Results may vary.
Juggling parenting, work, and some semblance of a social life is not for the faint of heart. To succeed in all areas requires nothing short of superhuman levels of energy and focus. Luckily, I have unlocked the secret to optimizing your performance. If you follow these eight simple steps exactly as they’re laid out, you will be able to accomplish far more in less time than you ever thought possible (or, at least get your personal hygiene back to nearly pre-kid levels).
So the next time your child nods off for a nap, set a timer for one hour and quickly jump on the following:
Step 1: Write down ten things that you need to accomplish.
Think through all the major tasks you’ve been neglecting at work, the medical and beauty appointments you’re late on scheduling, the bills you should pay, the errands that need running. Done? Great. Now write down ten more. In this day and age it’s all about raising the bar. You think it’s enough to just “go grocery shopping”? Lol! Think again. You need to research which foods make children smarter, which popular snacks are actually toxic, and find a recipe to bring to your friend’s dinner that includes zero known allergens and isn’t too “played out.” Put all of these on your list.
Step 2: Tidy up.
This is a crucial prerequisite to focus. But first, while you look around your house peering at the dust bunnies gathered in the corner, reconsider how each and every corner could be better laid out. Browse home decor ideas on your phone and add 17 new items to your cart, making a note to put off cleaning until after you’ve redesigned.
Step 3: Set up your workstation perfectly.
To begin, line up your laptop, coffee mug, and notepad so symmetrically that Marie Kondo would envy you. Then sit down, open TikTok, scroll in a dissociative fugue state until you see a trend like "weird girl aesthetic” and go down a rabbit hole of investigation until you feel slightly less old and out of touch. Text several friends about whether they’ve also heard of this trend. This will inevitably lead them to respond with complaints about their bosses/spouses/in-laws, which you’ll of course need to validate. It will feel like a waste of time, but it’s a necessary component to centering yourself for your eventual productive sprint.
Step 4: Obsess about your child, but only in the abstract.
While you’re already on your phone, consider looking through all the recent photos of your child to send to all of the relatives you’ve been neglecting to reach out to. You’ll need to look at at least 270 before choosing the one that best exhibits your child’s natural charm but doesn’t look too posed. Once you’ve finally chosen one, you’ll probably want to post it on Instagram to share with the wider world, but only after you’ve thought of the perfect caption. One that’s sweet but not too mushy. Kinda funny, but not corny. Take your time thinking of this, but also watch the clock because you’ve likely burned through half of naptime already. When you hear your actual child whimpering from the other room, ignore him – his needs can wait. His adoring fan base cannot. Speaking of fanbase, maybe squeeze in a quick FaceTime with Grandma.
Step 5: Get energy.
And no, not by having a fourth cup of coffee (haven’t you heard too much caffeine kills you?!). I’m talking the type of energy you can only get through manifesting. Only when you search within yourself and manifest positive energy from all four corners of the earth will you be able to reach your full potential. You should probably research some crystals in order to accomplish this. And don’t go cheap on that, either. When it comes to energy, you get what you pay for. But also, you should probably go ahead and reheat your last half-drunk cup of coffee in the microwave just in case.
Step 6: Assess your needs.
Are you hungry? Of course you are. Whip up a quick, simple snack of whatever you have on hand. No, not a cheese sandwich. Something with balanced nutrients, you know? Like a blueberry acai macro bowl with chia, homemade yogurt, fresh mint leaves and a dash of turmeric. Simple. Don’t have any of those ingredients? At this point you’re running out of time so I guess just shove a fistful of cereal in your mouth and chase it with a spoonful of peanut butter, since that’s what you were going to do all along anyway.
Step 7: Squeeze in some exercise.
It’ll give you even more energy and get your pre-baby body back. Do a quick 500 crunches and then hold a plank until your arms give out.
Step 8: Tackle your To-Do List!
Now that you’ve set yourself up for success, use your remaining five minutes to achieve everything on your list.
That’s it! Congratulations.
If this plan revolutionized your life, sign up for my Productivity Master Class, beginning at $1,999.
Annie Midori Atherton is a writer and mom based in Seattle, WA. Her writing focuses on parenting, culture, and any question that seeks to explain why we are the way we are. In past lives she's been COO of The Financial Diet, fundraiser at a nonprofit serving seniors, barista, solo backpacker, and chronic forgetter of personal possessions, all of which have involved valuable lessons. Get in touch at email@example.com.