Create in a Vacuum (GWTW733)

Building upon last week’s episode, where I talked about figures of speech that guide our work, whether we know it or not, I want to talk about a popular one in creativity: “You can’t create great work in a vacuum.” While I understand what the phrase is saying, and there are some excellent blog posts advocating for non-vacuum ideation, I think it lacks a key component of creativity: doing the actual work. I’m just getting back from attending an annual conference, and I’m struggling to get my groove going. There are a lot of distractions and items on the to-do list. What’s missing is my ability to tune everything out, get into a vacuum-esque state of focus, and crank out the work. It seems like when I get close to it, something pulls me out, and that sucks. Hah, vacuum puns are the best. In today’s episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m diving into the what, how, and why you need to create a vacuum-like environment for deep creative work.

Seven ways to create a vacuum-esque environment so you can get your work to work:

  1. Find a space where you can control every potential demand on your attention.
  2. Identify any source of noises and notifications, know how to turn them on and off, and actually do it when you need to focus.
  3. Let people around you know when you are engaging the forcefield of focus. This can be with a simple statement, a fun sound effect, a prop, or something only you can imagine.
  4. Set a time limit, so that you and others know when you will be out of the vacuum. It’s not going to be your whole day, so knowing this ahead of time helps you to control your emotions when things don’t go the way you want them to, Chris.
  5. Write down what you learned and accomplished while the forcefield of focus was activated. By logging this information, you can then share with others to encourage them to do the same.
  6. When collaborating, encourage your team members to determine what the creative vacuum looks like for teams and for individual work.
  7. Much like a vacuum cleaner needs to be emptied after prolonged usage, so does your creative space and your mind. By leaving and going for a walk, lunch, coffee, or going home, you allow the energy, emotion, trash, and stale ideas dissipate before you start fresh tomorrow.

Show Links