Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Change of Space

A little over a month ago, my oldest daughter began working for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. She owns her own Avon business, and loves it, but it really didn't take all her time, so she had been looking for something different and fun to do, and she found it. She is a people person, and the number and variety of people who ride this historic train through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park fulfills her need for personal contact and inspiring conversation.

We are a one car family, and that means I need to take her to work every morning. Our van is an older model, and I'm trying to baby it and make it last as long as possible, because it is such a wonderful vehicle. Taking my daughter to work, and then returning at the end of the day to pick her up puts more miles on the van than I like. I decided to cut down on those miles, by spending the day, a few times a week, in a small town near the train station. As a writer, I have some flexibility.

I usually start the day at Panera's, one of the few places to be open early in the morning. With a cup of coffee and a bagel, I set up shop in a small booth, and get to work. After a few hours there, I move to the local library, just a few blocks away. I have noticed that since I began following this routine, I am accomplishing more than I do when I work from my home office. At first I was perplexed, then I realized that, although there are distractions at Panera's and at the library, they are different than the distractions I have at home.

At my home office, I begin to work, and then notice a library book on the table. Is it due today? Are there other books that need to be returned. I stop working to check the status of the books. I gather the ones that are due and put them in a bag to take with me later in the day. As long as I have stopped, I might as well make some coffee. I go back to work.

Is the coffee ready? As I go to pour a cup, I see that there are dishes in the sink. Since I'm in the kitchen, I will just wash those quickly. I take my coffee and go back to work.

I give my eyes a break from staring at the computer screen by glancing around the room. Oh no! There are three pairs of dirty socks in the living room. I'll just throw those in the laundry basket. As long as I'm up, I'll just grab a quick bowl of cereal, since I haven't had anything to eat. When I get the bowl, I notice the dishes I washed are now dry. Might as well put them away while I'm here.

Ahhh! So this is why I am so much more productive when I am away from my office. A change of space can be a very good thing!

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