The morning table

When it comes to personal work, if I’m honest with myself, I’d say that I probably spend more time working away from my work desk than at it, no matter how decked out and ergonomic it is. So, I started wondering why.

In sociology, there’s this concept called “third place,” a place other than your home or work that you’d visit to socialize. I think the proper definition is more about a place to gather with the community, but I started thinking of it as also a place to focus, away from the inertia of familiar environments. And I started wondering if this place could exist at home as well.

For one, during most of the pandemic, my home is my world. Perhaps our regular desk has become too associated with work that I seek another spot to escape it. But even before the WFH era, I’ve always started my morning with hours of sedentary activities at such a place. So perhaps it’s the suburban environment, where things are far apart so I can’t exactly take a short and casual walk to a nearby coffee shop. Not knowing whether this qualifies as a proper “third place,” I started calling it “the morning table,” since morning is when I usually do my personal work.

I found that, for myself at least, my morning table wherever I lived has always had the following 4 traits:

  1. By or facing the window, with abundant natural light
  2. Not my “serious work” desk
  3. Somewhere I can make myself a nice drink
  4. Quiet and not distracting

Do you have a spot like this at home? Where do you do most of your nonwork work?

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