, drinking too much caffeine late at night, and coding during my lunch breaks.

Sustainable??? Of course not, but it doesn’t have to be. The baby will get older and sleep through the night better, and I may bring in some help for the group. That should at least give me time to hit the gym more, which tends to be a multiplier on my mental stamina.

Also, once you’ve got a decent skill set, try to work some coding projects into your job. Then you can get paid to learn.

Good luck!


Following a lay off due to company being financially shaky ( to say the least), I ended up with a consequent amount of money and a bit of time. Time being until my wife’s parents can’t stand me anymore leaving at their home, my wife and I going insane because we cannot go where we want (Canada) etc…

Until then, well I started following the motto “If I don’t learn anything I am wasting my time” as much as possible. Following very strong argument with my dear wife I ended up moving away from video games. I am astonished by myself. Not so long ago, I would have gone nuts over it but now, no longer.
Back to topic, that means, at home, since now it’s Chinese new year:

    Half my day for study 25% of my day: Eat with the family, because it's Chinese New Year 25% looking for a job for now

@davevictorine How are you doing following this regimen?

I think that’s great!

I’m doing pretty good most mornings, but there are always those days where the day starts running away from you from the very start of the day. If I can’t get a huge chunk of coding/learning time in as I’d prefer to, I try to hit my minimum requirement (1 hour). For me at least this continuity helps me keep momentum up and stay in motion. If I completely miss 1 day, it’s more likely I’ll miss 2 or 3 days - so for me I have to have some kind of motion every day.

I like your motto too man! I am going to have to use that one.

Are you looking for work related to coding right now? Or looking for a job while you continue to learn here?


SAHD here with an 8 month old. I feel you.

I often just find the time where I can, as you say, during naps pretty often. Unless I can’t help but nap then, too.

I’ll often do reading/theory while putting the baby to sleep, since it’s less disruptive than typing. Or videos with subtitles. During the day, when I have time to code it’s typically in small chunks so keeping the scope of problem I’m working on small is also important.

For tasks needing more focus and time? The weekend or evenings. I strongly prefer to do this kind of focused work outside the house, even just at a coffee shop, so that domestic issues don’t draw me away from my focus. Hopefully you have someone else at home who can look to your daughter for some decent chunks of time to enable you to get away.

IMO there’s no tool or skill that’s needed, just focus. I put the phone away and never open any form of social media, barring something like the FCC chat room that can inspire/help.

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Hi, I have two small children, so I feel your pain. I’m also stealing time where I can.
What works for me:
First of all, get rid of all the distractions you can. I unsuscribed from all blogs, news I followed, I check facebook only once in every two weeks (or once a month) (that was easiest, causes me great anxiety anyway) , I don’t get notifications anymore from sms or mail, so they don’t disturb me when I finally get to the computer - I check them when I get there. Same with this forum: I’m allowed to come here once a day.
Other important one: As someone else suggested here, if you can leave the house, and get to a coffee or the library just to work a few hours alone, worth much more than any coding at home. Hopefully someone else can help you take care of the baby for at least a few hours a week.
I also study in the evenings after the kids went to bed. (I can’t do a thing when they are around, I don’t even try anymore).
I keep my notes in evernote, so when I’m on a bus, or I have to wait somewhere, I easily can access them from my phone, and read them if I have a few empty minutes. - Any note system works of coarse that can be easily available both on the phone and on computer. (no password fiddling).
It’s still not much, but enough for a slow progress.
I hope you can also figure out where you can steal some time.
What I would not suggest though is trying to steal time from sleeping (or not much at least). I tried it, and my patience with the children (and the whole world) fell to zero after a short while, and I was not a fun mummy to be around.


I could have wrote that myself. My learning is correlated to caffeine intake as well. Morning with a giant coffee is when I’m ready to learn the most and study the hardest, then it declines a bit until I take a break. Then I go at it again with the after lunch coffee. So coffee to me now is totally related to study time : ) We need those mental links and habits I guess.

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Thanks, I think you too have a great tip :wink: do at least a bit everyday.

Looking for a job in my field and keep coding. This way I keep my options open: I become better at what I already do (digital marketing) and also get the chance to get into a more technical role, because coding is a lot of fun after all :wink:

My personal experience has proved it to me over and over again. Time management is a lot of baloney. It doesn’t work. EVER. PERIOD.

From the dawn of civilization, it has never been about time management. It has always been about priority management.

Get your priorities straight and you will cut off a lot of things that are not as important. Give most of your time to the priorities that matter the most. :slight_smile:

Now to answer some of your specific questions

I’m really curious how you guys are managing this besides family, job, etc.

It’s simple. I’ve cut down pointless socializing. A lot of people think that cutting people off is bad. It is, in a way, sure. But that also doesn’t mean you have to keep sucking up to them all the time. I meet my non programming/different purpose friends on weekends. That’s strict. But very dramatically useful

Where and when do you study?

There is no fix time for my studies. I study on any/all opportunities I get. When I’m not doing something productive, (example walking somewhere, driving) I always have some computer science theory lectures playing on my phone. There are tons of usefull youtube videos as well.
My best friend there days is where I keep flirting with syntax etc.

On a weekly basis, how many time slots are there available for you to use?

This, as explained before, is not planned. No time is a bad time.

Any really effective time management skills / tools you’d like to share with me?

Yes. Forget managing time. Manage your priorities.
Your daughter has to be your top most priority (Did I forget to congratulate you in the beginning? :slight_smile: Congratulations.).

Although you’re free to decide other priorities over this (I didn’t want to say such obvious thing but now I’m concerned that some gender equality nut job may get offended and frame me for enforcing gender roles on people - hope you understand what I’m saying here)

Then it’s upto you as to what and how should you prioritise your learning.

I’m sure, once you have some genuine clarity over priorities, you will have no issues managing time.

-All the Best.

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Happy motherhood.

It is so wonderful to know that you are organising your time so effectively.

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