Friday, April 30, 2010

Trapped in Home Office Hell (The Perils of Multi-tasking)

“ all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:6

The idea of a home office is so appealing. There is a certain romance in the thought of listening for the washing machine to finish spinning while I type away on my latest book, knowing I’ll be home when my kids return from school and will have dinner on the table promptly at 6:00.

However, romance has never been a strong part of my reality. This morning, for example, I got my kids out the door for school, had a quick breakfast with my husband (who also works from home), then sat down to get a little bit of work done before heading out to my weekly writers group meeting. I had about 20 minutes to outline a talk I’m preparing, and told my husband about my need to be efficient with this limited amount of time. I had a busy day ahead, with no time for any laundry, cooking, cleaning, or shenanigans. Sweet home office image dissolved.

About seven minutes into my work, I heard my husband’s approaching footsteps on the stairs, along with his low chuckle. “I need to take you away from your work for five minutes, but it will totally be worth it.” How do you argue with that? He directed me to his facebook post containing a Southpark video about the perils of “friending” people on facebook.

How on earth could he possibly think that Southpark would be “totally worth” taking up 25 percent of my working time?

However, this situation is in no way unique. In fact, I could write about this every day by simply changing the distractions and those doing the distracting. I find that I can get house work, work-work, or what I call “people work” (relationship building) done in any given day. It is a rare day when my fantasy of getting “everything” done is realized. This morning, taking time for people work meant I didn’t finish my work-work. I didn’t even bother trying to tackle house work.

Somewhere along the line, our society got the idea that multi-tasking is a good idea. Ask any home office worker, or any mother, and she will tell you it isn’t true. When you try to do everything, you focus on nothing and excel at nothing.

I regularly have to remind myself of my priorities. When my head says, “The kids will be okay if you just write one or two more pages,” my heart admonishes me with, “You are a mother first. You can work again tomorrow.” In the end, the laundry does get done, the work deadlines are met, but when I skip or shortchange the people work, I never get those moments back again, and that time is truly lost. The moments spent in relationship with others are the meaningful times that I remember.

If you are also having trouble getting “it all” done, share with me so I know I’m not alone!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wisdom in the Every Day

But wisdom is proved right by all her children." - Luke 7:35

A heavy, work-related decision for my husband has us both asking God for an increased measure of wisdom. Requests for insight, discernment and sound judgment fill our prayer times as we wait for God to give us direction.

I can’t help but notice that I tend to ask for wisdom when facing big decisions. However, as a mom, I make millions of little decisions every day that also require wisdom. Deciding on how to get nutrients into my kids’ mouths most efficiently and with the least amount of mess requires wisdom (and creativity). Leading my kids through their daily homework with a positive attitude takes wisdom (and patience). Deciding which friendships to encourage and which one to keep quiet about uses wisdom (and discernment).

I want to remember to ask God to be my guide in every aspect of my life, even the mundane, every day actions like making dinner. With an extra dose of His wisdom, I know I can do a better job taking care of my family.

In what areas of life do you need His wisdom?