To those I’ve interrupted, “Guilty as charged”.
It’s recommended that we find our “third place” to write, do taxes, work, read, pay bills, think, study, sketch, paint, workout or meditate. I tried a Third Place on Sunday.
What and where is your third place?
It’s not home, or work.
It is a neutral, mostly distraction-free zone. Think: coffee shops, parks, libraries, gyms and beaches.
Third place-why? First and second places tempt us with many diversions, such as:
An instant burning desire to wash, dry, and fold every last article, which includes ironing Jeff’s Jockey’s or sockies.
Without hesitation, you’re outside the house or down the office hall chatting with neighbors and co-workers, whom you’ve ignored for years.
-Eating: Before starting, you need a little snack, which turns into a full out pantry and floor sweep for crumbs, expired spices and old food in the fridge. Sure, the kitchen sparkles after this effort, but you haven’t done one intended thing yet.
Home closets, credenza drawers or under your work desk are favorite diversionist destinations. A simple pen search evolves into sorting envelopes, medications and paperclips. There’s something safe about diving deep into closets, drawers and other dark spaces.
Why are these activities appealing distractions? Google it. I’ve decided to term it: “Ostriching”.
A flightless swift running and the largest living African bird with long neck, long legs and two toes per foot.
Myth: ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid predators.
Fact: they would die from asphyxiation.
Fact: When nesting, they dig shallow holes to bury their eggs. From afar, ostriches appear to be burying their small heads, when they’re simply tending their eggs.
Human ostriches (i.e. procrastinators):
People who refuse to face reality or accept facts, such as finite time. While ostriches are actually engaging in functional activity in their nests, humans, on the other hand, creatively try to avoid the intended task by burying their heads into places like closets, washers and refrigerators.
Our third place isolates us from distractions and enables us to stay on task.
Starbucks was my third place Sunday morning. I sat in the corner with my ear buds inserted and thought, “I don’t know anyone here!” Which was shocking. Then, a man, whom I scarcely knew, approached me while chatting, but I couldn’t hear him, of course.
I decided I had to give him the finger or he’d stay all morning. Mom always gave me the finger too. The “Wait-one-second-I’m-in-the-middle-of-something-on-which-the-survival-of-the-human-species-depends” finger. To further indicate my intention to stay on task, my eyes remained on my paper; ear buds stayed inserted. I felt (a little) bad being rude, but these types of people are easily encouraged and hard to disband.
What I learned
- If you want your time uninterrupted, you must be willing to protect it.
- When I happen upon someone who’s obviously busy, I will resist the urge to engage him or her in mindless chatter. Unless my pants are on fire. bw