Jun 4, 2011

The daily grind.

As my spouse's parental leave creeps closer and closer to its end, I've been scrambling to get all the tips I can on working from home while caring for a child.  I know one thing is for certain, something has to change.  I spend a lot of my time with divided attention, trying to do 2 things at once and doing both poorly.  Like, I'll sit down to take care of some invoices and watch Myriam but end up half-assing both.  I give Myriam a pizza crust to distract her so I can focus on getting some work done, but all that happens is that I neglect my child while I play around on facebook.  I'm mom of the year.

In my quest for survival tips, I found some great advice in a somewhat surprising place.  My neighbour Topon is the founder, guitarist, manager, producer etc.etc.  for the internationally renowned grindcore band  Fuck the Facts, but he's also a work at home dad who runs a home recording studio.  I had no idea he was such a fountain of knowledge when it comes to working and parenting at the same time.  Apparently a week at home with his girlfriend back to work has made him some kind of guru.  

He was saying how he's had to really manage his time better, something I know I struggle with.  His big trick:  no internet until the evening.  What the WHAT?!  No Interwebs?  Sounds crazy, I know, but seriously, how much time gets wasted watching the latest kitty video and reading about the "6 Personality Quirks You Didn't Know Were Medical Conditions".  I do have to access my gmail account throughout the day for my business, but *my* tip is to put a shortcut to the email account on my desktop.  That way I just click on it and I'm in my inbox, there's less temptation to click all my other links, like facebook, hotmail, blogger, and google analytics (to see how many crazies are actually reading this).

The second piece of dad-ly advice I got from Topon is to really take advantage of your baby's down time.  When they go to sleep, start working right away.  The dishes can be done with a baby on your back, but anything that requires concentration should be started the second the baby closes her eyes.  If you even stop for a second to check the news, you know you're going to lose at least 20 minutes of productive time.

Even those brief periods of time when they play on their own should be used wisely.  No more laughing it up at MadTv clips with one eye on the baby.  I should be using that time to crochet, or photograph my stuff, or start setting up my catalogue.  I can do all those things while I make sure my baby doesn't attempt to find out what electricity tastes like.

It is really important to take care of pressing tasks as soon as you get a chance.  Babies are so unpredictable, you may not get another time during the day  For example, Mimi is sick today with a cold.  As a result she needs constant hugs and only took a 20 minute nap.  Guess how much stuff I can get done on days like that?  About as much as your grandmother the day after her hip replacement surgery.

So, awesome tips to recap: Manage your time by limiting distractions, taking advantage of every work opportunity, focus on the task at hand, and don't procrastinate.  Sounds easy enough, we'll see if I can follow my own advice on Monday when it's just us two. (you thought I was gonna say "Just the Two of Us", but you were wrong.)

SuperDad here even gets his baby in on the sweet grindcore action.

If you want to find out more about Topon and Fuck The Facts, you can check out their Facebook page and their Myspace page.