It’s 9 a.m. on October 21st. It’s a Wednesday morning. I’m at home, at my desk, getting my day started by going through my emails and messaging my boss Kim on Skype to say good morning. I’m sipping coffee. I’m thinking about the deadlines I have for the day and the week. I’m browsing Feedly for content to share on our Twitter and our clients’ pages. I’m thinking I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night watching The Fresh Prince of Belair. It is a typical weekday, working from home.
Suddenly my boyfriend of almost 11 years is on one knee in front of me, asking me to marry him. Not such a typical Wednesday, after all! I’m in full-on freak out mode. I’m dumbfounded with excitement. He leaves for work and I’m left wondering, “is there any way I can be productive today?”
Patch’s culture is largely defined by the fact that our entire team works remotely from home offices across the Greater Toronto Area. It’s also defined in part by the fact that our core team is all-female – but that’s for another blog post. Our co-founders Deb and Kim chose the satellite work model because they strongly believe in work life balance. Not going to lie: when I was about to join the Patch team it was their views on balance that most excited me, more so than the peripheral benefit of getting to work from home.
Because employer-employee trust is a mandatory requirement in a work-from-home set up, of course I was going to have a productive day. My relationship with Kim and Deb centres on respect and honesty; therefore, it was easy for me to rejig my day to maintain productivity while also taking the time to celebrate this fabulous milestone in my relationship.
I moved up my lunch break and used that time to call my parents and two best friends to share the happy news. I snapped a couple photos of the ring. I immediately messaged Kim on Skype saying, “UM MICHAEL JUST ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM??!” so she wouldn’t worry about my whereabouts if my Skype status auto-switched to Away while I texted my mother, girlfriends and everyone on our team a picture of the ring. Kim and I had a super cute and funny video chat that I’ll probably remember forever.
I went on my merry way, drafting blogs, participating in Twitter chats and being an active contributor to the Patch team – all day riding a wild wave of pure shock and amazement that I’m engaged to my number one homie. If you can get your spouse to propose in the morning, I highly recommend it. It’s impossible for stress or worry to creep up on you during the day with hyper-feel-good vibes like that.
Here’s the best part: maintaining productivity throughout the day made it that much sweeter when my fiancé (so weird to say still) and I were both done for the day and popped some champagne.
Productivity is everything. Regardless of whether you work from home or in an office, if something life-changing went down or you’re just experiencing an momentary lull in inspiration, here are some thoughts and tips to consider that helped me re-focus:
- Assess the situation objectively. What is hampering your productivity? Honestly answering this simple question will help you get to the root of what’s going on. In my case, a sudden explosion of excitement made it difficult to think about anything else – understandably – but once I shared the news with those important to me, I was free to carry on as normal and look forward to spending time with Michael once we were both done work.
- Communicate openly and proactively. I put myself in Kim’s shoes and wondered how she’d feel about seeing my Skype status as “Away” when I should be on the clock, so I messaged her right away to let her know what was going on.
- Think about how your productivity impacts others. Kim and Deb count on me every day to be an active contributor to the team. I value them personally and professionally, so I don’t take their trust lightly. Seriously consider how your level of activity and your daily actions shape the way your employers and colleagues see you and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with that image.
- Take a break. There was no way I couldn’t call my loved ones shortly after he popped the question. I knew I’d be distracted all day. By moving my lunch break up, I gave myself time to do what I felt I needed to do to refocus. Try giving yourself a mental break with a 15 minute walk outside, a mini meditation session at your desk, or listening to a couple songs on your iPod.