Let’s talk productivity hacks for working moms! For the past year since my son was born, I have either been on maternity leave or running my business very part-time. The way I do things, how much time I have, what I prioritize, and my energy output has all changed since becoming a mom. So, my productivity methods have changed too. What used to work doesn’t work as well anymore, and I’ve found myself constantly learning how to make the most of my time and be present in my work and with my son while doing so!
Today, I’m sharing four tips with you that have helped me work and do mom life the best I can in this first year of motherhood. These are things I wish I knew before becoming a mom or things I wish I had found out sooner. So, I’m hoping to save you some time by sharing them with you now.
It’s worth noting that I’m sharing these from the perspective of being a first-time mom of a little boy under 1. So, some of you more experienced mamas probably have other tips to add, and some of these tips might not work so well when you have multiple kids or older kids. I can only teach this from my experience, which is life working with a baby! So, this is what has worked for me in this season of life, and I hope it helps you whatever season of motherhood you’re in!
Productivity hacks we’re covering in this blog post:
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1. Have a rolling to-do list of “quick things” you can get done while baby is awake and you’re taking care of him/her.
This could be a list on your phone, something you keep in your project manager, or it could be in a physical planner (like the Full Focus Planner) or a notes/productivity app. Keep a list full of quick things you're wanting to get done that day or that week. I often do a big list of things I’m wanting to get done that week, and then I’ll go back through it later to highlight things that I could do while taking care of Colin.
This list will include things you can jump in and out of while you’re taking care of your baby. They should be simple and easy to get done in just a few minutes. You could post on Instagram, call your doctor, order something on Amazon, check in on a Facebook group in your business, send a text, etc.
Independent play is so important for development. I let Colin do it as long as he’s happy, and when he comes over, clearly wanting some time with me, I go play with him too! He loves to flip through books, sit alone, or play with his toys. Our favorite toys are from Lovevery! They have an amazing toy subscription box, and they are Colin’s favorite toys for playing independently. (Side note: Lovevery toys are also MY FAVORITE as a parent. Forreal, they are fun to play with as adults too, haha!)
For example, right now, I’m working on stuff for Colin’s first birthday party. This morning while he played, I worked on his invitations in little spurts. Then I folded the laundry in little spurts while he played. I also wrote back to a team member on my computer and ordered diapers on Amazon!
2. When doing the “naptime hustle”, decide what you’re going to do during nap time before nap time starts.
I can’t always go to a coffee shop to work outside of the house, and you may not be able to either! When I’m the one taking care of Colin with no childcare help but trying to work during naptime, it really helps me to know EXACTLY what I’ll be working on before I sit down at my desk.
In that wake window before the nap, I take a few minutes to decide, “Here’s what I’m doing first, then second”. In the early days, that happened for me while breastfeeding by just thinking about it or jotting some things down on my phone. Then, I hit the ground running during nap time! This is a modified version of planning your day out. It’s like I’m planning nap times.
Even with this planning, I like to remember that I don’t have to be productive all of nap time. As working moms, we can sometimes feel the pressure to get so much done for our businesses during “precious nap time”. Sometimes though, you just need a BREAK during the whole nap or part of it. Taking that break will help you show up better next time you’re with your child or working in your business that day.
3. Batch your work tasks as often as you can.
We all know batch work is supposed to be an amazing way to do business, right? You get in the zone, get the stuff done, and then you’re DONE with that task. Parents and non-parents all love batch working. You probably have done this in some areas of your life and business before having a baby, but you’ve got to UP IT now. At least that has been my experience.
Your work is already MORE interrupted than it once was, so if, in addition to that, you’re constantly interrupting yourself by switching tasks, it’s a recipe for so much lost time. Apply tip #2 of knowing what you’re going to do before nap time starts or before your time of working starts.
In addition to that, try to work on many things at once that all heavily relate to one another instead of a bunch of little things. The little things are for when you have a few minutes here and there.
Batch the big stuff, so you can work better and spend less time working. As an example, today, in my business, all I am doing is recording content for the podcast and my membership. I will do smaller things as well, but my primary focus is recording pre-outlined content.
During this nap is hustle time, but when he wakes up, it's our time to be together. Be gracious with yourself and your baby in this season of life because batching plans don't always work out.
4. Meal plan and prep before the week starts.
Feeding yourself, feeding a baby, and running your business is a lot of work. I am pretty obsessed with meal planning and prepping freezer meals because it cuts back on decisions I have to make in the moment all week. I hate opening the fridge and feeling like there is nothing to eat or not knowing what to eat. So I make a plan ahead of time!
I don’t do this perfectly, my husband will tell you that. He helps all the time with the prepping part. Every weekend, I typically decide on 2 meals we’ll alternate between that week for lunch/dinner plus some things on hand for snacks and breakfast.
I order groceries on Instacart to be delivered to my house based on that plan. Then either Adam or I will prepare one or both of those dishes and double to recipe on Sunday or Monday. For Colin, I love to have a plan for what I’ll feed him as well, and I love doing freezer items for him where I can make a lot of something and then feed it to him over time. So often, the cooking falls on the woman, but it doesn't have to! Get your husband involved and let him make some meals.
Some of my family’s favorite recipes right now include The Jennifer Aniston Salad by Eating Bird Food and Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bake by the Real Food Dietitians. These are both great make-ahead meal options. Two of my favorite freezer meal prep recipes for Colin are Grinch Muffins by Baby Foode and these Whole30 Turkey Zucchini Poppers by Tasty Thin.
PRODUCTIVITY HACKS RECAP:
I will share more tips like these in a future blog post, so stay tuned for that! I hope these tips were helpful for you. Share this with a mom friend so she can also get these tips. I have more posts like this on the blog. Check them out here!
Want more life planning hacks? Check out this post all about how I prepare for a purposeful and productive week ahead on Sundays!
August 16, 2022