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Inspiring Creativity When Working from Home

Woman working on a laptop

Working from home has its perks: Pajama pants, lots of quiet time, more time with pets/kids/family, and a certain amount of freedom. While some introverts may love quiet and solitude, extroverts can find it too silent, almost lonely. Pets and kids provide frequent distractions, and that freedom (and maybe the pajama pants) can easily lead to a lack of motivation. But, according to a study by BetterUp.com, employees are 56% MORE creative when working from home. Here are a few tips to make your home office work for and inspire you.


1. Have a designated workspace It can be a dedicated office, corner of the living room, or just a desk in the corner of a room. It can even be a table at the local Starbucks if that’s your thing. Having a space to work allows separation of work and the rest of life to get your brain into the right mindset. Surround yourself with things that motivate and inspire you – art, photos, fidget toys, whatever works for you. Also, strive to keep your workspace neat so you can focus better.

Pro Tip: If you’re feeling stuck, re-arrange/re-decorate your workspace. Something as simple as switching out the pictures around you or re-angling your desk can give a fresh perspective and inspire you to be innovative.

2. Have a schedule, but allow space to deviate when necessary. Routine can be comforting, but too rigid a structure doesn’t spark passion and creativity. So, make your routine inspire you instead of the other way around. Planners and calendars are great for mapping out tasks and meeting deadlines; however, ensure you have enough flexibility built in to move or shift if an idea ignites that you want to run with.


3. Make a mood board. This could be a virtual, Pinterest-style board, a folder on your computer with things that inspire you, or an actual board on the wall with pictures or images that make you happy. For big projects, it could even be a mood board for each project. I keep a list of quotes, phrases, and words that get me thinking and make me want to start writing. When I’m stuck, I pick one and start my project around it. Visual artists may wish to design layouts, colors, or store images. Add anything that excites you; you don’t need to know why.


4. Use sounds One of the best things about working from home is you control the music. Soft, soothing music can help. Youtube and Spotify have mood-inspired playlists. Several apps like Calm, Headspace, and others offer music to relax, focus, and recharge. You can even create a playlist with some songs that get you thinking. Not into music? Try a podcast (OWA Talks is a great one to start with)!


5. Get out and get moving Sometimes a change of environment can make a big difference. If you’re able, go outside for a bit. Notice new things, flowers, trees, and people, or let your mind wander. Fresh air and exercise can lift that mental block, and sometimes a change of scenery is just what you need. Can’t get out? Move to a different room, bring a laptop to your local coffee shop, try working there, or even just on your backyard/balcony/porch. Even light exercise can help! I have a friend who keeps paper by her treadmill and swears she gets her best ideas running. Another says a quick yoga session helps the focus. Yet another has a “mini dance party” to get motivated. Experiment with what works for you!


6. Phone a friend This is an incredible lifeline for more extroverted types. Call or Zoom a co-worker and ask for advice or a collab. Sometimes a new perspective can help you see a better solution. Just talking with someone can help you feel less isolated and more inspired.


7. Let go of the need for perfection If you’re a perfectionist like me, sometimes the inability to make your work “perfect” or “creative” can hinder you from starting. It’s called the first draft for a reason. Put something, anything, on the paper. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, wording, and creativity; you can add that later. It’s easier to clean up a messy draft than to start from a blank page. Let your words flow, finish, take a break if you need to, then go back, and edit/redo whatever is necessary.


I hope these tips help you. The key here is to allow yourself a little space and grace. Find what works for you, and don’t beat yourself up too much over mental blocks. Everyone has them. If all else fails, work on something easy and use the confidence from accomplishing that small task to energize your brain for more significant projects.

Written by: Nicole Joli

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