“Dude, are you in Costa again? You should buy shares in that place.”
It’s not that I have some unhealthy love affair with coffee. Even though it is easy to be at this time of year, with all the novelty varieties unleashed upon us Praline Cappuccinos, Eggnog or Gingerbread lattes and a cheeky piece of gluten free christmas cake – what’s not to love?
But that is not why I spend a lot of time in coffee shops.
When you are soloprenuer like me, starring at the four walls of your home office can be like Superman being exposed to Kryptonite – It’s a slow painful death as you are sapped of your creativity and problem solving powers.
One of the lessons I’ve come to appreciate more than ever recently is “Environment is greater than will”
Will power, determination and tenacity will get you so far but what will really change your game is your environment.
Here are 5 strategies I’ve adopted for changing up my environment and firing up those creative juices with great effect :
1. The Great Outdoors.
There’s something about being with Mother Nature which connects with me with my inner creative marvel.
There’s a Lake near where I live that I often go for walks around when I am struggling with ideas. Just being out there with the fresh air and the water seems to quieten down that destructive mind chatter and brings out a sense of clarity.
It doesn’t have to be a Lake. The local park, fields or even a quick power walk around the block can be great.
2. Get Up. Stand Up.
During my corporate career I managed a lot of contact centres which included telesales teams. I noticed that the agents who performed best were almost always on their feet when talking to customers.
Standing up creates more energy than being hunched over a desk or slumped in a chair. When you stand your blood flow is better as is your ability to breathe which means your brain gets more of the good stuff.
Some companies have taken this further and adopted standing only meetings to keep the focus and energy high.
Next time you find yourself feeling frustrated by a lack of ideas, get up out of that chair and stand tall!
3. People Power.
I draw my energy from being around people. My worst nightmare is solitary confinement.
I’ve always worked in large office spaces and had big teams around me so it kind of makes sense that I enjoyed success there.
Now those big office days are behind me, I choose to work in coffee shops, urban spaces and hotels whenever I can. I don’t even need to talk to anyone, just the buzz of people around me provides me energy.
Try breaking up your day and spend and hour or two in a busy environment.
In recent years cool brands like Google have added games rooms to their office space. Fusball tables, Pool tables, video games and even slides are not uncommon place.
There is method to their madness. Playing games puts us back in a child like state and when were we most creative? Correct.
You might not have a games room but you can bring games into your environment. For example on of my business friends has a pack of Super Hero Top Trumps in his bag which come out whenever we are working together and we hot a mental blockade.
Get back to the 7 year old you and tap into that creative engine.
5. Must be the music.
Music is a powerful tool in influencing your mood. We all have favourite songs that remind us of the good times.
Some retail outlets have found that they can influence the buying behaviour of customers based on the BPM of the music they select in store.
Make a list of your top ten feel good track in a playlist or CD. When you’re feeling suck or unproductive, crank up the volume.