Currently, I am working on my diploma thesis in social psychology (a diploma in Germany equals a master’s degree, and meanwhile degrees have switched to BSc and MSc here as well, but I’m still doing the old one), which means that I work at home a lot, doing research and writing things together.
A little while ago, I used to do all the working at my kitchen table, but recently, I have shifted my working place to the living room.
Why that? Well, the main reason is that I wanted to disentangle my activity spheres. I used to do everything at my kitchen table – writing, researching, eating, reading blogs, watching movies, phoning – and I did not even realize that I did not feel overly comfortable there. I was sitting on a wooden chair all day long, and the rest of my apartment remain almost unused.
However, I have decided to change that. If I have to work anyways, I can at least feel comfortable doing so, right? And what does it help me to live in an apartment which I do not use for the most part?
I think a lot of this habitual self-denial goes hand-in-hand with my eating disorder background, and while I have always been perfectionist and ascetic by nature and feel an inner occasion to go on being that way, I know how detrimental it will turn out if this disposition prevails. So, I am actively going against it.
~ this is much more comfortable than an unupholstered chair ~
I have dragged all my equipment to the sofa bed in the living room, and this is where I do most of the work now. It felt so much better at once! My laptop sits on a tray with a cushion attached to the bottom so I can easily balance it on my knees and it does not run hot.
And finally, I have enough space to spread all my files and articles around me without turning my kitchen table into a mess.
~ fortuatnely, the rest of the literature comes as pdf ~
Another thing I found very helpful with this arrangement is that it takes me away from a space – my kitchen – that is loaded with associations of food, or rather, eating and not eating. My kitchen is not at all a negatively connoted room for me (anymore), but currently it is still easier for me to keep spheres separate: The kitchen is for eating, and everything else is done elsewhere. After making this change, I was astonished what a difference it made, and how much better I can work now, with less distractions. I had severely underestimated the power of a cue-loaded environment.
Have you made similar experiences? Do you have everything in one place at home, or do you keep things separate? Which option do you like better?