My office away from home.
Once a week I drive Emelie, my oldest daughter, to her American Sign Language (ASL) course an hour from our home. On this day, my other two children often opt to stay with grandparents, but whether they come or not, I use the two solid hours to work.
Working as a freelancer while homeschooling three children has taught me the importance of time management, so I recognize the precious value of this weekly uninterrupted block of time. I do not take it for granted and try to use it wisely.
My office away from home is in a Starbucks. When I walk in the door one of three baristas usually greet me. They know I want whatever dark roast is on tap–and that I want it in a mug, not a paper cup. One of them, the shift supervisor I believe remembers I can almost always be cajoled into buying a multi-grain bagel (with cream cheese, of course).
With coffee in hand, I sit down at the non-wobbly table, take off my watch, log-in to their wifi, and get busy. I usually spend 5 minutes checking email to make sure I’ve responded to any urgent client emails before closing the browser window. Then, I open Photoshop and pull-up my current design project.
With headphones in place, shuffling my “Chill” playlist, I remain steadfast and can focus on my work. My noise cancelling headphones mute any loud cell phone talkers as well as the occasional selfish individual who believes everyone else wants to know about their recent adventure (We don’t!). And until my iCal notification pops-up, giving me a 10 minute warning to pick-up Emelie, I don’t think about anything but work.
I am rarely disappointed with what I can accomplish at my office away from home.
The past year-and-a-half of this schedule shows me that I am far more productive when I carve out short blocks of time throughout the day than when I go for an uninterrupted marathon work session. I have found it also helps that the work environment is clear of visual clutter/stimulations that may interfere with my focus.
Just me, my laptop, headphones, and a mug of coffee.