As I mentioned last week, one of the key ways to minimizing distractions when you are creating is to find a comfortable spot where you are pretty confident you won’t run into someone you know.
There is nothing…and I repeat, NOTHING…more annoying or counter-productive than making the mistake of choosing a spot where it is a for-sure guarantee that you will be interrupted by someone you know. Like I said, this isn’t Cheers. You don’t want to go where everybody knows your name.
That’s why location is key. Picking the right location for your work is more than just getting away from distractions. You need to know yourself and know what you need to be the most productive.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I need to be comfortable for a long period of time?
- What do I want the environment to feel like? Hot or cold, business or casual, open and airy or windowless and closed in? (Some people work best in a cave. I’m not one of those people, but to each their own.)
- What do I need readily at hand to help me in the creation process? (Pens and paper, a laptop, books, music, maybe even some coffee… Or always coffee?)
- What do I need to keep out to ensure I minimize the distractions and protect my creative space?
Choosing the right location is as much about you as it is about the environment. Here are my recommendations for choosing the right location:
- Pick a spot that challenges you to get up, get around and treat your projects like work. If the location allows for pajamas and easy access to Netflix, it is probably not the best spot. PJs encourage naps and Netflix invites breaks…lots of them. Respect your work. Give it your best. Get up, do your hair for crying out loud, and go do work!
- Make sure everything you need is packed and ready to go. Some people have access to a closed-door office at home, and they can draw away into a space that is already prepared for them. But most don’t. Most people need to get out of the house to be productive. If that is you, pack a bag with everything you need and keep it ready. Think of it as a “go-bag.” Whatever you need to create, pack it in the bag and have it ready at all times to go to your space with you.
- Once you get into your space, set a time limit. Be realistic with yourself. For me, it is really hard to sit still for longer than 3 hours. If nothing else, my butt goes numb and I need a break. You have to go into your space knowing how long you plan to stay there and commit to that timeframe. No sooner and no later. No getting up and leaving early, and no staying until your brain is mush. Set a time frame that challenges you to push through the initial resistance of starting, and limit it to your most creative peak of time.
- Count the wins. Just making a consistent habit of regularly entering your creative space is a win. The more you do it, the more productive you will become. Like Pavlov’s bell, you will eventually rewire your brain to start pumping those the creative juices simply by the act of entering the space set aside for creating.
Don’t worry. Finding the right spot to work in is like coming home. You will know it when you find it. And when you do, set up shop and get to work. You have things to create!