Being Productive Even When You’re Tired
As a first time mom, after my son was born was the start of the most amazing, wonderful time of my life. But also the most exhausting time of my life. For the first few months, I could barely get enough sleep, let alone keep up with all the housework and other tasks. I felt really guilty for not keeping up with everything, but at the same time I knew that putting my baby first was top priority, so that’s what I did.
When I was pregnant, people kept telling me to “get all the rest you can now, because you won’t get any when the baby is born”. I did not accept that. I thought, yeah maybe some new moms deal with all that, but I won’t. I had no idea what was ahead of me.
It took some getting used to, but eventually I learned how to manage my time and be more productive – even if I’m tired. Like many moms, I do start my day off with a cup of coffee. I immediately start thinking about the day’s tasks, chores, and goals. I prefer to wake up before my son so that I can get a head start, but that’s not always the case. I know that a lot of moms face the challenge of having to get stuff done despite wanting to go back to bed. That’s why I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned, and what I do that helps me.
Don’t try to do everything at once. One thing that’s helped me BIG TIME is keeping a list of daily tasks and doing a little of it here and there. For example, I might start making coffee and while waiting for it, hand wash some dishes. My son’s nap sessions offers me free time to make business calls (I work from home). I will often clean the bathroom sink and then later in the day, clean the toilet. Just little things broken up throughout the day are easier (in my opinion) to get done.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help if you need it. This is important. Sometimes, things happen and it becomes very difficult to keep up, even to the point of needing someone to help you out with some things. When my son was four months old, my mother became very ill and was hospitalized for a couple of months. I normally would never leave my son with anyone, but there’s one person I know can be trusted, and she came over and baby-sat while I spent time at the hospital with my mom. There have also been times when I was too worn out or was too sick to do anything, and requested help. The bottom line is, do what you can do and know your limits. If it’s too much, either break it up into smaller tasks or see if somebody could help you out with whatever it is you’re dealing with.
Squeeze in a nap when your baby/child takes one. I realized early on that I needed a nap or two on most days just like my baby does. It’s amazing how refreshing an hour or two of nap time can help in being more energized.
Establish a regular daily schedule. When you’re used to doing certain things every single day, especially if it’s around the same time each day, you get so used to it that it becomes easier and quicker to manage. For example, I know that my son wakes up somewhat early each morning, around the same time every day. It’s pretty routine. He wakes up, stands up in his crib and gets my attention. I get up, change his diaper, feed him, turn on one of his little kid shows and put him down with his toys. I have my computer nearby as I start my work for the day while keeping watch over him. After about an hour or so, he starts rubbing his eyes and becomes sleepy again. That’s when I carry him to his crib where he falls asleep for his first nap of the day. During this time I’m able to either take a nap, too, or use that time to get more things done. I know that he will wake up in an hour or two and be awake for a few hours before taking his afternoon nap. I prefer to stay up in the morning and get my tasks started, sipping my coffee and enjoying quiet time. If I need to sleep some in the afternoon, then I do so when my son takes his nap. My favorite time to give him his bath is right before his afternoon nap, by the way. That’s what works for me.
Get what I’m saying? It’s just easier when you already know what you’re going to do.