Where do you work?
I have the corner of an office which has very kindly been donated to me as I build my business. It is great to have a place that I can go to and get my head down and work. However, it doesn’t always suit me. See, there is another business in the room, their phones ring, they have conversations that I’m not part of related to their work, and my intuitive nature finds it hard to block it all out. That’s not their fault in anyway. I find this environment completely ok when I am doing admin, responding to emails etc etc. However, I can’t work effectively in it when I need to do the more creative parts of my job.
What do I need to be creative?
Noise. But a certain type of noise. This type of noise is the noise that is produced by a coffee shop. You know the noise I mean, you could describe it as ‘hubub’. People talking, coffee being made, background music that you hear but can ignore. I don’t know what it is about that environment, but it allows me to do my best creative work.
I’m currently reading the excellent ‘Decoded‘, by Phil Barden. It is a book about the science of marketing and why people buy. There’s a line from it I really like:
“The background indirectly effects everything that we do without us being aware of it”
In the context of the book, this quote relates to the things that are placed around a product (packaging etc) that may push the ‘autopilot’ part of our brain to favour that product. In the context of work space, I know for sure that the background that my working environment creates is completely tied to how I perform and even effects my mood. However, I don’t necessarily realise that that is the case when I’m subjected to that background.
That sounds a bit over the top Mike!
Have you ever worked near somebody who is a real ‘misery guts’? You know the type, always huffing and puffing, never happy with life? The problem there is that they tend to allow their downtrodden perspective on life to fill a room with a nasty aura. I like the expression ‘mood hoover’. They taint everything around them. I used to work near one and my work suffered due to their effects on the background. Their nasty aura not only effected my work, but my mood. The two are of course tightly linked. Back to the coffee, shop – the background there tends to be positive, active and energetic. That effects my mood in great ways, and hence I do better creative work.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, make sure your environment suits your work, don’t let the background create a personal mood that then effects your work. I can say for sure that different environments are condusive to different types of work. Having a variety of places to work is ideal. I understand that for many businesses etc this isn’t plausible, but a bit of freedom can go a long way.
What about you, do you switch environments? Do different backgrounds formulate different levels of work? I’d love to hear your thoughts.