I have a babysitter who comes to the house three days a week, usually from 11-2 PM. This is by far my most productive work time, because—and here’s something I didn’t 100% totally completely grok with fullness a year ago—working from home with kids around is, like, really hard.
It makes a pretty big difference in my week to be able to get out now and then in order to grind out some deadlines, but there is, of course, the small matter of finding some place to go.
For a while I went to a coffee shop, but I gave that up because 1) the wireless was always slow or spotty, 2) I felt like a dick buying one coffee and taking up a chair for three hours, and 3) it was infusing me with roasted bean stench. My hair, my laptop bag, my clothes—it was worse than being in a smoky bar, I swear to god.
I’ve tried the large food court area of a local mall, where you can find one of a zillion tables and pick up the nearby library’s wireless, but this got depressing real fast. It’s, you know, a food court. It’s loud and messy and the chairs suck and it’s just kind of bleak.
So for the last several months, I’ve been going to the library. It’s perfect in most ways—it’s quiet, the wireless is great, the couches are comfy. The only problem is that it’s full of people being as silent and self-contained as possible. No one is talking or interacting with each other, except for harried mothers chasing toddlers through the kids’ section. This is a great environment for focusing on work, but for someone who is already so isolated from other adults, it’s, I don’t know, it’s like being there every week is contributing to this growing sensation that I am disconnected from everything. There I sit with my laptop, ostensibly around other people, but sealed into my own muted world.
(I’m not sure if I’m describing this well.)
Have any of you tackled the issue of working without an office? Did you find a good solution for those times when it’s better to work outside the home? Did anything help stave off the feeling that you were, ha ha, slowly morphing into freakish recluse doomed to eventually develop an obsession for urinating in jars and putting Kleenex boxes on your feet?