I have a five-month-old daughter and she has taught me a few thing over the last few months. A lot has changed after her arrival but the best part is that I feel I am being much more productive as well as spending more time with the family.
While I hang out with her early morning, I quickly check my mail and social updates (Twitter/ Facebook) on my iPhone. I filter out stuff that’s not important and only keep the emails that I want to get to later. Before she arrived I would spend endless hours on social networks, check my mail quite a few times a day and feel compel to reply immediately. Dad, nothing is that urgent as you make it out to be.
On some days I get work done from home in the morning. Otherwise, I head to the office around 10:30am. While in the car, I reply to a few more emails, delegate work and call people. My office time is reserved for the important stuff – talking to the developers, discussing issues, checking-in to see how our accounts are doing, planning our next move, discussing analytics and getting updates from the team. Earlier, I would work on multiple things and have a hard time prioritizing since in a startup there is a butt-load that needs to be done and somehow everything seems important. Dad, why don’t you prioritise more strictly and only get 1-2 things accomplished in the day. Why don’t you ask yourself – “what accomplishment will make me happy at the end of the day?”
I am back home in the evening and hang out with her till she is off to bed. If she is napping I catch up with the family. Other times my wife and I meet friends or just catch up on a movie at home. We rarely stay out late anymore. Dad, being disciplined about your time is great. This way your energy levels will be up and you can spend more time with me and your business.
I think I am spending less time ‘in’ my business and probably spending more time ‘on’ it. Though I sometimes do feel guilty of ‘working’ less. Maybe I am working smarter since I don’t want to sacrifice family time for being on the Web doing random things.
Besides the above here are a few additional behavioural changes that might help you if you are nurturing two babies…
Reading Articles: use Instapaper to save all articles that you come across or friends send you. Then, when you have time go through them. You don’t have to read everything. Just the ones that matter. You won’t fail if you miss out on a few.
Facebook/ Twitter: good between tasks or while you are travelling. Unless you are a social media marketer I don’t see why you would want to spend a cumulative time of more than 30 minutes daily.
Watching startup videos: nurturing a business means learning from others. Mind you, there is a ton of stuff out there that promise to make you smarter. I came across Mixergy and thought “wow, I could learn from others”. Though, I noticed that I can’t spare time during the week to watch those amazing videos. What I do now is to go through the RSS feed for Mixergy and save videos to Radbox for later viewing. I’ll check them out maybe on a flight or something. But for now, not viewing them is not going to make me less smart.
Emails: I am still guilty of checking my emails multiple times a day and more so often on my phone. My travel time to the office is 20 minutes so I try to get most of the emails knocked out before I reach the office. I don’t care about zero inbox anymore as long as work gets done, I have replied to important mails and stuff has been delegated. Maybe, on a weekend I will sit with a beer and clear out the inbox.
I am still learning to manage my time better. I would love to hear your thoughts if you’ll are a startup dad/mum and have figured out a routine or have tips on improving productivity. Thanks for reading.