I saw the most hilarious photo in an email from Working Mother magazine today. A beautiful woman wearing white pants was sitting on a white sofa. She had a 12 month old baby sitting on her left knee and was she smiling as she looked at the laptop to her right on the couch. Clearly this woman has it all, right? She is able to be at home with her child and get all of her work done. Yeah, right. I know from experience that 12 month olds sit still for approximately 9.2 seconds and that’s if you’re really lucky. I wonder how long it took the photographer to get that shot. I also wonder if she really lets that baby crawl on that white sofa. But my biggest question is what is getting her full attention? The answer is neither. It just isn’t possible to be fully engaged and efficient when you are trying to split your attention between two or more things at the same time. I know this from experience too because I am a mother and I work at home. After my daughter was born, I tried really hard to work from home without putting her in daycare. I got up early to work before she got up, I worked while she was napping and after she went to bed at night. I also tried to work while she was playing on the floor in my office during the day. That was just a recipe for frustration and resentment. When she started to crawl, I gave up and found part time daycare for her. We were both much happier. She really wasn’t getting my full attention and I wasn’t able to give my full attention to my work. When I picked her up from daycare I was much more engaged and able to give her my full attention.
What is getting your attention? How can you rearrange your schedule to allow for full engagement in all that you do?