Question of the week #18

ImgresThis is the question that I get asked again and again and again.  I am pretty sure that everyone has a different answer to it but I will give you my 2 cents.

Can you share some time management tips for those of us juggling start-up, baby, household, life, etc?

First of all, this is and will always be a tough juggling job.  If you can afford it, the key is good help.  That means a few things.  At the beginning that person can do a lot more than you realize and that includes keeping the house clean and doing the laundry.  Babies sleep a lot and there is plenty of time in the day for someone to get those other things done for you.  Again, if you can afford it, it is key.  Even when we could not afford help and I was home 24/7, I had someone come once a week to change the beds and do the laundry.  It was a god send.  

Someone gave me this advice which was great and we have passed on to everyone we know who has had a family.  Make a date night every week no matter what.  If you can, hire someone to help you with childcare and have the deal be with that person right from the beginning that they stay late lets say every Thursday night.  Go out alone with your wife, husband, partner and try and talk about something besides the baby.  It is beyond important.  Otherwise you get lost in the weeds.

The Internet is a key lifeline.  Order clothes, groceries, supplies and everything you need on line and have them delivered to your place.  If someone is there during the week, great, then they get to put stuff away.  If not, have them delivered at a specific time once a week when you are home.  If you have time, book out a few hours on Sunday to make some food for the week like pasta sauce or lasagna.  Also, if you have room, buy in bulk.  Always nice having a bottle of shampoo in a drawer when you run out.  I am a huge fan of product depth in the house.  No need to make your life more stressful.

Your kid is your number one priority and make sure you take time out for that.  If that means getting home every night at 5pm to have dinner with them before they go to bed, do it.  You can always return to the computer and work after they go to bed.  If you don't develop those relationships with your kids when they are young they will want nothing to do with you when they get older.  They are only young once and with technology, you can figure out how to balance much better than people did 20 years ago.  

As your kids get older, their needs change and sometimes that means different help.  Maybe you need someone to just pick up the kids when school ends and take them to their respective after school events or playdates.  Then that person can do more of the cleaning, cooking and other errands in the morning.  It is all based on what you can afford.  It is a constant juggle but I'd rather stick to going out for pizza on my date night once a week than a nice place and a movie and put the money into good help.  If you both work, having a third adult in the family is a key to life.  


Comments (Archived):

  1. pixiedust8

    Very good advice (although unfortunately, my baby did not sleep for about a year!) Unfortunately, there are still many employers who aren’t okay with someone leaving at 5pm–but that’s something to find out in the interview process. Hopefully, as the economy improves, people will be able to find more jobs that are flexible.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I remember when I shifted into a new job after leaving the world of retail and entering the world of wholesale. I would start the day off with a cup of coffee and the paper, at the office. It set the tone that is how I went about my day. Kind of ballsy but I performed and that is all they truly cared about.

      1. pixiedust8

        That’s awesome! True, as long as you perform, nothing else (like being 9-5) should matter.

    2. ShanaC

      i don’t get why that is. really

  2. johndodds

    Product depth (great phrase) is a boon whatever your stage of life/family.

    1. Gotham Gal

      ha. for sure!

  3. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Great tips. If you haven’t already set up all your bills to be paid automatically, I recommend it. Just go through your whole monthly to-do list and see how much of it you can automate, somehow, with all the online tools available out there.I love the “product depth” phrase, too 🙂 A lot of people wouldn’t think to suggest that, and it makes a big difference.

  4. leeschneider

    Automate the shit out of everything:Food (Peapod delivery – in Boston)Household/Baby Essentials (Amazon Prime & Amazon Subscribe & Save)Wine (Just discovered have a 5+ month old. We just discovered that one of our big problems was dinner. What to have, where to get it, etc. So for two weeks now we’ve planned out our meals, ordered the food online (Peapod) and had a plan for the week. Much easier. We’d never had to do that before. Quite a change, but I like it so far. Any suggestions for easy meals (and yes, I need to go back through the GG archives and find all the recipes)?

    1. Gotham Gal

      anything you can make in under 30 minutes.

    2. ShanaC

      parchment fish.note: there is a difference between active time and passive time in cooking. Active time you have to sit there and cut/stir whatever. Passive time is it sits on the stove/in the oven, you do something else.One working mother as a result does a lot of stuff in crockpots because a loot of recipes have short active times and long passive times. Throw food in in the morning, come home and there is dinner.

      1. Gotham Gal

        crockpots are great.

      2. leeschneider

        Exactly! Looking for short active time meals. Love a crockpot dinner. Have a brisket in there this morning cooking away. Going to make tacos tonight and sandwiches for lunch/dinner later in the week.

  5. LE

    “Order clothes, groceries, supplies and everything you need on line and have them delivered to your place. If someone is there during the week, great, then they get to put stuff away.”100% Strictly from past observation though I think many women could use some pointers in the area of being a boss.The way you said “get them to put stuff away” may be obvious to you (and me) and part of your personality but I don’t think that’s something that many women feel comfortable doing. I’ve noticed women who tend to become friends with the help and have a real hard time being a boss and getting the most they can out of people. As a result they feel uncomfortable asking for things they could easily get that would save them time. I would also add that this also relates to the children. I’ve seen women who for some reason don’t even have their kids take the plates up to the sink, wash them or clean up the room.Date night – we also do that and have found it’s a great idea (my wife’s idea I wasn’t immediately on board with that not something my parents did or anything.). Would add that we also spend whatever time is necessary to hear anything that happened during the day that is significant (even if we don’t understand fully what the other person’s job involves).Lastly (as if I don’t have like a zillion other things to say regarding this topic) is that sleep is super important to being productive (and most importantly keeping weight under control) in addition to exercise. Most people do the exercise thing most are not religious about sleep.