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Why Your Creative Mind Works The Best In The Cafe

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Why Your Creative Mind Works The Best In The Cafe

Getting away from the house, office or regular workspace has an amazing effect on the creative mind. But even for those with the freedom to work from anywhere, creativity soars highest in a particular place- cafes and coffee shops.

Historically, some of the greats artists, writers and musicians frequented cafes to ponder on great ideas and cultivate their creative energy. Now they’ve become a hotbed for modern creatives such as entrepreneurs, graphic designers and even DJ s. Yet most of us are still not completely sure exactly why we gravitate towards our favorite cafes.

Some say it’s the whiff of freshly brewed coffee and getting a caffeine fix that fires up creative juices. While others claim there’s something unique about the atmosphere, an ambiance that compliments the creative mind. In actual fact, science has found some interesting links between creativity and cafes, some of which may surprise you!

In actual fact, science has drawn some interesting links between cafes and creativity, some of which may surprise you!

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Silence Sharpens Focus – Ambient Noise Boosts Creativity

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    You may already be aware that working in silence environments helps you focus. When you are in the midst of complicated problem solving or performing fine detailed work, one annoying noise is enough to break our concentration.

    However, when it comes to creative thinking, ambient noise has been seen to improve creativity. Specifically, typical coffee shop ambient noise of 70 decibels was seen to be optimum. Whereas quieter than 50dB and louder than 85dB caused creativity to drop off.

    It’s believed this level of moderate ambient noise is just enough to distract us, allowing us to think outside the box. This helps to broaden to thinking and lends itself to the discovery of new ideas. So, the creative magic in the air of your favorite coffee shop is actually the perfect ambient hum for your creative mind.

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    You should optimize your creativity by choosing your coffee shop wisely, based on how busy or noisy it is. If you are tied to a workspace and it’s particularly quiet, try listening to Creativity background music from Youtube. Otherwise, there’s an ingenious application that can mimic the cafe’s ambient noise called Coffitivity.

    Dynamic Environments Stimulate Creativity

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      Ever noticed how creativity dries up if you remain in the same environment or routine for too long? It’s only when you break the cycle or change your environment that the bolt of creativity strikes.

      The mind is naturally inclined to tune out repeat input, while remaining receptive to new information. So, by moving from a static environment to a dynamic one, you flood the mind with new inputs and stimulate creativity. Visiting a cafe is great for firing up inspiration as you watch new faces and interactions happening around you.

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      Low-level distractions from the bustle of others actually help fuel creative thoughts. Whereas the silence and solitude of home or the office often push us to non-creative procrastination. Cafes strike just the right balance of simulation buzz with the protection of anonymity, interactions are on your own terms.

      There’s also a social element that plays a significant role. If you’re open, cafes are a great place to meet and interact with new people. These brief exchanges of ideas, experiences and perspectives ignite creativity.

      Your positioning is somewhat crucial, whether in the cafe or your own workspace. The last thing you want to do is position yourself right in a high traffic point, so don’t sit by the cash register or a door. You want the opportunity to observe or interact, but it has to be on your own terms.

      Dim Lighting Liberates the Mind and Imagination

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        Yet again, absolute focus and free-flowing creativity are set at odds. Brighter lighting favors focus-based tasks but research has shown dimmer lighting actually boosts creativity.

        The most curious thing is, creatively was seen to increase across six separate studies, even without conscious recognition of this change. So it’s believed dimmer environments make us feel freer to explore and take risks without judgment. It’s so powerful that even recalling an experience of darkness can have similar creativity boosting effects.

        So, if your creative workspace is bright, dimming the lights to create a more ambient environment would be very beneficial. You could use light blinds on the windows and shaded lamps for softer lighting. Or if you are visiting a coffee shop, pick the deepest, darkest corner for creative pondering!

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        Joseph Summers

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        Last Updated on October 21, 2021

        How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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        How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

        Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

        Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

        The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

        Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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        Program Your Own Algorithms

        Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

        Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

        By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

        How to Form a Ritual

        I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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        Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

        1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
        2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
        3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
        4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

        Ways to Use a Ritual

        Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

        1. Waking Up

        Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

        2. Web Usage

        How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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        3. Reading

        How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

        4. Friendliness

        Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

        5. Working

        One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

        6. Going to the gym

        If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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        7. Exercise

        Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

        8. Sleeping

        Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

        8. Weekly Reviews

        The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

        Final Thoughts

        We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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        Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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