Here’s 11 productivity tips you can try for working at home with a newborn
When you become a parent, your life changes in a lot of ways. One of the biggest changes for entrepreneurs and work-from-home parents is that you suddenly have to figure out how to handle working at home with a newborn.
As a new parent and owner of a new digital agency in Perth, I can know that it can be tough to stay productive, while still making sure that caring for your baby is top priority. But, it is definitely possible.
These 11 tips will help you make working at home with a baby work for you.
Tip #1: Learn your child’s routine and build your schedule around it
Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay productive when you’re juggling parental responsibilities with business responsibilities. But as any new parent knows, newborns don’t abide by your schedule – you abide by theirs!
Match your schedule to your child’s routine and add in plenty of time for feeding, cuddles, and nappy changes to keep your productivity high. Scheduling meetings or important tasks too close to feeding times is a sure-fire way to ramp up your anxiety and lower productivity.
If your partner also works from home, split the parenting time into shifts so that your baby gets lots of 1-1 time and you both get time to focus.
If that’s not an option, don’t worry. Babies tend to spend a lot of time napping. If you’re working at home with a newborn, take the opportunity to focus fully on work while they nap. Naptime is your best chance to make any important phone calls or to get tasks done that need both time and deep focus.
While your baby is awake, you will need to work in shorter bursts so use those times to tackle smaller, less intensive tasks like reading and responding to emails.
Tip #2: Set up a designated work space
If you want to be productive when working at home with a newborn, set up a designated work space. Make sure your work space is comfortable and has all the supplies you need to get the job done.
Invest in a good quality desk and chair – you’ll be spending a lot of time there! And if you can, set up your workspace near a window with natural light.
If you don’t have a lot of space to work with, get creative. A small desk in the corner of the room can be just as effective as a large one.
Consider investing in a standing desk so that you can wear your baby while working. As a bonus, it’ll help keep you healthier too!
Tip #3: Get organised
When working from home with a baby, organization is key. Invest in a planner or create a system that works for you to keep track of your work, deadlines, and appointments.
A to-do list is a great way to stay on top of your work, but assuming that you will get everything on your list done each day is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for disappointment.
Instead of writing a huge list of everything to do for the day, make a list of important tasks for the week and then allocate the tasks to specific days.
Attach priorities to tasks and focus on tasks that are urgent and important first. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Be realistic about how much you can achieve in the time you have, and allow a time buffer for inevitable interruptions and unplanned disruptions.
Also, how about trying some of these awesome tips for home office set up?
Tip #4: Multi-task when working at home with a newborn
There will be times during the day when either your baby or your work need your full, undivided attention. But for most of the time, you can multitask to take care of both at the same time.
If you’re breastfeeding you may be able to catch up on anything that involves reading while you’re feeding. Baby wearing allows you to soothe your baby while keeping your hands free for typing or other tasks.
Another often-overlooked multi-tasking tip is to make use of the text-to-speech and speech-to-text functionality available in the word processing and email software. Have your emails or important documents read aloud to you and dictate your response, all while feeding, changing, and playing with baby.
For more awesome multitasking tips check out our article on 12 timesaving housework hacks.
Tip #5: Set boundaries with your family and friends
When working from home with a newborn, it is important to set boundaries with your family and friends. It can be hard work balancing work and family responsibilities, so you need to make sure that everyone is aware of your working hours. Let your family and friends know when you are available to chat or when you are working and ask them to respect your time.
It is also important to set boundaries with yourself. Turn off your phone and put it out of reach when you need to focus on work.
Tip #6: Take care of yourself as well as your baby
When working from home with a baby, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure to schedule in time for exercise, relaxation, and healthy meals. It may seem impossible with a newborn, but it’s critical to make time for the things you enjoy.
Exercise keeps you energized and focused. Relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can help reduce stress and improve your mood. And eating healthy meals will give you the energy you need to power through your workday.
Be flexible and take breaks when needed. Taking breaks helps you recharge and ensure you get quality time with your little one. Get up and stretch, take a walk, or just step away from your work for a few minutes to recharge. You’ll be more productive when you return to work.
Working from home with a newborn can be challenging, but it is possible to be productive if you take care of yourself and set up a routine that works for you.
Tip #7: Have set hours
Even if you’re working from home, it’s important to have set hours. This keeps you on track and avoids you getting side-tracked by household chores or other distractions. When setting your hours, be realistic about how much time you can actually devote to work.
If possible, try to stick to a regular schedule so that your body and mind adjust to a set routine, making it easier to be productive.
Of course, there will be days when your schedule gets thrown off by a sick baby or another unexpected event. But having set hours will help you get back on track as soon as possible.
Tip #8: Have realistic expectations for working at home with a newborn
As a new parent, it’s vital to have realistic expectations. Things won’t always go according to plan, and you’ll need to be flexible.
Accept that there will be days when you are not as productive as you’d like and cut yourself some slack.
Your working hours may need to be different when you have a newborn. If you are breast-feeding, you will need to take breaks to pump or feed your baby. And if your baby is sick, you may need to take some time off work.
Try to be understanding and patient with yourself and remember that this is a temporary phase. Things will get easier as your baby gets older.
Tip #9: Get dressed for work, even if you’re not leaving the house
When working from home with a newborn, it is important to make the time to get dressed for the day, ideally in clothes that you associate with working. This may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your productivity.
Getting dressed for the day gets you into the right mindset for work. Get changed when you finish work to help you keep the mental divide between ‘work’ time and ‘home’ time, even when you’re working from home.
Tip #10: Meal plan and cook dinner in advance so you can eat together as a family
Meal planning and cooking dinner in advance can help you stay productive when working at home with a newborn. It can be exhausting to cook a meal from scratch every night when you have a baby, so it is best to plan ahead.
Meal planning can save you both time and money, and it will also help you make sure you are eating healthy meals.
Cooking dinner in advance will give you more time to spend with your family.
Cook some simple meals that can be easily reheated and eaten as a family. You can even use weekends to batch cook healthy, tasty meals that can be stored in your freezer. Cutting down on cooking time will help you all get some much-needed quality time together to relax after a long day of working at home with a baby.
Tip #11: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when working at home with a newborn!
Asking for and accepting help can make a world of difference. It’s difficult to accomplish everything on your own, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Whether it’s hiring a babysitter, outsourcing your laundry, delegating some work tasks, or asking your spouse to take on some additional responsibilities, take some steps to lighten your load so that you can focus on the key things without burning out.
Some Final Thoughts on Working At Home With A Newborn…
There are a lot of things you can do to make working at home with a baby work for you. It takes some effort and organisation, but it is definitely possible to get things done and be productive while also spending time with your kids.
Make good use of technology, get organised, and multi-task to get the most out of each day. But don’t forget to take some breaks and be flexible and realistic in your expectations. You need to make sure you are taking care of yourself and your baby as well as getting work done. With a bit of effort, you can find a balance that works for you and your family.
Alex Bettink is loving his new life as a dad. When he’s not busy looking after his newborn, he is passionate about helping local businesses in Perth with quality web design. His business allows him to work from home and balance the best of both worlds as a dad and business owner.