My good friends C and M are currently renovating the second story of their house. They’re expecting a second child, and they figured it was time to make sure their house had enough room for everyone in the family.
Right now, their house is…well, let’s just say that some days it has a roof and some days it doesn’t. The builders are working at a fairly good clip, but the reality is, the house is in a state of upheaval right now and will be for some time. I think their house is going to be fabulous when all the work is finished, and I’m excited for them. But I know it’s a challenging situation for them to be in. They’ve got many of their belongings stored off-site for a few months, and they’re relying on take-out meals because the kitchen is being renovated, too.
Luckily, at least they don’t have to worry about working in their house. Like many (most?) freelancers, I work out of my home office. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d get any work done if I had people around constantly, stepping through my dining room ceiling while gutting the attic or systematically removing the stop story of my house. Granted, I’m going to have to uproot myself from my home office pretty soon while we convert it into a nursery, but that’s just a matter of getting rid of some stuff and moving other stuff around. That can be done in a weekend or two. It doesn’t impede my ability to, say, hear myself think over the noise of construction.
For me, the biggest distractions to working aren’t wearing hardhats. In no particular order, they are 1) a small boy wearing polar bear pajamas, 2) the lure of the Internet, or 3) meetings and other obligations that need to be done but interrupt a good long stretch of working time. For example, on Thursday, I have an OB appointment in the morning, then I have to take my son to his Encore class, and then that evening, I have a volunteer obligation that I signed up for months ago. However, I am also trying to fit an interview or two in there somewhere, and oh yes, I have a big feature story due Friday. I’m pretty good at tuning out noise while I’m sitting at my computer–right now, I am filtering out the sound of the electronic keyboard in the room next to this one–but it’s harder to work around things that require me to actually be away from my work.
What are your biggest distractions? How do you work around them?