with Amy Urquhart
I’m Amy and I’ve spent the last three years trying to strike that perfect balance between being a wife, mom and professional career woman. I’ve decided that I’ll never perfect the art of “having it all”, but this blog is a chronicle of my attempts to continue to do so. I’m a blogger (my personal blog about Canadian home life is Hearts into Home), gardener, college instructor, wife to Graham and mom to Nate. If you’re also a working mom who finds there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I hope you’ll enjoy this column!
Read her blog at Hearts into Home.
I love being up early, but I’ve never been good at getting up early. I’m grouchy and groggy in the morning, even though I’m instantly awake multiple times in the middle of the night if any of the children so much as wimper. (Hmmm… connection, maybe? Nah.)
Right now, in order to get everyone and everything ready for 8 a.m. camp and school, I need to be up by 6. No matter how much I get done the night before, it seems that I still need that much time to get the ball rolling (or juggling, as the case may be) in the morning. This morning was so hectic, in fact, that I’m considering getting up even earlier, even though the idea of the alarm going off at 5:30 makes me cringe.
Once 9 a.m. rolls around, though, I’m raring to go. The problem is that by then I’m usually stuck in traffic on the way to work, crawling along the highway or hugging the speed limit on a winding back road.
Many experts say that figuring out the times of day during which you’re most productive is one of the keys to becoming more organized and less stressed out. You should also keep track of what you do with your time; one way to do this is by keeping a time log, according to personal development guru Steve Pavlina. The results may surprise you.
“The first time I kept a time log, I only finished 15 hours worth of real work in a week where I spent about 60 hours in my office,” he writes on his website. “Even though I was technically about twice as productive as the average office worker, I was still disturbed by the results. Where did those other 45 hours go?”
Using his time log, he could see that he was spending too much time checking email, doing tasks that didn’t need to be done, lingering over meals during the workday, and catching up on the news, among other things.
Sound familiar? It did to me.
Aside from that burst of (probably) caffeine-fueled energy around 9 a.m., my productivity peaks at about 1 a.m. and then again around 4 p.m. – not good, given that I need to leave work by 5 or so most days. I’m dragging again until almost exactly midnight — that’s when my second wind blows in and I get some of my best work done. I either have to go to bed right before that energy rush hits, or work through it and stumble upstairs around 3 a.m.
OK, so… what am I doing with the rest of my time?
Aside from home-and kid-related tasks, my biggest time suck is… myself. Call it by any other name — Facebook, e-mail, reading blogs, skimming the newspaper, what have you — the point is that I allow myself to be distracted by plenty of things when I really should be concentrating on the task at hand.
So maybe, for me, getting up earlier isn’t the answer. Forcing myself to focus is.
If only I could get an expert to weigh in on how to do that, I’d be all set.
When are you most productive? How do you get motivated stay focused on the task at hand?
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