Earlier this evening I had a fit of working. My son and my wife were asleep, the house was quiet, and I had some work to do. The “to do” list had built up over the past weeks due to a variety of things. Big news in Egypt (and elsewhere) pulled my attention for a length of time. My favorite band released a new album. These, and other things, pulled focus from my tiny little “to do” list. It grew. It grew like a monster. It was unruly and needed to be tamed. Silence was the answer… and I finally had some.
Part of my problem recently (in addition to meaningful distractions) has been the decreasing likelihood that our son will sleep during the day. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when there isn’t a distraction every five or less minutes. While my son is a “real” distraction, most of the distractions we claim steal our time (or refuse to admit actually do steal it) are to be found in various internet connected blips and beeps informing us, in real-time, of anything and everything we could ever want. It’s sort of weird that I’ve had to construct barriers on my own computer to slow down the onslaught of incoming information. If you haven’t done something like this I suggest that you do.
At any rate — while I work at my best in silence — it is possible to get work done while knowing that you’ll “really” be interrupted in the next fives minutes. Head down, internet off, pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, paint to canvas, eyes to sentences, etc.) — this is possible. While I have difficulty doing tasks better suited to longer times of concentration and focus you can, if you need to, focus on one task for a longer period of time with minor (but frequent) interruptions. I’m sure I’m not unique in having a child around during times when I need to work. I also know that minor distractions come in many forms. If you’ve got tips please share them.