When it comes to my creative work, I have a certain way I like things to be. I have needs.
I have tools I need, like my laptop. I have to be wearing something comfortable. I need good lighting. A little noise, but NOT TOO MUCH noise.
Okay, I’m a total control freak.
And yet, I’m a big believer in not letting less-than-perfect surrounding stop your productivity. Or as Chuck Wendig says, Art harder, motherfucker.
In Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi observes that many of the brilliant industry leaders he interviews are masters of the micro environment–a small controlled environment they carry with them, can set up anywhere and immediately get to work.
So taking a page from the masters, I have learned how to create a successful work environment for myself that I can carry with me.
As more and more people work remote, in open office spaces, or, like me, go to different offices throughout the week, I consider the micro-environment to be an important life skill.
Want one of your own? Here’s some tips to start your own micro-environment kit:
Headphones. Nothing can destroy my concentration faster than a conversation next to my desk. Depending on your needs, you might be fine with cheapo earbuds or prefer to splurge on premium noise-cancellers.
Notepad. Even if you’re a tech junkie. Batteries die, and paper is the very best thing for getting down a few lines of inspiration on a moment’s notice. Whether is a legal pad or a moleskin, I definitely recommend something that keeps your paper bound.
More pens than you know what to do with. For … drum roll … writing on the notepad. Or napkins. Or the back of your hand. I stash pens in every bag I own so I don’t have to worry about it. There is no such thing as too many, and you’ll find yourself reaching for them more frequently than you expect as ideas strike you at odd moments like standing in line.
Tech tools and apps of choice. Some swear by Evernote for capturing inspiration. Me? My tech tools are just Microsoft Word on my laptop, and two apps on my iPhone that I use to block out noise: Pandora and Cafe Flo. Cafe Flo plays recorded sounds from inside a coffee shop … it’s strange, but this gets me in the zone for hours. For $1.99 you can get a more robust white noise experience with Coffitivity.
A really big bag. To carry everything in. Something cute that you’ll enjoy carrying around and is comfortable on your shoulder. Because it’s gonna go everywhere with you.
And boom—you now have the basic items you need to bring your optimal work environment anywhere. Congratulations.
Now all you need to do is change your mentality–Get used to it, you just freed yourself from the constraints of your creativity and productivity needs. Next time you have an extra 15 minutes, you’ll be armed to make the most of them.
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- How to Create a Micro-Environment and Be More Creative Anywhere–Click to Tweet
- Don’t let your environment determine your creativity–Click to Tweet
- Create your own micro-environment kit and get more done, no matter where you are–Click to Tweet
What else would you add to your micro-environment?