Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life Distracted

The last several days I have been struck by the high amount of errors and omissions I have been making at work, and it led to some introspection on my part.

I think I am living life constantly distracted.

Many people may also be afflicted with this, and up until now I have seemed to cope with it marginally well; (though I will take arguments as to whether or not it cost me my previous job). In my opinion the purpose of IT Departments is to be interrupted. We literally scheme all day to make things better, while waiting to be asked to come and solve people's technical problems. I run diagnostics, and try to predict when I am going to be needed but the largest part of my job is to work on projects until I am needed to fix something. In essence my job function is based around the assumption that I am capable of setting down a project and going to deal with something else that will likely led to being distracted for extended periods of time. The implicit assumption being made is that I have the capacity to return to where I was and continue my projects. That is my job after all. It seems well and good, but after having previously worked in a job with fewer and less perpetual interruptions I see how this work ethos negatively affects everything I do.

I find myself hard pressed to commit to anything for long periods of time. When the distractions are slow on a given day, my productivity pays a price. I find that I have to invent distractions to keep me doing things that I would normally do with little thought had the phone been ringing at a regular pace. I find the need to finally find the bottom of that stack of unread blog posts, or research that product that I heard about a few weeks ago that might someday be of use at work or home. I listen to music, and keep a chat window open to a developer friend I used to work with. I read the pile of junk tech magazines that finds it's way to my inbox. These time fillers, or brain fillers are fine on the slow days, but then this carries into the days that I am actually busy. I find myself wanting to not so much fix the pile of problems, but do those other things.

This has started to manifest in strange little ways that I used to attribute to old age in other people, but may just be the degree to which everyone is living distracted. For instance, I have send 3 emails in the last few days with out remember to attach the document that was was the whole reason for sending the email in the first place, or forgetting to past the content that would have given context to what I had written. Small things, but not the type of errors I am used to making. I fancy my self as productively lazy, I do it right the first time so I don't have to do it again later so mistakes that take me back to something I considered done make me think I am coming down with a case of Old.

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