Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Zone

I have learned, during my days off over the holidays, that I really am not a good candidate for a work from home gig.

When I was a grad student I attempted to write my dissertation from home. That didn't work. I could not force myself to sit at the computer and write. Instead I cooked and baked, I took the dog for walks, I watched bad daytime TV and I called my mom. I cleaned. I would look around and see things that needed to be done and instead of doing what I really needed to do, I would get up and clean the catbox, or the fridge, or vacuum the apartment carpet that never seemed to get clean. Not to mention the internet... I would surf the net.

If I wanted to finish my dissertation I had to give it all up. I had to get up and go into my lab each morning and sit at the computer and write without allowing myself the pleasure of browsing the internet (huge time suck). I gave up my discussion board for a few months too. I had to finish that 300 page tomb.

Since then I have never really attempted to work from home. Sure there were days when one of the kids was sick and I would come home and put them in bed or in front of the TV and I would work.

That is so so so different from having two, very healthy children who play and fight and bicker and want to do art and play Wii and play on the computer or need a glass of apple juice or can I have this snack? and never at the same time.

There have been a few fires that have needed put out at work the past few weeks. Really, everything was semi-typical and all in the course of a normal days work. But doing this all from home? Really not my forte.

I suppose that it is easier if both kids are say over the age of 5. Leif is pretty independent and understands that "mommy needs to take this phone call now". But Skadi just does not care. I was attempting a three way phone call with two male coworkers and ended up saying, "not now honey" and may never hear the end of that.

Something happens when I get work on the brain. I get in this zone. It is like I am a race horse with blinders on making me incapable of hearing or addressing things going on around me. I am normally a good multi-tasker - able to handle lots of projects and WORK issues at the same time. This does not extend to home life and children.

I get the work groove going, my blinders are on and until whatever issue needs to be addressed is solved, my pace quickens, my mind races, my food goes untouched and my heart beats a bit faster.

Thankfully last night when I started getting e-mails from my east coast client (at 6:15pm), AB was there to jump in and save our children from starving and to let me pace the house with my phone in my hand, my fingers texting, my laptop remoted in.

And until things were solved (sorry to my coworkers I was texting at 9pm) to the level that I was satisfied and the product line notified on the latest actions, I was in the zone. Could.not.extract.myself.

And in the end - I was terribly pleased with myself for handling the issues that needed to be dealt with.

I know people who work from home, and quite effectively at that.

Not me. I need the serenity of my office with a door I can shut (and a window overlooking the river for occasional daydreaming) with little guilt. Guilt that comes from my own head as the zone pulls me from "make your own pizza night". Guilt that I place on myself for dividing my attention with an unfavorable advantage towards my work.

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