It’s a challenge to stay productive when working from home without any distractions, and even challenging to do so when you have a baby. Busy moms and dads need to stay super organized if they are to continue working from home after the baby is born. Luckily, you’re not the first to feel the stress of juggling all the new things you need to do as a parent with all the regular tasks of your work schedule. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of your day without getting burnt out.
Set Expectations With Your Boss and Co-Workers
Your boss and co-workers know that it’s not easy working from home with a new baby. They might even have children themselves that they have to look after while everyone works from home. However, it’s a good idea to have frequent conversations about how much you can handle, because overdoing your workload is not going to be healthy or productive in the long run. Sometimes, you won’t be able to get your tasks done during the day, so let them know that you’ll need to finish some of your workloads at night while the baby is asleep.
If possible, see if there is any work you can outsource while you are working from home. Are there certain tasks that someone else on your team can help with while you are caring for your baby? Try to delegate tasks that don’t require your expertise and focus only on the ones that have to be done by you. Give yourself some grace when it comes to work — you’re already doing a full-time job being a stay-at-home parent!
Split Responsibilities with Loved Ones
If you have a partner to help take care of your child, make sure to ask them for help and split the responsibilities of child-rearing where possible. You can also go to family members, like your parents or siblings, or hire a babysitter when you really need a break. Taking care of yourself and having a few moments of me-time each day will help you be a calmer parent and a happier person.
Use Sunday for Preparation for the Week Ahead
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks and chores that inevitably crop up throughout the week, take a few hours on Sunday to prepare for the week. One trick many new parents use is to meal prep for the days ahead. You can make sauces, soups, and sides and freeze them for later in the week to make mealtime much easier and faster.
While many people do laundry on a Sunday, you can take this a step further and plan all of your and your baby’s outfits for the week. It sounds like a small thing, but hanging up five pairs of comfy leggings, sweats, tees, and sweaters will make your life so much easier as you won’t have to think in the morning! Otherwise, you may end up not getting dressed at all and wearing PJ’s all day, which can be detrimental to your workflow. For your baby, go ahead and expect that they’ll go through a few outfits a day!
Get Organized with a Time Management Tool
One of the hardest things about being a new parent is managing all the new distractions that come with having a baby at home. To help keep you focused, set up a system to stay organized on workdays. This might mean time-blocking the tasks you have due for the week or just loosely adding everything to a to-do list. You can even download an app to help you manage your time wisely and cut out unnecessary distractions. RescueTime and Toggl are two popular apps to keep you on track. At the end of the week, you can look at where you lost time with distractions and try to remedy that moving forward.
Work While Baby Sleeps and Feeds
It goes without saying, but a quiet house is the best house for getting work done. Use the time while your baby is napping to get as much work done as possible that requires concentration. Save the less focused tasks, like phone calls, to do when the baby is awake so that you can keep an eye on them while still being productive. Some moms even breastfeed while reading or doing other light work.
Consider a Baby Carrier
You can’t hold your newborn while you work, but you can keep them close by wearing them in a baby carrier. Like a safe cocoon, a baby carrier will comfort your little one as they hear your heartbeat and experience your gentle movements. You’ll also make eye contact and know exactly what is going on with them at all times in a baby carrier while still being hands-free to work on the computer.
Create a Baby-Safe Space
While you or someone else will always be keeping an eye on the baby, it helps to set up a baby-safe space where you can set them down while you work. They can relax in a baby swing, or play in a playpen safely when they are old enough. Add some age-appropriate toys and they might be able to entertain themselves for a while (still under your supervision) while you work.
Don’t Check Social Media
When you’re stressed out and your brain refuses to relax, you might do things like scroll mindlessly on Instagram out of habit. This is ultimately a contributor to the stress of many new parents, plus it can suck up valuable time. Once your newborn arrives, it’s a good time to cut out or at least decrease your usage of social media. You might also consider getting rid of distractions like television and streaming services, which not only waste time but keep you from falling asleep by emitting blue light. Instead, read a book, meditate, or do some yoga stretches to clear your mind and re-center before going back to work or to sleep.