I realize that this may be a time waster in and of itself, but I read a lot of articles about how to manage your time. I’m always looking for the secret I haven’t yet found, the path to the zen of time management, the way to make the clock run backwards so that I actually do get five extra hours in a day. Quick, somebody get me a Delorean, a flux capacitor, and Christopher Lloyd!
And it’s not that the articles are bad; I’m constantly finding good tips. But I’ve never found the magic solution that will end all time wasting, and it occurred to me finally why that is while reading this article, entitled “How to be the Jedi Master of Your Own Time”. It is because these articles are not written for working parents. It’s not that the tips given here aren’t good, solid advice, and it’s not that I can’t see how they’d work in general, both on me and on managing my clients and workload. I just can’t see how they’d work on my kids.
Take the first one, for example: “Say no.” I’m perfectly capable of saying no to clients when I need to, and I’ve done so in the past. But my attempts to say no to my baby’s more unreasonable demands are not going as smoothly. For example, he wants to feed himself. He literally can’t. He is furious lately every time I give him a spoonful of food, and saying no and calmly explaining the why of it all doesn’t seem to help. And it’s a shame because if he could feed himself without flinging carrots on the curtains and ceiling, it would be a huge time saver for me. I could maybe write an entire email in one sitting, even, while he slowly eats his baby mush.
As for unplugging the TV (another tip), I would actually like to do that for myself and am planning to try it, but I can’t completely unplug because then I’d have nothing for my preschooler to do during the conference calls that inevitably happen when I don’t have a sitter. It’s a conundrum. In fact, the only thing on this list I can really, definitely, and effectively do every day is turn off all notifications on my various devices, and I didn’t need an article to tell me to do that because it’s already done. When something is frequently dinging at me, I have the urge to stomp on it, so I never turned notifications on in the first place. I have enough people/animals/things poking at me already, thanks very much; I don’t need my phone doing it too.
Really, the problem is not that I’m a huge time waster when it comes to work, it’s that I have become an SOSAHM (a sort-of stay-at-home mom – is this an acronym for the mom message boards yet?). I am at home with my kids while also working part time, and unsurprisingly, this doesn’t always go smoothly. There is crying during the aforementioned conference calls every now and then. There is me trying simultaneously to type and find that toy that somehow rolled under the couch again. There is a lot of work done at night while dozing on my keyboard. Sometimes I wake up and discover I’ve typed some gibberish into an email, and I have a good laugh and start over. Usually that cycle only repeats a couple of times, but retyping emails doesn’t fit in with the idea of being a Jedi Time Master.
However, this is what has to be done right now. I’ve reviewed the facts, the options, the various contortions we could all twist ourselves into in order to change things, and what it comes down to is that right now we have to keep on keeping on. So I’ve decided to create my own time management techniques to get me through for the moment. Here’s what I have so far: Learn how to do everything during nap time, and drink more coffee so you can stay awake at night to do everything you couldn’t finish during nap time.
Anyone have other tips to share? I’d love to have a third option to fall back on….