I’ll live

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.Voltaire

I’ve spent the week clumping around in the medical equivalent of a ski-boot – no big deal, a few torn ligaments in my ankle that will repair themselves given time and immobilization (hence my new footwear). With the exception of making it difficult to operate the clutch pedal in my case, this is no big deal, as injuries go it’s a long way from anything of real importance (I’ll live).

The beauty of it is that this week has been one of those rare moments where there are no pressing client demands and no scheduled court dates so there was no need for me to head into town and clump around the office when I could be just as productive clumping around at home. So an e-mail to my receptionist service asking them to route my calls to my home number and I was in business smugly content in the flexibility of a solo practice. This blissful glow lasted slightly longer than the novelty of my newly acquired footwear – working (actually being able to get something productive accomplished) from home is, as I soon discovered, not for the faint of heart.

Problem one: there ain’t no sympathy. Sure, I’m a solo sans staff, so there’s no one in my office to commiserate with, but there are people about – there’s the folks I share space with, the other professionals in the building, etc. At home there the dogs and the parrot both of whom are more interested in my feeding them than sympathizing – though the dogs do seem fascinated by my footwear (I should check to see  if I’ve trodden in something) and put-out by the fact that I object to their lying across my feet – 110 pounds of snuggly Doberman is not, at the moment, comfortable.

Problem 2: there are way too many distractions. It took about 3 hours before I started hearing the siren song of other projects – the sun is shining, I’m at home and it really won’t take much time out of my day if I went outside and … – I knew I was in trouble when trimming horse hooves started to sound like a relaxing break from writing a purchase agreement. I am just not set up to work here. Sure I’ve systems in place so that I can get my calls, my email, my files from anywhere I can access the internet but that’s access, that’s not being set up to actually accomplish something. There is no quiet space, no isolation from temptation, no fixed demarkation that marks the boundary between work and home.

Lessons learned – one, if I’m going to step into a hole, be sure the hole is big enough for my entire foot and then step all the way into the hole – attempting to step into a hole with only 90% of my foot is bad. Two, if I’m going to work at home, I need to isolate and dedicate my workspace – a home office has to be just that an office; I simply cannot be effective sprawled on the couch hammering on a laptop.

Now, to get back to work, but first I’m going to take the dogs for a clump.

One thought on “I’ll live

  1. As my “office” is (and has for the past 5 years been) not a foot from my bed I understand this difficulty completely. What I have learned is to get up, get dressed as if I’m going into the office and then block out, screen and focus. I had to teach myself to find the will power to not do any household chores that take longer than going down the hall to get a cup of Joe or have a quick chat with someone should I be in a real office (with, you know – real people).

    My big problem is that with the office in the house – worse, in the bedroom – I never truly get off work. I’m sort of “on call” constantly. While I’ve taught myself quite well to drown out the life distractions while working, I have not succeeded in drowning out the work distractions while living.

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