Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing at Work

I expected to get more writing tasks accomplished in the past few weeks, despite the fact that I continued to work, even though the faculty and students were taking their vacation time.  In fact, I expected to get more writing tasks done because the faculty and students were taking their vacation time.  I thought the place would be delightfully empty.  It was.  But I met people for lunch and recovered from/prepared for Vacation Bible School and caught up on the work that didn't get done before the term ended . . . and before I knew it, the time off was over.

I got more done Monday and yesterday, despite frequent interruptions, than I did during the blissful quiet of faculty/student vacation.  It makes me wonder about my ideas of needing peace and quiet and knowing that I won't be interrupted.

Part of my break was consumed by trying to make sure that desks and chairs were ready for the start of our quarter.  Even on Monday, the task wasn't done--insert a heavy sigh here because it shouldn't be so hard to add 10 desks to one classroom, 15 to another, and to convert a room that's been storing all sorts of junk into a lecture room (people have known that the task needed to be completed for at least 5 weeks).

At one point during the break, I called the dean to tell him that we had no classroom just 2 days before the start of the quarter.  He said, "I'm coming right over.  We'll look at it together."

So, I didn't want to start on any important projects, since I expected to be interrupted momentarily.  I thought about writing a blog post entitled "Things to Do While Waiting on the Dean."  It would include things like "sort through your old e-mails" and "sort through your paper files."

But I decided that the larger issue is more interesting.  You see, my dean never made it to my building.  And I spent 2 hours taking care of not-very-important things.  Sure, at some point my e-mail system will crash if I don't sort through the old e-mails.  But I could have spent those 2 hours writing or sending out submissions or sorting through my blog posts on my memoir quest.

Why didn't I?

For fear of being interrupted.  As simple as that.

Yet, on Monday and Tuesday, when I knew I would be interrupted, I was able to accomplish some writing tasks:  a few submissions, cleaning up my blog links, some work on the memoir project.  And I was interrupted, and I was able to keep the writing task in mind while dealing with the issue that interrupted it.  Not a huge deal.

It makes me wonder how much more I could accomplish if I forced myself to work despite my fear of interruption.  Once upon a time, I didn't start a writing task unless I was sure I had a chunk of time--at least 1 hour.  Now, I'm better at not demanding huge swaths of time.

My next task:  to get over my fear of interruption!

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