What’s outside my window?

An editor who works from home must deal with many distractions, and from nowhere do most distractions come than outside her window. At least, such is the case with yours truly.

In our condo’s second bedroom, which my husband and I made into an office, there is one window, which happens to be located behind and to the right of my work desk. For the most part, I like that window, because it lets the light into the office and I thrive on sunlight (Give me some Vitamin D!). Also, when the weather is nice, I turn off the heat/AC and open the window, letting it bless me with fresh air.

Alas, not all that comes from the window is good for editing. Despite the fact that I live on a fairly quiet, suburban street, many distractions come from the window and threaten my concentration while I am working. I have to make an effort to keep my brain focused on my editing and not on the following potential interrupters:

Cars. Ninety percent of cars I don’t even notice, but if one with a missing muffler or a blaring stereo goes down the street, it can threaten to break my focus.

Kids playing. This is usually only an issue around three o’clock in the afternoon, when the neighborhood kids get off the school bus. Now, don’t get me wrong—kids need to play outside every day. But I just might have to close the window while they are doing so.

The city street-cleaning vehicle. I’m not sure what else to call this weird-looking, cube-shaped thing. All I know is that on Thursdays, it travels slowly and noisily along the curb with its brushes spinning as it keeps our street clean.

And last, but not least, there is the occasional emergency vehicle going by with its siren screaming. God bless the first responders who rush to the scene of an emergency. But it’s just that…well…the wail of the siren can be quite anxiety-provoking for me.

So what do I do to stay focused? I have to catch myself when I sense my mind starting to wander. This takes discipline and a strong will. After all, I am not in the office to look out the window. I am in the office to work.

What distracts you the most when you are working?

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