Combine activities

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Find creative ways to combine activities that can be performed concurrently, to have more time for what you enjoy most.

Besides combining baby entertainment with other activities (such as singing to your baby while sorting laundry), you can combine multiple activities to complete them in a shorter period of time.

We are doing solid food introduction these days, although for now breastmilk is a clear winner. The process involves lots of food exploration, measuring the distance to the floor and gravitational forces affecting utensils in free fall, evenly painting the nearby wall a lovely butternut squash colour, applying full-body banana treatment, and generally performing every feat imaginable to ensure that the minimal amount of sustenance ends up in the proximity of the mouth. This engaging activity is usually followed by a nice soak in the baby bath, playing with the favourite water-splashing toys and being very content.

This state of affairs presents opportunities for me. I have to remain in the bathroom and watch the baby so that she does not decide to take a dive or attempt climbing out of the bath, yet so many things can be done in parallel. How about soaking your feet in a basin of very warm water in preparation for a 5-minute pedicure while brushing your hair and singing to the baby? Substitute tooth brushing, dry body brushing, neck or wrist exercises, or any other maintenance procedure for hair brushing – you see the possibilities? Fifteen-twenty minutes later, I emerge with a clean happy baby, fresh pedicure, brushed hair and teeth, and a spring in my step.

There are many ways to take advantage of activity combinations. Try stretching your calf muscles while reading an online article. Or doing yoga while the baby is playing around you. Or oil pulling while doing dishes. Or hula-hooping while watching your kids playing around you outside. Or drawing while listening to something educational (that’s what I’m planning to do with the Evolution of Medicine Online Summit videos). Savasana combines really well with a facial mask and soaking in body lotion or letting nail polish dry. Put on a webinar to learn something new, an audiobook to escape, or some music to relax. Get an essential oil diffusing while you are resting in Savasana, nurturing your body, and listening to music, and you’ve got yourself a wonderfully productive and relaxing 10-15 minutes.

Don’t hesitate to experiment. If it’s difficult to imagine the possibilities in your mind, put them on paper. Write down all the various body nurturing, baby care, learning, and relaxing things you do throughout the week, and see if any of them are good candidates to be combined. Those usually involve different body parts (e.g., soaking feet, reading something on the screen, and drying hand nail polish), different sensory channels (e.g., wrist exercises for touch and music for listening), and can be performed in the same room. Then go wild and try them out.

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