I’m becoming a father soon – what will happen to my productivity?

I’m becoming a father soon – what will happen to my productivity?

Becoming a Father

Are you a productive person but also becoming a father soon? I have some important news for you: your work and personal productivity levels may decrease dramatically – at least temporarily!

I realized this myself when my son was born *. Although I knew that my life is going to change for good, yet seeing this change in practice was much bigger than what I had thought.

Couple of weeks after the birth, things started to settle a bit. In fact, I was able to adjust to this new life situation well and I knew that from now on we would have to live by the terms of our son.

*You may want to check out what time management habits my newborn son has … ;)

Your day schedule is going to change

Let’s make this clear: Your daily schedule is going to change. Your spouse is going to be tied to your child and this is going to be a very intensive experience.

Of course, it all depends how demanding child/children you have, but you have to be willing to let go of your own hobbies or other recreational activities (at least temporarily) and help your spouse to take care of your child.

I understood this very quickly when my wife was feeding my son and I had to take care of different things like going to grocery store. On the other hand, I also started to help my wife by changing our son’s diapers, putting him to sleep, playing with him or bottle-feeding him.

Just be aware that all of a sudden you may have lots of additional stuff on your daily task list.

Do not make any schedules beforehand

I have to admit that I was naïve of planning some schedules in advance. Little did I know that these schedules were not going to be valid, since my part was to assist my wife and take care of errands.

One thing that I felt gratitude towards was the paternity leave I had. In my country, we have a total of three weeks of paternity leave when a child is born (I took that in two parts, first two weeks right after the birth and then one week after the Christmas). That gave me flexibility to keep my productivity levels high.

The paternity leave was also important for learning the new rules of the household: our son was (and still is) the center of our attention and his needs are priority #1 for us. I bet that without any leave, it would have been taken a longer time to adapt to this new situation.

Adjust to your baby’s rhythm

One thing that you will learn very soon is the rhythm your baby has. For us it was anything but regular. In fact, he didn’t sleep very much during the first two months and also, he was keeping us awake during the nights (and still is when writing this J).

You should get comfortable with napping, if you haven’t done so already. After a couple of nights with just couple of hours of sleep, you need to refresh your mind by taking naps whenever it is possible.

Also, I suggest of temporarily sleeping in different room if possible. This has enabled me to get at least some amount of sleep, before waking up early and going to work.

Once your baby has a certain rhythm to follow, you will learn to take advantage of those moments by taking a nap yourself or working on your projects.

There is also a certain moment when you could work on your personal projects: When your spouse is feeding your child.

Of course, there are children who eat only from bottle, so in those cases you may need to help your spouse out by feeding your child too. But in other times (and if it’s OK by your spouse), you could spend that time working.

This is what I have been doing and this setup has worked quite well.

It’s all about the mindset

Finally, how you are going to take these changes is depends on your mindset towards the change. It is worth remembering that when you become a parent, it is silly to expect that things would go on as before.

Learn to appreciate those occasional quiet moments, feel gratitude towards your family and be genuinely happy of this new miracle in your family. If you do this, you are going to do just fine in this new situation. Even when I have had a night with just a few hours of sleep, seeing a baby smiling at you will melt your tiredness away in seconds :)

Conclusion

Becoming a father is the most profound and happiest moments I have ever experienced. Yet, if you are a productive person, you may feel that your own systems and routines are going to be tested hard when a baby is born.

However, it is also worth understanding that time moves on very quickly. That’s why it is very important to live in the moment and have wonderful experiences when you child/children is/are small.

You will soon look at those pictures you took of your boy/girl when he/she was just born and feel very emotional about it :)

Your next tasks:

1. Put this blog post into action!

  • Don’t make any big plans before the birth of your baby – you will learn how the life will settle after your child/children is/are born
  • Whenever possible, take naps or work on your personal projects
  • Be ready to help your spouse whenever he/she needs your help

2. Share your experiences and tips on the comment area:

  • Those who already have a baby/children:

1. What was your strategy to stay productive?

2. Any tips for handling the new life situation becoming fathers are going to be experiencing?

3. Spread the word:

  • I would appreciate it if you share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn or on BizSugar (click the vertical share bar on the left).
  • Becoming a father is absolutely incredible. It’s also an absolute game changer!

    I recommend that fathers try to do as much as they can, and be as involved as possible in every detail of a new baby’s life. It not only a) helps mom, but b) builds that unbreakable bond and level of understanding that will help you in the years to come.

