Is that a streak?

Most of the time, one of the joys of telecommuting is the relative freedom from distractions.

I read today that office workers get interrupted an average of once every 3 minutes, and I believe it. When I’m in the newsroom, I sit near someone who feels compelled to share a running commentary aloud – phone calls she needs to make, stories she needs to work on next, etc.

One day she asked, after a morning of complaining aloud about her computer, “Why do I yell at my computer when I know it doesn’t do any good?”

“I don’t know,” I countered. “Why have I been bringing in my iPod all week?”

“I don’t know.”

“Because you’ve been yelling at your computer.”

She’s a dear person, but with a habit that makes it harder for me to be productive

Working in my living room means far fewer distractions. Let the dogs out occasionally. Let the cat in. Try not to allow fights during the crossover.

That’s pretty much it. The kids sleep through deadline most days, so there’s not even muttering about not having the TV on. The compromise is it can be on during afternoon work, but I exercise more veto power than usual, such as no Fairly OddParents, particularly not obnoxious episodes like the musical one that appeared the other day. (Seriously. Who decided, “Hey, we have a show full of characters with annoying voices; why don’t we have them all sing?”)

Tonight, though, I was waiting for someone to check my wire pages so I could send them to film, and all I could think about was the sunset light forcing its way through the grime on my west-facing window. I had noticed earlier, but the wait made the buildup unbearable, so out onto the porch with cleaner and newspaper – ha, product placement! – I went, vertically on the outside and horizontally back on the inside (in case you didn’t know that trick).

So now I’m sending the last of my pages, and much happier because my front window is gleaming. Of course, now I see how the south-facing ones look dusty by comparison. But they require a ladder and more daylight than I’ve got left, so I can put them aside for now.

Come the morning deadline, of course, they’ll be bugging me again. But quietly, very quietly.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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