Creative at Work: Organizing Workplace at Home

Professions and occupations are very important to the way contemporary people define themselves. Work has been nearly synonymous with identity for many centuries in the West. At times, it has been more deterministic.

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In the Medieval period, it was very difficult to move out of one occupational class into another. Such physical and employment mobility was often against the law (serfs could not move off their hereditary land, and Jews could not engage in most forms of commerce, for example). However, even in such circumstances, there were avenues for people to change their life trajectory. Service in the Roman Catholic Church, the accident of having been the unintended outcome of the prevailing droit du seigneur or military or Crusading service could all launch an individual or a family into another stratum of society,

Today, however, you have almost unlimited opportunities to choose any profession. Talent and ambition are powerful boosters in a global community characterized by vigorous opposition to social discrimination.

Another feature of modern society is the resurgence and spread of freelancing. This concept covers people who are self-employed and are hired to complete assignments on an ad hoc or project-by-project, basis.

Working at home is the usual model for freelancers – an arrangement that saves money for the employer, energy for commuting, and stress for the worker. Freelancers, however, can be successful and effective even if they are active travelers, provided that they are properly equipped. A computer that allows for work regardless of the time, place, or circumstances is essential.

Let’s assume that you ‘have a laptop, will freelance.’ You start working and get your new career underway. Some time passes, and something seems wrong… You have been less productive lately. Some changes are needed. You may need some advice on how to make your surroundings work for you rather than against you. It appears you may need some advice on how to adjust your work environment so that it supports you better.

Change of scenery

Our work environment has a documented effect on our mental state. If this were not so, why would people hire professionals, whether feng shui practitioners or architects, to design work environments?

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Change is stimulating; any and all change! The easiest way to change your scenery cheaply is to visit relatives. They will not charge you rent, and their home is reliably going to be somehow different from yours. It is also possible that home may look more appealing after having been elsewhere!

Many locales have hostel systems, which offer low-cost accommodations and the excitement of meeting folks from all over the world. Some religious communities open their doors to guests, another interesting way to meet new individuals and absorb novel ideas.

Of course, hotels and pensions welcome your business as well. Your budget is the determinant of this!

Of course, you can also create variety simply by taking a bedroll and sleeping in a different room. ‘Camping out’ at home gives you a whole new perspective on your own space and can feel like a real trip.

It is a reliable observation that people feel differently in novel settings. This is the reason that psychologists often counsel their clients to change their physical and social settings. Depression (and creative block is sometimes associated with this) often lifts in a new milieu. Creative people, such as artists, have, for centuries, leveraged the unfamiliar impressions experienced in foreign travel as a source of inspiration.

In addition, the support of a friend can be immensely helpful. A loving, caring person who listens actively and acknowledges our pain or emotional discomfort can sometimes be as useful as a trained, paid counseling professional can.

We ran an experiment at the ResearchWritingCenter, involving our in-office writers. They were offered the chance to work in a hotel close to the outskirts of the city for some time. This change of venue was disguised it as a team-building project. While we were at it, we presented seminars at the hotel, offering professional advice on freelance writing. None of the writers knew the nature of the experiment as a result.

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The results were stunning, to say the least:

The productivity of the writers participating in the experiment rose by 25.5% compared to the ones that stayed in the office (based on internal data, gathered for one week – the variable used is the number of pages the writer was able to complete).

Of course, we later informed everyone about the experiment – they were all perfectly contented with the procedure. After all, how onerous is a week in an upscale hotel?

Do it yourself

If your budget or your handyperson skills are up to it, a new paint color, perhaps on one wall that you look at regularly, can be immensely invigorating mentally. Textiles can also change the look of a wall, or even a ceiling, and require little more than staples to attach.

If you are talented to the extent that you can master anything after some training, you can undertake a more comprehensive redecorating of your place. This is an excellent option because it enables you to acquire useful skills and play a few roles at once. Being your own interior designer, you can create a theoretical project of your newly redecorated place and try to implement your own drawings to achieve your target result.

Though this may seem a bit challenging, you are likely to be successful since you are your own client! You can imagine that this is an experimental assignment for you to perform; the final result will demonstrate your professionalism! You have decided to do it yourself, and this is can already be considered a great achievement.

A temporary move, while any renovations are underway, is another opportunity to kick start a stalled brain and also safeguards you and your household from VOCs and other building trades toxins.

Redecorate the place

The first thing to consider while redecorating your place is to plan a budget: redoing everything is going to be expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, a few modest alterations in the design of your place can generate significant change.

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You do not have to acquire new furniture; it is probably enough to rearrange the space and make it more ergonomic. In fact, the process of ‘shopping’ in ones’ own home for objects and furnishings to use elsewhere has become rather popular. The very act of examining one’s familiar objects for use for other purposes or in other locations can be very liberating, if not hilarious. It may be helpful to have the help of a friend to provide a detached eye on your ‘stock’ of furniture and potentially re-purposed items. Seeing great-grandmother’s footstool as a stand for your CPU certainly imparts a whole new flavor to your workspace!

Ambient colors and textures are a significant element in creating a mood. Prison officials have learned that pink walls create an atmosphere that encourages submission and cooperation. Dark green is said to cause depression. Of course, different saturations, intensities, and shades of the same color can have very different visual and emotional impacts. Consider a wall that has been institutionally green and flat for years. A glossy coral or neutral eggshell would be quite a difference!

That is why we always allow our in-office employees to decorate their working space by themselves – this initiative boosts creativity!

To conclude, the work of a freelancer can be really interesting and have many advantages, including an opportunity to travel or spend more time with children. However, all pros have their cons, and you may face writer’s block or outright depression at the most inappropriate moment.

Of course, due diligence requires us to remind you that true clinical depression is a serious medical disorder and should not be ignored or denied. If your blockage and paralysis seem to be extending beyond your writing into other areas of your life, you should take immediate steps to get professional help. There is counseling available in most communities. There are even co-counseling opportunities that can be accessed via the internet or by telephone with little or no charge, but the expectation of mutual help.

On the other hand, you can give redecorating a whack. Change something in your life, and start with your workspace. It is worth attempting before committing to the cost of weekly sessions with a psychologist.

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