4 productivity tips that helped me avoid burnout after maternity leave

I’m a better mom when I’m also a working mom. There–I said it. It took me a long time to be able to declare that with confidence instead of shame and guilt.

Related: My career is my refuge and it makes me a better mom

I was 33-years-old when my son was born in April of 2020. At the time, my husband and I had been married for seven years and together for 16. We very intentionally waited to have children until our careers were in a place that felt “right” for us to take that next step forward. I had been working for myself for five years at that point and owned my own business, a yoga studio.

Like many other businesses during the pandemic, that yoga studio closed down two weeks before my son was born and never ended up reopening. My maternity leave went on much longer than I expected it to and its closure left me with a bit of an identity crisis as I transitioned into motherhood.

I pivoted (like many of us did at that time), and thankfully ended up with a business I love even more than my old one. Between YogaRenew, my online yoga teacher training company, and my consulting business for other female wellness entrepreneurs, I have the freedom to do what I love on a schedule that makes me much more available for my family.

Related: Being a mom hasn’t hurt my career–it helped. 

For me, being able to be present at work when I’m at work and present at home when I’m at home is the key to avoiding burnout and mom guilt. Which is why when I recently returned back from maternity leave after my daughter was born in November of 2022, I went all in on maximizing my productivity so I could be the best leader for my team and the best mama for my kiddos.

Here are the four major changes I made that have made me more productive—at work and at home—since returning back to work after maternity leave.

Returning to work after maternity leave: Productivity tips for moms

1. I took email off of my phone

If something is an emergency, someone isn’t sending an email to tell you, which means it can wait until you get to your computer. By doing this, I commit to reading my emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and then that’s it. When I’m checking them, I’m focused on sending thoughtful responses and making to-do lists for any action items I need to take. This keeps me out of my inbox and focused on more important things that actually move the needle forward in my business and with my team.

Related: 19 time-saving tips to help increase your productivity

2. I front load meetings

I try to schedule all of my meetings on Mondays or Tuesdays so that my team and I are on the same page for what needs to be done for the week. This ensures I can use the rest of the week to get into a creative groove during my work hours, while balancing any responsibilities I have at home with my kids.

3. Speaking of meetings–I’ve shortened all of them

Meetings in my calendar are now either 20 minutes (instead of 30) or 40 minutes (instead of 60) and all have a clear objective and agenda. This keeps the meetings efficient and also leaves 10 to 20 minutes of time afterwards for me to take action on whatever we discussed rather than getting to the end of the day and having a giant to-do list left from all the meeting action items.

Related: 5 productivity hacks to make you feel more energized and organized

4. I schedule in “me” time and treat it as a very important meeting

It’s easy as a working mom to only make time in your calendar for work or your kids. But, that’s what leads to burnout and ultimately a lack of productivity all around.

I make sure that there’s time in my week for me—even if it’s short—and that it actually gets scheduled on my calendar just like any other meeting or kids’ appointment. Get a pedicure; take the yoga class; do the meditation. Time for you will help you be more present at work and as a mother.

Being a working mom and juggling all of the different roles that come along with it is not easy. But, knowing that I’m able to focus and tackle my tasks at work helps me to feel fulfilled each day, which then makes me even more grateful when it’s time to get home to my babies. Which, at the end of the day, is my favorite job of all.