Can we ever find the perfect workspace? I doubt it, but I think I am getting closer to mine.
There’s nothing more creatively stifling for me than that no-man’s land between the hours of writing php code and hours of writing real words. (Well, there are likely a drawer full of more creatively stifling situations – feel free to not send me a list – but this one impacts almost every day.)
The technique I have used for years has been to assign different physical spaces to different types of activity. My “work work desk” – at which I am writing this post – contains all the required technical and business related items: iMac, phones, bulging in-trays, pens, pencils, notepads… you get the picture. These are the tools for activities that currently pay the rent.
My writing desk – or rather, writing space – has a chair, a small laptop desk, my Macbook Air, my current Moleskine notebook, and a couple of reference books. The arrangement forces me to physically turn my back on the technical/business workspace, and offers me the view out of the window in place of the desktop. (There is also an old typewriter tucked in the corner for those moments of nostalgia.)
I also no longer have an art/illustration desk in my office (the first post on this blog sheds a little light on that subject). That’s right, I once had three distinctly different spaces for three distinctly different types of work, all in the same room.
I have tried to work on the one desk, simply switching applications, room lighting, background music, even switching from computer to notebook. But unfinished tasks, unanswered letters, newly arrived emails, and the lure of all manner of internet goodness are too distracting. I would love to be someone who can work on anything, anywhere, anytime.
One day, perhaps when writing is my full time occupation, I may have the opportunity to simplify still further. Though I suspect I will still retain that special “thinking space” to which I can temporarily turn my back on everything else demanding my attention.
Do you suffer the same challenge, or can you work anywhere?