the beauty of allowing others to interrupt your very important work

This is a behaviour in myself I really wish wasn’t part of my makeup: friends call or drop in or write to ask if they can come stay and sometimes, not always, but way too often, I get…antsy. I feel they’re going to break my stride, stop me from achieving things.

125434 5 600 the beauty of allowing others to interrupt your very important work
Photo by Rachel de Joode

On the phone I’m too often distracted. When they drop in it takes me a good 15 minutes and some internal self-talk to be cool. And when I have someone coming to stay I have to talk myself down from a mild panic. This is partly borne from working for myself from home – my parameters are very loose and loved ones can forget that my lounge and kitchen is my office and that at 10am, when they want me to hang on the beach with them when they come visit, I’m meant to be at work.

I get irritated. I want the world to just go away in that moment.

I know not all of you work in the same manner, so you might not empathise. But maybe you do. Because you might find personal calls at work distracting. Or impromptu weekend drop-ins annoying when you’re in the middle of a project. Or when you’re stressed, visitors might tax your tolerance quotient. You issue impatient, “Yep, yep, yeps” as they talk.

If you do, you might find comfort in some ideas I came across.

Recently I read Trust the Process by Shaun McNiff, which is seriously a great book for anyone who gets writer’s block or struggles to access their creativity. He writes that

Picasso welcomed visitors to his studio because they recharged his creative energies.

It was these distractions that provided his inspiration for the day. His muses were people who popped by on that day.

Then Stephen King in On Writing said this:

In truth, I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways.

It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl…

Yes, the grit that becomes the pearl. Irritations, in my experience, always serve a purpose. They’re the abrasive traction from which to launch something, even if just a moment of awareness.

If everything in life was smooth we’d be slip-sliding around, unable to get run-up or bounce-off or a pivot point.

Don’t you think?

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