Focusing on the Important Things

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One of my goals for the year is to


Block out specific, focused times of day to complete work tasks for

I tend to have my laptop open all day long. I have e-mail, Facebook, ¬†, and whatever else I might be working on all open. At the same time, Lizzie (2nd grade) and David (10th grade) are at the table with me periodically asking questions about schoolwork, I am trying to make sure William (5th grade) is staying on track with his schoolwork, and I’m trying to make sure that Andrew (3 years old) is occupied with something not too messy, loud, or destructive. And Anna (8th grade) is completely fending for herself upstairs in her room.

This is a recipe for stress and distraction. It’s a very good recipe for it. I have a 100% success rate at getting frustrated whenever I try this. And I have been doing it every school day for longer than I am going to admit.

I decided something had to change. Since I am not going to send my children to school, I had to take control of my computer time.

Here’s what I’ve been doing.

1. Check e-mail early in the morning to see if there are any pressing needs for the day.

2. Take care of any emergencies early.

3. Then I close the laptop. And remove it from the table. And don’t open it.

For 3 days I have eaten breakfast without my laptop.

I have worked with my children in the morning without my laptop open.

I have paid attention to them.

I have felt less frustrated with them because they’re not interrupting me AND they have gotten more work done.

Amazing, huh?

I know this is obvious. But if the computer calls out to you and pulls you away from the most important things, you need to set limits.

I wasn’t doing the obvious. I don’t know why it took me so long.

My laptop is staying put away until 11 o’clock. Then I do another e-mail check and plan my afternoon work. I have focused work time from 2-5. I usually don’t need that much time for work, so I can use that time for blogging too. That will help me to meet another of my goals.

Publish 3 blog posts per week.

My mornings are so much more productive now that I’m not trying to do too much.

How about you? Have you so busy multi-tasking that you’ve forgotten to focus?


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3 thoughts on “Focusing on the Important Things”

  1. I realized one day last summer that our days go so much more smoothly when I’m not constantly distracted by the computer. I go so far as to completely shut down my desktop computer during school hours.

  2. I can run into the same issues if I leave my work email open. Thankfully, I have my work email through Thunderbird and personal emails through Outlook. When I’m doing ‘good’, I only have Thunderbird opened during the hours I’m actually working and close it after that. But I am finding that I have it opened all day lately, and that is taking a toll. I really do need to learn to not have it opened all day.

  3. I was like this when I was working for TOS full-time. My computer was open ALL THE TIME. It was part of my job to be available at all times, so I felt obligated. Since resigning, I close my computer a LOT more, and always during school time with my daughter. It made a huge difference in her production level, no doubt. So glad you have been able to set priorities and stick with them! I am happy for you!

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