I’ve been working at-home now for four years. I traded 15 years of rush hour traffic anxiety, wasted hours sitting in useless meetings, smelling burnt microwave popcorn or reheated leftover pot roast, random walk-up conversations, and countless other distractions that crushed creativity and productivity.
Did I leave the anxiety when I swapped business casual for jeans and t-shirts? No. Life still has its obstacles and distractions. Creativity and productivity, however is in full power mode.
I recently read an article by Jason Zimdars, a UI designer at Basebamp titled, “Why I work remotely”. In his post he mentioned embracing the interruptions referring to his children coming home from school. His post inspired this post based on interruptions this week in my world.
I remember the first day of work at home. The excitement of not having to put socks on coupled with the anxiety that I must be at my computer by 8:00 AM. The excitement of only having to wear socks about once or twice a month still exists, but my work schedule is no longer dictated by the face of a clock.
I’ve never been one to be controlled by the clock. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Of course there are scheduled times for calls or places I need to be, and I still set an alarm. Being flexible and in control of the clock is liberating, yet when the day’s hours are planned and I’m in the zone, the last thing on my mind is an interruption.
Two days this week were cut short by half the day. Meaning, in two days I got one day’s planned work accomplished. Five years ago working in a cubicle farm my blood pressure would rise and my overall attitude and personality would suffer. This time, it was a matter of adjusting a few things and embracing the unplanned interruptions. And there was no requesting permission to leave the office!
One day my wife needed me. She had a doctor’s appointment and was nervous about the visit. I stopped working and spent the afternoon with her. The next day my step-daughter wasn’t feeling well and needed me to get her from school. Turns out it was an infection and she needed medical attention. Both days, back-to-back, my family needed me. The interruptions were embraced.
Sure, I have normal work day hours planned. When interruptions present themselves the attitude of embracing them makes the difference. Key word there: attitude.
Some interruptions happen at the worst possible time and some require a bit more adjusting to accommodate. Having the ability to embrace those interruptions on a whim is the epitome of freedom – being free from a boss’ judgmental sneer and more importantly freedom from the clock.
As the old saying goes, “It is not a matter of IF, it is a matter of WHEN.” Regardless if you have the ability to work from home, embrace your interruptions. Calls and meetings can be rescheduled. Projects won’t get canceled. Your company won’t go out of business. And the planet will continue to spin on its axis.
No interruption is more important than your family.