Category Archives: Creativity
Open plan office workers know how hard it can be to focus on work tasks when surrounded by the hustle and bustle of office life. But researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that working on creative tasks amidst ambient background noise can actually boost our creative ability.
In scientific tests carried out on undergraduate students, they found respondents performed better at word association tasks while exposed to moderate background noise than they did under exposure to lower noise levels. In another study, they found that participants in a medium noise environment—akin to a typically busy coffee shop or room with a TV set playing—generated more creative ideas than those in either quieter or louder surroundings.
So it seems that all that time spent in that “third place”, somewhere between home and work, might not be such a bad thing after all, as long as you are putting your brain to work on creative thinking tasks.
Sadly, the news is not all good though. Any task that requires intense concentration is likely to be best performed in a quiet place, away from noise and distractions.
But the results are compelling. When we need to think creatively, a little ambient noise can go a long way to enhancing our ability to think more broadly.
So, next time you want to think outside of the box, grab your credit card and head to the nearest coffee shop!
Alternative Solution: Can’t afford yet another venti-mocha-choca-goat’s-milk-latte? Just head to http://coffitivity.com/ where the ambient noise comes at you free!
Source: NY Times article
When writer’s block strikes sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away and formulate a new plan on how to avoid an idea logjam in future.
But there’s good news at hand. Here’s my super-simple, no-nonsense approach that could make a huge difference to your daily content marketing results:
1. PLAN IT
Set aside 15 minutes at the end of each working day to think about tomorrow’s content plan. Create some quiet space where you can reflect on your goals, what seems to be working for you, and explore content areas you’ve not yet developed.
Your goal is to come up with just one new idea that you can put into action tomorrow.
Remember, you have just 15 distraction-free minutes to do this. You don’t need to develop the idea; just jot down your thoughts, maybe draft a blog title or note down a few sites you’d like to research to refine your idea.
2. FORGET IT
Store your idea notes somewhere safe. I leave my written notes under my closed laptop lid so I find them when I next turn it on. Now, go and do something completely different, like living your real life, having fun with friends or enjoying your favourite sport.
This stage is all-important. It allows the most powerful parts of your brain to start working their magic.
If your ‘Plan It’ stage was sufficiently focussed and intense, your brain will subconsciously begin processing your idea, making new connections and developing it for when your rational, logical thinking brain needs to step back in.
Sleep well, tomorrow’s going to be a great day!
3. CREATE IT
The next morning you already know what your first job is going to be. Set aside the first working hour of your day, when your body is fresh and your brain at its most alert, to bring your content idea to life.
Your aim is to have published some original content, either live or scheduled to go out later, before the hour is up.
This may require you to create another distraction-free space so you can focus on producing the best content you can. If it takes less than an hour, great! But if it’s going to take longer, your idea was either too ambitious or you’ve not knuckled down properly to the task.
When you’ve published your original content your day can now begin, safe in the knowledge that writer’s block cannot strike.
Now do it!
Try this simple approach for a couple of weeks. You have to be disciplined and strict with yourself; reading emails or tidying your desk do not count as focussed content creation time!
After a fortnight, you decide if this is working for you or not. But give it at least two weeks. It takes both time and practice to instil new habits and adjust to working at highly productive levels.
And please let me know how you get on. Has your content creation benefitted from this working pattern or do you think you have a better approach?