What to do when there is not enough time in twenty four hours?
Did you ever try to fill a whole cup with half a cup of big pebbles and half a cup of sand? If you start with putting the sand first, there is not enough space for all the big pebbles. If you put the big pebbles first, you’ll find that you may fit the all the sand somehow in the gaps.
Our day is also like that with some projects that demand more importance, more time and sometimes more work – like the large pebbles. Then there are some works that need to be done but they are less important, may be more fun and less complicated. The way to win this game is to sort them out, prioritize them and tackle from there.
Once I understood that and consciously worked in that direction with specific, concrete goals I was more productive. The tools I used are – a monthly calendar, weekly diary,a daily to- do list, answering phone machines, a discipline not to use my cell phone constantly and limit social networking and then a kitchen timer.
I work from home. The thing I like best is the freedom. I can choose my own hours, my goals, deadlines, and the way I want to work. On the other hand, the other side of the coin reveals that those are exactly the challenges I face.
Unless I am careful it can be quite counterproductive. Here I want to share the tools and tips that solved some of my problems.
I get distracted very easily when I am working with the computer. I hop from one link to another, gaining much information temporarily, which I forget and do not use. In the mean time half the day is gone, I have done nothing constructive.
A kitchen timer solves this problem. I got this tip from organizing guru- Julia Morgenstern’s blog. I time myself for 30 minutes with a specific work. This way I focus only on one job for that period. It increases my concentration power and I feel good at the end.
The other benefit is health related. After half an hour of quiet, sedentary job like writing or working with the computer I must get up and alternate with something that is physical. Even simple things like unloading the dishwasher or tidying up one part of the house is done and it is working better for me.
The job of keeping a work life balance can be challenging for the work at home moms. Though it is nice to have all the freedom to be flexible and have the option of multi- tasking whenever you wish, unless you are aware and stay focused it can be counter productive too.
The things that helped me:
Staring with the big picture and prioritizing what is important and in what order. For me they are:
2. spouse and children
4. friends and extended family
5. home, hobby
I try to make my walking exercise and meal planning for the family number one priority.
Ahead of time I make some plan what fun things I want to do with my husband and each child and let them know. Of course spontaneity is wonderful but leaving it open too much back fires, and insignificant things eat up my precious time.
Having a Family Meeting Day once a week or once in two weeks where everyone participates with their calendars and also with their wishes and dream , works out great.
I use the calendar, weekly log, daily to do list, a kitchen timer. The decision of self training, not to do work constantly and haphazardly have really made a difference.
Respecting other peoples work, time, and concentration and then teaching them to my children worked.
We had to figure out when is it okay to be interrupted. This is a game in our family that we play with imaginary scenarios.. This helps me in role modeling while I teach that concept to little ones. Some times we, adults do forget that too and interrupt other people which slows them down or distract them.
Preparing snacks with kids ahead of time helps.
Having an art center and changing them according to the child’s interest, keeping it stimulating worked wonderfully. Little ones look forward to spending time here and keep busy. A mobile art unit or some interesting books are also great ideas.
Interesting books, CDs at a listening center are also found to be productive when I took time to introduce them to children. This way they learn to cultivate the joy of spending time alone.
Swapping baby sitting with other parents is an idea we all know -works great. Delegating the tasks to the right person including children can immensely take a large load of you.
Regular cleaning and picking up sessions to keep the environment clutter free was found to be an important part. I use the kitchen timer to make it fun and stay focused too.
Training my self not to stretch work day beyond what is planned, is also an important thing to remember. You must have fun times with your family members.
I found these things worked for me to keep my work life sanity as a work at home mom.