Friday, January 16, 2009

Secret to home productivity: no kids

It's amazing what having a six-year-old and a 2-year-old in the house will do to your ability to execute projects. Studies show that email, text message and phone interruptions decrease your effective IQ by 10 points (whereas marijuana only decreases it 4 percent). There is a similar effect on my intelligence and productivity when I have both kids around. It seems like 6-45 times an hour, I'm wiping a nose, filling a cup, breaking up a fight, changing a diaper or reminding someone to put something back in its proper place.

This is not, of course, surprising. My wife exhorted me to scale back my home productivity expectations when I took on the primary parent role. She said that if a stay-at-home parent gets one thing done in a day, that's a huge accomplishment. Today just reminded me of the phenomenon because the kids are at their grandparent's house today, and I was able to spend over an hour uninterrupted cleaning up the basement this morning. And here's the thing: it's not done. It takes an inordinate amount of time to undo the disorganization that interrupted daily life brings to my basement. I'm so grateful to my mother-in-law for taking the kids today so I can get something big done for once. Back to that closet under the stairs...

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