I’ve been thinking about “Alone Time” lately (thank you, Michael Hyatt, for bringing it up). The following TEDx video is directed toward business managers, but can apply just the same to a busy family. I’ve got some thoughts, but try to watch this video first. It’s long (17 minutes), but moves fast and is worth it.
The concept of Alone Time got me thinking. How can members of a busy and large family get alone on a regular basis to be productive? The children have school work to do, I have a business to run, Wendy has a household to manage — Alone Time? It’s easy to think, Not in this lifetime!
There is an answer: creativity — and lots of it! We’ve managed to make the time. We have obstacles in our way, but with creative thinking, we’ve found our way to make Alone Time. Here are five ways we do.
1. We have “Quiet Time” every afternoon in our home, our creative Alone Time. The children are instructed to read, do homework, work on a project — something that doesn’t call for another’s time or help. On good days, Mom is able to steal a nap!
2. We don’t have much room around our home (the 15 of us live in a 2400 sq ft home). To ease the claustrophobia, I bring some of the children to work with me throughout the week. This is an advantage of being self-employed. We have an entire workroom set up to package orders, and when they finish with that, they jump into homework or other projects. My office is in a church building which remains empty most of the week, so going into another room, if needed, for Alone Time is fairly easy.
3. The garage is no longer mine. Micah has taken it over. He’s our most rambunctious, can’t-sit-in-a-desk child, but his hands-on creativity is amazing. Micah loves spending Alone Time in the garage making all sorts of things, primarily his fiberglass swords. The unspoken deal I’ve made with him is this: He can have my garage and access to every tool in it, and when something needs repairing, he needs to get on it. The honey-do list has been short ever since.
4. My Alone Time is at 5:00 am. I’m enjoying my coffee in my recliner right now, wrapping up the final touches to this post. I’ll post it soon and then move onto other things. I will soon get up, walk the dog to the creek in our backyard, and return for a nice breakfast with my family. The 5:00 am routine is one I’ve been in for 20 years. I love it — it’s the best time of my day.
5. My dear Wendy is the exact opposite of me. Night owl. I’ll bring her coffee after the kids and I are finished with breakfast and the day’s activity gets going. Her Alone Time will be tonight, most likely when I’ve fallen asleep on the couch or something. I know what you’re thinking: When do Wendy and I find Alone Time to make all these kids? Two answers: (1) we’re creative, and (2) any more detail than this is none of your business. 😉
Everyone in the family needs Alone Time to gather their thoughts and be productive, and some need more time than others. We’ve had to get creative in a family like ours.
How about you and your family?