Change of scenery and complacency


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This is a note. Notes are work-in-progress thoughts and ponderings that I choose to share “out loud”, subject to change and revision.

I whole-heartedly agree:

What I do think is helpful is scenery changes. I’ve got a great desk and I can do the majority of my work there, but sometimes I like to take a laptop over to a coffee shop just to switch it up a bit and usually combine that with changing gears with what I’m working on.

Chris Coyier on his blog

I’m writing this note at one of my favourite coworking spaces in the Rockies. The space is chic, cozy, and has all the amenities that make a great coworking space (good coffee, quiet but not too quiet, interesting space, and a fantastic staff). Every time I’m here, I’m delighted, I feel rejuvenated creatively, and I think to myself, “I should come here more often.”

But while I love this coworking space, it’s not that I should come here more often, it’s that I should change up my scenery a little more often than I do – because like Chris, I find a change of scenery really helpful. It can get you out of a rut, help you feel more motivated and inspired, make you see things from a different perspective.

One of my favourite illustrations of what a different perspective can do.

There’s this idea of the “ideal work environment” and there’s a lot of value in creating a regular working space that’s conducive to productivity – tailored uniquely to your preferences. You walk into a space made for working and mentally switch gears into work mode, you walk out of that space switch gears into non-work mode. Your environment matters.

Simultaneously, changing up your work environment once in a while is also helpful. As someone who’s worked from home for her entire adult life, I find there’s something really nice about sometimes making the effort to leave the house and go somewhere else to work. You’ve made all this effort so now you must be productive, because otherwise that effort was wasted.

Both things are true. Always having an unpredictable workspace would hinder your productivity (because paper cuts add up). But working from the same exact space all the time can also be a hindrance. Perhaps that’s why I find myself making adjustments to my home office every couple years. In fact, I’m in the process of creating a new feature wall in my office and am experimenting with a second monitor (I’m historically a single-monitor advocate).

As human beings, we become comfortable with the status quo, even if the status quo is not a great situation – the effort required to change anything feels too much even if it would be an improvement. But perhaps, we should practice making that effort.

Change – any change, big or small – requires requires you to challenge your own complacency more, to not let yourself be lulled by the status quo – by how “this is just how it is.” That’s a dangerous trap.

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