Embracing slow time

When you work in a traditional office and have a question, instant gratification is hard to resist. It’s so easy. Just stumble over to a co-worker’s desk, make sure they stop whatever it was they were doing, blather on until the lights of recognition come on in their eyes, then await the answer.

Unless your query concerns inflammable materials currently engulfed in said flames you’ve likely wasted their time – in fact, you may have even wasted your own. One of my favorite side-effects of working remotely is the way slow-time communication forces you to stop and think before you speak. When I have a question for one of our programmers, for example, here’s a bit of what goes through my head:

The basic idea is this: you try to minimize the things that are bad, and maximize those that are good.

It’s usually at this point that I either figure out the answer for myself or come up with a new way of considering the problem, never having to even ask the original question. I didn’t bother my co-worker, I didn’t look like an idiot trying to articulate the question on-the-fly, and most importantly I figured out the answer!

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People who struggle to work remotely often bemoan the lack of in-person collaboration jumping from this tool to that tech in an effort to recreate the magic that only happens when we’re all in the same room. There are definitely advantages to face time, but too often it seems like facial expressions and waving arms are substituted for clear thought and courtesy.

The next time you have a question for a coworker, try writing it out as if they were 1000 miles and 3 time zones away – even if they’re sitting right next to you. You might surprise yourself with the answer.

Radioactive Man

I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman. You don’t win friends with salad. Thank you, steal again. Fire can be our friend; whether it’s toasting marshmallows or raining down on Charlie. Ahoy hoy? Please do not offer my god a peanut.

Rosebud

Bart, with $10,000 we’d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like…love! I hope I didn’t brain my damage. We started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy. Look out, Itchy! He’s Irish! Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city! He is the cancer and I am the…uh…what cures cancer? Kids, we need to talk for a moment about Krusty Brand Chew Goo Gum Like Substance. We all knew it contained spider eggs, but the hantavirus? That came out of left field. So if you’re experiencing numbness and/or comas, send five dollars to antidote, PO box…

  • You don’t like your job, you don’t strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.
  • Oh, I’m in no condition to drive. Wait a minute. I don’t have to listen to myself. I’m drunk.
  • Our differences are only skin deep, but our sames go down to the bone.

A Fish Called Selma

Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Jesus must be spinning in his grave! I prefer a vehicle that doesn’t hurt Mother Earth. It’s a go-cart, powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction.

The Last Temptation of Homer

Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city! He is the cancer and I am the…uh…what cures cancer? Oh, so they have Internet on computers now! Remember the time he ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl, Bart? *Why did I have the bowl?*

  1. No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it.
  2. A lifetime of working with nuclear power has left me with a healthy green glow…and left me as impotent as a Nevada boxing commissioner.
  3. He didn’t give you gay, did he? Did he?!
Hurricane Neddy

Slow down, Bart! My legs don’t know how to be as long as yours. What good is money if it can’t inspire terror in your fellow man? Uh, no, you got the wrong number. This is 9-1…2. A woman is a lot like a refrigerator. Six feet tall, 300 pounds…it makes ice.