Finding the right environment to work and learn is very important for anyone. Just as it is important, it is challenging. Which is why there are countless articles written about how to create a workspace that allows you to focus (see almost any article at Lifehacker, for example).
I have found that I work best in three different spaces based on my needs.
When I have to read a lot of information, I work best at a library. It is quiet, so I can hear Serena, my text-to-speech British English voice, very clearly. Also, people there are generally focused. Since I moved away from my home institution, I have been going to the Library of Congress (pictured above) for three reasons:
- I need to read books – they have them available to everyone.
- I need access to scholarly articles – using their wifi allows me access to some databases.
- They have scanners so I can use test-to-speech on the books I find.
I go to coffee shops to write. I am an extrovert. I need people interactions – or at least people around me. I like coffee shops since they allow me to be surrounded by people yet not be distracted by them. Most importantly, I can’t let myself get into negative thought patterns at a coffee shop. I avoid them best when I am in public.
I do not prefer this. But when I have Skype calls and other meetings, the privacy of my home is important. Not to mention reliable wifi. Another big advantage is that I can set-up an ergonomic workspace.
And last, I get to have inspiration around me. In my desk, I keep a PhD Project acrylic. This reminds me that I am not alone, no matter how lonely work gets at home. I also have a TARDIS because it is awesome, and if you had not noticed, I am a huge geek!
Now to celebrate Day 18 of #AcWriMo: