Heading back to work after time home with your baby will mean a transition for everyone involved. Ease into your new reality with some time saving tips proven to help you keep it all together as you balance career, baby and your other beloveds (partners, friends, even pets.)
Consider outsourcing your chores so that you can free up time for the things that really matter.
It can be a splurge, but for the first few weeks as you become accustomed to new schedules and changing demands on your time – and brain power – prepared meals or meal delivery services, if available in your area, can take off the pressure and provide valuable minutes back into your evenings.
If the slightly inflated costs of these services are too much, try other time savers you may not have previously considered like online grocery shopping or in-season fresh fruit and vegetable deliveries to your door from local farms. Investing in a good crockpot is a wise investment and optimize your time on the weekend to cook and freeze future meals for the family. Finally, keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies cut up and ready to grab for your famished family to snack on while someone – you or your partner – makes the family meal.
You’ve already become a master at multitasking: simultaneously feeding your babe, sorting through photos and hauling out the recycling bin, so overlapping your home and work roles won’t be a stretch. While at the office, try to carve out some time in your day to tackle items on your to do list, like making appointments, ordering online groceries over your lunch hour, or researching baby classes in between clients. On the flipside, if you have the energy, it might be more helpful than stressful to spend a half hour getting ahead of the next day by organizing your email or agenda at home, the night before.
It’s nice to be missed…and clearly you were, based on the influx of emails pouring into your inbox now that you have returned to work. While commitment to your career and a healthy work ethic is to be applauded, setting the right expectations regarding your working hours and response times (both during the day and into the evening hours) will help ensure you stick to a reasonable schedule, no matter what comes your way.
Although our lives are anything but typical, most service providers still follow a 9am to 5pm work day. There are institutions and professionals who offer more flexible operating hours. Consider switching to a bank that is open later in the evenings or on weekends, and ask your dentist / doctors / chiropractor about early appointments or flexible hours. When all else fails, use a personal day and get through all your necessary appointments back to back – which should absolutely include a well-earned massage if you can fit it in. Taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of your family.
The days of the relaxing mani-pedi followed by lunch with your girlfriends – and then a nap – may seem like a lifetime ago, but you’ll get back there. We promise. In the meantime, your beauty routine shouldn’t suffer simply because of an unforgiving calendar. When it comes to basic beauty maintenance, try a gel manicure (which can last you up to three weeks) instead of a basic polish and shape, ask your salon about quick roots-only touch ups that might save you an hour of time in the salon. And when it comes to booking any beauty appointment, try and secure the first times of the day so there’s no chance of your appointment being delayed by latecomers.
You’ve already successfully delivered your baby – now let someone else be responsible for delivering all of their essentials to you. Diaper subscription services offered by online retailers like amazon.ca and honest.com, allow you to schedule regular deliveries including baby wipes and creams you regularly use, helping avoid late-night emergency pharmacy runs to pick up the most essential of newborn needs.
Keeping your own home organized can be the best time saver and life simplifier of all. If you constantly find yourself rummaging in a dark shoe closet for the other half of your favourite pair, or spending ten minutes each day searching for your keys or phone, make a conscious effort to organize the main traffic areas in your house. You’ll save valuable morning minutes – and stress on yourself – and your family every day.
Products like Google Home and Amazon Echo are virtual assistants that interact with your smart home services; turning on your air conditioner or starting the expresso machine for you with a simple ask, and can also be the quickest route to daily queries that can help you quickly get on with your day; ‘when is it supposed to rain this afternoon?’ ‘What’s the best route to work today?’ while also acting as a personal, digital assistant; ‘add orange juice to the shopping list’, ‘remind me at 8pm tonight to call my dad.’
Getting up an hour earlier, when you’ve been up multiple times already with your nursing/teething/cranky child may seem unattainable right now, but as your little one settles in better to sleeping through the night (yes, one day it will happen!), that extra sixty minutes or more can be a huge advantage to keeping your life on track, whether you use it to squeeze in an at-home work-out, shower without interruption or catch up on your social calendar.
Life will be busier as you head back to work. By putting into practice some of the simple steps like the ones above, maintaining a sense of humour about the occasional hiccups and giving yourself some well-deserved credit for juggling it all, you’ll find yourself adjusting, and likely thriving, in no time.
Check out these time-saving tips, so that you can free up time for the things that really matter.
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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.