Every day there are more and more things competing for our attention.

Wherever we look there is something screaming out at us “look at me, look at me!” A television has countless channels and now we also have on-demand programmes at any time of the day or night. Our emails and phones are closer to us than ever and it’s simple for somebody to reach us via WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. And worse still, these things seem to demand an instant response from us. And that’s not to mention the good old-fashioned text message.

As parents we also have to remember the day-to-day routines of the other people in our lives.

Children need book bags and school uniforms to be ready for the day ahead. In the holidays they have activities and friends to see. Houses don’t run themselves either; they are machines for living in and we have to maintain them constantly. I don’t know if it has always been this way. Was William Shakespeare drowning in phone calls, emails, and play dates for his own children… at least his own version of them?

Some people seem to be able to do it all, but how?

The more resources you have to throw at something the easier the problem can be solved. Presidents and Chief Executives make use of personal assistants and have whole teams of people dedicated to different aspects of their lives. The average family may not have access to all these people but there is a way that we can use to make life much easier. And it starts with one simple concept.

In everything you do, capture everything!

Your mind is a finite resource. Your attention and interest can only last so long, no matter how hard you concentrate. This is why you have to take breaks after reading or studying. Anything hovering around our minds slows us down. So, get those things out of your mind and onto paper.

You should write down and capture every thought that comes into your head.

This is the only way to ensure our minds are free to focus on the important tasks at hand. Some people may think this dulls the mind and we should focus on cultivating memory but I really think that’s just a party trick and most of us just simply want to be able to function.

As far as tools for capturing things go there are many out there. You could use a simple pen and paper, a notepad, or you could type into the notes section of your phone. If you really want to be clever you can dictate the notes into your phone or another device as you think of them.

However you capture thoughts, and it really needs to be something you’re comfortable with, do it every day and every time you think of something.

The key thing after capturing everything is to organise it. Set sometime at the end of the day, hopefully when the children have gone to bed, to organise everything and set deadlines. Ask yourself, “do I really need to do this?”, prioritise the important things and then make them happen!

In the final few weeks of pregnancy women can either bask in the continuing glow and enjoyment of nourishing a new life or wish for any possible remedy to get their alien invader out of their bodies. Usually their feelings fluctuate between the two.

Dads have limited options but to sit and wait, being as supportive as possible, and listening for reports of any twinge, Braxton Hicks, or other signs that something is going to happen. It’s a long waiting game and doesn’t seem to be any clearer between the first, second or further pregnancies.

Discussions inevitably turn to how we can encourage the little one to make an appearance.

The internet and grannies seem to have all manner of suggestions about how to bring on labour when the time is right. I have no idea if any of them work. I’ve certainly tried some of these but I can’t point to any one thing that brought on the birth of our first daughter. And I don’t know if anything is working for the current baby we’re waiting for.

Walking

While it might seem counter to all feelings of pain and aching in the body, walking around may actually help to prepare the body for labour. If the baby if sitting in an awkward position, then walking may help to turn it the right way and get its head down in preparation for short journey down the birth canal.

Dad tip: Go for long walks with your partner but plan a route that has the possibility of frequent toilet stops. It’s not good to let your pregnant partner squat at the side of the road!

Curry

A hot and spicy food, typically a Vindaloo or Madras curry if feeling brave, may help to bring on labour. I’ve heard many different reasons why. Basically it seems that by throwing your intestines a curve ball with the extra spice, it may irritate them enough to spasm and cause the uterus to cramp. I used to wonder how cultures with lots of spicy food didn’t have babies early. I suppose if women’s bodies are used to hot food, it’s less likely to have an effect.

Dad tip: Don’t give spicy food to your partner if she never usually has it. And don’t give too much. The body usually evacuates its bowels as it prepares for labour, but this process is made less pleasant (especially in the birth room) if a lady has a upset tummy, i.e. the s**ts.

Sex

If you look at the medical induction of labour, most of the techniques mimic the act of sex. A pessary is given to mimic the effect of sperm, which contains prostaglandins which prepares and softens the cervix. Medical staff may also do a “sweep” of the cervix to try to loosen the “plug”. Again, this mimics the act of sex. And finally women may be given an oxytocin drip encourages hormones usually associated with making love.

Dad tip: This isn’t a sex blog and I’m not going to offer any tips here. If your partner’s pregnant I’m sure you know what to do. You can either do it yourself or let the hospital do it. It’s probably worth a try.

Other suggestions include acupuncture, acupressure, raspberry leaf tea, and hypnobirthing.

Ultimately it’s all about focusing on being calm.

All mammals instinctively want to give birth in a quiet and calm place. So the ultimate dad tip is to try and make the final few days as soothing and simple as possible as your partners prepares to do this amazing thing.