Branching out to work on my own has had many challenges…it’s also had many pleasant surprises. One challenge that turned into a pleasant surprise was learning to harness my focus in a different way.
Working in a traditional office setting for the majority of my career, I learned to adapt to the environment. Trying to focus in a noisy, open, collaborative office can be quite a challenge, so I adopted my own tricks to deal with the noise and interruptions. Some interruptions, though, just can’t be avoided in an office. There are meetings, client calls, fires to be put out and last minute requests from your boss. These usually take precedence and we go into drop-everything-and-get-it-done mode.
While this is the norm for office life it can be the complete opposite when working alone. I often find that without these interruptions, scheduled or otherwise, I either lose my focus without realizing it OR zone-in so far that I don’t notice the time slipping away.
How to find that balance? Setting a strict schedule for myself seemed to work at the beginning, but as I got farther and farther away from my time at the office I realized that my brain didn’t always adapt to the schedule without the interruptions. Why should I spend time working when I was completely unfocused? Wouldn’t it be better to give myself a real break in those instances and pay attention to the times when I’m zoned-in to harness that focus instead?
It seems to me that, as my own boss, I should use my resources in the most efficient way possible. If that means working from 8pm-11pm or on a Sunday instead of Monday because that’s when my focus is strongest, so be it.
Especially with spring here and summer on its way, I can anticipate my focus being at different levels throughtout the week. I’ve decided to throw out the traditional 8-hour-day schedule and instead harness my focus when it’s at its strongest.