14 December 2012

Working Smarter - Where and How You Work

In the last few posts we've created some big hairy audacious goals, broken them down into achievable tasks, scheduled the best time to actually work on the tasks, and found the best way for us to be creative and productive.  

So where do you work?  Maybe you have an office at home, or the spare bedroom, or a corner of the living room.  My spot is the dining table, which is the reason we don’t invite people over for dinner very often!

I like the dining table, it’s big enough to spread out my papers when I’m developing training materials, or looking through a draft. Though there are times I’d love it to be a little larger.

While I don’t have a proper desk, I do have a good chair. If you’re going to be spending hours working you need to be comfortable.

The room is light and airy – this is important to me, though it might not be so important to you.  From my seat I can look out onto the deck, and see the birds eating the strawberries they think we grow for them.  There are a lot of trees and beyond that a glimpse of the sea.

There is research that shows we need space around us to have ideas and be creative.  I guess that's why we often find ourselves staring out of the window when we're trying to come up with ideas, after all the sky is a very high ceiling.

I can work with a certain amount of mess around me, my type of mess that is, with my papers in different piles so I can still find what I need quickly.  But I do enjoy the clear out at the end of a project, when I go through all the papers and electronic files and get rid of what isn’t needed.  Too much mess and I just can’t work, the same goes for mess in my head, as in jobs that need to be done. That’s why I find a schedule so useful, if the tasks have been written down and a time scheduled, I can clear them out of my head and not worry about them.

I’ve read a lot about the delights of writing in a cafĂ©, but it doesn't work for me.  I need quiet.  If it gets too busy or noisy around the house, either the other inhabitants or neighbours, I put on headphones and listen to some music. I have it just loud enough to drown the outside noise, but not so loud it’s intrusive.  Actually music is another interesting thing. A lot of writers swear by creating a specific sound track for their novel or project.  Again it doesn’t work for me unless I’m driven to it because of other noise.

What I’m saying is, try different things. Find out where, when and how you are most creative and productive, and use that knowledge to help your writing.

There isn't a magic solution that works for everyone, or just one way to work.  There is only the one ring rule you need to follow.  

Keep writing.  Regularly.

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