I’ve been re-arranging my workspace again (well, the workspace I share with K) – I’ve been thinking for a while about trying out a standing desk for all sorts of reasons, but mostly as an experiment. As you can see, my lo-fi solution was to put an coffee table on top of our  desk, along with a few stacks of books for my laptop and monitor. It’s working well so far – I seem to be getting less distracted and I’m less likely to procrastinate. I don’t hunch or slouch like I used to, and there is room under the desk for my printer and scanner, and under the coffee table for books and stationery.

As I’m in a process of redefinition I’ve been thinking a lot about space and how it affects my modes of thinking – what I’ve found is I can be productive, but not creative at my standing desk – my desk space works for programming, app testing, photo editing, and certain types of writing – all systematic modes of thinking. But when I try to be creative at my desk I feel under pressure to produce.

For creative modes it’s different –  I can be more creative at the dining table or on the couch (so relaxed spaces are important). I’ve also found that I’m more creative in active and anonymous spaces – walking on the street (I have most of my app ideas while walking), in a library (seems to be good for design work), in a cafe etc. Creativity needs a certain amount of procrastination, a fair amount of distraction, and a lot of mind wandering – and I agree with John Cleese who says that for the mind “to come out of it’s shell”, it needs “boundaries of space, and boundaries of time”.

When I’m free to not think about a problem, my unconscious seems to utilise that opportunity to
solve it.

So what about when I need to solve a creative development problem? A standing desk is great because it makes it really easy to step away from production – I don’t feel attached to the desk the way I did in a chair – one step back, and I can look out the window at our constantly changing prunus swaying in the wind, 2 steps back and I’m on the couch, or 10 more steps and I’m out the door, and my unconscious can get to work.