Sometimes I am required to sit quietly and wait. I hate it.
It’s been an awfully long time since I had a particularly clear job description. My job is usually to figure out what needs to be done, do it, and then file the paperwork saying that it was done. Technically I am a project manager by trade but, when there aren’t projects to be managed, I also manage offices, crews and sometimes even piles of receipts so large and decrepit that they may as well be considered sentient beings.
The one thing that is consistent is the ebbs and flows of communication. Most of what I do requires some sort of input or response from other people in order to tie everything together. The unintended result of this is large spaces in which I am simply waiting for a reply. I have never been good at sitting still and would much rather get up and leave than sit at a desk as part of the decor. But there is inherent value in being present. The phone rings and I set up a new client or I happen to be around when someone has a question about the health and safety program.
I am lucky enough to be able to work from home when the need arises. When things are slow, I prefer to be able to work at my kitchen table because it greatly expands the scope of things that I can tackle. Ten minutes to spare before a teleconference, why not start supper? On hold for that same teleconference because one person got the time wrong and you need to wait another twenty minutes for them to show up? Well I can always put the microphone on mute and fold laundry so the time isn’t completely wasted. Working from home let’s me make use of all the time that would otherwise be spent waiting.
Despite my enthusiasm for efficiency, there is something to be said for simply sitting still. Waiting gives my brain a chance to process the information that I’m waiting on and plan ahead for how to proceed once I receive it. Some of my best ideas have come when I was thinking of something else entirely. The peace and quiet gives me the opportunity to make connections between the various elements of a project or brainstorm a new approach to a sticky situation. Even more importantly, sometimes the waiting just gives me the opportunity to do nothing for a brief period of time. I need to be able to grasp these moments of serenity and enjoy them.
Ooh look, an email!