**my dual monitor system**
Academics have the ‘luxury’ of being more flexible about where they work. Unless you’re teaching a face-to-face class, then you’re in a space. The amount of writing and scholarship that we undertake can be done from almost anywhere we choose and most of the time, it’s a really nice perk of the job. I find myself vacillating from my home, to my office, to the local starbucks, to another local coffee shop most of the time. I never get too cozy in one spot because the moment I do, I hate it–my productivity decreases and I’m rotating my writing spot once again.
All spring: Starbucks. Solo.
Summer: local coffee shop with a writing group
Start of the semester: office. Solo.
Currently: home or a studio space that I have access too. Solo.
I found myself reflecting on this cycle this morning. I spent several hours editing an article from my couch. Thanks to our ‘off campus sign in’ feature, I can sign into the library from anywhere and have access to the millions of scholarly publications the university pays for. (thanks big university). I had the tv on for the ‘white noise’ effect spewing old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and before I knew it, it was lunchtime, time to eat, time to move so I could take care of some stuff on campus and get out to schools.
Not a bad gig.
Now, to play my own devil’s advocate-this amount of space can cause problems too. Leaving work at work takes on a whole new meaning and just like grad school, the work is always there….calling…echoing….nagging….and that’s not always a good thing.
Having the permission to work almost anywhere can be a huge distractor too. Working from home is a great thing but what happens when that TV gets too distracting and you get sucked in? The same can be said for any location. There’s always a distraction around the corner. It’s ok to tell yourself that you just can’t work from home because other things are too distracting. One of my former roommates “tried” to work from home all of the time, but usually ended up at the office. It just wasn’t going to happen. My faculty friends all have their favorite spot, but some of them have hectic schedules, so they just take the time and whatever space they’re in and use it.
This kind of freedom also means we must be more disciplined about our work. It’s easy to say, “I’m working from home” and then not do a single thing- remember some of those yahoo employees who never logged into their VPN accounts all those days? However, we should also know ourselves well enough by now to know how we like to work. Do we need to clock those eight hours a day every day? Not necessarily, but we better be turning out what we promised in the mean time.
As the frenzy of the semester hits (or hit several weeks ago), it’s always nice to do a ‘check in’ and see where we are cognitively. It’s ok to admit we need a change of pace, a change in location, or assess that things are going well. We don’t always have the luxury to choose where we work, so taking advantage of the time, space, and permission is key for some.
Where do you like to work and write?