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I prefer to think of my blend as a malt.

Over the past 15 weeks of web-working, I have grown to really enjoy it. Instead of having class in a classroom at set times during the week, I can learn on my own when I have time. But as the course went on, I discovered that I like having a set time to do things. I realized that I began doing the same things almost every week. For example, I would check the Moodle on Monday night and complete the readings (sometimes they carried over into Tuesday). On Wednesday mornings I would complete my blog post and on Thursday nights I would comment on my classmate’s posts. Depending on my schedule, I would complete other assignments (like writing a sub-topic page) generally over the weekend. (Obviously I did not follow the schedule this week). From this I realized that what I like most about web-working is working from home. It also allows for bursty working. I am not forced into a certain number of hours of work and so can complete things when I feel most productive. But what I like best about web-working is also the worst thing about it. There are so many more things to distract me while I am at home; like my roommates and spider solitaire. So I learned how to devote my attention to the task at hand. Zelenka & Sohn (2008) talk about this through the concept of mindfulness. They give the example of having to shift all of your attention between a project and a question someone asks you (Zelenka & Sohn 2008, p. 275). I see where this comes into play with web-working. On Mondays and Wednesdays I watch a six month old baby for my landlord. I often get work done while he is sleeping or entertaining himself. But when I am working on something and he wakes up from his nap, I need to immediately shift my attention from my work to taking care of him.

With web-working, you can blend your personal life with your professional life. This can be achieved in a number of ways. Zelenka & Sohn (2008) give a few examples like having crayons and things for the kids to play with in your office while you work or taking a personal call (259). Blending my personal life and professional life worked well for me. I was able to accomplish things for school but also take time and do things for myself.

In looking to the future, I don’t see myself being a full-fledged web-worker. My career goals include working with individuals and families to achieve affordable housing. This means that I will most likely be in an office and counseling clients in person. Therefore, I would not be able to stay at home and be a web-worker but I am going to apply some of the concepts to whatever job I end up getting. For example, I am going to try to be a bursty worker and perhaps set up a schedule when I know I will be most productive. I am going to connect and collaborate with my coworkers by using different online tools. It will help us to share ideas and develop new techniques to counsel clients.

Comments

I definitely agree that it is easy to get distracted when working online. I found that at times it took me almost twice the time it should have to complete assignments for this class because either get distracted and start doing something else completely or just try to do too many things at once.

I get easily distracted too... especially since so many of my favorite distractions can be accessed on my computer (World of Warcraft, iTunes, Cub Foods weekly coupons). The hardest part for me was that running 5 programs simultaneously was not condusive to smooth writing. Plus, I had to keep reminding myself that, even though the weekly module was on my on my taskbar (minimized), I wasn't actually doing homework. It sounds like you're more suited for web working than I am.

The best way I learned to deal with distraction is to give in. Yes, I admit that distraction interferes with work, but the constant worrying about distraction is even worse. I do not think it will be effective for everyone, but I have made a deal with myself: I can play or sleep for as long as I want, as long as I make my deadline. This only works if I throw myself completely into the object of my distraction. The fun part than becomes dull because I have been playing video games for hours or else I have slept too much and need to do something productive. Pushing buttons during a video game does not take much brain function so I can work out how to write an introduction to my paper or else plan a work schedule ahead of time. Sleeping helps my subconscious work out issues and makes me less cranky. It is most effective if you begin working on something a week ahead of time so you have set up time for procrastination. I know it sounds weird, but it really does work for me.

My favorite part about technology is tinkering around until I find the answer on how to make something work. Another favorite part about working online is all the fascinating people I encounter. We would never have met in actual life, yet regardless of in person exchange, you have made an impression. I have already told Pa this, but this was the first time I had ever done an Online collaboration, and you guys made it a really nice experience. Helping individuals and families achieve affordable housing is a very admirable career and I hope you the best of luck with it.

Cheers,
Vy