Creating Environments That Optimize Creativity and Inspiration
Today’s article takes a look at how to help maximize creative thought by carefully structuring the environment around you. Everything from the design of your office to the specific hours of the day that you choose to work can play a key role in how effective you are when it comes time to actually get things done.
The essence of creativity plays a very important role in art and design. When building any piece of work you’ll want to focus not only on your mood but also atmosphere, ambiance, and emotions. Mindset is key and plays one of the most important roles out of the creative process.
Consider some of your favorite designs or artists. Their creativity provides a gateway of inspiration for your mind to mix up and play with. When you understand how deeply your work environment can affect your project flow it may force you to re-evaluate parts of your schedule. Factors such as music, television, sunlight, or even contact with other people can present themselves in powerful ways throughout your day.
I’ve gotten into a few ideas regarding workflow and regaining power over your projects. Working corporate or freelance shouldn’t change how you approach the process of creation. In many regards the office should be no more than a comfortable, relaxed, and vibrant space for grind work and building projects.
Empowering your Creative Side
Often times I’ll read or hear about people questioning their artistic skills. When doubting yourself and putting down your talents it’s all the more difficult to pick back up and understand your true creative nature. There are no specific “creative types” aside from those who build it inside their mind.
Society tends to lump these folks together, although there’s a lot more in common than creative thinking. Processing information naturally allows for the ebb and flow of new ideas. It comes with practice and letting your mind wander freely, followed by marking these abstract ideas and manifesting their presence artistically.
Sounds pretty convoluted I know. But it’s not actually difficult once you can push beyond the initial stages of discomfort. Accept all of the strange or awkward feelings as these are normal with any new process. And no matter what anybody assumes, money is not intrinsically a motivator! Keep true with your inner motives and study design to better yourself.
Once you spend time training your mindset there’s almost nothing beyond your reach. Persistence and flexibility are two traits rooted into the creative types. When you are persistent and dedicated at following through on a project, you can be sure something will get done.
Similarly flexibility allows your creative side to push boundaries and move things about. This non-ordinary ideology makes for a very powerful state of being. When first building a small website wireframe or icon set you will progress quicker by boldly judging yourself and making changes. Projects are often lacking in smaller details and may require a few drafts before you’re happy.
Understand these traits and allow yourself to accept them in your daily workflow. If possible, take some time to slow down and appreciate the process of creation for each project. When you are building ideas in Photoshop it may be useful saving a few separate files to come back and compare. Alternative methods allow for greater choice – exactly what the wandering creative is longing for.
At the end of the day it’s passion that will keep you pushing forward. When dealing with stressful projects and looming deadlines it may become stressful. Understand that your work environment is very sensitive to emotions. Approaching each project in a calm and loving attitude will make for a more open and compassionate experience.
Check your Biological Clock
In the freelancer’s lodge, the debate over working nights or days seems to fluctuate in opinions. I find many offices and corporate entities enjoy rising early and spending the later portions of the afternoon grinding away in front of their computer screens. Likewise the team atmosphere seems to bring about a new energy when working under sunlight.
However many freelancers working alone or with smaller groups tend to enjoy the later hours during nightfall. This alters your thought patterns and creativity in many ways since your environment isn’t changing as much. This contrasts to early dawn and later afternoon when the sun is traveling through the sky above and displacing shadows.
It’s not required you fully understand how your rhythms function, but you should spend some time figuring out a routine which feels comfortable. Different people will enjoy working through the night as it’s more quiet and less prone to external distractions. Unfortunately it can dampen the mood if you truly enjoy the sunlight and daily society.
Plan a Brief Schedule
Planning will keep you on your toes and dancing around the work day. It’s great to set up e-mail and just dig into the day’s work. After some time with this strategy you will begin to adapt naturally to the idea of accomplishing a few tasks per day.
Never feel rigid or 100% solid with anything you’ve written down. A to-do list should be concluded to a best-case scenario that everything get done before quitting time. Ideally even with 1-2 items crossed off you’ve got a good start and didn’t waste any time worrying.
When planning out your tasks you’ll feel more accomplished arranging the larger objectives towards the top. When you first pick up the list it’ll me much easier knowing you’ve gotten the most annoying time-consuming tasks out of the way. This especially holds true if they are the only projects you finish during the day since this clears your list for easy tasks tomorrow!
Utilize your Rolling Creativity
Most designers will recognize their “zone” and how to access it. For the sake of explanation zoning into your conscious mind can only happen when you freely accept such a possibility. I find myself on a roll every few days and during this time it’s best to just keep rolling with the flow!
When you try and force yourself to stop working, even if you wish to continue, it’s a good chance you’ll forget the train of thought you were at coming back a few hours later. This is the true killer of creativity. Mostly all good ideas will come in waves so if you can understand how to flow your projects will seemingly feel natural.
On the flip side we’ve all heard about concepts such as writer’s block. It’s also just as powerful to recognize these feelings and possibly take some extra time away from the computer. Explore somewhere outside, watch TV, or anything to remove your mind from processing anything work-related. With enough time this will leave your mind fresh and raring to jump into projects!
Open Your World to Music
If you’re like me working with background noise tends to improve your quality of thought. Ideas generally don’t just come from nowhere and listening to your favorite music can really enhance the work environment around you.
Depending on the type of work being done you may fly through a few genre’s before settling on anything you like. As an example when writing I struggle concentrating with lyric-heavy music or TV shows. But when I can put on smooth jazz or light atmosphere instrumentals I find my conscious mind may “stretch out” freely without interference.
Developers may sing a different tune as classical music tends to be calming and invokes a state of relaxation. Rock, pop, hip-hop, or anything with an upbeat tempo will get the blood flowing and keep your energy levels soaring. This brings a natural vibration into the work environment so you can easily focus on building that stylesheet or finishing off a small PHP application.
Although music can be a terrific addition to the office, it’s certainly not a requirement. If you feel comfortable working in silence or don’t mind radio these options are much simpler and don’t require any extra work. There are no objectively good environments for work, truly whatever will keep you focused and feeling good.
Many of us don’t realize when we view the same things over each day they imprint within our brain. This process explains a lot about how we think and develop creative ideas. One area I may point out is whatever image is saved to your desktop background.
When working to develop your creative sensitivity it’s important to fully open all your senses into imagination. Through imagination paradise is possible, or so I remember being told by Willy Wonka. If you’re feeling in need of some creative inspiration try looking through many of the photos and galleries found in design blogs.
Even crazier you may get some great ideas by looking into other areas of design. For example, when constructing a webpage try looking through business cards or digital logos for concepts which jump out at you. These can almost always be transcribed into a graphic or page layout. You may also run into outstanding color schemes and abstract shapes to further empower your fictitious psyche.
Gallery of Interior Design
Below I’ve added a small gallery of some very inspirational building rooms and offices. These are often designed with abstraction in mind for the furniture and room layouts. Although we aren’t all able to work from these environments it can be very inspirational to observe and imagine.