Time Management: Slowing Down and Doing One Thing At A Time

parentinghome management

There was a time, not too long ago, when work and home life involved doing a single thing at a time.At the office you’d tackle one project and work on it until it was done, and at home you’d watch television without checking your email or Facebook. But today, we have become the ultimate in multi-tasking, flitting from task to task like a hummingbird. Not only that, the accessibility of technology made it easier to work from home and on weekends, and this means that we never, ever, stop.

It’s easy while sitting at your computer to allow the lure of social networks, email, and even Words with Friends on your phone to distract you from working. This means that often each individual project takes longer and is done ... I’ll just say, less well.

Last week my mom sent me a poem called “Slow Dance.” Two sections caught my attention:

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say, "Hi"
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?

I decided it was time to step back and remember how to focus.

How to Slow Down and Take One Thing at a Time

Here are my three tips for slowing down and tackling one thing at a time.

1. I check email as a reward for completing a task.

I turn off my desktop alerts so that I can concentrate on what I’m doing rather than feel compelled to hop into my email every time a new message comes in. Yes, email is instant and can be addictive, but the truth is it can usually wait an hour. If something needs to be done this very second, someone can call me or instant message me through Skype.

2. I only allow myself two checks of social networks a day.

Yes, really. I check in first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This has been SUCH a boon to my productivity.

3. I turn off my phone and move out of my office.

Every day I try to allocate twenty minutes to myself for exercise or time on my own for a break. I move out of my office and leave my phone behind. Taking a break from my phone and office also applies to family time, homework time, and my children’s bath time. I think it’s particularly important to turn off my “work brain” during these times so I can give my complete attention to my family.

These small steps have helped me work a bit more productively, and focus on the things that really matter in life.

How do you compartmentalize your time and help your family stay organized?


Joanne Lang is a mom of 4 boys, a wife, and the founder and CEO of AboutOne, an online family organizer that turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your existing calendar and contact tools so you can automatically organize, store, and share family memories and household paperwork. Through web and mobile apps, AboutOne guides you along the path to organization, rewarding you along the way for meeting your organizational goals.



Photo courtesy of Google Images

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