Whether you’re a stay-at-home dad or just a pappy who occasionally works from home, I bet you already Googled some working from home tips to get things done.
As a new dad, I quickly realized that time was so limited like never before. I knew I had to adjust my working routine seriously to meet my own expectations as a productive pappy.
The turning point, I think, came when I gently acknowledged that things will never be the same.
It was obvious to me that this new situation required an experimental mindset: an approach of being open to all clichéd tips and experimenting with whatever comes to mind. And, over time, iterate the process and fine-tune my system like agile methodologies teach us.
In this post, I want to share with you some working from home tips that I learned along the process.
Forget about the home office
Fortunately, by the time my baby arrived, I had already replaced my desktop computer with a notebook. Honestly, there was no other option as we turned my home office into a nursing sanctuary.
I had been for a very long time against notebooks mainly due to the small screen size. What I found when I purchased my laptop computer, however, was sheer heaven.
I quickly went from a mouse-addict to a touchpad junkie. I was no longer bound by location: I could work from anywhere in reasonable comfort. If I look back, this single purchase has caused a cascading effect on my approach to work.
The best thing, however, was that I had a trusted system …
Have a trusted system in place
I use Nozbe as a task management system.
I switched a couple of times back and forth between Asana and Nozbe. Finally, I committed to the second. You can find out more about these tools here.
I now know that everything is there for a productive day because I created my own productivity system.
I have, for example, a dedicated “baby project” in Nozbe listing upcoming consulting hours with the pediatrician, vaccination, travel packing checklists, and more. It was extremely useful back in the early days when I used to run a lot of errands. I assume you know what I’m talking about …
Make notes 24/7
Amidst the crazy times, my best ideas would come between two nursing sessions in the middle of the night or so.
As I learned from the GTD method, I would write down every task and idea as soon as it came to mind. And Nozbe is hard to beat in that sense.
By jotting down thoughts on the fly, you liberate your mind from working 24/7, live for the moment, and will never miss an important deadline or idea.
But what, you might ask, am I going to do with my list?
I found a wonderful opportunity to brainstorm and gather my thoughts: the baby walking time.
Leverage your baby walking time
As a big fan of the TWWT (Thinking-While-Walking-Time), it quickly dawned on me that I can turn my baby walking time into a TWBWT (Thinking-While-Baby-Walking-Time).
The idea of this post, for example, was born during a TWBWT session.
Walking just for the sheer enjoyment provides a wonderful opportunity to gather your thoughts and get fresh new ideas. And the best thing about it is that you’re walking with your baby, which brings a whole new dimension to the experience.
During my sessions, I often come across moms jogging with a stroller. Wow! Another great opportunity for you as a stay-at-home dad.
Make use of the times when your baby is sleeping
It may sound obvious, but leveraging dead time makes a huge difference. It did for me at least.
I found that I can work best when …
- My baby is asleep in the evening
- Before she would wake up in the morning
- And during midday napping
The best time, I found, is early in the morning before my family would get up. So, I scheduled some deep work for every morning.
It’s a superb feeling that you had already accomplished your most important tasks by the time your family pulls out from the bed. It prepares you for a good day downstream.
Negotiate some me-time with your spouse
You can support each other with your spouse and find time reciprocally to work and recharge batteries:
- Walking with the baby: Why not take turns getting out for a walk with your baby? This makes room for a productive hour for both of you.
- Finding mutual benefit: I bet there’re some chores that your spouse hates doing. Helping out your significant other might benefit the relationship, and, in turn, you can gain more time downstream.
- Getting help from family and friends: If you’re willing to accept help from trusted people, you end up having some extra hours under your belt.
There’s, I learned, one more working from home tip, which brings us to where the rubber meets the road.
Another clichéd term: boundaries. It might seem strange at first but writing down your boundaries and sticking with them can make a big difference. The hardest thing, as always, is hammering out the details.
Here’re a few examples that you may want to consider:
- Waking up in the morning when your family is still asleep
- Ensuring that you get one important task done in the morning
- Establishing a morning routine
- Saying no to projects and invitations that don’t align with your goals
- Making a list of your non-negotiables and adhering to them—exercise, for example
- Limiting time spent on unproductive activities
Let’s see, in a nutshell, what we covered in this post …
Working from home tips for productive pappies
- Forget about the home office
- Have a trusted system in place
- Make notes 24/7
- Leverage your baby walking time
- Make use of the times when your baby is sleeping
- Negotiate some me-time with your spouse
- Create boundaries
To me, it’s all about experimentation. And it’s a constant struggle with time. Once, however, you find your formula, your days will unfold more naturally.
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