When your baby first arrives home your schedule is completely out of your hands. It can be very difficult to find the energy and the to juggle taking care of baby, work, finances, the home, the food and have any time to get a little sleep. Your previous routines may have become anything but routine now that your baby dictates so much of your time.
In this article we hope to be able to help you refresh your time management skills so that you can build upon what you already know in order to regain at least a little more control of your time.
There can be so many things for you to do that it can feel overwhelming.
The best thing you can do is to grab any free time to get some rest and to support your partner to get rest as well. Taking it in turn works well for some couples. Getting enough sleep is always an important goal, and as your baby’s routine begins to emerge, you may well discover that your life regains some of its predictability.
You might also want to consider trying out some of the tips below to develop a flexible plan for time management.
It may make things seem a little automated but make a plan of what has to be done and write it down.
- Figure out what you really need to do and how often those things need to be done. Making a list of these major tasks and then prioritizing them can help.
- Once you have your list, then see if you need to break some big tasks into smaller chores.
For example, how do you manage the shared household shopping and tasks? Break the tasks up into manageable bits and you won’t become frustrated if you don’t get everything done.
Keep the goal in mind
You don’t need to become an efficiency expert, and you don’t need to be perfect. But when you take time to figure out a practical yet flexible plan for time management you will discover that you become more efficient with your time, get more things done, and you have more time to do the things that you enjoy doing and that nurture you- activities with your baby, sharing events with friends, and giving yourself some respite time to yourself.
There is no doubt that some chores have to be done each day. But when you make your plan, give yourself the freedom to do some different chores on different days.
“I’m not super rigid. Some days we don’t get it all finished and feast on sandwiches, but we have a happy family baby.”
And plan for the unexpected. Giving yourself a time cushion and some backup plans that you can use can reduce the stress if you experience one schedule “surprise” that could otherwise throw off your whole day (or week).
Avoid being a perfectionist! Doing a good-enough job can be good enough. Ask friends for their tips about saving time and being efficient.
- Try to multitask phone call while walking baby in stroller, lift a few weights while baby has tummy time
- Use disposable plates, flatware, and cups sometimes so you don’t have to wash dishes every night.
- Spending a few minutes clearing clutter from around the house and filing papers each day
- Find a workable place to put clutter so that it will be less likely to re-appear. A cleaned-up (but not perfect) room can help increase your motivation to tackle bigger projects.
- Buy foods that take less preparation.
- Cook a larger volume and freeze half for another meal later on.
- Use online ordering and delivery.
- Check out a local laundromat that will wash, dry, and fold your clothes for you.
Try to avoid just letting your spare time become empty time or filling it with activities in order to avoid doing the tasks you know that you should be doing. If a task feels too big or onerous try to convince yourself just to make a start and to break it down into manageable pieces. Quite often it is easier than you had imagined and when you start you can finish it. Make sure if you do complete something that you allow yourself to acknowledge your achievement and notice your feelings of satisfaction. Fill gaps in your schedule with activities that fit your plan.
Of course, that “something” can be sitting down to catch your breath, listen to music, try to relive the memory of a positive experience, gaming, watch a game or TV program, read a book, or talk to a mate!
- Your time cannot be saved to be used later; it can only be spent as wisely as possible.
- Time can be managed effectively in the future only by planning today.
Take care of yourself
Don’t make taking care of yourself the last item in your plan. Self-care is important not only for your physical and emotional health, it is also an important time management tip. When you’re tired or haven’t had enough healthy food then you will be less productive and less well-organised.
We hope you enjoyed this article. It is one of the many support articles in the DadBooster online program. For more great tips and strategies, give DadBooster a go.