Creative Zen & Getting Stuff Done (GSD)

 In Productivity

One of the best things about a community workplace such as a serviced office or cowork centre is the hum of productivity. It is almost impossible to work slowly when other headphone wearing small businesses around you are smashing it out. But sometimes being busy can come at the expense of ideas and general cleverness that can save time right through a workflow.With the benefit of a building full of creative workers we realised that we were sitting on a treasure trove of ideas and tips on how to get both the flow of creativity and the getting of shite done (GSD).

The tips from the interweb are abundant but we found an article that resonated with us as a shared space  – Entrepreneur Magazines article – 10 Tips for Staying Focused From 10 Very Busy Young Entrepreneurs is a great start – In summary – naps, tunes, headphones, calendar, repetitive stimuli, batching, ranking tasks, weekly goals, physical activity. See

But Indep Studios Melbourne is also a place where creatives work from so we needed to uncover how some of the businesses reach their creative and productive best in their workplace.

1. Work location – freelancers and small businesses (SME’s) have the benefit of being able to chose their most productive workplace – whether it is home, a shared office (with an anchor business), a cowork centre, or a serviced office or a mix. Your work-zen state is more likely come from trialing and then committing to one of them for a period rather than using up valuable creative thinking in the search and transit process.

2. Work community – surrounding yourself with giants is likely to rub off in terms of GSD. And surrounding yourself with quiet giants who come alive with thinking and ideas at lunch time and over a drink after work will virtually guarantee less distractions and an optimum creative zen environment.

3. Personal methodology – Only you can develop your own process to get to creative zen but our community has highlighted the following as important

For productivity:

  • Reducing the impediments – this is as basic as maximising the internet speeds to make large file transfers to clients a non-event, climate, white noise, fluorescent tubes impacting on hi res monitors, considered placement of desk adjacency for coworkers, using podcasts for productivity.
  • Using more machines – two computers or a least more monitors is likely to be better than one to enable task holding pending updates or computer processing time in the case of rendering.

For creativity:

  • Using repetitive tunes for idea generation or creative flow tasks such as writing, design or strategy.
  • Proximity to related co-workers – periodically moving away from your boss, employee, or partner to a quiet room to enable idea generation. The reason you sit together is probably for perceived convenience (productivity) but is likely to interrupt or null creative flow. Booking the meeting or quiet room for an hour a day without a device is likely to boost the creative zen..
  • Inspirational surrounds – Yes, having a laptop poolside the Bali Legian would be inspirational for 15 minutes until either the battery ran out, wifi drifted out or someone else’s kids bombed into the pool. The ultimate inspiration is having the tools available to get the job done in your workplace so you can get to the pool laptop free. So the best coffee in the street, the latest research, trend thinking or a blank scribble pad and favourite tunes via headphones are the most mentioned ways our businesses step up to pure creative flow. Oh, and having interesting, positive but not over the top surrounds helps too.

The obvious discussion of ‘to-do’ lists, apps, medication, goodluck charms, desk decor is best left to the interweb and our list is not meant to be exhaustive. However,  it is a distilled version of what is easily discussed at most shared offices as part of daily community interaction. It suddenly makes the move from your home office to a dedicated workspace the best investment you can ever make to reach creative zen and the holy grail of GSD.

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