By Jennifer Sax
Change is definitely a theme of 2020. For me, those changes were not just COVID-related: I had a baby! People warned me that motherhood would change my life, but I didn’t truly understand it until I experienced it. Having a baby, returning from maternity leave, and working from home has forced me to alter my routines, and then alter them again and again. I’ve found that what works for me one week doesn’t always work the next as my baby gains skills, becomes more mobile, and adjusts his sleep patterns.
My morning routine is definitely one that I’ve had to streamline. I’ve had to figure out how to get my morning coffee fix, feed my baby, catch up on the daily news, and read through emails before my workday begins. To do this efficiently, I use creative problem solving to find new strategies to better manage my time. In case any other new parents are wondering, here are some “life hacks” that I’ve recently developed:
- Set the timer on the coffee machine the night before to save a few minutes in the morning.
- Re-evaluate your schedule every night to plan for the next day. Plans change, so you should always make sure your calendar is updated.
- Along the same lines…schedule time on your calendar to read an article, make dinner, workout, or even shower. When you have a designated time to do tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish them.
- Put a box or laundry basket in your child’s closet for clothes that he outgrows. It’s easier to put clothing in the box as it becomes too small rather than spend a large chunk of time cleaning out his drawers at the end of the season.
- Precut all of your vegetables on the weekend to cut down on weekday cooking time. Also, have pre-made frozen meals ready for when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Create two grocery lists. Keep one recurring shopping list on your phone, especially if you buy the same groceries every week. Also, keep a paper list in your kitchen on/next to the refrigerator. Add items that you only buy once in a while when you run out of them (think condiments and spices).
- Create more lists. Use packing lists that are pre-made on your phone for school, vacation, or a trip to grandma’s house. This helps cut down on time and lessens the chance you’ll forget something by recreating the wheel each time you leave your home.
I know 2020 has been a year of change for most people and that it sometimes felt difficult to adjust to. As December comes to an end, you may want to create new strategies for the new year so that you’ll be better prepared to deal with anything 2021 throws at you. I hope some of these tips can help you get started with becoming more efficient and organized with your everyday routines!