April 24, 2010

Tips for Working on a Computer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:20 pm

For most of us who’ve used our own studio or darkroom, it can be a place devoted solely to work. It can be a haven, a respite from the distractions of the day; it can be a place where you take the phone off the hook, close the door, turn the music on, and concentrate on your work. The darkroom and the studio are a way to shut the world out.

The computer, however, is just the opposite. The machine on your desk is a portal to the entire world. It is anything but a refuge—it is a doorway to endless varieties of distraction.

In a great story by Louis Lesko titled, “Are We Better Off?” from the magazine Digital Photo Pro, (July 8, 2005), Louis talks about working on a print for hours, only to produce nothing usable. He was being constantly distracted by surfing the web, emails, his cell phone, IM, and who knows what else. He then came in to the studio fresh, took virtually everything off the hook, and in about half an hour produced a perfect print.

Louis offered a guideline of productive working habits, which I’ve amended here. If you follow these guidelines and are aware of the problem, you’ll get more and better work done in less time.

Working on a Computer: Rules to Live and Work By
Courtesy of Louis Lesko (“Are We Better Off?” from Digital Photo Pro, July 8, 2005)

1. Check email only three specific times a day. (i.e., morning, after lunch, before leaving studio).
2. Cancel all email alerts subscriptions.
3. Turn off cell phone during non-business hours. Not silent, OFF.
4. Set time limit on Internet browsing.
5. If you exchange email with someone more than twice about the same subject, pick up the phone.
6. Get in touch with new contacts by phone only.
7. Take one day a week off. No computer, no phone. (To quote Louis, “Trust me—all that crap you think you’re missing will all be there the following day.”)

Lou Lesko’s GREAT site is here.

Even better, why not do exactly what you would do in a darkroom? Why not set up a nice quiet area to work, where there are no distractions? How about a dedicated workstation with a printer that has no access to the web? It’s a crazy idea, but maybe crazy enough that it might just work. Hmmm.

Back in the 1980s, it was CB radio (good buddy) that gave us an endless stream of useless information to distract us. Thankfully, CB radio has all but left the public consciousness. I think it’s safe to say that the Internet, cell phones, IM, and email are not going away soon. We must learn to work with them, not in spite of them.

(Excerpt from Raw Pipeline- courtesy of Ted Dillard -Lark Books)

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