Monday, July 7, 2008
MY OPTIMAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT
David and I have a wonderful home with several great places to do work. Our smallest bedroom has been converted into an office, complete with desk, bookshelf, bright lighting, desktop computer, and a comfortable reading chair. We also have a large dining room table, which is optimal for spreading out on. And when the weather is nice, I can work on our front porch. One would think with all of these work/study locations I would have no problem getting work done in our house.
But that is not the case. Our house can be one of the most distracting working locations for me. Yesterday I locked myself in the office in an attempt to finish my final presentation for my research practicum class. With distractions - such as the home phone ringing, David coming and going, high-speed internet that I was not sharing with anyone else - it took me more than four hours to pull together my presentation (all 30 slides). It should have taken me less than two hours to complete this project.
Today my to-do list included: making revisions to my presentation, finalizing a paper abstract, and finishing a paper that is due tomorrow evening. When the clock struck noon this afternoon and I hadn't even turned on my computer, I decided I needed to leave my house. I packed myself a lunch, bused down to the Love Cafe on U Street, ordered a wonderfully cold glass of iced-tea, and sat down to get some work done. Three hours later, I had completed everything on my to-do list. It was a successful afternoon.
My tendency to get more work done in coffee shops and libraries confuses me. Even when I try to simulate the coffee shop environment in our house - with fancy coffee drinks and internet radio - I cannot get as much work done at home as I do outside the house. What is more frustrating is that when I'm home trying to get school work done I rarely procrastinate by doing chores. It's not like I'm doing laundry and therefore not getting my work done. At home I just goof-off. I read the news, watch TV on the internet, read, take long showers, lie around, etc. Why my motivation increases in a coffee shop or library is beyond me, but I think it is good that I'm learning where and how I study/work best.
Anyone else more productive outside their house?
Reading: Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood
Tonight: Shareholders' meeting at David's company
Tomorrow: Last presentation in my research practicum class; second to last class
Looking forward to: Becky L and my parents will be in DC this weekend!
Favorite snack: homemade trail mix - peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips