These are some of the things I can do because I’m fortunate to work for a company that lets me work from anywhere:
- Hug my kids and feed them breakfast before they leave for school in the morning.
- Greet and make a snack for them when they get home; hear all about their day.
- Work from my favorite coffee shop.
- Spend a week with the whole Basecamp team in our Chicago office.
- Spend a week with my team in sunny Austin, TX (while it’s -2ºF in Chicago).
- Run an errand for a friend.
- Walk my dogs.
- Work with a friend.
- Care for a sick child without taking a sick day myself.
After you’ve read all the books and articles about keeping on-task when working from home, setting up the perfect home office, avoiding loneliness, staying connected, sidestepping distractions, and avoiding interruptions I’d suggest one thing: embrace interruptions.
Maybe this isn’t the way of MAXIMUM IN-THE-ZONE PRODUCTIVITY but as my kids have gotten older and the days are fast approaching where they’ll be off on their own I’ve tried to be open to those interruptions.
For example, my son usually goes right for my office when he gets home in the afternoon, standing with me at my desk rattling on about his day oblivious that he might be interrupting. I do my best (and sometimes it’s really hard) to stop what I’m doing, turn to him and be present. How many more of those conversations will there be? I’ll take every one I can get.
My daughter comes home starving. Taking 10 minutes to make her a snack makes both of our days. She could totally do it herself and I could totally keep working but which 10 minutes am I going to remember? Which will she remember?
If you have little kids (or no kids) what I’m experiencing may seem like it’s irrelevant (or at least a long way off) but I promise you it’s not. You won’t remember working a little later or catching up on Saturday because the people you love interrupted you but you’re certain to remember those little interactions. And even more, they will remember them, too. This is why I work remotely. I worked a day job and freelanced all night (while putting myself through college) when these same kids were little. I barely remember those years. Be grateful that you’re home to be interrupted at all.