Working in different places can prove to be quite beneficial. A change of scenery could be exactly what you need if you’re stuck in a creative rut or experiencing writers block – or just simply bored.
By changing your location, atmosphere, tools, and even clothing, you can change the way you work.
I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with this, and find it to be quite effective. Here are some examples of some different work environments and the types of work you can achieve in each setting:
- Desktop: I do most of my heavy-duty work sitting at my desk using a laptop connected to a second display, with a full keyboard and mouse. A great setting for writing long emails, analyzing stats, updating spreadsheets, photo/video editing, final design work, etc.
- Laptop: When I first get into the office in the morning I’ll sit in the kitchen and have a cup of coffee while I scan through Twitter, read the news, and check for any important emails.Later in the day, when I have the heavy-duty stuff out of the way, I’ll often sit on the couch with my laptop and efficiently go through a bunch of short emails.When working on a very particular single task (i.e. writing the script for a marketing video) I’ll head over to a private room and work from my laptop in complete silence.
- Pen and Paper: When brainstorming for new projects I like to go old school – I’ll grab a sketchbook and pen and sit a large table and let my ideas flow.
- Desktop: At home I’ll also use my desk with external monitor when doing heavier tasks.
- Laptop: At home I primarily use my laptop for writing. In the summer I’ll sit out in the back yard and enjoy the inspirational calmness of nature to help me write a blog post. When weather doesn’t permit I’ll often sit on the couch, or find a new place I haven’t worked from before. I find working from my laptop keeps me focused on writing – without a mouse I’m not as tempted to get lost in the world of social networks, instant messaging, and hilarious videos.
- Phone: I use my iPhone to read the blogs I follow, take in the latest industry news, and jot down important notes and tasks. Since I always have my iPhone with me, I can usually get all of my reading done while I’m away from the computer – when I’m eating, waiting for a movie to start, or sitting passenger in another vehicle. If I read something that needs further attention, I’ll send an email to myself and check it out later.
Another work environment I couldn’t go without is the shower – yes, the shower. The shower is a great place to escape distractions and let your mind relax. Once you’re able to do so, great ideas seem to find their way into your head. Sometimes I’ll jump out of the shower and write something on the foggy mirror, although you can actually buy notepads for the shower with waterproof pens and paper – pretty neat!
If your office adheres to “casual fridays” (or in my case, a formal day once in a while), you’ll probably notice a change in behaviour amongst your co-workers. The clothes you wear while working can steer you towards creativity, professionalism, productivity, and punctuality. When I’m home I usually like to be as comfortable as possible (sweatpants), but find that sticking to a more formal dress code can make me more productive. Throwing on those sweatpants can make you want to sit back and watch a movie – instead of work on that important project.
Depending on my mood and work strategy, I’ll play different types of music. If I’m trying to hammer through a bunch of emails I like to listen to something upbeat and energetic. While editing photos and browsing the Internet I prefer something mellow. When I’m writing I usually avoid music all together. If you work with music in the background, try experimenting with a drastic change in genres for certain tasks – you may be surprised at the results.
The things you have around you also impact the way you work. Do you really think you’re going to be super creative in that all-grey cubicle? If you don’t have the option of working outside of your cubicle, it will be up to you to liven up your work atmosphere. It’s amazing how much a plant or two can do for creativity. Just make sure you don’t have too many photos, toys, and other items on your desk or you’ll become distracted.
Experience a change of scenery – it may change more than just that.
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