10 Ways to Stay Productive with a Newborn

This article was originally published on organizedchaosblog.com

Being productive with kids is tough for any mom. Add a baby to the mix and it seems even more impossible. These 10 ways to be productive with a newborn are sure to help you get things done so you can spend time enjoying the things that matter most.

If you are reading this, chances are you’re sitting down for the first time today while your new baby sleeps. You probably have several piles of laundry scattered around. You aren’t sure if they are clean or dirty.

Dishes are piled high in the sink and takeout containers are overflowing in the garbage can. You may even be trying to remember if you brushed your teeth this morning (forget about taking a shower!)

Let’s Bust the Myths

You also have probably scrolled through social media at some point today noticing the posts from other mamas with newborns. Their pictures show them in clean houses with fresh makeup and a cute outfit. They seem to have it all together and to be thriving. And they make you feel inferior and question how they have their s*** together when you are barely treading water.

Well, my friends, for starters, don’t believe everything you see on social media. A snapshot of someone’s day is usually not an accurate portrayal of their real life. There’s always a mess on the other side of the camera, and they may be struggling behind the smile.

There are, however, a few things you can do to start regaining a sense of normalcy after having a baby. Today I’m sharing some of my best tips to stay productive when you’re at home with a newborn.

Stay Productive with a Newborn

Tip #1: Set Realistic Goals

First and foremost, before attempting to get anything done you need to remember things will be different than they were just a few weeks ago. Be realistic about how productive you can actually be with a newborn.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting your standards too high. Rember that things will eventually get back to normal and that this is just the season of life you are in. Embrace it and enjoy it.

Tip #2: Keep a running To-Do List and Planner

When life gets busy, my head is constantly spinning with things I need to get done. This sometimes makes it hard to focus and live in the moment.

The best way to combat this is to keep a to-do list. Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper (or in the notes section of your phone) ensures you won’t forget things. It clears up mental space for things that really matter.

I also can’t live without my planner. You know this if you follow me on Instagram. This is where I keep everything- from schedules and appointments to due dates and reminders. I put my running to-do list inside my planner so everything I need to stay organized is in one spot.

When you have a free moment in the day, check your list and pick something you can easily check off. If it is a bigger task, consider breaking it down into smaller more manageable chunks. It may take longer to get done, but remember small progress is better than no progress.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of Nap Time

If you are a mom, you know that nap time is sacred time. Even more so when you have a newborn at home. If you are able to, you should do your best to nap when your baby does (because we both know you aren’t sleeping much at night.)

What I try to do when the baby goes down for a nap is to pick ONE thing from my to-do list and get it done. The rest of the time is for me. If I’m feeling really good or energetic, I might do a few more small tasks, but I always reserve part of nap time for relaxing to help avoid mommy burnout.

Tip #4: Wear Your Baby

Another efficient way to be productive with a newborn is babywearing. While this is not the most convenient method, sometimes it is necessary.

There are times that no amount of soothing will calm your baby enough to be put down. There are also times when there isn’t enough time to get the baby settled. And there are also times I just want to snuggle my baby because this time passes all too fast.

Tip #5: Accept and Ask for Help

As women, we are naturally inclined to want to do it all and handle everything on our own. However, if there is ever a time to reach out for help it is now. Whether you get someone to sit with the baby for a few hours so you can run errands, use a delivery or subscription service, or completely outsource a chore like cleaning, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you haven’t jumped on the Walmart grocery pickup or delivery bandwagon you are missing out. This has made my life so much easier. I can either have my husband pick up the groceries on his way home, or I can get them delivered. 

Other great services that you might want to consider trying are meal delivery kits such as Hello Fresh and Butcher Box which can help you get a meal on the table.

Amazon Prime is also a must-have for moms. You can set hundreds of items to auto-renew and/or ship before you run out. This is especially great for diapers, wipes, and household cleaning supplies.

Tip # 6: Establish Good Routines

I am a huge proponent of routines. I thrive off of them.

If you are not a routine person, I highly suggest you give it a shot. They don’t need to be elaborate or extremely detailed. In fact, those types of routines may not work at this time in your life when so much of your schedule is controlled by your baby.

Establishing a few routines will make life so much easier. For example, my husband always runs the dishwasher and night and we unload it first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, I can easily put dirty dishes and bottles directly into the dishwasher instead of letting them pile up in the sink.

Another easy routine is laundry (as if laundry is ever easy!) I try to do one load every day to stay on top of it. I set the washer at night to delay start for early in the morning. When I wake up, I can then easily transfer clothes to the dryer or hanging rack.

If I’m lucky I fold and put away the clothes from the day before. Even if that doesn’t happen, I at least know I have clean clothes.

Creating small routines and learning how to clean your house faster will keep chores from becoming too overwhelming. It may not make life perfect, but it will help you stay on top of things enough to get by. 

Tip #7: Use the three-minute Rule

Another way to be productive with a newborn is to practice the three-minute rule. If you see something that needs to be done that will take less than 3 minutes, do it!

Shoes lying on the floor? One dish that needs to be rinsed and put in the dishwasher? Trash that needs to go out? All of these tasks are tiny and take only minutes to complete. Do them as soon as you can. This prevents chores from building up and becoming too overwhelming.

Tip #8: Get your Baby on a Schedule

Getting your baby on a schedule is not only good for your baby’s personal development, but it also allows you to create some type of structure for your own day.

This will look different for every mom and every baby depending on your parenting style. I personally have used the eat-wake-sleep method from Babywise with all of my kids and highly recommend it.

Once you have a general idea of when your baby will be eating, playing, and napping, you can schedule your tasks around their schedule.

Make phone calls when they are sleeping. Do simple chores like folding clothes when they are playing at an arm’s reach. Run your errands first thing in the morning after they eat and before nap time.

As a mom, you will quickly learn when your baby needs you most and when you can let them play independently and get some tasks done.

Tip #9: Allow for Independent Play

While it is super tempting to hold and cuddle your baby the entire day, it’s also important to teach them to self-soothe and play independently in small increments of time.

Always make sure your baby is in a safe spot where you can easily monitor them. Some of my favorite newborn essentials are the Pello, the Baby Bjorn Bouncer, and the Mamaroo.

Tip #10: Move Your Body

One of the biggest complaints from new moms is not having the time or ability to work out. This personally isn’t super high on my priority list right after having a baby, but when I’m ready to get back into a workout routine there are a few options.

First, many gyms offer childcare. You can take your baby with you and know they are safe while you are getting some time to yourself.

Next, there are so many classes these days geared to mommy-and-me workouts. This is a great option if you want to keep your baby with you while you work off that baby weight.

Finally, if you don’t want to spend the extra money on gym memberships or classes, a simple YouTube search will bring up hundreds of free postpartum workouts that you can do at home, with or without your baby.

Hopefully, these tips for being productive with a newborn will help you regain a sense of normalcy. While the goal is to get as much done as possible, not every day will be perfect. Remember that doing something is better than nothing.

Give yourself grace and enjoy every second with your sweet baby. The days pass too fast and babies don’t keep. Your little one won’t be little forever, but I promise you, the laundry will always be there.

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