The other week, I went to a book reading by Kate White for the release of her new book, Eyes on You. She’s pretty amazing and the Q&A section after was full of inspiration and great tips. I’m always too afraid to ask questions at these sorts of things, so I’m glad the audience asked things that I was wondering too!
One of the questions asked was how Kate White works best. This book is her first book that she wrote as a full-time author so finding time to write– and how she wrote– was different than ever before. Even though she’s a night-owl, she finds that she writes best when she starts first thing in the morning. With a big table and space to write. Wearing comfortable clothes that can transition to a lunch meeting if one pops up. Listening to a wonderful symphony over and over.
I love hearing how people work. It’s kind of like the “What’s In Your Bag” thing where it’s a bit curiosity and a bit nosiness. And also I love seeing if there’s new things I can practice myself.
What I liked about Kate White’s explanation was that she admitted to making changes and figuring out what really worked best for her. Having gone through a few life transitions (high school – college – full time job – self-employed), it’s been interesting how my working style has changed as well! Even day-to-day, it changes per specific tasks.
Growing up, I used to need complete silence. Mostly in elementary and middle school. I really do mean complete. In second grade, when I started a new school, there was a lot more homework than what I was used to. I swear, my mom made me do homework all set up in my bathroom because it was the quietest spot in the house. And in high school, I always needed to work at the bar in the kitchen because of all the space to spread out papers and textbooks.
College was the first big change. A) the work was really hard and B) the library and all the various floors can be daunting. Dorm rooms were out of the picture because there was always too much going on. I did finally find some of my favorite spots in the library, a community (loud) floor and a semi-quiet floor. The good part about college studying, however, was it did get me used to working with noise. Background noise of people or music from headphones. It didn’t happen overnight, but I have to say, it’s a lot easier to work now that I don’t need complete silence.
At my job, I would get to the office a few hours before everyone else so I could get some of the more intense parts of my work out of the way. The office was always really, really loud. An open floor plan, a group developers with playlists for every day, and a whole lot of questions to answer. The disruptions made working difficult and kind of impossible at times. I had to really figure out a way to make it work for me, including finding a space in the office where I could work uninterrupted (even if it meant forgoing a desk) for a few hours and making myself available for questions at other times.
This is how I work when I’m sick! On the bed with my laptop and Teddy by my side!
Now it’s a whole new ballgame. I try to start off my mornings at my desk with a clear desk, a good station on Pandora, and just run through the to-do list. But… Sometimes my apartment is too quiet and I put on Netflix just for background noise or I’ll move to a coffee shop if I’m going stir crazy. If my day is filled with meetings, sometimes I have to work extra late into the night and I’ll sit on my couch with my laptop. It changes day by day and task by task.
I’m dying to know how everyone else works! Has your working style changed at all? Music or no music? What kind of desk set up do you need?