WORK IN MICRO-BLOCKS
If it’s hard to fit in large blocks of focused work time, get creative with the small pockets of time throughout your day. That’s what Rachele Alpine, 39, a young adult author with a 3-year-old and a baby on the way, did.
“When my son was really young and I had to write a book, I made it a game to ‘steal’ writing time,” she explains. “It sounds so silly, but I’d slip away for a moment when my husband was home, and I’d write for five minutes. I used to give myself a little tally mark for stolen time and found it adding up.” Even now, Alpine still carries around a notebook so she can keep stealing those productive minutes.
You might also learn to squeeze in work on-the-go. Kids tend to fall asleep in the car. Bring your (charged!) laptop with you when you leave the house, and park outside a coffeeshop.
“I’ve been known to use the Starbucks WiFi in my car while my little one sleeps, before picking up my oldest,” says writer Cindy Marie Jenkins, 39, whose kids are 4 and nearly 2. Afternoon coffee fix with a side of productivity? Genius.
TAKE WALKING MEETINGS
For those with babies who nap in strollers or carriers, use your walking time to not only get fresh air and exercise, but also to catch up on emails, brainstorm, write to-do lists and even make work calls (if your child will sleep through them). This way, you’re not slogging through the day’s emails after your child goes to bed and you’re exhausted. While these tasks may take longer to complete on your phone, it can be more efficient to use walking time wisely and save precious minutes for relaxing later.
MAKE THE MOST OF NAPTIME
Choose either side of the spectrum — either sleep when the baby sleeps, or if you can’t doze, get meaningful work done instead of scrolling through Instagram. “I keep naptime sacred for pulling out the computer and doing the work tasks that have been piling up all day,” says author Carly Gelsinger, 31, whose kids are 5 and almost 2. “I don’t do chores during this time,” she says. She saves household to-dos for when the kids can pitch in or entertain themselves.