Whether you work at home, home school your children, run a blog or Etsy shop, or volunteer on a committee of some sort, chances are you have some kind of “work” that needs your attention each week.
I’ve been sharing my time management tips as part of this series, and today I want to talk about the value of setting aside time to focus on that work, whatever it may be. Of course, there’s no reason you can’t do some of it while your children are around or while watching TV with your husband. However, when you divide your focus, it will likely take you longer to complete your to-do list than if you focus on it.
Having a time and place where you can focus on those tasks will allow you to get more done, which will actually give you more time to get things done.
Finding a Spot
For some people, heading to a coffee shop once a week or a couple times a month is the perfect solution. Sneaking away gives you a chance to focus on your work while also giving you time away from the responsibilities at home. It can be both productive and refreshing.
Of course, this isn’t feasible for everyone. We live in the boonies, and heading to the closest coffee shop is a 30-minute drive and about $10 in gas, so it’s a luxury I don’t often get. If I have a project to focus on, I will often hide in our bedroom while my husband watches the girls. I crank up Last.fm and do my best to forget that I’m still at home so that I can work undistracted.
Finding a Time
Another option is to simply choose a time of day when you can focus on your to-do list without leaving your home or barricading yourself in a separate room. Crazy as it sounds, this is the reason I get up at 5am or earlier most mornings. I love to have several hours of uninterrupted time to get my work or writing done, and I’m most productive during these early hours.
I know I’m probably in the minority with my early bird tendencies, and for a lot of people, working at night once the kids are in bed is the best way to focus and get things accomplished. Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy often works late at night on her amazing store. For her, that’s when she’s at her best and able to get the most done.
For others of you, nap time may be the perfect opportunity. Two of my three girls no longer nap, but they still go up to their rooms for an extended quiet time each afternoon. They play quietly (sometimes not so quietly until they’re reminded…) by themselves while listening to stories on CD, and I also use this time to focus on my work.
Make It Happen
The value of being able to focus while you work is hard to dismiss. You will be more productive and less frustrated by distractions, which is better for everyone.
I am sure there is at least one person reading this who is thinking that having uninterrupted time to work is just not feasible, and I would encourage you to think outside the box and make it happen. Talk with your husband to find out how he can help you make it a reality. Adjust your family’s schedule or look for smaller chunks of time you could take advantage of during the day.
Do you have time in your schedule when you can work uninterrupted? Do you find that you are able to get more done when you focus? What is the biggest obstacle you need to overcome to make this happen?