In college, I tried studying in the library and couldn’t concentrate. When I moved to the cafeteria, things went much better. At the time, I had two toddlers and there was almost always a guest or two at my house, music was playing and I was cooking, doing laundry, carrying on conversation(s) while studying or writing at home. Maybe I was conditioned to work with chaos all around?
Last week I read the book ReWork, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s a great book – easy and fun to read and full of excellent advice and immediately applicable strategies. However, I hope they are wrong about the need for long, uninterrupted periods of time being necessary for real work to happen. Long stretches of quiet time are rare for me, yet I still hope to turn out some quality work.
Then I came across this post by Carson Brackney about how he enjoys working from home precisely because he can mix his business and his family. I left a comment, enthusiastically agreeing. The next day, yesterday, Thursday, was maddening. I got no work done at all. I started writing an article that shouldn’t have taken more than 30 minutes at 8:30 am. It’s still not finished.
For most of the day, there was someone talking to me on the phone while someone in the room was also talking to me. The dogs were unruly. The teenagers were unruly. I had a headache. It made me question the sanity of working from home. When I was talking to my friend the other day, she told me that she had experienced the same feeling. All of these distractions led her to read this awesome blog post on working remotely and then go about creating her own home office in a spare bedroom. After she sorted out the essential furniture and supplies that she’d need, she was able to work in peace. She recommended that I think about finding somewhere to make my own home office. Apparently, it will increase my productivity. She also told me that you can look for office supplies for your business online to help you find the best deals. Perhaps I’ll have to think about that one.
I just think there are as many cons as there are pros when it comes to working from home. Not only are there so many more distractions at home, but I also miss the social interaction you get when actually going to work. This is easier to cope with if you have a video chat api or something like that which will allow you to video call with people, so that is a must-have if you are going to be working from home for a considerable amount of time.
The truth is I can work with a certain amount of noise and activity around me, but there’s a limit to what I can ignore. That’s why my friend has really got me thinking about creating my own working area.
What about you? Do you work better in a noisy environment or do you require quiet and peace?