In modern life, one thing is true: there is never enough time. My fellow parents speak this mantra to each other, an elegy muttered into giant cups of coffee: “There’s not enough time, we need more time. I wish I could listen to Morris Day and The Time… but I don’t have the time.”
In an era of distraction and email, a focus-based economy has grown. Four hour work weeks, Pomodoro methods, Mom and Dad hacks spring up everywhere. The parenting industrial complex is more than happy to capitalize on the trend.
But the question for you, loyal Dude Turned Dad-ite… Do any of these time savers actually, you know, save you time? Can you hack your diaper changing methodology? Harness the power of the four hour sleep week? OPTIMIZE YOUR BABY FOR MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY.
I’ll be honest… I’m a time hacker. I practice inbox zero, make compulsive lists, download to-do apps and have a Pomodoro tomato counter keyed up on my laptop. I have listened to Tim Ferriss’ podcast and nodded sagely on a subway platform. But do any of these hacks actually save me time?
Probably not. The same is true with all the parenting hacks I’ve been served in the last year. Sleep when they sleep? No. When they sleep that’s when I clear the smoking wreckage in my apartment. Turn off your phone to eliminate distractions? It’s 2019. How am I supposed to communicate with my partner while looking up how to get my baby to sleep? Lay out clothes the night before? Who cares when it takes me 20 minutes to get a sweater on my wriggling, nine-month-old.
This is the trap of productivity tools… you end up wasting a lot of time downloading, reading about, and doing them. How much time am I wasting making a to-do list in which I never check off anything as to-done? How many articles do I read on Dad hacks, when the real hack is just accomplishing what I can every day, and not beating myself up about it.
You cannot hack what you cannot predict. Life as a parent is not a game of inches, but an embracing of chaos. Allow yourself to live within it and react accordingly. Organization and tools are vital to survival, but so is peace of mind.
The best hack I’ve discovered in my nine months of parenting? Take it easy on yourself. Your to-do list doesn’t do much good when your son is already chewing on it.