In Seth's post Goodbye To The Office he makes a clear argument for why we no longer (even the corporate among us) need to trek out to an office space at 9:00am to get our work done. After all - we don't all work in factories anymore and for most of us, the machinery and tools we need to create are pretty much with you all the time. Especially if you are living a laptop life. *In a complete aside - if you are starting a business don't run out and rent an office space before you do anything else - it makes you look like an idiot, or at least an old fogey).
Seth ends the article stating that all we need is #7 on his list of requirements for the office in the new economy… someplace to go. I say we already have it - and not only do we already have someplace to go, we can cater the "someplace" to our mood and our work requirements for that week, day, hour. So here are some ideas. You should go someplace…
If you need focus.
When I want to focus on a specific activity (brainstorming, post editing, web testing, process creation) nothing works better for me than a timer. OK well, a timer and a fair distance from a kitchen, a coffee maker and an excuse to get up and get completely distracted. When I know I have to get something completed that needs total focus I go to a Coffee Shop. "What? A Coffee Shop?", you say. Yes - a Coffee Shop. There is something about the constant hum of activity around me that helps me to focus. If it's too quiet I start thinking, and when I start thinking I have ideas, and when I have ideas I start working on them, and when I start working on them I drop whatever I was supposed to be doing. So, I go to a Coffee Shop and get my cup of coffee. I take a look around at all the other focused, responsible people getting their work done and set a timer on Focus At Will. Until that timer goes off I'm head down working.
If you need creativity and inspiration.
When I am in creation mode I love to feed my soul with art, reading, music. I started going to museum's for my Artist's Dates while working my way through The Artist's Way in my early acting days in New York. Back then museums were free (which was good) but now the cafes have wifi (which is better). If you need maximum creativity why not grab your moleskin or your laptop and head out to an art museum. If you are just writing you can sit on a bench in front of a particularly inspirational piece. If you need the wifi you can head on over to the museum Cafe. Give yourself an hour to wander and soak it all in and then sit down… and create.
If you need accountability.
So you have been sitting around your house in your pajamas for a week beating yourself up for getting absolutely nothing done. Time to get some accountability. If you have a spouse who heads out to an office, head on over there. My husband used to let me come and sit in his office to work, but only if I could tell him exactly what I was going to get done. I also had to show him the results at the end of the day (this was my idea, not his, he's no task master).
If you don't have a spouse or a friend who works in an office then head on over to a co-working space. If you live in a major city there will be a plethora of choices for paid co-working memberships (just google co-working). Approach a friendly co-worker at the beginning of the day and ask that they be your accountability partner. Trust me - you'll get the work done.
If you need some joy.
Feeling lonely and sad. Yep. It's tough working alone most of the time. Even Skype just doesn't cut it, especially if you start to feel guilty that your chats are taking time away from your work. Nothing cheers me up like kids. I like to watch them play. I like to hear them laugh. If I need some cheering up I head on out to a playground to do my work. My husband would head on over to an indoor football (soccer) club. My daughter would go to the Dog Park. Whatever makes you smile that's where you should go. Grab your mobile hot spot or plan off-line work for the day and go get yourself out of the funk.
If you need relaxation.
As business owners we can get ourselves wound up. When you are wound up it is hard to get stuff done. The great thing about having a laptop life is that we don't have to work on any "pre-conceived" schedule - who came up with 9-5 anyway? If I am getting overwhelmed and anxious I will put aside some admin tasks that wind me up even further and go and sit at a bar with a glass of chardonnay to finish them. Italy is great for this as it seems there is a bar on every block and they all have wifi available. You don't have to be in Italy though and it doesn't have to be a bar or chardonnay. Maybe for you it's a milkshake at the Silver Diner or an ice-cream at Baskin Robbins.
If you need de-technologyfication.
Nope - it's not a word. I made it up. But sometimes you just need to get away from email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Nothing helps a person de-technologicify like nature. Pack a picnic, pack a moleskine, pack a blanket and find a lake, or a forest or even a nice green park and commit to spending the day there thinking and writing. Who knows what you will come up with. I bet it's good!
If you are living a laptop life you definitely aren't missing the someplace to go - you can get your best work done anywhere. Where is your favorite space to work and why?
*Photo by Me - My home office in our little house in the mountains of Italy.