Crafts | Home Decor | Organization

8 Ways to Find Time for DIY Projects (Even When You Have a Hectic Schedule)

If you ask my husband, he knows it makes me crazy when he says he didn’t have time to do something.

You didn’t put the trash out? (as it’s overflowing and the dog is licking the sides of the can…)

Sorry, didn’t have time.

Can you change the batteries in the smoke detector? (after it’s been beeping for a few days…)

Yeah, I’ll have time later.

Even though I know how busy we are, the time excuse makes me crazy.

Why? Because the way we keep our schedules, if you want more time, you have to make it. 

And you can, if you manage your time well.

I first learned to manage time when I was waitressing in college. For the first few weeks, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Then, I eased into a routine.

While one table was waiting for their food, I would head off to take another’s order, stopping by the beverage station to grab a refill for a third table, and extra sugar packets for a fourth.

I definitely put those skills to use when I started teaching classes of 35+ kids in the inner city.

After all this, I thought I was awesome at managing time… until I had my own kids.

Nursing a newborn while potty training a toddler had me feeling the same way I did when I was a new waitress in the weeds.

However, I have learned if you manage your time well, there are so many ways to find extra time in a hectic schedule.

And, extra time means more time for all those DIY projects you keep pinning. 🙂

How to Find Time for Side Projects and DIYs

How to Find Time for DIY Projects

With the following eight tips, you’ll be making extra time in your crazy schedule – in no time 🙂 You’ll be amazed at just how much more time you will have.

1. Get up an hour earlier

I know what you’re thinking.

You already set snooze as many times as you possibly can, so how can you get up earlier?!

I felt the same way… until I did it.

Getting up an hour earlier gives you time to work on your projects.

The chance to work on your project first thing is a great motivator to get you out of bed.

Or, start your day (throw dinner in the crockpot, get the day’s chores done), to free up that hour later for your DIY projects.

It’s so peaceful in the mornings. The house is so quiet that you’ll never sleep in again.

2. Cut some things out

You know when you are throwing a party and on the day of the party, you still have a long list of things to do?

Then some guests show up early. And, the rest of the list goes out the window.

And you know what?

No one noticed anyway.

Think about your day, your week, your schedule. What things can you cut out – that wouldn’t be noticed?

Maybe you start vacuuming once a week instead of every other day.

Maybe you really don’t need to do laundry every day?

If you can cut a couple of things out of your busy days, you’ll dust off some much-needed DIY time.

3. Let kids work with you

Have little ones and a project you’re dying to work on?

You can actually manage both at the same time. Simply set up a little station for your kids to work too.

If you’re painting a piece of wood, give them something to paint too.

If you’re sewing a craft, give them some fabric to play with or color.

My toddler LOVES our craft time. He usually picks up all of my scraps and makes things with them. He put together a bunch of foam scraps into the shape of a train the other day.

While my husband wondered what I was teaching him, I got a solid hour of craft time in while spending time with my toddler. 🙂

Working alongside your child inspires creativity and gives you quality time together.

4. Delegate what you can

I LOVE to delegate.


Because the job still gets done – but not by you. 😉

Maybe your husband can take over dinner or pack lunches a few times a week.

Kids can start making their beds or doing their laundry.

Maybe your mom or a mommy’s helper can come to watch your little ones while you get some DIY time.

Think about your schedule. And find a few ways that you can delegate some of your tasks.

Delegation is definitely a win-win that you can benefit from.

5. Organize your project ahead of time

There’s nothing like FINALLY having time for your DIY project, and then you can’t find the painter’s tape, or the ribbon you wanted to use, or the tools you need.

Or, maybe your workspace is covered in junk.

Or, maybe you can’t find the website with the instructions (or the pin you thought you pinned).

Take a few minutes during the day and get your project, your workspace, and your instructions organized.

Read through the instructions to familiarize yourself with the steps (it’s like pre-reading – can you tell I was a literacy teacher?!)

When you finally have the time, you can jump right in.

6. Multi-task, multi-task, multi-task

Talking on the phone?

Get the dishes washed. Delete your emails. Steam the floor.

