6 distractions worth having in your garage
Of all the tools people will tell you to add to your garage, anything that would derail you from efficient work would seem the least worthwhile. However, items that many would label as distractions can be very helpful in specific situations, and to ignore their benefits is to risk complicating your life.
Let’s take a look at six things that appear to be distractions but that deserve a place in your shop—even if you have to explain why to your friends.
Let’s start with the ultimate distraction. When I’m cleaning, I’ll often put on the reply of an endurance race or a favorite concert, sideshows that I can tune in or out of without guilt. It also serves as a generously sized screen on which I can review my own race footage or watch a how-to video. Recently, the TV proved its worth when a friend was over with a motorcycle I’d never worked on before. We ended up watching a how-to video on the big screen and talking through the process together. Very helpful.
A staple of the garage for those who spend hours belly-up to the workbench. Kept stocked with cold beverages, a fridge is always a threat to productivity; all it takes is one pop tab to turn a night of productive wrenching to one of bench racing. Sure, some folks can enjoy a cold beverage and notice little change to their productivity, but any change in judgement combined with a high-risk task is a recipe for trouble.
Imbibe wisely, and remember that thermal changes can be very helpful during assembly of some pieces: That fridge or freezer can provide the perfect temperature differential to make press-fits just a bit easier.
I know it’s not just me that spends the whole working day on a computer. Therefore the last thing I want to do after hours is peer at a screen. Heck, that’s why my cars have carburetors. I don’t want anything on the car that requires a screen.
Yet having a computer on the workbench helps me assemble a parts order while looking at the project, and review reference materials or how-to outlines easily. My personal favorite is using a full-sized computer screen to review photos of assemblies I took apart weeks or months ago to know I’m putting them back together correctly. It’s far easier to scroll photo albums on a computer than on my phone. Do I need the laptop all the time? Certainly not, but it can really make life easier.
Sometime you just need to take a mental break. Personally I find it helpful to continue looking at what I’m working on while I think through the process. Even reading shop manuals is more productive when the parts are in front of me. (Plus, I haven’t sold the missus on bringing engine blocks into the living room.)
A nice place to sit is a luxury worth having in your garage. This could mean a barcalounger, if you’ve got the space, or even a supportive, bench-height office chair to replace that battered, wooden kitchen stool. Anything that creates a comfortable opportunity to get off your feet for a bit.
The right music can dial in your focus, while the wrong tunes can be attention-grabs that do nothing but sidetrack you. Background noise can help keep you maintain focus and motivation while plugging away on tedious projects, like parts cleaning or bodywork, so don’t be scared to have a nice stereo in your shop. Bonus points if you listen to era-correct music while working on your car. That’s just affordable time travel!
Having a “helping hand” can sometimes mean that even less work gets done, but such is the cost of camaraderie. The human connection is more important than the cars. Never feel bad if the conversation ends up being your focus, instead of the project. Our friends bring a different type of joy into our lives and it is not to be ignored.
Are these the only common garage distractions? Of course not. Let us know the worst offender in your shop in the comments below.