I wish someone had sat me down and given me a list of dos and don’ts when I was returning to work after maternity leave. Productivity can be tough anyway, but then add in a new baby and your new role as a mom! While my day-to-day may look a bit different from yours, many things are probably very similar.
These are my sanity-saving tips to help you be productive as a new mom, whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or some combination.
Tip 1. Make a to do list at the end of each day.
I keep a to do list for each day, and I’ve found that making a to do list at the END of the day helps me to keep everything straight. At the end of the day, the baby is asleep (hopefully! hah), I have a little bit of time to relax, and I can dig into my email and remind myself what needs to be accomplished the next day. Then I can star anything that absolutely must be done.
Tip 2. Be realistic about what you can get done in a day.
I have a habit of making a massive to do list and then getting discouraged when only 1/4 of it gets done. Be realistic about your working hours and what you can accomplish in the time you have.
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Tip 3. Use organizational tools.
Whether it’s pen-and-paper, a planner, or a tool like Trello, try things until you find something that works. For me, organization means a whole bunch of things:
- I use Google Calendar to keep track of appointments, work travel, personal travel, and even things like what days T is in a different office or at an event after work. I color-code: Eleanor & Sprout are yellow, my stuff is blue, travel is green. That way I can take a really quick glance and see if it’s an appointment or just a note for myself.
- I use Trello to keep track of my daily to do list. I have the app on my phone and I keep the desktop version open during the day when I’m working. It’s super easy to move tasks from day to day, so anything that isn’t done on Monday (but still needs to get done) gets shifted to Tuesday, and so on.
- We have a separate Trello board for anything house related. That’s where we track things like minor house projects we need to do, things we need to buy, etc.
- I keep a planner, too, because sometimes I just need to jot down a quick note. I also really like to write things down and check them off!
Tip 4. Start your day with 2 simple tasks and then get into the hard stuff.
Some people might tell you to do the hardest task first; but I don’t agree with this. I find that starting my day with 2-3 smaller, easier tasks helps me set the tone for the day. It’s like a little cheerleading session before you get into the harder tasks for the day!
Tip 5. Get enough sleep.
Easier said than done, especially when your baby isn’t yet sleeping through the night, but get sleep! You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted, so if you need to close your laptop and go to bed an hour early, do that and make it up later in the week. There have definitely been weeks when I’ve burned the candle at both ends, so to speak, to a point where I’ve felt like I was walking around half asleep.
Tip 6. Ask for help.
Especially if you have a partner at home, ask for help when you need it. I’ve had days where I had prescriptions to pick up, a vet appointment, a play date, a car appointment, and deadlines, and the worst times have been when I didn’t ask for help from anyone.
Being a mom has forced me to admit that I’m not Super Woman, and I shouldn’t feel like I have to be! I have a husband who always jumps in, and family who are more than willing to help out, but they can’t read minds, so it’s important to ASK.
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Tip 7. Batch tasks.
Don’t go from sending an email to making a phone call to editing a document… Do a chunk of emails, then a chunk of phone calls. That way you’re in one mindset and you don’t have to waste the energy switching.
Tip 8. Get up and move!
If you find yourself getting distracted (aka opening Instagram), get up and walk around. You might just need a change of scenery for a second so you can get back to doing whatever you need to do.
Tip 9. Don’t beat yourself up
If you get to the end of the day and you haven’t completed everything, don’t beat yourself up. If I have a deadline, I typically have worked on that project earlier in the day. Occasionally, though, things will come up and I’ll get back online later in the evening to take care of whatever that is. Or you can add that item to the top of your to do list for the next day.
I hope my productivity tips help to keep you organized!