Chances are, if you’re pumping, you’re spending a lot of time doing so.
Say you do it for fifteen minutes per session three times a day for five days. That’s nearly four hours over the course of the week.
That time adds up. But what can you actually accomplish in 15-minute increments?
It might be a lot more than you think.
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with zoning out on your phone or closing your eyes while you pump – in fact, that’s probably the biggest benefit of having to do so. But if you are the sort that considers pumping lost time, there are many ways to use the time by investing in yourself, getting work done, or crossing off some personal to-dos.
Ready? Grab your hands-free pumping bra, and let’s go.
Invest in yourself:
For when you need to recharge and reconnect.
1. Catch up on The Everymom (of course!)
2. Read a book. You might actually get through the book club pick this time.
3. Flip through a magazine.
4. Journal. When else are you going to have uninterrupted time to yourself?
5. Write a letter. Fact: Everyone loves getting snail mail.
6. Jot down your favorite things about your kid at this stage. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Color or doodle. It helps you live in the moment and relieve stress.
8. Write a haiku. Remember these from high school? They’re still cool.
9. Listen to a podcast. Because they aren’t just for commutes.
10. Catch up on SNL. Or Carpool Karaoke. Or Ellen. Or whatever you find light and amusing.
11. Watch a TED talk. Pro tip: Filter by duration. You can get innovative ideas in 6 minutes or less.
12. Meditate on your own or with a guided meditation.
13. Waft essential oils. *Deep breaths.* They say relaxing can help boost milk production.
14. Memorize poetry. Fellow lit nerds, where you at?
15. Get lost on Pinterest. House project, next haircut, gift ideas… Inspiration is out there.
16. Do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.
17. Call your mom or partner or BFF. Not many people would think it’s NBD to hear a breast pump motor in the background – your mom is one of them.
18. Go through your contact list and text friends you haven’t caught up with in a while. Copy/paste: “Hey, just thinking of you! How’s it going?”
19. Eat lunch. Pump ‘n munch, anyone.
20. Drink water. Bet you haven’t had enough today.
21. Scroll social media….and maybe unfollow a few accounts with negative energy while you’re at it. Done and done.
Get work done:
For when you need to get ahead on your day-hustle.
22. Prioritize your to-do list. Write it all down, then ask yourself: If you only get to one thing today, what’s most important?
23. Manage your calendar. Look ahead to see what you need to prep for and make sure your schedule isn’t double booked.
24. Practice presenting with the wall or mirror as your audience.
25. Brainstorm. Filling a blank paper is less intimidating in a short, concentrated period of time. Write it all down, and no editing.
26. Catch up on email. This way you can stay on top of communication on back-to-back meeting days.
27. Synthesize your meeting notes. Ask yourself: What are the key takeaways and follow-ups? This can help eliminate swirl once you get back to your desk.
28. Turn off email and notifications and chip away at one of your big to-dos.
29. Check in with your career plan. How are you doing with your goals?
30. Build your network by setting up a coffee date or lunch meeting with a coworker.
31. Keep tabs on the industry: Spend a few minutes looking at trend reports, consumer insights, competitors, and influencers in your line of work.
Tackle personal to-dos:
For when all that life stuff is just go-go-go.
32. Meal plan. Need ideas? Start here, here and here.
33. Similarly, jot down your grocery list and save that brain space for something else.
34. Pay outstanding bills.
35. Balance your budget. Then reward yourself for taking care of your financial well-being.
36. Clear your personal inbox of old emails.
37. Then, unsubscribe to email you no longer want.
38. Delete old text conversations. You need the memory for more baby pics.
39. Upgrade your phone’s operating system.
40. Order diapers online.
41. Clean out your purse. You’re probably carrying around more than you need.
42. Binge watch a show. I think you can still call it binging if it’s over the course of several pumping sessions.
43. Shape your brows. After all, no one’s watching.
44. Schedule appointments like medical and dental visits, haircuts, and pet check-ups.
45. Plan your next vacation. Search flights during one pumping sesh, hotels the next.
46. Learn a new language. Apps like Duolingo break it down into bite-size lessons.
47. Do seated exercises like Kegels or weight-free arm workouts.