When I was a kid, I had a beautiful desk in my bedroom. White with gold trim, it had the hutch overtop for knickknacks and books and all that jazz. I honestly don’t think I EVER saw the top of that desk. Piles and piles of papers, books, projects, you name it. So all of my homework was done flopped across my bed.
When I was in elementary school, Common Core didn’t exist, but instead, “Learning Styles” was quite the hype and the promoted educational strategy. Money was spent and classes taught on how to create multiple types of learning environments for various learning styles in one classroom setting. What this really equated to was bean bags in the back of the room.
The bean bags were supposed to be for kids who didn’t learn well sitting at a desk, but since we were all conditioned to sit at desks, the comfy goodness of the pillows and rug instead became a reward. Get good grades, finish that assignment… and THEN, you can get away with doing your work in a bean bag. Being blessed as a quick learner (please don’t ask me to shoot a basketball, but sure, I’ll take that quiz for you!), combined with a ridiculous dose of competitive nature and an unhealthy splash of perfectionism, I often earned my spot in the reading corner before classmates. So a good portion of my work was done in the relative body-hugging comfort of styrofoam beads covered in pleather. I remember classmates begging the teacher for a turn and asking if they could please, please, PLEASE, do their math on a bean bag. But the problem was… they never actually DID their math when they were working on a bean bag. They just played around, then had to go back to their desk, dejected and with extra homework. See, the issue wasn’t just about location – it was about the discipline to do good work in whatever location you were placed.
Fast forward to today.
My desk can best be described as “organized chaos.” I know everything that is in that giant pile. I even know about where in the pile it is. But yeah… there’s still a giant pile. That same discipline and the social pressure to “adult” has certainly confined my chaos into a smaller percentage of desk landscape, but let’s be honest, I still don’t like sitting at my desk! So recently, we (and by we, I mean my husband) were able to clear out some space in a small loft in my office, and add in some much-needed bookshelves and a comfortable chair. Not much else fits up here (yes, I’m typing from my chair), but let me tell you – I’ve been SO productive up here! And as long as I don’t turn the ceiling fan on while I’m up here, I should keep all my limbs while getting some writing done. I now rotate during the day from one seat to another just to jump-start my brain and allow me to focus and get my work accomplished in a timely manner.
And lucky for me, I have the freedom to do this, because ministry is flexible and I learned how to work on a bean bag AND at a desk.
So what’s the point of this post? Sorry, it’s just so comfortable up here it makes it easier to be a long-winded blogger than when at a formal desk and an uncomfortable desk chair.
Location matters, but so does discipline.
I want each one of us to take a REALLY GOOD look at where we work best, and maximize our work time for greatest productivity for the Kingdom of God. Do you hate a desk? Maybe. But you can’t say you work better at Starbucks if what you ACTUALLY do at Starbucks is play on Facebook and surf funny memes and Jimmy Fallon’s latest awesomeness. If what you need is a more comfortable seat, get one in your office, and do work, son! If you need a standing desk instead of a sitting one, build one! If you need an iv of caffeine (no judging, I promise), find a great coffeehouse and turn off your wiFi so you have to focus on what you’re reading or writing.
Let’s be students of ourselves, and stewards of our time. You’ll be amazed how many more nights will be open for a social or family life, how bedtime won’t be pushed back by late-night sermon or project prep, when you are creating a space and a mindset that allows you to accomplish much.
So what about you – where do you work best?