Pregnant working on computerKate Matsudaira is a mover-and-shaker-type entrepreneur who thoroughly thrives on her life in the high tech industry. Her repeated successes in overcoming the challenges and risks of exciting startup operations have earned her numerous awards. She’s proud to have been named Geek of the Week by GeekWire, the online news hub that focuses on “the digital frontier,” but life has changed for her. She’s almost halfway through her first pregnancy and she’s finding the need to make some changes to her work style.

Matsudaira likens her pregnancy to an athlete recovering from an injury: it can be frustrating and stressful being off the playing field. There was a moment she even considered ending her well-established career as a successful high-tech startup founder and getting a “real job.” Instead of throwing in the towel, a decision she might later regret, she’s learning some coping strategies that incorporate the best of both her worlds - entrepreneur and expectant mother.

One thing Matsudaira has done is cut down on her work hours. She’s gone from a typical 12-hour day to a more “ordinary” 8-hour work day. Some other strategies she’s embraced include:

  • Do only the things that clearly add value: Delegate or eliminate all activities at work and at home that don’t offer immediate and visible benefits.
  • Just say no to impromptu events: Plan your day (or week or month) and stick to the schedule, focusing only on what clearly adds value.
  • Rein in your email stampede: Pregnancy takes time from a woman’s day. So do email messages. Unsubscribe from all email accounts you don’t read or need and focus only on those that deliver true value.
  • Plan your day around your pregnancy: Need more sleep now? Naps? Find energy levels come and go on a different schedule than before pregnancy? If at all possible, schedule your day so you can take advantage of the ebb and flow of your mental and physical energy levels now.
  • Enjoy down time: Matsudaira used to feel guilty any time she wasn’t working. Now, she’s discovered the value of a nap snuggled up with puppies.
  • Consume lots of healthy fuel: Matsudaira finds her mind and body work better when she eats healthy foods and foregoes things like candy that have little or no nutritional value. Eat mindfully and exercise for optimum health and energy level.
  • Explain yourself: A sudden change in routine will cause coworkers to wonder what’s up. Tell them what’s going on so they’ll understand your change in routine and need for nap time. They’ll probably be delighted to alter their own routines to accommodate your pregnancy schedule, especially if you’re the boss like Matsudaira is.

These coping strategies work great during pregnancy but they’re ideal for everyone, pregnant or not. It doesn’t take a geek to see how focusing on efforts that bring value and listening to one’s body and mind will make work and play more meaningful and productive.

Source: Soper, Taylor. “How this startup founder is dealing with pregnancy.” GeekWire. Jan 2, 2014. Web. Jan 8, 2014.