This morning when I woke, shockingly at 6, my first emotion was something akin to sadness. Which isn't typical for me. I lay there and considered my life, my choices, my mistakes. Which was frankly way too much thinking for that time of day. This is no way to start a morning. So I quickly stopped that nonsense and decided it was time to get myself to a public place immediately. By 8, I was settling into a cozy booth at one of the many local Panera's (aka. The Freelancer's Office Away From Home,) ready to take on a productive workday. I've been steadily chipping away at things I've long-neglected, since arriving here. Some of those tasks will not be paying my bills. But they're vital, nonetheless.
Leaving the house for work is something I should do more often. I'm making a list as a personal reminder of the benefits. Maybe you can think of others:
- Turns out it really does make a difference in the way you feel when, before 8:15am, more than 3 people have looked you in the eyes and smiled at you.
- Just because it's convenient that you can do laundry while you work doesn't mean you should always have that option. Otherwise you may find yourself spending more time doing household chores than working. (Hint: nobody pays you to do household chores.)
- The hum of voices as background noise is, turns out, quite soothing while you go about checking things off your list. Except for the sound of that guy back there clearing his throat incessantly. Oh! And chewing ice...yay.
- Sunshine. Even though I'm inside now, and nowhere near a window, back here in my corner booth, I actually walked in the fresh, crisp air this morning. The drive was filled with sunshine. Nice sunshine.
- Discipline. Sure, I have just as many internet distractions here as at home. But somehow being in a public place seems to be keeping me more on track than I was yesterday when at home.
- While solitude may be good in reasonable stretches, I've recently been reminded that for me, at least, too much of this good thing is clearly bad for me. I've been lonely lately. There you have it. Me! One of the more social people you know...lonely. Unthinkable! And not the kind of loneliness that comes from not having enough people calling me up to go do things. In fact, that I'm not keeping up with so well. But the kind of loneliness that comes from long stretches of isolation. See #1.
- Great hair day! Not that I can't get up and style my hair "just for me" (which I actually did yesterday,) it frankly seems like a waste of valuable time most days. But being surrounded by people is a good incentive to make yourself more presentable than for just yourself. Today my hair totally cooperated. And let's face it: looking good can affect how you feel! Vanity? Maybe. I can live with it. (Admission: I'm really loving the hair today.)
- You can listen in on people's conversations. And although I haven't gotten anything "blog-worthy" today, there's still time! (My closest neighbors, aside from the ice-crunching, throat-clearing dude are actually quite dull. One of the guys just referred to temperatures in the sixties as a heatwave and laughed heartily at his cleverness. They'll leave soon, though. I'm confident. See! There they go! Bye ya'll!)
- Classical music. I spent way too much time yesterday just selecting what music I wanted to hear while I worked. I'd hear a stretch of tunes I loved, then something substandard would come on, and there I was again, tweaking my selection. That time adds up. The music here is the perfect background accompaniment to my workflow. My parents will be so, so pleased. 'Specially Mom. (Hi Mom!)
- It smells better here. Sure, my home smells fine. But working in a coffee shop? Total guaranteed olfactory happiness.
Now if I can just remember this list next time I forget and let myself get into a rut, working in the same spot for days on end...
See! I knew I would hear something interesting before I leave here! (Just in time, too; I'm about to pack up to go meet someone at a totally different Panera across town.) Nearby guy just told people at other nearby table that it's snowing in Asheville. Although I might have learned this on my own - via Twitter, no doubt - chances are today I wouldn't have. Cool.
Sadly, though, the person who shared this info was also the ice crunching dude with the incessant need to clear his throat. He just left. Minutes before my own departure. Not bad, though, if it's my only complaint. It could be worse. (She says, being sure to remind herself of the irritation of office politics, no longer a part of her typical day.)