Work for yourself and happen to have children under the age of 5? I bet you can relate to trying to carry on a business call while someone pulls on your leg, begs for cookies or discreetly pulls every last bit of toilet paper from the roll.
We’ve all been guilty of plopping a child in front of a video (educational of course) just to eeek out a few minutes to get some work done, right?
Imagine using a simple timer (set for a maximum of 25 minutes per stretch) to get your work done as well as spend quality play time with your child!
25 minutes of uninterrupted work time can actually allow you to get MORE done than sitting at your desk for.
You can use:
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. I have tweaked it to include focused play time with your child in exchange for uninterrupted work time.
If you are blessed with little ones at home, this method can REALLY be your saving grace. You might have to modify it if 25 minutes is too long for your child to play on their own.
Pre-planning will maximize the work you get done:
You can adjust the time depending on the age of your child and their ability to play alone. Explain that you are going to play together until the timer goes off. The important part of making this work is that you are fully engaged for the play period. That means, no checking social media, no getting up to get something in the other room, no texting or taking phone calls. This is dedicated, uninterrupted play time with mommy.
When you establish this trust with your child and set the boundaries for how this is going to work, you have MUCH better leverage for when it is YOUR uninterrupted time!
Explain that the timer is going to get set again and THIS time they are going to get to play alone and without interrupting mom until the timer goes off. IF they have played well for that period, mommy will be back for another round of uninterrupted play time once the timer goes off.
**This may take a few cycles for the kids to get it and to believe you that you’ll be back for play time again.
You may be tempted to increase your work time… right? Who’s going to know? Heed my warning, this WILL backfire on you if you increase your work time too much or too soon.
Don’t balk at the short time, you’ll be amazed at what you can get done! Make a list the night before and gather up all the materials you will need. Once your 25 minutes starts you should not need to get up unless it is to tend to a child. The most important part is that you will be working on one task until it is done. No jumping into Facebook, flipping over to email or working between tasks.
For instance, if you have decided to work on client follow up you will have:
If you are going to work on scheduling social media posts you will have:
We’d love to know what works at your house! Share your tips in the comments.