I love to work by myself—in a physical sense. Meaning I really enjoy working on teams, but I am that person that will sit alone. It helps me focus. Now don’t get me wrong—I don’t like cubicles. I’ve lived that life, and it’s not inspiring for a creative marketer like myself. Fortunately, as the marketing director for cove, a DC-based network of shared workspaces, I am able to work from from the workspaces we have around the city. It’s awesome.
There are articles that have been written about the Best Work Environments by Personality, often alluding to introverts versus extroverts. But for me, a self-defined introvert, it really depends on the task at hand as to the best work environments. Brainstorming a new marketing campaign vs. putting together a plan for a cross-departmental project vs. doing my expense report all require different parts of my brain and different levels of attention. They therefore require different types of environments. Let’s investigate.
As I mentioned, I’m more on the creative side of marketing, so excuse my exaggerated feelings, but admin work is quite boring. I dread it. I often do this type of work at the end of the week, when I have made all the decisions I can in a week and don’t have a drop of creativity left in me. Daily admin tasks I typically do at home in the morning over two cups of coffee or in the evening while watching “Friends” (I’m slowly but surely getting through the entire series. Stop your judging.).
With this type of work, I find it’s important to find a more stimulating setting, like a coffee shop or while you’re lounging on your couch at home in front of the TV. If you get distracted by the cute barista or when your cat decides to unroll the entire tube of toilet paper and drag it around the house, these tasks aren’t hard to come back to. You can dive right back in where you left off.
When I’m having an independent brainstorming session, or trying to think of a new blog post to write, I need the pulse of others around me without direct engagement. Distractions, such as conversation, during this type of work really messes with my flow. My favorite place to do creative work is at an individual desk at cove. I have people around me who are focused on getting things done, but I have my own space to concentrate. Sometimes during this type of work I’ll go sit in a lounge section to get away from the rigidity of a desk and into a comfortable place to think and let my mind wander.
Planning & execution
This is when the logistics of a marketing campaign or a cross-departmental project that I’m managing need to be detailed. It’s during this time that I enjoy working at a group desk at cove. I don’t mind getting interrupted during these times, since everything is being detailed on paper—if I need to take a quick break or if I ask a teammate a quick question, I can come back right where I left off since it’s on paper. Being in a busier environment actually helps me during this type of work, as there’s a lot going on in my head and I like my surroundings to be that way, too. I find it inspiring and stimulating.
Personality definitely plays a role in the environments in which we are able to be productive, but the task at hand plays a big role as well. Different types of work require a different type of environment. It’s important to change up your environment once in awhile to reduce boredom and monotony. Test out different surroundings for particular tasks and see what works best for you.