Lately, I’ve found the best way to keep myself productive is to keep changing my environment. Home is often too filled with dirty things to be cleaned, empty things to be filled, loose things to be put away.
I’m easily distracted.
Just to be clear–it doesn’t mean I clean those things when I’m home. I sit there wallowing in what a terrible housekeeper I am instead of either 1. Doing something about it or 2. Ignoring it and getting back to work.
So occasionally, I put on pants and go out.
Sometimes I go to Starbucks. It’s a good choice. They keep me well fed on nutritious sandwiches, and I can drink an awful lot of unsweetened iced green tea, which doesn’t cost me much in either dollars or calories.
There are days that Starbucks is overrun, so I have to go elsewhere. The grocery store across the street from there also has a Starbucks, plus lots of comfy booths and tables, plenty of outlets, and wifi. I don’t eat as healthy, often grabbing a couple of questionable egg rolls from the deli counter, but I can get a lot of work done and my tea is still there.
Today, I find myself in our brand new, high tech, fabulous library. I picked out a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read.
(Side note to NY publishers: no, sorry, I don’t care how hard you’re fighting for higher e-book prices, I’m not paying that much. I’ll get the books free from the library until you see reason and bring the prices down. That’s from a consumer standpoint, not an author standpoint. It’s also another blogpost, not this one. But $10.99 is far too much for a digital version of a book that’s nearly fifteen years old.)
So, I’m in my fab new library where I have an outlet next to me, the wifi came right up, and the atmosphere is pretty quiet. The larger tables are all filled, so I’m kind of hunched over an end table sort of thing, but it’s my first time working here, so the novelty hasn’t worn off. There’s even a little coffee kiosk on the way in, and I was able to get iced green tea.
The difference between these three places really comes down to the people around me.
Starbucks is usually filled with students and professors preparing for classes. I live in a college town, so that’s to be expected. It’s pretty quiet, but tends to get super busy.
The grocery store is fascinating. It seems to be some kind of meeting place for strangers doing business. I eavesdrop–of course I do, I’m a writer–and try to figure out what people are there for. A wedding dj went over the happy couple’s playlist. A Disney travel agent gave a spiel to a stranger considering a career change. A nanny had an interview with a potential new family.
I’m in the library. It’s so quiet. People speak in hushed tones punctuated by children’s laughter and the scraping of a chair. There’s a lot of reading going on in here. And typing. Except for one fascinating woman sitting by the window doing something intricate with string. Tatting? Friendship bracelets? I can’t stop watching. I want to take up a new hobby and sit across from her in the picture window. Origami, maybe. That would be nice.
I have one more option, but I’m waiting for the weather to cool down. For my birthday last month, I got a desk that attaches to my steering wheel. Yes, I know. I read all the hilarious reviews spawned by George Takei. But I wanted one anyway.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll try it out. I’ll drive out to the lake, park overlooking the water, and work from inside my car while watching the seagulls dive for fish.
Do you think the yacht club over there has iced green tea?