If you are choosing to work through your pregnancy, you may wonder how you can maintain efficiency while dealing with all your physical and emotional challenges. Following are 7 tips for maximizing your productivity as you work:
1. Work with Your Body's Schedule
If you are having morning sickness, see if you can arrange your work schedule to accommodate your nausea. See if you can come in later in the day. At the very least, avoid scheduling important meetings first thing in the morning. Similarly, if you find you have little energy in the afternoon, try to get as much accomplished while you feel good as you can.
2. Turn Down Overtime
You simply may not have the energy to work the same long hours you worked prior to pregnancy, and that's OK. Your body is undergoing major changes as it creates a new life, so cut yourself some slack. Working when tired actually decreases your productivity, so don't be afraid to shorten your hours.
3. Rest When You Need It
Don't feel guilty about needing extra rest; after all, you are already doing a lot. If you are able to go home during lunch, put your feet up for awhile. Find ways to take small rest breaks, so you can come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to get back on the job.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Eat several small meals throughout the day, pause regularly for bathroom breaks, and enjoy small breaks when you can. These seemingly little things will keep your energy levels up, and boost your productivity.
5. Break Things Up
If you are feeling overwhelmed by a project at work, break it up into manageable tasks. Focus on what you can accomplish in a specific period of time; for example, try to get as much done in 1 hour as you can. This gives you a yardstick for measuring your accomplishments and allows you to get moving on a project, even if you can't finish it all.
6. Get Help
Once you have assessed what you can reasonably accomplish, delegate tasks to coworkers or assistants. There is no shame in asking for help; in fact, managers are often judged by how well they delegate responsibilities to others. You don't need to be a one-woman show, so don't try.
7. Take Advantage of Flex Time
If you are self-employed, managing your time is much easier. If you work for an employer, see what kinds of flex time they offer. Some businesses offer options like telecommuting; others will be willing to cut your hours down to part-time; while others may offer job sharing. Before you talk to your boss, ask what you can reasonably offer them in return for flexible hours. Point out that your productivity will be increased, and show them that the arrangement could be mutually beneficial. Employers are more likely to work with you if they feel they get something out of it, too.
The good news is you can easily keep working through even the last few weeks of your third trimester, and increase your efficiency as you do so. The trick is to work with the changes you are experiencing, not against them.______________________________
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.