Those of you who share my experience of having a curious, engaged, enthusiastic little person (or people) around may also share my experience of frustration and distraction when being consistently interrupted by a well-intended-question-asker during a needed time of focus and concentration. I had thought that I had set up my home system in a way to protect me from this productivity kryptonite (see my vlog post “COVID-19 homeschooling, day 0“) but discovered yesterday that my system wasn’t functional.
My son and my breakfast-time conversation went something like this:
Me: “I noticed that I was getting snappy with you yesterday when you were interrupting my work to ask questions. I don’t want to be snappy with you. It’s no fun for me and it’s no fun for you. I’d like to do better today. Here is what I’m thinking. First, I will be more consistent about using this timer. I wasn’t using it consistently enough yesterday. I am also going to put it right next to me, right here, on the table, together with the “Questions” sheet, stickies and pens. That way, if you have a question but see that the timer is showing that it’s still a focus work session for me then you’ll have all the resources right here to write your question down for me to answer during a work break, and you won’t have to walk to the door. That sound good to you?”
Inwardly, I was unconvinced that this would actually work; but it did! He approached me, he gave me a wry smile, then he directed his attention to the question sheet next to my computer, left his question, looked up with a smile again and walked away. AMAZING! I only skipped a minor beat with my work to snap a couple pictures (which I recognize was a self distraction, but also a much quicker and less distracting celebration than summersaults would have been).
15-minutes later, my timer buzzed, and I went to address his question.
We both walked away happy, not snappy.
This may seem like a small thing to some of you; but interruption management with an enthusiastic child can be a real challenge to do in a way that doesn’t involve irritation, anger or complete disregard. I was super stoked for my win and hope that in sharing it I may be able to support others in bringing more ease and mutuality into this new co-working/co-learning experience.
Questions are beautiful. They deserve attention and their own special place. Here is to doing our work to help give a question a space and, in so doing, making a space a home.
Copyright (2020) by Rachael D. Mueller according Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International