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How do you get stuff done with small kids around? I have decided that the rule of having 3 kids is that there must always be someone crying at any given time. At least, it feels that way sometimes.
Before we had kids, I knew I wanted to be able to stay home to watch them grow up, and I wanted to be intentional in parenting them. I had NO IDEA how busy life could be with 3 kids under the age of 5. And at the time I had NO IDEA how I would have a strong desire and need to help provide for our family financially to meet our GOALS.
It’s hard to get work done with these precious littles running around. There is so much I want to do, and I want to do it well. I’m sure we’ve all had those guilty moments of using the TV as a babysitter to get a few things done. (I hope it’s not just me! 🙂 And I really hate that…I want to be PRESENT when I’m with my kids and FOCUSED when I work.
You can see this post about scheduling: 168 Hours in a Week: What Do I Have Time For?
My kids need my attention on the regular. Some of the most common phrases from my kids are “look at me,” “watch me,” “mommy watch this,” “did you see that?” My guys want me to PAY ATTENTION to them, they want my approval, they want to talk to me! So research tells me that this is VALUABLE time, and I can feel it in my heart. It’s important that we pay attention because we are building a relationship that will allow us into their lives as they get older.
I break household chores, work tasks, and play time into bite sized increments that everybody can handle. When I am working on tasks, when we are cleaning (I’m training men who clean ;), when we are playing I’m able to be INTENTIONAL. Set a household timer, your phone, or computer for 20 – 25 minutes. I chose this amount of time based on my experience as a teacher. Kids can only stay engaged in an activity for about 20 minutes depending on their age (it may be less time depending on the kid).
Research actually suggests that 25 minutes is the optimum amount of time to get the most work done when completed in multiple segments. The Pomodoro Technique is a way to improve mental agility. It’s kind of the same idea I have described above.
For some reason, my kids act like they have nothing to play with even though there are tons of toys all over the house! So I have pulled a few things to share that really seem to keep them engaged when I need to work.
You want to make sure that you are organized and prepared with any tools/papers/phone you need during your work time. I am a list maker…so the night before I look at my giant to do list and choose either a few small things or one big thing that can be broken into chunks of time. I try to have 3 work sessions during the day, usually after breakfast, around snack time (before or after), and then mid-afternoon.
7:30 Breakfast/clean up
8:00 (25 minutes) work time
8:30 (25 minutes) play time
9:00 (25 minutes) Household chores
11:00 (25 minutes) work time
11:30 (25 minutes) play time
12:30 (25 minutes) Household chores
1:00 Quiet Time (my kids don’t take naps any more) – work time
2:00 (25 minutes) play time
2:30 (25 minutes) Household chores
3:30 (25 minutes) work time
4:00 (25 minutes) play time
5:00 start dinner/this is when I let them watch TV
You will be surprised how much can be done in such a short amount of time! I will be the first to say this is more like a dream schedule and FLEXIBILITY is the name of the game. Sometimes my kids want to play by themselves and me work. Some days my littles need way more attention and work goes on the back burner for awhile. Making my kids a priority and putting my phone/computer down has helped me to really engage with my kids. I try to remember my 2 goals for the day, be INTENTIONAL with my kids and work and be ENGAGED with them both, just not at the same time.
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