    The nice part about parenting is that as they grown, the dependence level decreases (hopefully!), but you’re right, Timo. Your productivity, scheduling, and pretty much everything will be thrown off for a bit. Adjusting and adapting is a very vital part of it all. Great job here!

    • Timo Kiander

      Jason,

      Thanks!

      Yes it is a game changer!

      Now I realize that new fathers need flexibility a lot. Baby’s world is so much different than what we adults are used to :) And of course, our part is to provide as much attention and love to our babies as possible.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • Kraig

    Timo, what a great post! With my daughter not quite a week old, it is reassuring to know I can still be productive! The adjustment period is taking a while, but I am getting through it.

    Thank you sir.

    Cheers,
    Kraig.

    • Timo Kiander

      Kraig,

      Congratulations again!! I bet you are still quite overwhelmed (positively) of all those new things that are happening right now :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • I’m not, and don’t intend to be a father any time soon, but I especially love what you said about rhythms, Timo! (Congrats btw)

    I’d curious, are there pressure-free, ways to have your baby/wife adapt healthily to your rhythms?

    • Timo Kiander

      Jason,

      Thank you :)

      I think it’s all about communication and setting expectations. For example during the evening hours, I’m spending some time on the computer and on my hobbies but I also try to give my wife a chance have her own private time (while I take care of the baby). And of course, I try to work as much as possible, when they are sleeping, so I’m not wasting our mutual time.

      But yeah, when your spouse knows your rhythm and you are open about it (and express it clearly), things work very well.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • First, congrats Timo. Awesome season of life being a father. And wow, 3 weeks off for paternity leave? That is pretty unheard of in the States.

    The most critical thing you stated? Your mindset. If you have your priorities straight (first wife, then child, then work), you’ll be able to make the right choices about where you spend your time. Yes, work stuff still has to get done, but seriously, it pales in comparison to your wife and new baby. Period.

    Good stuff here Timo. Thanks for sharing… :-)

    • Timo Kiander

      Thank you Eric!

      Yes, three weeks. One week is paid by our employee and the rest is partially paid by the government. In addition, we have a period called father month (one month leave), which is not paid.

      I like that priority. It is very important to remember who are the most important people around you who you are going to be spending most of your time with.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • I’ll give you the flip side, becoming a mother…

    Becoming a parent was the biggest change in my thinking about productivity that ever hit me. In the pre-delivery weeks, my nesting phase not only cleaned out the house, but made huge plans for what I would do on maternity leave.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha ha ha ha (that’s maniacal laughter fading into the distance)

    Truth is, none of it happened. My days descended into a blur of sleeplessness, crying (both mine and the baby’s) and feedings. Oh my, the feedings.

    Men, make sure your wife/partner knows she is more than a dairy bar.

    Things did eventually settle. Since I do not go back to sleep when I am awakened, my husband would get up, change the baby and bring her to me in bed, where she would nurse and fall back asleep until he woke up and put her back to bed. I learned that I could have phone conversations, read books, and even program computer while I was nursing/pumping (sorry, guys, this is part of it!) Since I was nursing what seemed like 12 hours a day, I had to do something more stimulating than watching re-runs.

    Eventually we settled into a routine. I was very structured with my daughter, and it seemed to work for her.

    The thing to remember is that everything changes. The stages go by so quickly, you need to be in tune with them, and be flexible. You’re not going to accomplish great things outside the family during the first few years, so settle for being the best parent you can be. Productivity will return, along with your projects and dreams.

    Even now, when she is 9, I still work around her schedule. She’s doing her homework right now, so I have a chance to work on my interests. But when she is done, we will do something together. I count that as productive time, now, because I am building something very special.

    Good luck!

    • LJ, as a relatively new mom myself, i totally resonate with what you said in your comment. I remember those first few months as being a total haze – I was exhausted and overwhelmed, but at the same time I was really aware of how special those moments were, and that they’ll never be repeated.

      Timo, congrats on becoming a father, and I wholeheartedly agree that you should soak up every precious moment, be open to flexibility, and realize it’s ok to adjust your expectations when it comes to productivity. Like you said, life will settle down again into some kind of pattern (though it won’t be the one your’e used to) and you’ll find a new rhythm.

      • Timo Kiander

        Carmen,

        Thank you!

        Having a newborn baby in our home has really changed our life and we are so happy about this! And yes, flexibility (for us parents) is the most important thing that is needed right now.

        Cheers,
        Timo

    • Timo Kiander

      LJ,

      Thank you! It was great to another point of view from mother’s perspective!

      I agree, flexibility is one of the most important characteristics that a parent needs. It practice this meant that I dropped some of my sports activities temporarily, because I wanted to focus on my family.

      Our son is still very young, but he is growing very fast. It’s so fascinating to watch him learn new things, even if it’s something small. And that smile …. even if we are tired, that it melts all that tiredness away :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • I just had my third baby a month & a half ago & I can’t really say that my productivity has necessarily decreased since he’s been born. I’m sure it has to an extent, but I think for me, the majority of what’s decreased has been my busy work. I’ve learned that I only have so many hours to work each day & I need to make those hours count. I need to focus on high-leverage tasks first before checking my email or spending time on Twitter. It’s something that’s been beneficial to me & it’s definitely a good habit to get into.

    One of the main things I did before he was born was to get ahead on a lot of things. I had worked on a blog series that would be scheduled for the month after he was born so that I didn’t have to post so much & I’d written & scheduled at least a months worth of posts on my own. Same thing for my weekly newsletters & I’d also automated most of my social media updates. Since I have a product based business as well, I’d stocked up on supplies & inventory for that. By doing all of those things, it helped me to be able to relax, not worry about HAVING to work, & just be able to rest & spend time with my new little man.

    Another thing that’s helped me is getting my little ones on a schedule. My older two {2, 4} have a daily routine which helps me know when I have time to set aside for work instead of just grabbing 30 minutes here or an hour there. For my newest, it’s been nice that newborns sleep a lot because I can get some work in there. I also have all of my kids taking naps at the same time during the day so that gives me a solid 2 hours to get some work done or to nap if I need it.

    You’re so right about husbands helping their wives out too. I know for me, being the primary care giver of my children, there’s a lot of responsibility on me to do the feeding, change the diapers, give the baths, prep them for bed, & console them when they’re crying, but my husband is a super star at stepping in when he’s home. He never complains & I always have opportunities to just turn the responsibilities of our kids over to him so I can get some work done or so I can have some “me-time”.

    Thanks for the great post. It’s nice to hear about it from a dad’s perspective.

    • Timo Kiander

      Meagan,

      I guess I want to start creating more content at once and then schedule it. It is also true that you want to focus on just the stuff that matters … since there is limited amount of time available.

      Thank for these insights!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • Being a father of one year old I can certainly resonate with this and I strongly believe every relation in your life requires flexibility.

    Best way to deal with any un expected situation for me is to stay calm and enjoy the every moment.

    • Timo Kiander

      Rana,

      That is true. Living fully in every moment and being flexible… that is good advice!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • Hi TImo! Awesome motivation for those entrepreneurs whoa re getting ready to become parents as well. I don’t have any kids yet, nor do I have see any in the horizons ( I am only 25), but I cannot imagine the level of responsibility and the time commitment that parenting requires.

    I can only hope that when I finally do become a parent I will be a more settled Internet Entrepreneur! :) Best wishes to you Timo. Keep us posted!

    • Timo Kiander

      Hector,

      Thank you, great to hear you found this blog post motivating!

      Hey, you have still time … I became a father when I turned 40 :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • Timo,

    With two young daughters, I resonate with your post. When we had our kids, I completely changed my schedule. I went from having a schedule to not really having one at all. I went with the flow a lot. In fact, when I was up late at night to relieve my wife and couldn’t go back to sleep, I would do a little work then to make some progress. That would leave time for a daytime nap.

    My advice would be to always have something ready to be worked on for the rare available time slots. Take advantage of those times to build more flexibility into your schedule.

    • Timo Kiander

      Tom,

      Great points!

      I have noticed that I can do some work when my wife and son go to sleep in the evening. Also, I’m always ready to take immediate action, when there is available time pocket for doing some work.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • First of all, congrats Timo for this wonderful news! I’m really happy for you. As soon as I saw the post title I knew this post is a must read – my baby just turned 4 months this week and as a new mom, I’m still struggling to make time for both online work and taking care of my little angel. :) I’m all about being on-time, productive before she arrives, but now.. a lot of wee hours ‘over-time’ taking care of the baby, lol.. and nap times, gotta have them even though I used to think that is overrated. It’s all about the mindset – I couldn’t agree more. I tend to see this as a positive change and I wouldn’t trade her for anything else, so adapting and making changes to the work schedule is a must.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post, good to see a lot of people (commenters too) are experiencing the same thing. You’ll be a great dad, I’m sure. Enjoy the experience!

