Schedule of a mommy PhD candidate – with the kids at home

Schedule of a mommy PhD candidate – with the kids at home

Getting work done when the kids are home is never an easy task.  But sometimes, it just needs to get done.  I keep my kids home with me 2 days a week when I am (supposedly) working.  In order to get things done, I need to keep a strict schedule and yet be open to mishaps or changes as necessary.  I never leave important tasks to times when the kids are home, so if something is due Wednesday and the kids are home Tuesday, that task will be done on Monday.  This alleviates some of the stress of working from home as it moves tasks from the “need to do” pile to the “it would be nice to get done” pile.  Here is a typical schedule of my day when the kids are home:

6am-9am I hop on my computer immediately when I wake up.  Typically mornings are the calmest with my children.  If I get on my computer at 6, I can get a solid 3 hours of work done in the morning with a quick break to make breakfast (usually toaster waffles, so very quick).  If I get a lot done during this time period, it makes my day much less stressful because I already accomplished something.  Around 9 is when the kids start getting antsy.

9am-12pm I use this block of time to get the kids out of the house.  I typically take them to either the park or story time.  Then we come back and I make lunch.  I don’t do any work during this time period and try to use the time to relax and have family time.  This seems like a large chunk of time to not work, but remember, I already worked 3 hours.  By noon, I’m probably still ahead of the typical grad student in work hours!

12pm-2pm This is nap/rest time.  Though my older kids don’t nap anymore, I still make them go to their rooms for quiet time.  It typically lasts for 1 to 2 hours.  This block of time is great for getting things done.  I can concentrate in a relatively quiet atmosphere for at least an hour straight.  (In parent time, an hour of concentration is glorious.)

2pm-5pm This time is a grab bag.  Sometimes I can get the kids to remain calm for a good chunk of the afternoon.  I will typically let them watch some TV if they haven’t watched it all day.  I will also serve snack which keeps them occupied for a bit.  Some days, this time is not work time, but I can typically budget for this by staying late in my office the next day.

Based on my schedule, I get at least 5 hours of good work done on days my kids are home but typically closer to 8 hours.  It works out well for us and most weeks I feel like I do a sufficient amount of work.  Remember an hour here and an hour there really adds up.

How do you schedule your day when the kids are around?  Do you get any work done or do you take it as a day off?

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