We Interrupt this Broadcast

Thursday is my “deep work” day. I don’t go to the office. I only check my email once. I sit at the kitchen table, headphones blasting the soundtracks from my favorite movies (the music from Braveheart and Harry Potter is pretty great by the way). I do all of the work that takes long batches of deep focus.

That’s because every other day of the week is mayhem! My class schedule this semester is… let’s just say ambitious. The longest stretch of uninterrupted time at my desk this week was 30 minutes. That’s enough time to check some email, post lecture notes, update grades or deal with adminsitrivia. That’s about it.

Today’s deep work task:

finish grading an exam I gave my class two weeks ago. Only one problem:

I’m at home and that stack of papers sits on my desk at the office, forgotten after a mad rush of requests came in at the last minute yesterday.

I gave my word. Those exams will be graded tomorrow. Which means my deep work day is dead. I’ve got 2–3 hours of walking, catching trains, and waiting ahead of me as I go pick up that stack of exams and bring it back home.

Now what? Download some extra episodes from Netflix to kill time on the train?

Hardly. I’m thinking of all the creative projects that I can work on that don’t require an internet connection. I just got 2ish hours of time to work on small, but important ideas that never make the top of the list on “deep work” day.

Make plans. But be ready to pivot. I can’t wait to see what happens during my long commute to my kitchen table today.

And yes. The tests will be graded.