012. Cultivating Your Creative Space
There are two places you will spend the most time in life, where you work and where you sleep.
Today I’m talking about the former, where you work. This is the place you consciously spend the most time, so we should be consciously cultivating a space that encourages creativity and focus.
Creativity and focus can often feel like opposites.
Being creative is endless possibilities and crazy ideas. Focus is a one track mind, one goal, one purpose. I’ll admit they can seem like opposites, but I promise you they can coexist in harmony.
A great way for you to integrate these two, extremely important, values is in your work space. It doesn’t matter if you work in a cubicle, at home, a co-working space or anywhere else! You can create your perfect space, it just takes intention and awareness.
My ‘creative space’ is actually multiple spaces. I have a restless brain so I like to move around during the day but also during the week. I migrate from my desk to the couch to the kitchen bench multiple times a day. Usually a new task means a new workspace (or when my laptop runs out of battery).
Working with this fluidity in my creative space is good for me. It keeps me focussed during the time I spend in each place but flexible enough to let my creativity to run free!
But if I have so many creative workspaces, how do I cultivate the ‘perfect’ workspace?
Well a lot of what my spaces have to do is some of the usual things you may have heard about how you should keep your creative space. Tidy, clean, bright, maybe some fresh air occasionally.
But I didn’t come to this conclusion from taking other peoples word for it, I had to experience it myself. I noticed when I worked in the kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink, the dishes would be distracting so I would have to get up and clean them. It was a distraction that kept me from my focus and didn’t allow me to be creative. Now if I want to work in the kitchen I make sure the dishes are done and it’s all clean. If it’s not the I don’t work there, then it’s totally out of sight, out of mind.
I also noticed that a lot of articles say to fill your creative space with plants, keeping the air clean. This didn’t work for me, my plants took up too much physical and mental space. I would get distracted with looking at tiny insects crawling on them. This in some ways encouraged creativity but destroyed my focus. I know keep all my plants in an area where I can go see them and appreciate their beauty, but they aren’t in a space where I go to work.
Going back to the balance between focus and creativity. I like to keep one thing in my space that encourages both these work aspects. That thing is usually music, I find this is the one thing that can help me focus but also be creatively fulfilling.
But none of this may be true to you. The only way to find what your ‘perfect’ creative space entails, you need to experience it yourself.
If you aren’t happy with your space as it is, experiment each day. Add something different or removes something toxic. Notice how the energy in that area has changed, notice how it affects your emotions or work differently. Remember it’s all about intention and awareness. I can tell you all the bits and pieces that work for me but no two people are the same!
After a week of experimenting you should have a good base of knowledge about the space around you. You can then start building on this and cultivate your own perfect creative space.
For some it can be a slow process but that’s okay, just keep reflecting on your space and make insights into why some things may be working and others aren’t.
If you have cultivated a great space for yourself but in a few months you see that your work is suffering and you’re unhappy emotionally, it may be your space that’s the problem. It’s okay to go back and reevaluate and start the whole process again!
I’d love to hear what makes your space work for you! Like I said, we should always be improving and thinking about how our workspace affects us! Flick me an email, email@example.com
- Maisie MacDonald, Creative Director, Maisie Heather Studio.