Open offices can be great for group collaboration and pair programming, but they are not always so great for idea generation. Noise levels and a constant flow of interruptions can really interfere with the act of creation. For many people, creativity happens in solitude; when they are able to focus on a project or idea with no distractions. So if you work in a creative industry that has an open plan design, you may find it difficult to find the space to be creative.
We asked our team for some tips and tricks for how they do it.
6 Tips For Making Space To Be Creative
#1 Put on some headphones
Headphones are the easiest way to block out unwanted noise (assuming you are listening to music) and let others know you are trying to stay focused on a project. I must confess, I've put on headphones without music just to keep people from tapping me on the shoulder.
#2 Work remotely
We are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely. So many of us try to take advantage of this as often as once a week. I find that working remotely makes you kind of "out of sight, out of mind" to others, and they are less likely to interrupt you.
#3 Grab a conference room
Sometimes I'll just book a conference room and close the door for an hour or two. I'll grab a laptop or iPad and hole up for a bit until I've made some decent progress. Don't be greedy though, if other team members need the room to actually have a meeting, you ought to try one of the other techniques.
#4. Turn off email, instant messages, and social media
Those programs are frighteningly good at interrupting you. The world will not end if you turn them off for a few hours at a time. I promise.
#5 Take a walk
Granted, it's hard to use a computer and take a walk at the same time, but a walk might just give you the solitude you need to come up with a solution to whatever you are working on. You can get your ideas on "paper" when you get back to your desk.
#6 Raise awareness of the need for space with your coworkers
Non-creative co-workers may not understand the need for solitude and take some of the above techniques as "screwing off" or not doing your job, because it may differ from their idea of how work gets done. Take opportunities to explain to coworkers how solitude and focus improves creative output so they have a better understanding of why you do these things. They may even begin trying them too.
If you have any techniques or suggestions that work for you, please share them with us!