Creating a creative environment (part 3)

365 texts creative environment creativity
Reflections and drafts

Goal of the day: 841 words. Written: 885.

Stage Beta: Create a buzz

With silence, it's not terribly difficult to create a buzz. And sometimes it's an unavoidable part of the place where we work.

Cafés are one such place. It turns out that there is a reason why it is sometimes so popular to come and write in cafés and sit down with your computer or notebook like a hipster.

Other places can, of course, make a similar quiet buzz: noisier libraries, quieter city parks, a windswept (perhaps seaside?) forest, a creek gurgling in the cold, a window open in a quieter part of town, and so on. I guess you should have got the idea by now. 😉

|| What if I can't work in any of these places, or if I'd rather be at home?

That's where the internet comes in. And since I know you have the internet (you're reading this article, right?), that shouldn't be a big problem.

Here are a few buzz-raising pages that are designed to do just that...

  • Coffitivity
  • Soundrown
  • Focus@Will
  • Jazz and Rain
  • Noisli
  • Defonic
  • One of my favourites - Rainy Mood
  • Thunderspace
  • My favourite alternative is to find a "Meditation music" playlist on YouTube
  • Or if you like to make fun of Russia's pathetic economy - It's nice to see the rouble going down, isn't it?

Also, if you're a writer like me, I recommend donating those few litas and buying an OmmWriter writing instrument. It's where I'm currently writing this article, as I've been writing articles for more than a few years now... 😉

So, the sound seems to be clear, right? Let's move on to light.

Lighting. Bright light, peaceful silence or twilight?

Remember how I mentioned that in almost absolute silence, our brains automatically go into a more focused mode, probably from the old days when we used to watch out for tigers prowling in the quiet? Bright light does the same thing.

...And since creativity comes when we're not madly focused... The logical conclusion is that creativity is best done in the pleasant twilight.

(Because you can't do much in total darkness either. It's hard to even go to the toilet in the dark, let alone write or paint or plan your agenda...)

But wait. Don't think I'm relying solely on such logical reasoning. That's the same point made by researchers at the German Journal of Environmental Psychology, who tested the effect of lighting on creativity in six of their studies.

Studies have confirmed that dim lighting (like when it's almost evening or in the shade under the trees in summer) makes you feel less stressed, which helps you to take on new challenges and do something new. Or to quote: "Darkness makes you feel as if you are free from the rules and creates a breeding ground for risky, new ways of thinking".

Or, as the saying goes - more courage in the dark. Not just to kiss the girl or guy you have a crush on... 😉

|| So, how do you create such lighting?

Well... Here again, it's a repeating situation - you can either just find a place where there is such lighting (for example, in some cafes or some romantic park), or you can create it yourself.

If you're setting up your workplace at home, you'll need to know how to combine interior design and lighting. I myself have two table lamps in my room, which shine from different angles and create twilight at night. I find it the most pleasant, and not only for my work. 😉

But if you have an east- or west-facing window in your office, you can try to enjoy natural sunlight. In fact, I recommend natural sunlight - it's healthier than artificial light.

Temperature. At what temperature do we become most creative?

Let me give you a riddle: what is so important for a working and enjoyable life that even 50 to 80% of our total available energy?

...Well, maybe it's not a riddle after all, because I've already answered it in the title. Better answer: what is in the middle with the pastor and what is in the middle with the lady?

(Answer. And it's not the one you expect.)

All right, enough jokes. Temperature is the third thing you should pay attention to when creating a creative environment. So says Cornell University research, and Hygienic standards of the Republic of Lithuania HN 42:2009.

As Cornell discovered in its research, employees made 44% more errors at low room temperatures (20°C) than at optimal temperatures (24-25°C).

And the biggest problem is not that we are simply uncomfortable working in cold environments, but that when it freezes we focus most of our energy and attention on simply keeping warm. And for concentration and creativity... only crumbs remain.

|| So what is the solution here, Daniel?

Well, it's simple - an extra layer of clothing (or some warm felt slippers or wristbands) and a portable heater will help. Or, if you work in an office where the employers should be responsible for the temperature, take it from them and shove it down their throats Hygienic standards HN 42:2009. They must follow them.

It's important, though, not to raise the heat to infinite levels. Heat is just as distracting and/or relaxing as the cold.

So, try to keep the temperature at a more or less optimal level. If you are a woman, try to keep it a degree above the optimum average, as you are naturally less resistant to the cold. 😉

Oh, and it's true - if you work in the summer... You can always open a window! Especially if it faces the trees and the backyard. Ideally a park or a whole forest. The fresh air can add up over 5-9% more productivity.

Order and chaos. Does "creative disorder" really exist?

One of my favourite comparisons of working (and creative) modes is to compare them to a loose cloud and a solid stream. A cloud is a mountain of lost thoughts, a stream is water escaping from the clouds, running along a common path.

Workplaces full of disorder and chaos fit this metaphor quite well. Where orderly environments are for the "flow" mode and messy ones for the "cloud" mode.

And it is this two-mode system that I use in my own work. As, indeed, do a whole bunch of other artists and creative industries, such as my favourite writer-poet-musician Austin Kleon, my adored actor Jon Cleese, and my mother Vilma.

Indeed, if you've ever had any interest in creative environments, I'm sure you've heard this excuse why some people don't tidy up their homes and their workrooms. They say:

|| "It's an artistic mess! It helps me create!"

(To be continued tomorrow.)

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