One of the pressures I feel as a humanities academic (though see previous discussion) concerns the preliminary reading or scholarship necessary for research and writing papers. Though it obviously is a necessary requisite, it still seems hard to justify it in practice. Perhaps this is because simply sitting reading hard philosophy looks very like sitting reading beach fiction. And thus, at the University, I might feel embarrassed in front of the manifestly hard working administrative staff based in the opposite office. In fact, however, I have the same problem when working at home when the pressure prematurely to turn on the computer and start writing is just as strong.
My solution on campus is flight to my second, but computer-free, office: the Equator coffee bar. For the cost of a fairly good cup of coffee, one can rent a table for the length of time it takes to read an average (if not a McDowell or Travis) article. I’d never get any ‘proper’ work done at the University without it.