There are a lot of things going on in the world, but who can keep up any more? There are other things to focus on until the next time the cell phone vibrates, demanding a glance from everyone in the vicinity to see what urgent matter requires attention. For the sake of this argument, it's a Slack notification. A colleague is asking a question about the big project. The document that's been sitting half-written on the notebook will have to wait while the phone gets treated to a pair of thumbs hammering out a reply. As the message goes out, there's a reminder notification on the notebook for a video call that begins in 5 minutes, which is just enough time to grab a cup of coffee.


The water is boiling. People are chatting. Someone brought in a box of donuts. In the background a weather forecast is being reported on the local TV station. Rain today. Rain tomorrow. Probably rain the next day, too. So much for a weekend outdoors.

Three minutes later there's a fresh cup of coffee sitting on the desk along with a little snack. The headphones that regularly hang on the wall have a ridiculous tangle in the cord that couldn't have possibly happened through normal usage and needs addressing. Just as the cord is straightened out, a notification pops up to signal the start of the video call. The headphones are plugged in, the camera is properly pointed, the microphone is set, it's time to answer the call.

"Hey," the person on the other end starts. "Did you have a chance to finish that document? We'll need it for the second part of the meeting."

"Not yet. I've just been swamped all afternoon."