Sea Turtles in the Background - the Search for a Productive Workspace
I have an unusual job (or maybe it used to be considered unusual) in that I'm a career freelancer. I’ve been self-employed my entire life. Aside from some part-time positions during and between college, I’ve never received a W2 for any of the work that I do. With that comes a strange amount of freedom. No office, infrequent meetings, lots of self-directed time. Admittedly, there are many advantages to this situation, but one of the more annoying daily challenges is finding a productive workspace in which I can actually get something done.
For years, I worked in coffee shops and libraries, but where they may be good for a couple hours at a stretch, they really aren't ideal for the vagabond business-person such as myself. I have often struggled with security in a public place. Can I leave my stuff at a table when get a drink of water? Do I need to pack up all my stuff and carry it with me whenever I want to use the restroom? There are times when working in a public setting feels like being some high-tech nomad, searching for WiFi while you live off too many donuts and grande coffees.
Unfortunately, home offices are also problem for me. I go a bit stir-crazy sitting alone with my laptop. Often, I need to stop and concentrate, but absolute silence becomes its own distracting menace. Occasionally, I would put on Blade Runner which I have seen 100's of times and now have memorized (I have a bit of an obsession with Blade Runner). However, sometimes dialogue gets in the way of my actual work.
Years ago, I stayed in a hotel that had a loop of giant bubbles floating on the flat-screen TV in the room. It was amazing. There was some innocuous tone music playing. I had the benefits of working alone, but had the ambient movement and sound of an endless fishtank. It was great.
Recently, it occurred to me to check YouTube for “ambient video” and I came across a whole subset of video:
- 10hrs of a Siberian Railway Journey
- Endless jellyfish (my personal favorite)
- 4K Fishtank
- Campfire by the River
It’s not something to watch , per say, though I have to admit, it’s easy to just stare at it. However, when I put it on my AppleTV it provides movement and background noise in an otherwise empty house. Occasionally, I wonder what it would be like to just go the beach and watch the waves or have a campfire in real life. I'm definitely going to do more of that in the future. However, at the moment, I've got a bunch of projects to finish while I enjoy the sounds of a forest rain from my computer screen.