Maybe you’re quarantined from COVID-19 and left without child care. Or, maybe you regularly work from home and are looking for ways to improve your productivity. With the 5 easy steps below you can get work done by tackling your To Do list more effectively. And still have plenty of play time! No mom guilt allowed here!
Working from home is great, but …
One benefit of working from home with your little one is getting to enjoy the extra time together. But let’s be real. Infants require A LOT of attention.
You don’t want to have your head buried in a computer or cell phone while they intently watch you, eager for your attention. But you still need to be productive. What’s a mama to do?
With a little prep work, you can work more effectively. This is about working smarter, not harder. Here is how you can both maximize that time with your infant and still tackle your To Do list to get work done.
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What are these easy steps i speak of?
- Prioritize your To Do list at least one day ahead. Don’t fret if you’re looking for tips to implement ASAP. But thinking about tomorrow’s list today will allow you to wake up, ready to tackle the To Dos for the day. Otherwise, you unnecessarily waste time trying to figure out what you need to do and when to squeeze it in. You’ll likely get distracted by any number of things along the way.
But prioritizing seems like a no brainer, right? Think about it this way instead: What do you absolutely need or want to accomplish today? Rank your To Dos in order of priority. Aim to have no more than one or two time-intensive To Dos each day.
- Next, break out your tasks for each priority: This is where your To Do list will either succeed or become too overwhelming to think about. Let’s break it down together so you succeed!
Let’s say your priority To Do is to publish a blog post. Your task list should outline exactly what needs to be done so you can give it that satisfying check mark. To publish a blog post, you need to: outline your content, research some facts, write the post, choose a corresponding image, create a post and post it to your social channels.
- Now, categorize each task on your To Do list into the following time blocks: 1-minute, 5-minute, 30-minute, 1 Hour. Using the example above, it would look like this:
post to social channels
write instagram post
write the post
Now you know exactly what you need to do and approximately how much time you’ll need to dedicate to the task.
- Tailor your tasks to fit your infant’s schedule (as much as you can).
I know my little one is more independent and less fussy in the morning so that’s when I aim to be as productive as possible. Toward the end of the day she is more clingy and just wants to be held. This is definitely not conducive to getting things done! Here is what I suggest:
Complete all 1-Minute tasks while your little one is preoccupied with handheld toys (or during your bathroom runs!).
Tackle all 5-Minute tasks while your little one is happy as a clam as you rotate stations (see Step 5).
Save 30-minute tasks for the shorter nap of the day. (Maybe it’s when your little one falls asleep in your arms accidentally during a nursing session. Be sure to keep your laptop close in case this happens!)
Hour-long tasks tackle during the longest nap time. This would also include any calls, virtual meetings or intensive brainpower tasks. Whatever you don’t complete during this nap time can roll over to after baby is in bed.
- One last way to ensure a more productive day is to prep play stations for your infant! I swear by this method for whenever I need hands-free time to do work, dinner, or even use the bathroom. I have different “stations” set up where I can easily plop down our little one and also be within eyesight to get work done. Here are some ideas based on what we have (and affiliate links for each, in case you’re interested in checking them out.) But any sort of station set up using what you already have will do!
The first station is usually a few toys on her highchair. I can buy enough time to let the dog out, and make coffee and breakfast while she happily plays away with whatever toys I have put there. She really likes this one (and it’s sticky so I love it, too)!
Other stations I have set up are this piano stomper. And this play mat with a few toys for tummy time. I also keep a basket of toys nearby to switch them out when I need additional time for 1-Minute tasks.
This Sit-Me-Up floor seat is another one of her favorites. She loves to sit up and observe the world but isn’t strong enough yet to do it on her own.
She has a blast with this jumper. And this one is the latest station. (Truthfully, we had it in a box for months while she grew into it and finally put it together the other day.) Now, she just loves going around and around!
You can always use a couple of blankets with toys, a swing, a bouncer seat, or a Boppy pillow. Whatever your little one loves, that’s what you should use. (I say use a Moby Wrap as one station if your infant insists on sleeping on you!)
There you have it, mama. My five easy steps to get work done and tackle your To Do list while trying to entertain an infant. It is possible to be productive and spend quality time with your little one. You just have to get organized and creative! (But don’t be discouraged on those days when you seem to get NOTHING done. Those days will happen. You’re doing great, mama!)
What are your tips for tackling your To Do list? Drop me a note below in the comments section.
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Until next time,