I was recently reading an article by Jeff Haden about simple ways to be productive; and while this was geared more for the work place, there are definitely ones that apply to parenting. Here are the few that I pulled out and see the application for being a more productive Dad.
Rework Your Morning/Nighttime Routine
For a lot of us the morning and nighttime routine is just that. Something that has been crafted in weeks and months prior, but as with growing babies and children, these need to be reworked from time to time. By making a simple change to your routine, you can introduce a schedule that gives a more consistent mid-day nap time, which in turn would allow you to catch up on housework, tasks, or god willing, sleep.
Refine One Repetitive Task
Jeff really hits the nail on the head and the implications for parents are massive. Jeff says,
Think of a task you do on a regular basis.
Now deconstruct it. Make it faster. Or improve the quality. Pick something you do that has become automatic and actively work to make it better.
Even if you only save five minutes, that’s five minutes every time.
For us parents, tasks like feeding, play time, development activities and others become automatic to what works. The old adage that if it is broken, don’t fix it definitely doesn’t apply to parenting. In the last month, we’ve worked to improve the time it takes to get the twins from bath to feed and to bed. If we had kept going with the way we originally did these tasks, they took 1.5 to 2 hours total. Now, we can get all of this done in about an hour. By making a few slight changes, we’re now able to eat earlier, have more time to ourselves, but still giving the kids quality time during baths and night feeds.
Outsource One Task
This is a clever, although seemingly difficult one for a parent to take on board and one I think every parent could benefit from. For me, being at work during the week, I try and balance the weekends with quality family time, completing various tasks around the house and managing to enjoy my time off. A lot of the time, things like mowing the lawn or cleaning the windows gets pushed on the back burner. By the time I get around to them, the lawn looks more like a jungle and takes me several hours to do. Time that I’d much more prefer to spend with the kids and my wife. As Jeff puts it,
I realized the kid down the street could cut my grass. He could use the money. I could use the time.
We constantly get leaflets, see someone doing these tasks for our neighbours or notice an ad in our local paper. These people are out there. You can even go as far as enlisting the help on Fiverr or other similar services to get jobs done on the cheap and easy.