I was helping a friend of mine move yesterday who is also a freelance photographer and we got to talking about setting up a workspace. For many people this is a simple matter of design or convenience, but for freelancers who work from home, this can have a big effect on productivity. A few weeks ago I mentioned an article in our newsletter by A List Apart titled “Habit Fields” which looks at how location dictates your work. It’s something not many people think about but changing when and where you work can actually make you more focused and productive.
A “habit field” is the association your subconscious has with a particular location, object, or even person. As we use things, let’s say a desk, we come to associate the activities we do there with desk itself. However, if we do a variety of activities there then the habit field becomes “fuzzy”.
Say for example,every time you sat down in front of [your desk], instead of doing work, you checked a email, clicked on twitter links and played games on Facebook… [your desk] will absorb these behaviors and over time, the habit field will shift in an unproductive direction.
Most people go to an office to do dedicated work and have a personal computer at home that they use for non-work activities. Most freelancers have one for both. When possible, consider assigning objects and rooms for specific purposes. For example doing work on your desktop and the rest on your laptop. The author even suggests something as simple as assigning a couch to go to when you just want to randomly browse the Internet and only doing work when sitting at your desk.
Obviously having a dedicated studio or office is the ideal for many, but a cheaper option might be joining a co-working space. Either way, dedicating an object and space exclusively for work will keep you from getting distracted and put you in the right state of mind to do your best.
Please let us know what your workstation is like and if you differentiate between work and entertainment areas in your apartment. Also, be sure to check out the full article on A List Apart (which is an awesome site).
Photo by storebukkebruse