I'm Leah, and in a lucky twist of fate, I've landed my three dream jobs:
book editor, writer, and mother. Since having my son in December 2008, my
work-life has been in constant flux - full-time? part-time? freelance?
working at home or in the office? It depends on the day and which way the
wind is blowing - and figuring out how to keep it all going is a constant
challenge. Heck, I'm still getting used to the idea of being someone's
Check out my profile on Work It, Mom! and my personal blog, A Girl and a Boy.
A familiar scene at our house: I tell my spouse that I have to go check my email real quick-like, and then before I know it it’s forty-five minutes later and he’s standing in the doorway with a red-eyed baby and a cartoon exclamation point quivering in the air above his head. It’s obvious what I’ve been doing: I start with Very Important Work Email and then, inevitably, I take that one itty-bitty sidestep over to personal email and then, what the heck, it’s blog emails and blog comments and Flickr, and then, whee!, it’s a full-force backslide into YouTube and iPhoto and iMovie and iTunes. Down the Internet rabbit-hole. iCarumba.
Since having a baby, my work schedule has been turned upside down and inside out, and I’m still trying to find my groove. I’m working fewer hours at my office job (but harder!), and I’m working more hours at home on whatever freelance projects I can sneak into evenings and weekends and the rare half hours that my seven-month-old actually takes a nap. Most days, I feel like a dog chasing its tail. There’s never enough time to accomplish everything I need to do (forget the things I want to do), and every day I try to start my task list with “Be okay with not getting everything done,” even though, at the end of the day, that usually becomes just one more box I don’t get to check off.
Finding peace in imperfection is a worthy goal, but the truth of the matter is that I can never breathe completely easy while there’s unfinished business piled on my desk, or in the corners of my brain. So, in an effort to do more (and to be more), I’ve started looking for ways to take up the slack, starting with my time online.
On the days I work from home especially, it’s easy to click a link here, post a comment there, and then lose all track of time blog-hopping around the world. It helps that I have the ready excuse of needing to read blogs and magazine articles as “research” for my freelance work, but even I know when I’m abusing that excuse. Even though I’m a huge believer in the value of an occasional diversion (they are not only allowed but necessary to my sanity during the workday), I also know how easy it is to let myself get sidetracked. I’m not on Twitter or Facebook specifically because I know how much of a time-suck those networks can be. And yet, I still find it hard to regulate my computer usage when there’s always so much to see and do.
How do you keep yourself in line while online? Do you set limits for how long you’re allowed to surf? Do you make rules about how often you’re allowed to check your personal email account(s)? Do you consider your non-work time on the computer important and sanity-saving “me time,” or is it mostly just a brainless waste? Are there any tools–technology based or otherwise–that you use to help organize and streamline your online life?
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