Friday, January 11, 2008

 

The everyday offsite

There's a reason why offsites work.

On a normal day, we sit in our offices, cubicles or other work environment with the same walls, photos and surroundings to inspire us. That same workplace typically offers us very similar stimuli on a regular basis - the same sights, sounds, distractions, etc.

The opportunity for inspiration is minimized.

But put yourself in a new surrounding, with new experiences, sights and sounds, and you end up subtly engaging different parts of your brain. Things you experience spark different parts of your subconscious, reminding you of a wide new variety of experiences and insights from your past that may inspire you today.

Ever notice how many ideas you get while traveling? Visiting a new city? Attending a conference or seminar? It's not just the content, and it's not even just the surroundings. It's also the opportunity to stop thinking about work in the way you normally do, a change of pace that can often generate some of our most productive, creative, new thinking.

Those same opportunities exist close to home as well. One of the best things I've done recently is take up woodworking. Given that I spend most days in an office close to a computer, building a chest of drawers in the evening and weekends is a dynamic change of environment, not to mention engagement of a very different part of my brain.

When I'm in my wood shop, I have a pad of paper closeby. I might be in the middle of measuring out a cut when inspiration for my job strikes. Not because I was thinking about work, but precisely because I wasn't thinking about work.

Creativity and inspiration oftentimes requires space. Give yourself that space on a more regular basis, close to home, and you'll be surprised and quite happy with the professional productivity and inspiration that results.

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