ideal working environments

One thing I have been discovering and exploring more lately is ideal working environments. People work best in different environments.

My husband is a single-track, very focused person. He needs absolute silence to focus. Any little noise can distract him. If he is focused and working on something, if I talk to him, he won’t even hear me. So I have learned to save my questions for when he has a break, or if it’s really important, to walk up to him and talk to him directly so I know he’s looking at me.

He loves to get to work early before anyone else is there and have peace and quiet and get lots of stuff done.

I, on the other hand, am totally opposite. In my adult years I have discovered I am somewhat ADD. It is very easy to get distracted. But what is even harder is trying to work in absolute silence. I love having people popping in and out of my office all day and jumping from task to task. They say that this is less productive, but it works for me, because if I try to focus on any one thing, I start to wander. And the quietness at the office at times can be stifling.

So as I have had to do a lot of message prep lately, I’ve found the best place to go is to Starbucks. This is because it is a very busy place but I know no one will come up to talk to me. I can literally stay hours there and focus on my study and writing and have no clue of anyone who walked back and forth or what anyone said. It all becomes background noise to me.

In contrast, if I stay at the church office, it becomes way too quiet and pretty soon I feel itchy inside and feel like jumping up from my chair and wandering the hallways, or end up checking Facebook or Twitter for the latest status, or shift papers around my desk or stare out the window or wonder whats for dinner or think about my cute baby nephew….

It is interesting how people prefer different environments to work. The Starbucks idea is relatively new to me, as in the past I’ve usually worked at home, where there is plenty of noise with kids with kids wandering around and laughing. However, now that they are older, I find I am more easily distracted because I engage with them more and end up not focusing on my work any more because it’s fun to talk to the kids. So if it’s a high priority task, I need to escape to the relatively noisy location at Starbucks to concentrate.

And today I got a great surprise as my sister and cute little nephew stopped by to visit! I was done by then and heading out so it was good timing that she drove in just as I was about to drive out.


Tonight I discovered another good place to work on outlining messages… on the treadmill! I was working on my computer while walking at a brisk pace, and found that the noise and activity gave me enough focus so that I could think of ideas. It all seems a bit odd, but it works!

Apparently, what I do is not all that strange, as a friend sent me a link to a product called The Walkstation.


The max speed on this thing is only 2mph, which is too slow for me. Still, it’s an interesting concept and I guess these things are found in the work place!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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  1. corriespondent - November 11, 2008

    I was really excited about the idea of a treadmill workstation after reading about it in a magazine, but then realized that I could never do graphic design work on it because my hands would be to shaky!

  2. corriespondent - November 11, 2008

    P.S. That’s a really cute bear you have on your lap, there.

  3. Angela Yee - November 11, 2008

    I agree…. I don’t do a lot of typing or mouse work while treadmilling… mostly reading and stuff that requires thinking!

  4. Marcia Francois - November 11, 2008

    OH MY WORD – he is soooo cute!!!

  5. Brad Rhoads - November 11, 2008

    Please join our community of treadmill desk users at

    BTW – You can make your own treadmill desk for a lot less than what a Walkstation costs. Since I got my treadmill for free from a guy at church, I have a total of $25 in my setup.

  6. Vivsung - December 31, 2008

    Hi Angela,

    I think I am totally like you. I really enjoy background noise. It must have been when I was young I used to do homework with the TV on. I also used to study for my exams at Starbucks. For some strange reason, I don’t do well with silence- very quiet libraries scares me. Pete and I went to check out Roseville’s Sutter Med Center where we are going to deliver our first baby. Although we are excited to go to a new facilities with new technology and for it to be known as a really nice hospital, I was a little spooked by the quietness. I didn’t hear babies crying, mothers and nurses talking or walking around. Pete said he liked it because it gave him peace and quiet. It is funny how we do differ in our own working environment or even the environment where we give birth. =)

  7. Angela Yee - December 31, 2008

    Viv, that is really interesting! One thing I have heard is you can bring a boom box and play music when you are giving birth. I guess that helps some people! It is very interesting how God made everyone different. 🙂

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