I like to do a fun exercise with my students: I ask them to draw their favourite imaginary place to be creative. It's often outdoors in a natural quiet place or in an office with a large window.
All designers have their props: notebooks of some type, pencils, specific tools, furnished office...
It is also a good idea to prepare a workplace before starting creativity sessions. The ritual may also include a walk, a coffee... whatever, the important thing is that the brain and all our senses are preparing to receive inspiration. A ritual to summon the 'creative' muse.
We all have our own favourite place when it comes time to concentrate and perform important tasks. Whether it's a corner in the garage, the bedroom or office, this dedicated place is important. A place where we set up our studio to better reflect and create can make all the difference.
Think about the design
What would you like to accomplish in this place? Make a list of your goals. Make a list of tools or objects that help you to create. If you have no budget constraint, what would it be? Take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw the area. Not because you are gifted drawer; the purpose of the exercise is to free your imagination.
My office has enough space and is fully dedicated to the production of a project. This helps me to stay focused. But sometimes, depending on where I am, a lack of space can cause a pandemonium.
Once your drawing is ready, envisage your room and plan to landscape your place of creativity as close as possible to the space of your dreams. Keeping your drawing in mind, even without resources, you can rearrange and improve your space over time.
It's your creativity temple. The time you take to make it optimal will be time saved to achieve what you want.
Insulate yourself and look for silence
When planning this place, see it as a sanctuary. This place deserves your full attention. The author of the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, specialist of mythology, Joseph Campbell, stresses the importance of developing a creative temple, a sacred place to invite your muses and hear your inner voice more clearly.
Think about lighting
it's preferable not to use neon lighting, as this is a light that tires the eyes. Ideally chose a window to take advantage of the daylight. Provide adequate lighting for days and nights.
Choose your favourite colours, displaying images that inspire you, exhibit accessories you like: This is your creativity temple. The time you take to make it optimal will be time saved to achieve what you want.
Clear the disorder when possible!
Too much clutter creates disorder in our heads. That said, when I'm writing a book, you cannot enter my office, as books and folders form small towers... When I have enough space, the fact that my office is fully dedicated to the production of a big project helps me to stay focused. The important thing is to develop this place when possible, without making an unconscious decision like: "If I'm not in my office, I cannot create." Regardless of our place and city, we have to adapt and create where we are. Obviously, a clear area is more conducive to concentration or at least a place where you have access to all your tools.
As a chef prepares his kitchen, a scientist his laboratory, an artist sets up his studio, so every person who wants to stack the odds in their favour to achieve an important task needs to do the same.
Prepare your tools the day before!
It is a good idea to prepare everything the night before to be ready to start in the best conditions. Imagine you are a top athlete. Your brain registers your intentions, during your preparation. Work starts long before the big day. It is called the muse...
Dedicate a place for a specific job
Several authors situate their office in their garage. Austin Kleon, author of Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist, for example, has built a high table, he likes to stand when browsing the internet. He has a table for drawing and crafts, and another for writing, and usually a chair or sofa to read. When you are unable to concentrate, the action of changing from a chair to a stand-up position stimulates the neurons for further activity.
Health-wise, it is essential to think about ergonomics. An ergonomic seat avoids back pain. Some appreciate stools that are designed specifically to maintain proper back support. But it is also important to think about getting up every 25 minutes or 1 hour or so, as recommended in the Pomodoro method, to fetch a glass of water, take a breath of fresh air or do some exercise. Twenty minutes to get back into shape for work.
Close your email and phone
Put in interruption in your intensive intellectually creative periods. BIP, a tweet. Bing, an email. Buzz, a message on Facebook... it's endless. We are all addicts. Yet, the world will survive (and us too) if we disconnect for a few hours a day. It's a matter of discipline and habit. The best way is to provide time during the day to take care of all your current affairs: telephones, messages... As soon as you enter your creativity Temple, make a habit by removing anything that could distract you from your goal. You can also add a positive voltage by giving yourself one hour, for example, to write a text. Even if you have not finished, you will probably be more efficient with a deadline. Ask reporters!
Make a list of your priorities for the next project.
At the end of the session, determine what you want to accomplish during your next work session. The day before the second session, prepare your space again and reread your list before you go to sleep... set a more ambitious goal every time. You'll improve without even noticing it. Your brain hears all the orders you give. Its sole mission is to perform. You are in command.
To go further, let us know if you are interested in the course I will launch soon, The Creative Rituals.
For now, you can start by sketching your perfect creative place, download your free self-help tool.
Need help to draw?
Sylvie's Best Book
Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces: The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell
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