Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mundane Creativity

Mundane Creativity

I simply love the basement parking at Ikano Power Centre in Mutiara Damansara. It is clean, bright, spacious and very well-maintained, unlike many of the dinghy subterranean catacombs that we have in most other shopping malls. Even though I don't do much shopping myself, there are a couple of malls that I frequent pretty often because they are convenient places for me to do some work, eat or meet up with people.

I go to KLCC a couple of times a week, mostly for meetings. However the Wi-Fi hotspots there, especially at Starbucks, are a bit too crowded to work from. And you usually bump into people you know; so don't expect to be able to work there uninterrupted.

The Summit in Subang Jaya is a good place to work from on a weekday because it is pretty quiet. There's both Airzed and Timezone Wi-fi service at the Starbucks Cafe there, which is good because sometimes one of them could be down. Furthermore parking there is very cheap--one dollar for the whole day.

In choosing a Wi-fi hotspot to work from, the first thing I check is the availability of power outlets. Sometimes that is even more important than an Internet connection. The Starbucks cafes are the most laptop-user friendly--all the newer ones have ample power outlets and their tables and chairs are the most comfortable for working.

I usually change places to work whenever I face mental roadblocks. That's the good thing about being a nomadic worker--you can always change your environment and get fresh ideas in the process. Whenever one feels that one is stuck in a mental rut, one must know how to break one's pattern of thoughts. Changing the working environment is one way; simply taking a break and doing something completely different is another.

Which is why it is important for one to seriously pursue an interest or hobby that is completely different from one's work. You get to exercise a different part of your brain. If your everyday work is mostly analytical, try to do something creative--like painting or playing a musical instrument.

I personally like drawing and painting a lot but I don't have the luxury of pursuing them independently. So what I do is to incorporate them into my work. How? I build a lot of work-related presentation slides--mine are always full of colourful diagrams and pictures.

I take "creative breaks" from my work by drawing presentation slides using Powerpoint. My proposals and reports are usually full of pictures because I know most people don't like to read words, they tend to look at pictures. I try to make my dry technical reports read like comics--pictures drive the narration.

There are always ways to make your work creative, no matter how dry or dull it is. No? You see, even thinking about how to make your mundane work more creative is itself a very creative thing to do. So start being creative!

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