Making It Work, Part 4 – You Can Do A LOT in 10 Minutes
One of the BIGGEST challenges of running a business and raising kids in the same space at the same time, is dealing with the fact that some days our time gets interrupted and interrupted and interrupted until all we have to work with is little itty bitty time chunks. My instinct is to just spend those 5/10 minute chunks browsing Instagram or rummaging in the pantry for a couple of chocolate chips. But the reality is that 2 minutes is enough time to POST a picture to our business Instagram feed instead of just mindlessly browsing! Five minutes is plenty of time to unload the dishwasher. Ten minutes is plenty of time to fold one load of laundry and twenty minutes can be a quick workout if I had to miss in the morning (unfortunately, a shower is extra time!)
Be Honest About Your Biggest Time Wasters… and Creative About How to Beat Them!
For me, there are two keys to not wasting those inevitable little chunks. The first is to attack head on the temptation to give up. When time is lost and we have only 5 minutes until it’s time to pick kids up from the bus stop, our instinct is to throw up our hands and get on facebook. This instinct is so strong for me, I’ve had to get accountability for it. I really do! I have a log with facebook login/logout times that my friend can look at any time. The first time that I logged my facebook usage, every single “quick check” was 8 minutes or longer!! I believed that I had just logged in for a minute here and there. BUT when I added up the amount of time that I had spent on facebook that first day of logging, it was WELL over an hour. The total time pushed 90 minutes, in fact. I was so chagrined!! You know how many blog posts I can write in 90 minutes? How much jogging and planking that is? (Way more that I can do!) How many rooms I could vacuum? The number of books I could have read to my kids?
If You Use the Little Timeslots Wisely, Larger Timeslots Will Become Available
If there’s a two hour delay, the baby is fussing, and my preschooler has a playdate with another boy, I may not get a 90 minute chunk of time until the kids are all in bed and I sit down to work at night. The big problem comes in if that 90 minute work period gets whittled down even more because there are still floors to sweep and personal emails to write. BUT, if I’ve used my small chunks wisely, grabbing 5 minutes to schedule a doctor’s appointment, and 20 minutes to wash dishes and sweep the kitchen floor, than I can immediately sit down and work for a solid hour and a half on that Pricing Packet design project!!
“Do the Next Thing”
So I’ve spelled out the obvious: it’s better to USE fragments of time than to WASTE them. And I’ve admitted that the only way I can control some of my distractions is to get some accountability with them. There’s still a huge challenge with fragmented days – You get lots less done in 5 minutes if it takes 2 minutes figuring out what to do!
Well, we have to turn to my friend Tracy to solve this one for us. I always noticed that Tracy was very, very calm. She always had time for people, never complained about being in a rush, and truly never seemed stressed!! I finally asked her once why she always seemed so calm. She said, “Well, no matter how busy I am, I just always do the next thing.” That advice resounds in my mind at least once a day!!! “Just do the next thing.” But what is “the next thing?”
For me, this is just another reason that I have to have a daily planner that combines my everyday chores with daily goals. Now, whenever I feel frazzled, overwhelmed, and short on time, I just look at my chart and literally “do the next thing” on the chart!
If you are just jumping into our Stay At Home/ Work At Home Mom posts…be sure to catch up!
Becky Hadeed is a wedding/food photographer and mother of 4 boys in Highland, MD. Her two happiest places are on a trail with her family & camera or in the kitchen cooking for a big event. She and her sister-in-law, Susie, both believe in a work-life balance that includes time for reflection and service to others. For that reason, they chose to work together and share the responsibilities for growing their business. They are bringing on two associates this year and are excited for the challenges ahead!