I don’t actually have an office. Eventually I will, but The Furry Guy has several projects to complete before he can begin to even think about turning what is currently a storage room into my office. For now my office is an ever-expanding corner of the family room.
Still, I have office hours. A few hours every day are spent working in my office. During that time I don’t answer the phone. I don’t do any personal stuff. I focus on work. Usually that’s work for my direct sales business. Frequently it’s work on other projects, like the transcription I’m doing for a friend’s book. Whatever my work is, I focus on my work.
Now, in the interest of honesty, I must confess that usually when I’m working in my office I have the television on. I was always someone who did my homework with something playing in the background—a radio, cassette or 8-track tapes (yes, I’m old), or the television. I am good at tuning the TV mostly out. As a matter of fact, I rarely sit and watch television. There was a time when I decided that I should have the TV off when I worked. That was a disaster for me. It took me twice as long to do many of my office tasks. When I thought about it I realized that I use the TV to keep track of the passage of time. Without that guide I spent a lot of time watching the clock to make sure I wasn’t late for my next appointment. Timers didn’t help. I simply spent that clock-watching time watching the timer. That experiment ended after three weeks.
A radio would probably work, but we don’t have a convenient radio in the family room. With dial-up internet service, streaming radio isn’t an option. So, for now, it’s the TV playing in the background.
This is why it’s important to know yourself. How do you work best? Does a little bit of background noise help you to focus, or do you need someplace without distractions? Do you, like me, work well with a bit of clutter, or do you find that a pristine environment suits you better? Whatever works for you, make sure to set your own office hours. Mine vary from day to day, but every weekday includes some office hours if I’m at home at all.
As you start this new year, take the time to set your own office hours. It’s been said that you will never find the time to do what you need to do. You must make the time. Make time to work, and you might be surprised how much you’ll get done.