1. Work in Bursts
Life has gotten very busy. Ok, that might be an understatement. With a schedule that is significantly fuller, that is no longer under my control, and that is fairly unpredictable, the importance of being able to productively work in bursts has increased.
Often breaks between helping with Noah are only 30 or 45 minutes, or even less. Thankfully this is enough time to work in bursts. You can get a lot done in a short period of time if you focus in for that time.
Perhaps you are not being interrupted by a baby you need to help with but you likely have many short periods of time throughout the day that you can turn into a burst period. When do you have a burst that you can focus in on?
2. Know Your Priorities
Having a baby has made it more clear how important it is to know your priorities. You can’t do everything in life, so you have to make decisions about what you do and what you don’t do. When something gets added to your life, you need to give up some thing else. Too often people keep adding and adding things to their lives until they are juggling more than they can handle.
Clearly caring for Noah has become my new top priority. That means projects like my affiliate home business, this blog, and other activities need to be selectively neglected for periods of time. My focus has to be on being a good father and a good husband, because those are my priorities. What are your priorities?
3. Don’t Feel Guilty
One of the biggest challenges for me has been the guilty feeling that comes with this kind of selective neglect of some of these activities. When life gets busy, it is easy to focus on what you aren’t doing, even if they are lower level priorities. I’ve had to learn to release these guilty feelings and just do what I can do. You don’t need to feel guilty about neglecting things that are not priorities. Is there something you feel guilty about not doing, that really isn’t that important anyway?
4. Be Flexible
I’m not known as a flexible individual. I have a plan and like to stick to it. One of the biggest changes is that I have learned to be flexible. Having a plan, but being flexible has many advantages. It allows you to be consistently making decisions based on your priorities. This way you are doing the things that are most important in the moment, instead of something predetermined in advance. You will need to learn to make decisions that truly reflect your long-term priorities, but if you are able to do so you will have a much more mission driven life. Are you flexible and able to make moment by moment decisions based on your priorities?
5. Enjoy the small things
Life is filled with small things. The beautiful day that you get to spend with friends, the family vacation, the rainy day with nothing to do but sit inside and read a book. Whatever the little things are in your life you need to enjoy them. With a newborn the list of little things grows immensely. It’s watching my son wake up from a sleep and stretch his little body making himself as long as possible; it’s the many “firsts” that we get to witness; and it’s the ability to lie on the coach and write this article with him sleeping on my chest. What are the small things in your life?
Hopefully some of these will help you also. What other lessons have you learned from life changes such as having a child?