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Updated: Jan 21, 2022

What do the likes of writer Ernest Hemingway, millionaire and tech guru Bill Gates, and artist Jean Michel Basquiat all have in common? Other than being lauded as geniuses in their own right, the common thread amongst these minds was their affinity towards finding the ideal productive work space (cabin, studio, or sometimes bar). Now with remote work becoming more popular than ever, let’s touch on four tips you can implement in your workspace to make sure you can nurture your inner genius whilst creating quality output.


Did you know that Bill Gates skulks off to an isolated cabin in the woods twice a year for a week-long retreat he calls a “think week?” In the Netflix documentary “Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” the billionaire discloses his method he’s used since the inception of Microsoft to process every idea milling about in his head. Although you may not have your cozy cabin to venture to, find a space you feel particularly at peace in. Position your desk facing a bright window for a change of scene, set up a cozy place in the corner of your room to work on crafts, check out workspaces in your community you can go to add some variety to your environment. Be open to trying out different spaces till you find the cozy nook that says, yes, it's time to create.


Young artist Jean Michel Basquiat sought inspiration from every drop of life and act that occurred in the world around him. Basquiat was known for locking himself in his studio for 2,3 days, painting amidst his chaotic zen - he needed source material, the television on, magazines or books sprawled out on the floor of the studio, blaring bebop jazz, hip-hop, or anything that kept his brain abuzz. Place anything that sparks your imagination and inspires you to create nearby, create a vision board, a color wheel, photos of anything that reminds you of your why. On the contrary, for anyone who is scared to have an overstimulated mind - opt for minimizing items in your space to inspire reflection and recovery.


For the very unsexy moments of work where it’s not necessarily creating, include any tangible items that will simply make you feel cozy and prepared to let your brain go into overdrive. Personalizing your work area increases your emotional connection to where you’re working and dare we say, motivates you to come back to your safe space. Adding plants can reduce air pollutants in your space, having your favorite mug and tea bags handy may improve your mood. Hemingway subscribed to this idea by including items he collected along his travels in his Key West, FL office, reminding him of his past selves.


As important as it is to be productive, it is just as important to easily navigate your workspace and create mental breaks to streamline productivity. To ensure you're expending most of your energy on your work, designate spaces for each of your supplies that are easy for you to locate. Even if you claim to work better in chaos, create spaces like a no-work zone or corner for yourself where you’re allowed to have pockets of restfulness and simplicity.

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