Being your productive best with a toddler, at home and work !!

Don’t worry, I am not going to lead you to believe there is a way to become super woman who is a force of nature. On the contrary, am going to ask you to focus on being good at things that really matter. Such as being good at your office work (you don’t want to be mediocre one at that) and being good at managing house, which includes spending quality time with family.

As a mother to a one year old toddler, I can understand your struggle. Our routines are so freaking unpredictable. When you are about to step out of home, already late for a meeting, your baby is having a melt-down or she is making a funny poop face that you cannot ignore. I used to go with the flow each day, hoping things would fall in place eventually, but it never did. Also, my sleep deprived foggy brain could hardly think straight. And, I was forgetting things quiet often, which was fairly innocuous initially, but soon enough it started reflecting badly at work . Then, I decided to create a simple system that worked for my daily life. So, here am writing a blog hoping that mommies out there will find it helpful.

While @ home…

Delegate graciously

Delegate a bit more to your near and dear ones than what they are used to. Gently and tactfully get your husband to do at least 30-50% of the work you do (let him pick the ones). Request your parents or in-laws (when they are around) to buy groceries or do the baby shopping. You can also get your house-help or babysitter to do a couple of extra “routine” chores. You can of course reward them during Diwali or Xmas. The point is that you don’t have to do it all. The delegated things may not turn out exactly how you envisioned them to, but it’s okay. I can’t emphasize enough on using a pleasant tone while delegating. Please don’t boss over family and friends, you might hurt them along the way and lose their support altogether. The idea is to share work and get some time freed up for yourself.

Meal-prep

Ayurvedic principles are not in line with the trend of prepping meals (chopping fruits and veggies) ahead for the whole week. And rightly so…fruits and veggies will not stay fresh when cut and stored in refrigerator for long. Moreover, fruits are supposed to be consumed immediately after cutting them in order to obtain the nutrients. However, I believe, it is entirely okay to put together time-saving masalas such as Sambar powder or Garam Masalas upfront. My grandma used to prepare these for a whole month.

I generally keep things ready the previous day such as washing veggies and letting them dry overnight. You can also organize and keep your tools handy. This way, you can cook a happy and healthy meal for the family with minimal effort. In addition, you can keep the next day’s outfit and accessories ready, so that you don’t waste time deciding what to wear.

Planning the week

Planning your week’s menu on Saturdays is great start and you can shop for groceries accordingly. For us, it is usually a fun outing shopping for weekly groceries along with the baby. Keep aside an hour on Sundays for cleaning and organizing a room or a wardrobe. Make note of the things to get done at home through the week. You can use Sundays to plan ahead for office as well. When you are well-planned and well-organized, you will never feel the Monday blues….! You are welcome 🙂

Upskilling

To stay relevant at work, it is essential to keep learning something new. I listen to audio books in the app audible when am cooking so the 1-2 hrs spent in the kitchen making healthy breakfast and lunch is made productive. Also, when the baby is napping, I read some articles or books that interest me.

While @ work…

A new mother’s brain isn’t the most organized and reliable one to remember the list of things to do. So, here are some of the tips that you could possibly try to stay on top of the game.

Use organizers

You may be already familiar with apps and online tools for task management and to-do lists. I somehow still prefer writing them down. The important thing is note it down in a common place, so that you can refer to them when required. This also helps to free up your mind to process other important things. You can tick off the ones that are complete. That’ll give a sense of gratification and the necessary motivation to accomplish the rest. But, the most important thing is to note down the unfinished ones on to the next day’s list.

Social media detox

If you use social media unproductively such as liking or sharing random pictures, it is best to stay away from it; it is a time killer and for the longest time, I was guilty of it!! They are so addictive, one can easily be drawn in to Pintrest or Facebook for hours without realizing.

Build a sense of urgency

While at work, do your work as if there is an urgency to finish them in half the time. That will help you work super focused. If you work like this regularly, you will finish more in less hours. I strongly recommend the acclaimed book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport to maximize your potential.

Establish intentional routines

An established routine puts less pressure on your will power, so you don’t burn out while getting things done. You can go about doing things in a prescribed order that is suitable for your life. Establishing a routine might take a bit of trial and error. Once it is established, it should work for you….Abracadabra!!

Collaborate smartly

When at work, please take inputs and guidance early on, specifically on areas that are not your forte. The idea is to minimize re-work and complete your assignments early. Suppose you have to author a document. Instead of trying to figure out everything by yourself, you can approach a “subject matter expert” and ask if there are any supporting documents that you could refer to or if they have time to brief you on the topic. Ask your boss upfront on the intended audience and the scope of the document. That way, you can work towards completing the assignment on time with minimal rework. Also, remember to keep your boss posted on the progress and any possible delays.

Being good at work and at home is no easy feat by any means. But, with a bit of support system and planning, you can accomplish a lot more. All the best and God speed you lovely ladies!!!

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