As I write this, several things around me vie for my attention. Most significant of them is the one-year-old who at any moment may be pulling graphic novels off the shelf, investigating the effects of pulling the cat’s fur, or grabbing at my laptop, insisting that he can write my column better than I. There’s also my Kindle, the TV shows I have saved on the DVR, and, if I come right down to it, a sense of malaise. My family has had some terrible blows in the past few months—my father-in-law died in November and my niece was murdered in December—and sometimes there is nothing that can stop me from simply lying down when the baby is taking his nap.

You see, I, like so many people in comics, work from home. It takes a great deal of discipline to stay on task, and discipline, alas, has never been my strongest trait. I know that if I try to work and watch The Daily Show at the same time, neither my work nor Jon Stewart is going to get a fair share of my attention, but I try to do it anyway. And if the baby wants a cuddle while I’m writing a press release or revising a chapter of my yet-to-be-bought novel, guess which of those is going to win.

Thanks to the comics social network I wrote about last month, I know I am not alone in this struggle. There are artists who eye their Xboxes while they should be drawing, writers who look longingly out the window and then give in to the dog who wants a walk. There are announcements of Twitter or Facebook “breaks” as freelancers put aside distractions to meet deadlines.

I’ve yet to find a solution for my discipline problem. The biggest problem is that when I do focus and get work done, I inevitably give priority to work that others are counting on—the column that has a deadline, the book that needs to get to press. I’ll call my mom to help me out with the baby if I need to do my work that pays, but when it comes to my work, the projects that may pay off or may not, I don’t make that call. I do what I have time for, and the rest must wait. My graphic novel script languishes, my novel manuscript is marked up but the revision isn’t yet written, other projects exist in various states of underdevelopment.

I find the situation a little ridiculous. After all, I managed to find a way to go to grad school and work thirty hours a week, all while writing the novel that was my thesis. But add a twenty-pound human who depends on me for his every need, and suddenly I can’t get everything I want to do done. Who would have guessed? So I’m reaching out. What tips do you parents, freelancers and telecommuters have for me? How can I find time for my obligations to others and my own projects? Tell me in the comments, please.

And, no, I can’t afford a nanny.