Midday on a Monday, I’m sitting at work, working at my computer with my office door open. Note that much of my work requires thought. If checking email requires 10% cranial capacity, this work was like 80%. In the span of 15 seconds:
1. I received a mobile phone call that could have waited until later. Yup, I answered it.
2. While on the mobile phone, a loud overhead page was made at work that could have been easily avoided (just get up and go see the person, we work in a small office. Damn, that speaker on my office phone is loud!)
3. A person came to my door and knocked, took a few steps in, expecting me to talk to them (yo, I’m holding a phone near my ear! And talking!)
4. An urgent email came in. I often stare at my computer screen while talking on the phone. Of course it was urgent and sort of made my heart skip.
5. Someone then buzzed me on my office phone – this came in after the overhead page, although an incoming office call can interrupt an overhead page on my phone. When that happens, hopefully the overhead page isn’t for me!
What was I working on again? Calling this 15-second chain of events a “symphony” is being generous – all of this incoming work and personal stimuli is nothing more than a cacophany of productivity destroyers.
I’m not even qualified (yet) to give you advice on this – I am struggling with this mightily right now, and I’m losing. People often say, “How are you getting all of this done,” and the answer is that I’m chopping through it like those rainforest explorer dudes chop through the underbrush with machetes (I’m convinced this only happens in the movies). It’s ugly, and all of this is turning my brain into a rewired mess of scrambled eggs, but I’m getting stuff done.
However, I don’t want my brain rewired in such a way. I want to return to a simpler, quieter time, where my creative brain can work unfettered. I want to break through and harness the power of big ideas. Can I do it? The answer might be no – with a full-time job, Rizzo Tees, this blog, Social Media Club of St. Louis, a 4-family apartment building I own, a wife and two kids, and then maybe a wee bit of time for doing things that actually interest me….. I’m busier than ever.
After reading some Tim Ferriss, I’m starting to take steps to cut down on the incoming email. Here are two other recent articles that got me thinking more about this subject:
Chris Brogan’s blogpost on The Assault On Anywhen
Jason Fried’s awesome video and transcript on Why You Can’t Work At Work (God I love this)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Am I just full of excuses here, or can we take steps to restructure our workday to get more done?