We have six kiddos living in our house. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. So many look at us like we are CRAZY! But the crazy thing is that I love having a large family. Not just love it, but LOVE it! If I could make those capital letters in LOVE even larger, I totally would.
When May 2017 rolled around I began to panic because two of my kids were seniors and would be graduating at the end of the month. I flew into a bit of an "empty nest" fear. I know this made no rational sense since I still had four kids at the house, but it is what it is. I thought the oldest two would leave and never look back so what's a mom to do besides sign up to be a host mom for a foreign exchange student.
Fast forward to today, mid-September, and we now have SEVEN kids living in our house. My six children (because my graduating boys did not leave after all) plus an awesome foreign exchange student. Needless to say, my fear of having an "empty nest" is gone.
Even though the empty nest never came, I am still dealing with restructuring my days since they kids are in school and I'm working from home, without constant interruptions from the kids. I've been reading a lot about how to be productive with my workday and I've learned a lot! This week has been super productive and I am loving my workdays!
I began by breaking my days into 5 chunks of time. First and foremost, I know I wanted to make sure I was not working when my family was home and interacting with one another. So from 3 pm to 8 pm Monday through Friday I am completely present with them. Driving them crazy I'm sure.
Beyond that, I needed to break my work into chunks of time. This is the schedule that I found that has worked well for me with my tasks:
- 8 -10 am: housework
- 10 am to noon: office work (emails, blogs, receipts, etc)
- noon to 1/2 pm: edit sessions
- 3 to 8 pm: family time
- 8 - 11 pm: edit sessions
If I finish a task early, I can go onto the next task or take a break. But I can NOT go over the allotted time for a task! My husband is having a difficult time with this schedule because he'll ask me to do something and I tell him that I will do it the next day during office hours. I have to do this schedule to avoid burnout and to keep my stress to a minimum. I've found that I am not productive when I bounce from task to task.
I start each week with 5 post-it notes in my notebook. Each one is labeled a day of the week. I write office tasks on each one for the corresponding day.
Another lifesaver has been the CROCK POT! Seriously. It is AH-MAZING! You just throw the ingredients in, turn it on, and it's ready to eat in 6-8 hours. I made the BEST chicken tacos the other day (the kids ate it and didn't complain so it passed the test) and thought I'd share the recipe :)
Easy Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
Serves 10 (perfect for big families...or families with boys that eat a lot)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
32 ounces salsa
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1. Put first four ingredients into a crock pot.
2. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
3. 30-60 minutes prior to serving, remove chicken, shred and return to the crock pot.
4. Add desired condiments.
If you try this recipe, I'd love to know what your family thought of it. Just drop a comment below!