Have a slow eater in your family?

Clean up the kitchen while they’re finishing up. Make the kids lunches for the next day. Write down your shopping list.

As much as you want to relax, using this time wisely lets you cross TWO things off your list, instead of one. How’s that for productivity?!

6. Put the devices down

Even though I manage my time well, my cell phone is my downfall.

I check Facebook, then I see what’s trending on twitter.

I look at the news, my instagram feed, and of course, reply to all my text messages.

Yet, once I started realizing all of the time I was wasting, my mind was blown.

All those minutes add up to hours a day. Those hours across a whole week – the number was insane.

Even though I love to relax by checking my phone, I would much rather be spending this time on my DIY projects.

7. Use wait time to the max

During my college orientation, one of the deans gave amazing advice that I still follow today.

He said that in the next four years, you will find yourself waiting a lot.

Waiting for that awkward amount of time in between classes – where you have more than a few minutes but not enough time to go back to the dorm.

Waiting for the professor’s office hours to start, waiting for your study group to show up, waiting for class to start.

He said that all that time adds up – so use it wisely.

His advice undoubtedly applies to more than just college.

Waiting is a big part of life, especially with kids.

So use those few minutes you are waiting in the school parking lot to answer emails or make a hair appointment.

It will make your to-do list shorter later – giving you more time for your projects.

How do I start?

Pick just one or two of the above tasks to work on.

You’ll soon start to see that you’ve freed up some time for your DIY projects.

With your hectic schedule and the constant running, you will finally have time for yourself and the projects that you’ve been dying to start.


    1. Thanks so much! Me too! It’s the only time the house is quiet:)

  1. Nice tips! I know a lot of these would probably help most people; though there are some that just have WAY too much on their plate. For me, I know I try and take advantage of the time I’m waiting around for sure to get things done, like reading!


    1. Me too! Thanks Lauren:)

  2. All these tips are great. Sometimes I also like to break a project into a set of simpler tasks and then make myself take one of those tasks a day. It takes a bit longer to get things done, but it’s better than waiting for a couple of hours of undisturbed time that are never going to happen.
    Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

    1. Yes dividing tasks into smaller ones is a great strategy too – especially if you can’t get a big chunk of time!

  3. Great tips! My mummy would love to shave some time off her working day, 9hrs is far too long. Maybe she could get up an hour earlier at 5am and get that golden hour, knowing her luck she’d wake the whole house though 😉 I think its just going to have to be at weekends she binge crafts! #FamilyFunLinky

    1. Haha craft weekends are the best:)

  4. Fantastic article! I always hated that game, Diner Dash, because I couldn’t focus on all those different tasks – guests were often angry! Thank goodness they were virtual. Thanks for some great points. I am always amazed at how much I have done without realizing it when I am on the phone – it’s almost like a robot took over, lol!

    1. Hahaa!! Yes I love when the robot maid comes:)

  5. Mother of 3 says:

    Great tips! I think even just putting a few of these into practice could make a huge difference. When I had my own craft room I used to get up early and put together a couple of scrapbooking pages before the rest of the house woke up.. unfortunately we had to move my craft supplies into the bedroom this summer and that went out the window. Now I try to work for just 30 minutes each afternoon when school it done but it’s not yet time to cook dinner.

    1. Oh man! That hour before the house woke up sounded lovely! The afternoon window sounds great. All that extra time adds up:)

  6. What a great list of suggestions! I find that getting up earlier adds more time than imaginable. There is something very productive about those early morning hours.Have a great week!

    1. Thanks Donna! Yes getting up is a gold mine:)

    1. Hahaha yes on the slow eater! I had to start using that time productively. Yes I will follow:)

  7. I often find myself getting up early with things to do, I hate lying in bed worrying about it, whatever it is. #DreamTeam

    1. I hear ya, Fiona! Have a great week:)

  8. These are some really good tips that i’ll be sure to relay to Hubby, Unfortunately the kids will not get involved as how we took the Christmas tree down made it very clear it is never to be done again hahaha!
    Thank you for joining us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. Haha thanks! Have a great week:)

  9. These are some great tips. I realized I was already doing a few of them like talking on the phone while loading the dishwasher but I also needed the reminder of how much time I waste on social media. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    1. Thanks Donna! Yes the little reminders help us to be more productive.