    Best wishes,
    Ching Ya

    • Timo Kiander

      Hi!

      Thank you very much! And congratulations for you too! Having a baby is a huge and positive change indeed.

      Although there are lot of things going on and we parents are tired at times, yet I wouldn’t change these experiences for anything. It is very rewarding to see your own baby to grow, learn new things or smile at you :)

      And also, what Meagan pointed out in her comments above was important too: You learn to focusg on your high-leverage tasks instead of something secondary.

      Our babies make us set priorities and that is a good thing :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • I’m not a father yet but have a lot of friends that are…

    They are say, “Adjust the way you look at life because life is not going to adjust to you…”

    Great stuff…

    • Timo Kiander

      Ryan,

      So true. You need to adjust and it’s all about your mindset … how you handle the change.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • I’ve got a 9 year old and I can say that I am still constantly adapting my schedule to his changing needs (basketball season is just ending with baseball season just beginning). I don’t see the need to adapt ever going away as long as I am a parent! My 2 biggest pieces of advice beyond flexibility are:

    1) Make sleep your #1 priority
    2) Feed yourself wholesome food and try to avoid going crazy with the caffeine (some days are harder than others).

    Remember, this too shall pass!

    • Timo Kiander

      Amy,

      Thank you!

      Yes, we have noticed that the sleep aspect is very important :) Also, the nutrition plays a big part in our well-being – especially when you have more things to do when a baby arrives. Definitely, some additional energy is needed!

      Thanks for the great advice!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • Congratulations Timo!

    Being a productive parent is hard, and just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, they grow out of the stage they’re in and into a new one. It’s challenging and oh so rewarding!

    My “babies” are now 17 and almost 20. When my first child was born, I left my full-time job and started doing medical transcription at home. I worked during nap times and then when my husband came home from work. It was actually a real blessing for my husband because he had more hands-on time than a lot of dads do. Dad and daughter are still very close today.

    Being organized and thinking ahead is important, but know that plans are not cast in stone when you have children. :)

    Thanks for sharing and many blessings,
    Peggy

    • Timo Kiander

      Thank you Peggy!

      The growth of a child goes in phases. It’s also exciting so see your own son grow.

      In fact, many times when my own parents told me “You will only understand certain things when you are a parent yourself”. This makes totally sense now :)

      Nap times are valuable time for me. I try to do work then but also after my wife and son have gone to bed (or before they wake up).

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • it’s a very long time since I had a young baby at home (of mine, at least) as my daughter’s now 21 and at the time I was working in corporate land in Paris. I was also very lucky because she slept through the night (well, midnight to 6) almost straight away.

    The only thing I can say is make the most of it. This is the time when the work life balance is the most important because they grow up so damn fast!

    • Timo Kiander

      Mike,

      Tell me about it! I feel that time flies so fast and even those pictures that were taken of him when he was born, seem already to be distant ones (it was only three months ago, but still … go figure!).

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • It was an easy thing to say, but it isn’t exactly an easy thing to do you know, to adjust to your baby’s rhythm. I would love to still be able to post and converse with other people as well as read blogs, but having a baby is too much work. I am thinking of putting of having a kid for a few more years.

    • Timo Kiander

      John,

      I can definitely understand that.

      Having a baby and growing a blog at the same time requires a lot of effort.

      You’ll just have to be comfortable with your own schedule and prioritize things in your life (family comes always first).

      Cheers,
      Timo

  • jason

    Thanks for all the post that you have presented to us, it is important that we soon to be fathers and fathers know about this. Because growing up seeing my brother in law having a new baby in his life, has changed him completely. And I know that’s eventually going to happen to me, yes I will be a father in a couple of months and I’m so excited!!!!! but with that excitement, I have to plan ahead before that blessing comes because it would make a drastic change in my life…

    so thanks again for such informative post…
    jason

    • Timo Kiander

      Congratulations!

      Yes, having a baby will definitely change your life, but it is a good change :)

      Do come back to my site for more articles on this topic. In fact, the next one on time tracking for work at home dads is published next week (August 14th).

      Cheers,
      Timo