I work from home, which, on most days, is wonderful. I love the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime, even if it meant I had learn some serious time management at first. I also have a two-year-old son, who, on most days, spends the majority of the time being wonderfully adorable and completely destructive. In a span of 10 minutes, he can pull everything out of the pantry, dig his fingernails into every eyeshadow that I own, color on the walls in pink marker and spray himself in the face with Windex. Not only is he capable of this, he actually did all of this last Monday.
My sweet son is not as cooperative as my now school-age daughter was when she was a toddler. He does not play quietly on the floor at my feet as I serenely pluck away at my keyboard. Around the time that he hit 18 months, I realized that my toddler simply did not care about the blocks of time I designated for work. I was perfectly able to manage my time….I just could not do it while managing a toddler. I had to find a new approach, and fast, because I felt that both my ability to do good work and my sanity were fast slipping away.
I decided that time management was simply not enough anymore, so I turned to behavioral management. Not my child’s behavior, (note: if you know how to teach me this magic, please call) but my own. I turned my schedule upside down. If it becomes clear that productive work is not possible while my toddler is awake, I turn my to-do list upside down. I do everything else I need to do that does not involve brain power or correct grammar, leaving nap time and after bed time free to work in peace. I am a night owl by nature, so late night work is not only possible for me, it is sometimes preferable.
I knew how to manage my time, but it wasn’t until I changed my behavior that I started to see real results. If you are where I was six months ago, and you just cannot seem to break free of that out-of-control feeling, it’s time to think about changing your behavior. There are times in life when the only thing that you can control is your own behavior, so do that. Like I did, you may have to let go of your concept of doing things in a logical order. You may not make it to the grocery store like you planned, but there are other productive things that can be done, and cereal for dinner never hurts anyone.
Show yourself grace. If your current time management plan isn’t working, try something else. Adjust. Adapt. Change your perspective and your behavior, even if it forces you outside of your preferable comfort zone. Things will get done, you will do good work, there will be more peace in your life and, eventually, this phase will pass.
By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing