This was my temporary office on a recent art biz trip. On the road you look for places you can alight, do your work, and then move on.
So this barrel outside an interstate restaurant whose name has Barrel in it was perfect one morning after breakfast.
Alternative spaces turn out to be highly effective for tunneling into your work.
3 benefits to working in an alternative workspace:
When I make do in temporary spaces, I find I work faster. I’m not settling in to a long-held routine. I’m not planning on being there hours on end. The little gremlins of distraction seem to flit off, probably off to someone stuck in their routine a little too muchly.
When you’re in a new space there’s more life in you. Everything quickens, especially your workflow.
In this instance I was standing. Which automatically confers health benefits. Yet that’s not the case in most alternative workspaces. What is . . . is what you’ve got to do to get there.
Because it’s not routine you had to put a little more effort into getting there. Some common spaces that are fun to work in require more walking, even a mall food court is often much farther walking distance than from your car to your office.
Choose outdoor spaces and you’ll get more out of it. More fresh air, more natural lighting, more birds bursting into song. More ideas bursting in the air.
Which leads us to . . .
Want to become an idea-generating machine? Alternative workspaces promote this. More than that, they seem to gush ideas the way a faucet releases tap water.
One theory of innovation is that of the adjacent possible. (Here’s a TED talk link to Steven Johnson talking about Where Good Ideas Come From.)
Simply navigating to a new location spurs newness. Subtle visual and experiential cues ping your brain, splicing in sometimes delicious ways with all you’ve already crammed in there.
The unusualness of it jostles your thoughts. Your normal compartmentalization loses its coherency a little bit.
Maybe a synapse misfires. Maybe an idea traveling a neural pathway jumps tracks. Maybe you simply took the throttle off your genius and let ‘er rip.
Whenever I crave immersion, I often find that a temporary alternative workspace blows the brain barn doors wide open.
When stuck, when you want a breakthrough, or when you simply want to groove into some work you’re not getting done, try it.