Finding Comfort on a Stranger’s Virtual Shoulder

In a few spare minutes, people show their best sides through patience and understanding.

Man with headphones on at computer desk in a light room with large windows who looks ready to work.
Man with headphones on at computer desk in a light room with large windows who looks ready to work.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Virtual coworking partners

I was pushing myself hard to achieve the goal I set for a 50-minute virtual coworking session on Focusmate. All I needed to do was restructure information with the help of a spreadsheet. I just couldn’t get my thinking to cooperate and create order in the mess of data.

Time pressure and my most dreaded doubts entered the room together, holding hands, about to circle me in, ready to talk me down.

“How do I approach this task? Where to best start? Am I wasting time on the company clock if I do it like this? Should I ask for help?”

  • And when we both complete our tasks.

Time’s up

The timer hit zero. The gong sounded, marking the end of the session. I feel utter disappointment and dread the next moments as I unmute the mic.

  • People respect each other’s time. Sessions are not for chitchat. You do verbally communicate with the Focusmate at the start of the session with a “hello, how are you”, and the goals you’ll be working on, but always followed by 50 minutes of focus and silence. At the end, you share a small recap. Then you say goodbye and leave the session.

Small gestures to build up humanity

The coworking partners could’ve just exited the session and left me there to deal with my meltdown on my own. Instead, they showed patience and understanding, and assured me I didn’t need to feel ashamed.

Written by

Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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