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Time for Work

A lot of work-at-home gurus pitch an organized lifestyle that’s probably really comforting to women who have migrated from a traditional employment background. I’m just going to ruin that for you a little bit. Nothing personal, I just want to share how it works in my house. We’re organized in a way that’s a little more ADD (is it naughty to use that as an adjective?)

My laptop is on all day long and I rarely sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. I have six kids and a work-from-home husband. We eat three family meals a day at our house and we play dirty. That creates a lot of housework. We’re homeschooling and while most of their studying is independent, there are times when I’m called to read stories, give daytime baths, cook, clean up little messes, watch a concert, remove gum from someone’s hair, break up an argument, mop dog pee or answer the door.

Every time I walk past, I write something. To maintain this insane level of activity, I have come up with a few handy tips:

1- Chant whatever you’re supposed to be writing until you can get back to the computer. Sometimes I find myself accidentally walking around the house saying things like “SEO benefits of mis-spelled words” over and over again. My daughter recently overheard me and said “What the heck are the SEO benefits of mis-spelled words?” and I said “That’s a great idea for an article, thank you honey.” She’s still confused.

2- Change the automatic screen saver setting on your computer. I keep my laptop in a central location, between my kitchen and my living room, at eye level. Since I’ve removed the screen saver, I find I can write a sentence at a time each time I walk past. Sometimes I’ll even ask someone across the room to type for me while I dictate the next thought. I’ve gotten into the habit of saying cha-ching every time I step away from it. Use your browser tabs liberally, and keep sticky notes handy.

3- Make a real breakfast. It creates less dishes, it’s more nutritious, it’s cheaper, the kids get fuller and if everyone sits down to eat together, there’s a possibility that the table could actually be cleared all day until lunch. Make lunch, too. Never leave kids to fend for themselves, they are kind of messy. Even peanut butter and jelly can be a disaster. The crock pot is your friend.

Some organizational strategies are less obvious than others. I don’t really have set working hours, and while we definitely have a rhythm to our days, we don’t have a schedule. I once wrote down what we did all day and called that our schedule. It worked really nicely until it changed. Such is life, an organic free flowing approach to time management isn’t naughty or weird for us, it’s just the way we roll.

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