Most parents struggle with the idea of going back to work after their maternity or paternity leave is over. During this pandemic, however, remote work is adding a new challenge to the mix: having to work from home with a newborn. While this does mean extra time with your baby, it is a delicate balancing act that requires some schedule overhauls and mindset shifts. If you’re a mom or dad working from home with a newborn, try these tips to optimize your productivity.
1. Make Your Work as Mobile as Possible
Working at a home office desk all the time is a pipe dream for new parents, who will constantly need to run back and forth to the baby’s room throughout the day to get things. To ease the strain of moving around and save you time, go ahead and download as much of your work as you can onto your phone or tablet. This way, you can work in small batches whenever you find a free minute. You might have to do some reading or write some emails while rocking the baby in their rocking chair, or while breastfeeding. Having everything downloaded on your phone makes that possible as your work is right there with you.
2. Automate Work Processes
Automating your work processes makes sense for everyone in today’s workforce, but particularly for new parents. Automation is basically setting up certain work processes to run on their own so you can focus on other tasks. Before the baby arrives, set up email automation, updates on your computer and software, and automated data collection if that applies. Automation saves time, money, and frustration. You can also use software like Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts in advance. When it is time for them to post, they send on their own so you don’t need to log into your accounts to post every day. Set it and forget it.
3. Use a Baby Swing, Bassinet, or Carrier
While you keep an eye on your baby, it makes life so much easier to be able to put them down and have them gently rocked by either a swing or a bassinet. While your baby is awake, they can enjoy the subtle rocking of a swing, but they should be put in their bassinet when they are falling asleep for safety reasons. Swings are often the only thing that can soothe fussy babies as the rocking mimics the sensation of being inside their mother’s womb. Alternatively, you can wear your baby in a carrier facing you. As you work, they can watch your face and you can keep a close eye on how they are doing.
4. Take Breaks
We all need to take breaks periodically, but when you are a parent at home with a newborn, you’ll find yourself taking even more breaks than usual. Every 20 minutes or so, get up from your desk and take a few minutes for yourself or your baby. Stretch your legs, meditate, or rock in a chair as you cradle your sweet bundle. These frequent breaks will help you reduce stress and charge your batteries while also placing emphasis on what is most important: bonding with your baby.
5. Work While Baby Sleeps
Of course, the best time to get work done is while your baby is snoozing. Whether during their naptime, before they wake up in the morning, or after they go to sleep at night, you can use the quiet time to get your most challenging work done. Often this will involve shifting your schedule to wake up before your baby or stay awake later, but it is worth it because you’ll be more productive when you don’t have a million distractions keeping you from your desk.
6. Practice Self-Care
Without a doubt, this period of working while also taking care of your baby is a stressful one. You are doing two full-time jobs at the same time and we applaud you. Know that this period will not last forever and try to make the most of this extra time with your little one. Be sure to ask for help when you need it, whether from a partner or your parents. Most importantly of all, take time for yourself to unwind at the beginning of each day. This can be through journaling, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or watching your favorite show. Practice self-care because you are a rockstar who deserves to be pampered!