Do you have a homemaking distraction? I sure do, and here’s what it is…and how I’m fighting it.
Distractions aren’t always bad things in and of themselves, and that’s what makes them so hard to spot.
Several times in the five years since I got married, I’ve gone through periods where I felt like I could barely keep my head above water with all the homemaking things that needed to be done.
I wondered why I never felt on top of things.
Why getting supper on the table before 8:30 was such a battle.
Why I hardly managed to get the floor vacuumed and the bathroom cleaned each week, much less do extra chores like wiping down appliances or organizing the pantry.
Image from unsplash
Although crafting routines and implementing a very simple meal-planning technique have helped me get my homemaking closer to where I want it to be, the key was discovering my biggest homemaking distraction.
It was something my mom never had to deal with when I was growing up, so I didn’t have an example of how to handle it. But every day, I found that I spent hours on my computer, and my homemaking took a hit.
You see, the internet is my biggest homemaking distraction.
And I never saw it as a distraction because I use it for important, necessary things. It’s not like I spend hours playing minesweeper or stalking celebrities!
In today’s world, so much of our lives are funneled through our computers–and especially through the internet. Here are just a handful of things you might use the internet for in any given week:
- Responding to email
- Looking up a phone number or directions
- Finding tickets or making reservations
- Checking the weather
- Uploading photos
- Paying bills
- Connecting with friends
- Ordering from an online store
- Searching for a recipe
- Listing items for sale on Amazon
- Attending webinars
Those aren’t bad things, are they? But I had to realize that the internet is a bottomless pit. There is no end to the things I could be doing–and often feel I should be doing–online.
When I spend too much time attending to the “urgent” things of the internet, things fall apart in my home.
I want my home to be a haven for my small family, not a vortex of chaos. I want it to be reasonably tidy and clutter-free, with nourishing meals that are ready to eat at a decent hour. I want home to be a place where we can recharge and enjoy each other.
Image from pixabay
I’ve been thinking about how I can fight my daily distractions on a practical level. I knew the internet would be a challenge, because part of our family’s income comes from my work on the computer! But my family needs so much more from me than just what I bring from working online.
Here are three ways I’ve committed to minimizing my biggest homemaking distraction:
1. Setting boundaries
As much as I’m able, I want to assign specific limits around my computer time. At this point, my baby is napping twice a day, so I use those hours for my internet to-do lists. At 4 PM, I like to have a cut-off point where I close the computer and work on dinner prep and straightening the apartment. I also go to the coffee shop for a few hours most Saturdays for some focused computer time.
Setting specific time slots for computer time keeps the internet from seeping into the other hours of my day.
2. Becoming more disciplined
Since I’m only allowing myself a few windows of internet time, it’s imperative that I’m efficient and effective during those hours. I try to focus on the task at hand, rather than pinging back and forth between work and social media or random articles.
On the flip side, when I’m off the computer I do my best to maximize my homemaking time. I do chores and cook meals; no wandering over to the computer to check email!
3. Rearranging my space
One of the reasons why I’m so distracted by the internet is because my computer is in a prominent location! I work at the kitchen table, which is the central spot in our living area. Even when I’m not on the computer, it’s beckoning me, asking me to just get “one more thing” done.
My solution is to stash my computer when it’s not in use. If I’m not working during a designated time, the computer gets put away, lid closed, off the table. I’ve had to make room for it elsewhere, but I don’t want my computer to live on the kitchen table anymore.
Image from pixabay
Your biggest homemaking distraction
I know the internet is probably a big distraction for many of us homemakers, especially if we manage a blog or online business. But for you, maybe it’s not!
If you feel like you don’t have time for all the homemaking duties you need or want to do, identify what your distractions are. How do you spend your time?
Maybe your distraction is doing too many extracurricular activities, or participating in too many events and social commitments. These are not bad things. But if you let them distract you from the things you need to do to keep your home running smoothly, keeping your home will spiral into a stress-inducing, never-satisfying task.
If you’re a busy wife or mother, you’ll never find enough time to do all the homemaking things you want to do. Just like with reading, you’ve got to make time for homemaking!
P.S. If you’ve minimized distractions but still need help with homemaking, read The Busy Girl’s Guide to Keeping the Home.
Note from Ann: Umhm, yep, I’m right there with Elsie! Between working at Keeper of the Home and my husband’s businesses, I spend a lot of time on my computer. And rightly so. Mostly. But, yes for quite some time it lived on the kitchen counter and every time I heard a little ding I would run over and check my email or Slack or instant messaging. Instead of focusing on my house or my kids, I would answer the call of the computer over the needs of my family. So I too banished it to a far corner and designated certain hours of screen time for myself. And honestly, it was very freeing!