I’ve said before that being a stay at home parent is the closest thing to a rarefied Edwardian society as you can get in yoga pants. We have our own rhythms, behaviors, habits, and quirks when grouping up or just roaming around the errand list on our own, and it’s a completely different pace to the one of business. So when you’re running a business out of your home, you’re always marching off-beat to the ambient music. It can take a few bars before you find your feet under you, and you can’t plan for the change of the beat when you can’t hear the music. You have to wing it, and feel around with your other senses until you find the groove.
The Sound Of Sudden Silence
It never fails–for those of us staying home with school-age kids, the summer brings with it a certain amount of dread, knowing we won’t be able to spend as much time working as we may have gotten used to. But the converse can be worse–when fall returns to us, and the buses cart the kids away, we’re left with the sudden silence that can be so sudden and so silent that your ears ring a little. You’d think it’d be easy to hit the ground running, to pick up your productivity and run with it, to switch gears while pulling a U-ey in reverse, right?
Only A Nun Can Just Put On A Habit
Ehh, not so much. You’ve had three months to develop a habit (or coping skills) of dealing with kids home, summer activities, and a reduction in work time. Instantly ramping up may take more time than you think. The formation of a habit takes about 21-28 days, and that’s for habits that have established procedures (like brushing your teeth, going for a run, or eating an orange instead of a donut). For habits that require a little finesse or are more complex, it can take eight weeks to eliminate the bad habit (as in quitting smoking) or establishing the good one (like achieving productivity for a full 6-8 hour workday–that’s one of the reasons why many jobs require about 90 days of “training”).
Thinking Takes Practice And Practice Takes Thinking
You can train your body to increase productivity (put one foot in front of the other, faster), but you won’t receive the full potential until you engage your mind as well (I understand I am running from a bear, and I understand what will happen if the bear catches me). When you’re developing your new working habits (get kids off to school, 15-minute cleanup of kitchen, ten AM bagel) don’t forget to develop new thinking habits, too (I will increase my word count this week, I will make my business calls every morning, I will line up two new contacts or clients this week because I will fill next month’s calendar).
Don’t Powerlift Your First Time
Nobody powerlifts 500 lbs their first time doing it. You work up to it with smaller weights, good posture, a spotter. Jumping right in can get you hurt, even if you’re not powerlifting (failures can have an effect on your mindset and sabotage your dedication to your new habit). Celebrate your milestones, and give yourself a chance to become an expert at being productive again. Let yourself find your groove, rather than having to make a new one all over again.