Working from home not working
“I don’t know how you do it.”
That’s what most people say when I tell them I work from home. Their eyes get even wider when they see the size of my house. It’s not tiny, but it’s not big either.
For the longest time, it wasn’t much of a big deal. In January 2005, I turned in my notice at the TV station and took on a line of work that meant frequent travel. It also meant that I was a remote worker. That called for me working from home for sometimes weeks at a time. I set about building my home office with the latest in computer equipment, chairs, satellite television, and music. There are some sites you can find online, like Office Monster, that supply some items that are ideal for kitting out a home office or office spaces in general. It was a nice little office, but, let’s be honest. I rarely worked in there. There was something about it. I think it was too private. I ended up doing most of my work from my laptop in the living area of the house.
My entire career has been spent in noisy places. In radio and TV, there were always people coming and going and they were always loud and in a hurry. It was a chaotic environment that suited my rather chaotic brain. When I moved into the poker reporting world, the environment didn’t change that much. It was always noisy and always busy.
Working from home wasn’t that hard either. When the boy was young, he was a lump of babbling flesh that didn’t require much in the way of conversation. Sure, I had to be attentive, but I didn’t have to explain the meaning of life, hook up the Smart Cycle, or explain what testicles are.
Things have changed. I suddenly feel more distracted than I have been in years. In the past I could focus on a project for hours at a time and get it done. Now, things are taking much longer. I can’t blame my family. This is their house, too. I can’t blame the dog for needing to go outside, my wife for needing help reaching something in the kitchen, or my kid needing help turning on his game. It’s their life. What’s more, in just a few months, there is going to be an infant sleeping in what was once my office. There won’t be a choice for me.
Now, you might ask, after so many years of working in chaos, why can’t you work in the chaos of your own home? Honestly, I think it’s because the chaos is not focused in the same place. Whereas the chaos of a poker tournament or news room is all focused on the same basic task at hand, at home everybody has their own agenda and it distracts me to the point of ineffectiveness.
And so, after many years of being incredibly efficient from my easy chair, I’m planning to start experimenting with working elsewhere. a few days a week. The only question is where I am going.
I have tried coffee shops and book stores. I always feel odd in those places. How much coffee am I supposed to buy to make up for camping at a table for four or five hours? What am I supposed to do when I go to the bathroom? I guess I could buy one of those cable locks for my trips to the head, but I still don’t know the java-per-hour rate. Plus, I’m definitely going to want some place with free Wi-Fi.
My wife has suggested the library. I have discovered it does have Wi-Fi, so that may work out for me. It seems a tad quiet, and I’m not going to be able to get much in the way of refreshment there. Still, it may be worth a try.
So, any suggestions out there?