Have you ever considered how an organized workspace and schedule can help support, rather than stifle, creativity? Oftentimes, when people think of creative types, they conjure the image of beautiful chaos. Paint splatters, fabric scraps, bits and bobs: everywhere! Hoarded napkins with genius ideas scrawled on them scattered all throughout a workspace. Coffee-stained manuscripts that completely burying the desks upon which they sit. There are commonly held beliefs that inspiration strikes unexpectedly, that art happens when the artist is “open”, and that organization and schedules work in direct opposition to creative flow. While I know it is absolutely possible that magnificent art can be created spontaneously, I also believe that you’re more likely to gain traction and create more regularly at a deeper level, if you have an organized creative process.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way! I recently spoke with writer and writing coach, Marina Crouse, about how the daily practice of organizing her home office and her time helps her thrive creatively. When asked what role organization plays in her creative process, Marina shared that she needs both a calm space and a calm mind in order to write. To achieve this, she creates a “funnel,” and at the end of each work day, she whittles down her stack of post-its by transferring any outstanding action items to her planner and safely filing away ideas that she may use later. She could easily let all these notes sit overnight on her desk. After all, she’s coming back to it tomorrow, right? By tidying her desk each evening, Marina sets herself up for success the next day. Returning to an orderly desk helps her feel less overwhelmed and puts her in the right state of mind to focus on her writing. Marina shared another important strategy: fiercely guarding her schedule and blocking off time to write. To hone any talent, be it artistic or physical, you must be disciplined. If we don’t schedule our priorities, no matter how passionate we are about something, it can get pushed to the backburner. Equally important to her practice is the fact that Marina also schedules a lunch and break into her work day because you cannot pour from an empty cup! Check out Marina’s full “This Calm Little Corner” interview below to hear more about how forming organizational rituals can strengthen your creative muscles.
These are not just tips for aspiring artists. You can implement these strategies to help increase focus and decrease stress in any workspace. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to declutter and bring more order into your home office, you may be interested in the Redfin blog post, "Declutter Your Home Office Today With These 15 Expert Tips." Redfin asked me, along with other experts from Philadelphia, PA to Sacramento, CA, to share our best tip on how to declutter and organize your home office so you can be more productive working from home. Check out what I had to say!