By Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC 2021
Click here for Esmé’s reflections on Design in the “Real World.”
It’s true what they say, that it’s hard to work in the same place where you relax; that you should have a dedicated space for productivity which is separate from the space for rest and recreation, but this is easier said than done even under more normal circumstances. As students, it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t expected to do work at home already, but this still feels different. During the semester, I often go to school on weekends because it’s a place I associate more with getting work done than my house, but last spring and summer I made do with my kitchen table.
The student newspaper I work on continued to produce issues through the summer, which helped me stay grounded and even remember what day of the week it was because we had a consistent schedule.
For my internship, I was given assignments to work on and attended the occasional virtual meetings, but I didn’t have specific hours that I worked each day. At the time, my sleep schedule was on the rocks and I found it easiest to get things done around 1:00 in the morning, so it was helpful to be able to work when I wanted. In hindsight, however, I think it would have been beneficial to hold myself to consistent hours.
For the future, I need to be able to set those hours and guidelines for myself because no one else can form habits for me. I’m glad to have had the experience of allowing myself to get by with a lack of structure because it showed me that I do actually want that structure in my life.
Remote work, whether for classes or otherwise, is tricky because distractions are right at your fingertips. While in zoom class or a meeting, you have other people to reign in your attention, but working on your own is overwhelming in the amount of freedom available for that attention to wander in.
Everyone is different, but I find that I have to allow myself a certain amount of distraction, within boundaries. It’s like when you purposely try not to think about something, which only makes you think about it more: the more I try to shut out completely anything distracting, the less I am actually able to focus. Therefore, it helps to listen to music or to switch back and forth between tasks.
I am far from perfecting the art of Working From Home, but I think it will become a lot more present in our lives from now on. Therefore, I’m glad to have gotten some experience with it while still in school, before I’m totally thrown to the wolves later this year (to be Dramatic about it).