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Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:28 AM
How do you think best?
Anita Sharpe on Creativity

When I sit in an office behind a computer, I lose at least 50 IQ points. I suspect this is true of most people who think for a living or depend on creativity in their jobs. We have a feature in Worthwhile magazine called 'Virtual Beachwalk' where creative people offer up their favorite places or ways to think. Guess how many think best in an office -- or just about anywhere indoors?

My virtual beachwalk used to be long Sunday drives (any day of the week). Now that you have to take out a second mortgage to do that, I have turned to long morning bike rides. My thinking is clearer, my mood is better and my clothes are hanging a little looser.

What's your virtual beachwalk?


Curt Rosengren - 10/28/2005 5:21:18 PM
Adam, that reminds me of the times when I did some of my best work while I was still working for a company. I would get to the office early (5:30 or 6:00) and have a good hour or so before anyone else showed up. I would pop in a CD - usually Metallica or some such thing - crank it up loud and be incredibly productive until someone else showed up and I had to turn it down.

I suppose part of that was about turning the office environment into something different than it normally was, kind of like stimulating the brain by getting a change of scenery.
Adam - 10/28/2005 2:04:16 AM
I can work well in a cubicle...as long as it's late at night and no one else is in the office :)

And also, I think I can be at least somewhat creative behind a computer - but it mostly comes in written form...trying to flesh out ideas I've had elsewhere (long walks, or laying in bed right before I fall asleep).
Stiil - 10/27/2005 6:22:41 AM
I work as a communication consultant for small foodproducers. I used to spend many hours in front of my computer. But now I have found that when I visit my bees (have 10 hives), collect honey or just watch the bees lives, all of a sudden the idea for a website or mediacoverage is there. Best way of working.
mipiel - 10/26/2005 1:06:37 PM
I sometimes think executives love cubicles specifically because it's impossible to be creative when holed up in one. In a bureaucratic organization, creativity is a threat to be feared because it might challenge the authority of management. So they do everything possible to deter and prevent any creativity before it starts. Meetings and status reporting are two very effective ways to stamp out that threat, but they only supplement the soul-sucking, creativity-stifling cubicle.
anita - 10/25/2005 11:21:59 PM
OK -- so far, it's 100%: NO ONE gets truly great ideas sitting behind a desk inside an office. Where else do you get great ideas? Surely, SOMEONE must disagree and feel really creative in a cubible.
Steve - 10/25/2005 5:20:28 PM
I work in Washington DC and my favorite virtual beachwalk is a trip to the galleries. The Freer Gallery is so serene, the salon in the Renwick is very relaxing, and the Corocoran is guaranteed to inspire (the Warhol exhibit there now is just great).
Evelyn Rodriguez - 10/25/2005 4:57:17 PM
Hi Anita,
My first job was at GE in a entry-level hardware engineering job where I got to design a very small gear in a very complex large system (speaking metaphorically). The visionary/architect/chief designer for the whole system (great job!) seemed to be out of his desk quite often. And not in meetings. I noticed he would spend long afternoons on the spacious campus grounds walking. I asked him what he was doing: 'Thinking,' he replied.

Myself, I love trail running, walking, and just working from home on a gorgeous day.


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