You may get your best ideas while daydreaming but staring into space can look lazy and unproductive to the casual observer.
Then there are the interruptions. It’s great that you’re in demand as a communications professional but the constant stream of people coming to your desk and asking you questions is no good for concentration.
And then there’s the noise. Former journalists should be used to a noisy newsroom environment, but even for former hacks, background office chatter can really put you off your stride.
So what do you do? Well, try ignoring people…
That’s right. Like an eccentric artist or writer, secluding yourself away may be your best bet. Take author JD Salinger for example. He reportedly spent up to two weeks at a time in a cabin in the woods, sitting in an old car seat, typing on an ancient typewriter at a desk made from a plain slab of wood.
Perhaps you don’t need to go quite that far, but finding yourself a quiet space may be just what you need, if you can find one. Beware of staying within the open plan layout however as it’s inevitable you’ll receive strange looks if your creative process involves talking to yourself out loud.
A spare meeting room is ideal and it’s always sensible to book in advance. It has the extra benefit of committing yourself to devoting time to creative thinking in the first place. It’s so easy to let this activity slip by as you become overwhelmed by other more immediate work pressures.
Scheduling in time also helps you prioritise. Blocking out several hours in your electronic diary and moving meetings and other commitments to other days of the week, helps to focus your time. It also sends a clear message to others not to disturb you – or at least that’s the theory.
If you have a supportive manager, they may also be able to help protect your time by keeping you free from the demands and distractions of the wider business.
In some office cultures, you may feel compelled to justify the time away from your desk. In which case you may need to demonstrate just how busy you are. Try spreading out and surrounding yourself with the fruits of your creativity to reinforce the point that a creative genius is at work.
Alternatively, and if none of the above are realistic options, try putting on a set of headphones but don’t turn them on. You’ll be surprised how many people don’t bother you now. But remember to plug them in or risk being caught at your peril.
The seed of inspiration for this blog post was based on an article from HubSpot Marketing.