I’m constantly around people. It is an occupational hazard in a field like theatre that values face-to-face interaction as a defining principle separating it as a form from similar arts like TV and film. People, however, can also be distractions. While reading a script in a group can be a wonderful activity it does not follow that reading theoretical books in a group will produce the same results. Sometimes, you need a quiet place.
Library. Yes, I know, it sends the shivers down my spine as well (some days) but the library is a place where there is, literally, a silent agreement to “Shh.” Nothing needs to be said. Students having a laughing fit on the outside of the library doors, who are only using the building to pass through to avoid the weather, automatically lower their voices when entering this magical building. It is a quiet place.
When I need to get work done (which is frequently) I head to the library. I’ve secured myself a very small piece of real estate at the end of an anonymous row of books where I sit, read, write, work, think, and otherwise accomplish the tasks I’ve set out to do as both a student and an instructor. I do these tasks (and this is very important) without distraction. The only person or thing that can distract me is me.
This is a surprisingly effective tactic… but also a necessary one. I’ve lived with people who claimed to only be able to work when loud music was blaring, or when the television was on, or when there were lots of people around them talking. Typically, though, these people were just procrastinators. While they produced good work (and on time) they also typically waited until the very last minute before completing their work. Inevitably, during this last minute crunch time, they would seclude themselves from the parties and people that surrounded them and find some way to focus. Oftentimes this would involve blocking out other people through the use of loud music in headphones… but it is important to note that they found (metaphorically) a quiet place. So, if you’re all stressed out about a project down the road why not start on it today? Quietly. In the library.