Every few months or so, a new study comes out telling us where collective creativity is at its best. The latest one to make the rounds boasts that coffee shops have the right "hum" to keep us humming along. In fact, this noise has proven to be so meditatively relaxing for some that others are trying to replicate these natural noises at other locations.
Whether you go for this proposed solution or not, it's important that all of us find somewhere we can focus and get our work done. What worries me is that some of us get so bogged down on discovering the right place that it delays the creative process from really beginning.
Take a look, for instance, at all of the different ways we have been advised to boost our creativity. There are studies that say we should play video games more, exercise more – even switch up our breakfast routines. We can all agree: What works for one person may not for the next. And until you find your inner and outer serenity, you might keep on searching.
Inside of a more flexible working environment than some decades ago, many of us are at liberty to experiment and explore with our preferred workspaces. Some people work better from home than others, while other employees may prefer the simplicity of a standard desk and chair. Discipline and familiarity give them comfort.
For me, it's been a combination of a familiar space and some odd hours that has led me to my best inspiration. Coming in early or staying late may not be the most exciting option for many people, but it's something I've found can pay off. During the 9-to-5 hours, we're all too busy with meetings and check-ins to have an hour to think solidly. Once we clock out for the day, many of us shut our brains down, too. But, if you start to think about creativity the same way we do about exercise, you might find that it's been there all along.
Let's move past the "where" of this discussion and to set our eyes on the "when." When will you have time to carve out to complete a chapter of your book, or that freelance design work, or a Powerpoint presentation that you've been pushing off for some time?
Looking at it this way will help your production, too. If you can only work in certain places like a local Starbucks, what happens when someone is in your seat one day? You've already lost travel time plus you now have to start looking for another place to sit. That could throw off your entire morning. However, if you take the space already available to you, whether at work or at home, and get right down to it, you'll be more efficient from the start. Take all unpredictability out of the equation.
I enjoy the relative darkness of the office in the morning when nobody else has arrived yet. I also like the way my office sounds when the cleaning crew is emptying garbage cans near me at the end of the day. We should prepare ourselves to work at specific times and not let any noise, smells, or other disruptions stand in the way. What's most important is that you feel comfortable wherever you choose to be. Only then can creativity truly begin.