When sharing their tips and tricks, productivity gurus doesn’t usually consider the unique challenges that working parents face. Business books, videos, and podcasts can be skewed towards helping our single counterparts who don’t have children. This leaves parents trying to navigate childrearing and entrepreneurship on their own.
If you’re struggling to balance your babies and your business, here are six productivity hacks to make life easier.
1. Wake Up Early
Getting up before everyone else definitely has its advantages. With everyone sleeping, no one is asking for your attention — which is crucial for working parents. No interruptions from kids, spouses, employees, neighbors, or friends. This makes your home or the office quiet and distraction free.
Working in the morning also boosts your productivity levels. With a full night of rest, you haven’t been bogged down yet by a day full of decision-fatigue and challenges. You also have more energy to dedicate to your work than you would at the end of the day. This makes morning prime time for parents to get important work done.
2. Fill Up Love Tanks
This advice comes from the parenting book, The 5 Love Languages of Children. Everyone, even our children, has a metaphorical “love tank.” As parents, it’s our job to keep our children’s love tank full. We can do this by “speaking” in whatever love language they understand best. The five love languages include:
— Quality Time
— Acts of Service
— Physical Touch
— Words of Affirmation
Consider filling up your child’s love tank in the morning when they first wake up. This can be cuddles in bed, going for a quick walk, or chatting while making breakfast together. Helping your child feel loved gives them the confidence to start their day or the fulfillment to play on their own while you work.
3. One Thing at a Time
As parents, we can be pulled in a million directions at once. This is also true for entrepreneurs. This is why it’s even more crucial for you to safeguard your day by limiting what takes up your time.
For example, if you want to be a best-selling author, you can’t write your book and coach your kid’s soccer team and volunteer at the soup kitchen and run the school bake-sale and launch an Amazon business and try to lose 30 pounds — all while shuffling your kids around to their activities. You are focusing on too many things at once.
To balance your parenting responsibilities with your work ones, you need to focus on one thing at a time. The faster you can finish a project, the sooner you can move on to the next one. But wearing too many hats at once will only slow down your progress and make you less productive. This will mean saying ‘no,’ to things because they aren’t the best use of your time.
The one thing parents and entrepreneurs need more of is time. One way to get more time is to have less things to do. If possible, outsource as much of your life as you can. This includes both your parenting responsibilities as well as your business responsibilities.
Hire an assistant to handle all your mundane business tasks. This can be responding to emails and setting up meetings. Sign up for a meal service that picks and preps your meals for you. Hire a maid to clean your home. Consider having a babysitter watch your kids a few times a week while you work.
By outsourcing most of your day-to-day tasks, you will have more time to focus on what you do best. This will focus your energy on where it can be most effectively used.
If resources are limited, start by outsourcing the one thing that will give you the most time back. For me, the first thing I outsourced was cooking. I spent a lot of time planning meals, grocery shopping, prepping food, cooking, eating, and cleaning up. By signing up for a meal service, I saved more than two hours each day. Having two extra hours every day has helped me accomplish so much more in my work and family goals.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Kids — though we love them — are distracting enough as it is. Get rid of other common distractions that waste your time. This may mean deleting social media off your phone. Maybe it means turning the tv off in the evenings to get more work done. Working with your phone on Do Not Disturb mode is another way you can avoid distractions. Since your time is pulled between work and family, don’t waste it on unproductive things.
6. Take Care of Your Health
Being a parent and running a business keeps you busy enough as it is. You don’t need any sick days or a lack of energy getting in your way. Taking care of yourself is key to be able to take care of business and your babies.
As you make your health a priority, focus on these four things:
Go to Bed Early: We know how important sleep is for our kids. And we’re usually good at enforcing bedtime for them. But we aren’t always so strict for ourselves.
As you wake up early, you will also need to go to bed early. Try to get the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep every night. Getting more sleep will refresh and energize you for a productive day of work and chasing your kids.
Drink Water: It’s important to keep your body hydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and more. To keep your energy levels up and accomplish more each day, drink half your body weight in ounces.
Exercise: Exercise is good for your lungs, heart, muscles, and mood. It can increase your lifespan, lower your stress, and boost your creativity. There are plenty of ways to exercise, like going for a family bike ride or joining a boxing class. Whatever way you choose to move, workout a minimum of three times a week.
Eat Healthy: The food you eat is the fuel your mind and body use to function each day. If you’re eating poorly, your mind and body will also function poorly. But the healthier you eat, the more energy you’ll have to show up for your family and your business.
Conclusion: Walking on a Tightrope
Balancing parenting and your business is like walking on a tightrope. You will occasionally lose your balance and need to shift and correct in order to keep going.
However, you can make this balancing act easier by limiting the burdens you carry and the distractions in your way. And by sticking to these six guidelines, you’ll be able to do just that.