  10. when i had the kids at home i used the extra time for a bath, read a book or catch up with friends and family, no a days because i have all the time in the world i find i put off doing things, because i can do them anytime and then nothing gets done #triumphanttales

    1. I loved how you used your extra time. I hear you when you have all the time in the world! I tend to be more productive when I have a whole list!:)

  11. I think getting up an hour earlier is the answer to a lot of my time, or lack of problems! I could definitely squeeze an hour of real productivity in before the children wake up. That and using your time wisely is very good advice! WE probably waste a lot more time than we realise! Thank you for joining ug at #familyfunlinky

    1. Thanks Tammy! The extra hour is amazing:)

  12. I needed to read this! It’s practically impossible with 4 kids and a blog! Thanks for linking up with us for our first Welcome Wednesday!

    1. Wow I can’t imagine having four! Have a lovely week:)

  13. My phone is my downfall too! I’ve had such a productive week, but spent most of this morning on my phone. Not good!

    I’m now catching up into the evening when I should be relaxing 🙁 #DreamTeam

    1. Yes!! Me too – I’m trying too!

  14. I always feel so accomplished whenever I get up early. Definitely a great tip. Unfortunately, trying to craft with my kids is hit-or-miss. We may have a few dozen permanent stains around our house from those sessions…… Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Yes getting up early is the best! Haha I hear ya, so much can happen during craft time when you look away for a minute!

  15. I love these tips. I have a DIY to do list the length of my arm, and between having three small children, freelancing, and blogging it continually gets bumped in favour of more urgent stuff. I’ll give some of your ideas a whirl for shizzle. Who knows, I might even get the garden done this year too?!? #triumphanttales xx

    1. Thanks Kate! I hear ya – the to do list never ends!

  16. HI, thanks for sharing these helpful tips. I get up a little earlier to fit my blogging in. Perhaps I should utilised that limbo time more effectively. Oh and I always delegate where I can ? #ThatFridayLinky

    1. Thanks Chloe! Getting up early is the best:)

  17. Waking up early is my big go-to for getting things done. In my previous job, I worked 50 or more hours per week and it would wipe me out mentally. Creatively, mornings were best for me.

    1. Yes!! It’s so helpful just to have that time for yourself when the world is quiet:)

  18. Very productive! Thanks for joining #ThatFridayLinky

  19. All of our children are grown and flown and I still find that I don’t manage my time correctly and these are useful tips. Thanks for sharing with us at Celebrate Your Story and have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks Sandra! Hope the tips help:)

  20. Love these ideas!!! Thanks for the articlee and sharing it on Encouraging Hearts & Home!

    1. Thanks Kim! I hope you find them helpful:)

  21. Jann Olson says:

    Great tips! I like having time to myself in the morning. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Thanks Jann! Yes- love the mornings!

  22. Getting the project organised from the start is something I could definitely do more of. I’m definitely guilty of finding I’m missing something, which then means heading to the shops, wasting more time (or even worse, I put it off until another day!) Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Yes me too Katy! My downfall is searching the house/garage for it:)

  23. Great tips Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  24. These are all great tips! Thanks for sharing. I think I’d get a lot more done if I could learn to delegate and plan ahead.

    1. Thanks Emily! Yes delegating is wonderful!

  25. I believe that we all have some time wasters in our schedules or lives. When we find those we are able to plug in other more enjoyable things.

    1. Agreed, Elise. Have a great week!

  26. Very solid advice. It’s so easy to push these things aside when we should be seeking out time to make them happen instead. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop!

    1. Thanks Ann! Glad you enjoyed it:)

  27. Great tips. Thanks for sharing at the inspiration spotlight party @DearCreatives . pinned & sharing.

    1. You’re welcome, Donna!

  28. This is some really good information about DIY home decor. Very creative, thank you for your inspirational writing. I will definitely try some for my home.

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