Getting Away

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I worked remotely last week, heading up the family cottage for a change of scenery.  It wasn’t a vacation.  I replied to emails, I kept all my phone-based meetings and, by and large, only those most intimately connected to the business knew I was gone.  There were some perceived downsides – the internet at the cottage is a small step-up from dial-up, limiting how much time I could spend online.  Cell signal is limited meaning I was calling clients from an unknown number (the cottage landline).  I was, in short, pseudo-disconnected.

And it was glorious.  Not having full internet access meant I spent less time “checking on things” (aka, surfing).  Having limited cell signal meant I was interrupted far less than usual.  And I got a tremendous amount done.  More importantly, I climbed out of the weeds and muck of details that I’ve been living in for the past few weeks, and re-prioritized – re-calibrated, if you will – where I should actually be spending my time.  I was able to assess every aspect of my “work cycle” by changing the environment in which I did it.  Everything became a proactive choice vs a reactive habit.

I think we over-emphasize the importance of our own presence sometimes.  I realize not all of us have the luxury of slipping off to a cottage for a week (many thanks to my in-laws for creating such an opportunity for me!).  I don’t think it matters.  I think working out of a coffee shop everyday for a week would have a similar effect. It’s easy to take for granted the habits that we unconsciously form in our standard work day.  I’m not saying they’re necessarily good or bad, but I am saying they’re worth being aware of.

If your summer’s a little quieter like many people, now may be the time to change things up.

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