I have a feeling my optimal working environment is the one I had during my undergrad – in third and fourth year I rarely did work alone, unless I was up in the weird hours of the night. Instead, I worked either in my room with one or two friends, or in someone else’s room with one or two of us in there. And in fourth year we decamped to the college library, where we either worked in the quiet space at big tables where we could make faces at one another and share coffee, or in the study rooms, where we’d be able to talk occasionally.
And I got lots of work done.
Now I work under library conditions, and I end up talking to the internet a lot. Except today I ended up in an entirely different place, and knocked out about two pages of thesis and some tutorial readings in the company of one of the MDST undergrads, and, later in the afternoon, her regular study-buddy. We had that fantastic study-conversation thing going which sounds like a dialogue until you tune in and realise that one half of it consists of, in this case, mutterings about Norse vocabulary (was it a sent message, or a foot-message? As it turns out, it was a foot-message) and the other bitchings and moanings about Chrétien de Troyes.
I got a remarkable amount of work done. And I was cheerful while doing it! So, I think, was my temporary study-buddy.
This is weird, because I know from experience that I can’t get much work done at home, even when my housemate was here working on her honours thesis from home. I can get teaching prep and marking done (this involves a lot of muttering and is best not done in silent spaces) at home, and even thesis readings, but not writings. So it can’t just be that I work better in the company of other geeks – my housemate is pretty geektastic, after all. But maybe I should look into finding regular study partners, and also somewhere to work that isn’t a library…
Tell me about your working environments? Are they productive ones? Why?
[Ed: and this evening, O Internets, I got lost in Central Station. I’ve only lived here for seven years!]