A little over a week ago, a friend and I went to my parents’ place in the mountains to get away from distractions and devote our time to writing and other work. Things didn’t quite go as planned. We both live in Colorado, and when news of the severe flooding that was happening got to us we were almost glued to our seats watching satellite tv in order to learn what was happening to friends and family in the affected areas. Luckily our own homes were safe, if not dry.
The day before that, though, we got some work done. And aside from the tragedy going on a few hours away from us later that week, I’m prepared to say the experiment was a success.
One thing I had learned about myself when I was in college was that I did my best studying when I was in a study group. As long as I was working with the right people, the heavy concentration going on around me kept me at work on my own materials.
When I’m alone at home, I sometimes get distracted by the phone, chores to be done, books to read, or the cat to play with. And let’s not forget the tempting playground of the internet and the many paths to follow, all in the name of “research”.
When I feel the need to get some concentrated work done, or if I’m under a deadline and not feeling motivated at home, I’ll often take myself off to my local Denver Public Library branch or a coffee shop. It’s more often the coffee shop because I love coffee and the sound levels are about the same as the library – believe it or not.
It may seem that those places would have their own distractions, but I can usually find one or more people to sit near who are working on their own projects on their laptops or workbooks. I don’t know if it’s a concentration bubble I’ve entered, or if I’m just tuning in to the sound of other people working, but I am usually able to get some solid work in and the time flies by me. When I’m working with other like-minded people, a sort of hum sets in in the back of my mind, chills run down my spine, and the creativity flows with synapses sparking.
So, I’ll definitely be trying a similar work weekend in the mountains again soon. Though probably not by myself. I would be too tempted to go fishing or hiking. Yep, I work better under peer pressure.