Monday, October 19, 2009

Decreased flexibility equals increased productivity?

I was working from home, playing "beat the clock" with my to-do list, doggedly trying to get as much done as possible before I had to pick my youngest kids up from school and take them to karate. With my connection to my office up in one window, a layout program up in another, iTunes loaded in the background, and Firefox humming with five or six tabs open at the same time, my shiny, blessed laptop suddenly displayed the whirling rainbow circle -- the Mac equivalent of a PC's hourglass. And it would not go away.

I waited. Made another cup of coffee. Tidied up the dining table -- I mean my desk. It was still there.

I shut the machine down, rebooted, got back to work. And minutes later, it happened again, but with a horrible grinding sound.

My hard drive was dying. I pulled as much info off it as I could -- family photos, calendars, addresses, files all went onto whatever thumb drives I could find around the house, booting up over and over again to try and salvage what I could. Finally, it wouldn't even boot up.

"This," I thought, "is not going to be good for my work-life balance."

But actually... it kind of has been.

Aside from the major PITA (Pain In The, um, behind) of having to recreate the notes and images to go with more than one project for more than one client, the crash and the loss of my computer has actually done wonders for my productivity.

It's a lot harder to procrastinate when your computer time is limited to the hours you spend at the office. Sure, I can swipe my husband's computer late at night, but since his concept of work-life balance is even worse than mine, it's usually in use. The kids' desktop PC is ancient and runs a bizarre operating system that I can't even spell right; it's great for keeping viruses and malware at bay and for limiting my tween's access to certain sites, but it's not compatible with my company's tunneling software and so slow that, believe it or not, it's faster to type on my iPhone, peering at a screen the size of a business card. Which is what I'm doing right now.

It should be fixed next week, they hope, and then I can get back to my usual business of working and juggling and procrastinating. But until then, the decrease in connectivity comes hand-in-hand with an increase in productivity, and I'm just going to embrace that while I can.

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