It’s been a while, for which I apologize, but let’s get back to some Freelance Friday-ing!This week I’ve been thinking about my working habits and places, and thought I’d share a bit.
I work at home, and, as far as my freelance work goes, have never done otherwise. This is largely because I can (my work, most of the time, easily fits in an apartment) but also because my income hasn’t been reliable enough to make me confident in renting studio space. Previously, I would’ve added that the cost would be too hard to justify when I *could* work at home just as well, but by now I don’t necessarily think the “just as well” holds. I think the benefits of being away from home – with all its things that need doing and “I’ll just go poke around in the kitchen” when I get stuck on work – would likely help me work more effectively.
That said, for now at least, home is where it’s at. But I’ve found that even the briefest change of place has a big impact on my productivity. So I thought I’d blog a few things that help me out:
-Floating around the house: I have a nice (packed, but nice!) home office, with a computer desk next to a drawing desk, but I often end up working at the dining table. Even within the apartment, moving to another room for part of the day helps. Part of it’s a practicality thing – there’s space on the table to spread thumbnails and materials out – but I think part of it is that it provides a physical change, helping my brain change pace or refocus a bit.
-Cafes, cafes: I tend to take my work out a couple of times a week – sometimes more. It’s still cheaper than renting studio space, and no working environment helps me focus quite as much as the gentle, omnipresent buzz of cafe sounds. I find Wetherspoons pubs pretty brilliant – I know they’re not a quirky independent local cafe, but they’ve plenty of space so I don’t feel I’m in the way staying a long time, attractive interiors since they favour remodelling lovely old buildings, and cheap, refillable coffee.
-Coffitivity: I only put it on occasionally at home, but its recorded coffee-shop sounds can actually be pretty helpful, since I find silence unhelpful but get distracted by tv, and sometimes my head’s not even in a music-y space for that day’s work.
-Audiobooks: Okay, this is just putting my head in a different space rather than myself, but for the tedious, non-thinky tasks, it’s a lifesaver.
Libraries: I recently realized that there was a free place to take my work when I didn’t want to get coffee! I kind of forgot it was an option. Anyway, I then tried to do so, and found that my local library doesn’t really have anywhere to sit and work, so that was sad. But, your library may! How cool would that be!
Co-working spaces and events: This is the cool thing that got me thinking about this. My city, despite being small, has a ton of business incubation units and office space for startups. Like studio space, this isn’t currently really an option for me, but a new coworking space has just opened, where you can get a membership to drop in and use the space for for one, two, or more days a week. The prices work out at about £9/day – and if I could get a full day of really solid work in – hopefully with a knock-on effect to other days in the week by way of being a bit refreshed from the change of location – I think it’d be worth it.
Last Friday I also went to a monthly business breakfast held at my local university’s business centre (see if yours has one, they can be a big help for local startups!). They keep the space open after for coworking for free, and while I didn’t end up staying long (a Goldilocks-ish combination of quietness from being the only one there, not getting the wifi working, and being a bit cold 😛 ), I’ll be keeping my eye out for things like this. A day here and there could be a real help.
It did also get me wondering…do I have any freelance friends local enough to do regular coworking at eachother’s houses? Are there any local locations that might offer free working space for a monthly coworking get-together? Would there be interest?
I still dream of one day finding a great little space to split the rent on with two or three other artists – which would need to the right mix of finances, people and property. But for now, it helps to be creative. Do comment and share your favourite working spaces – I’d love to hear what you do!