When you need to think, when you need to plan, when you need to evaluate, when you need to produce, when you need to make tough decisions – do you have a favorite place to go?
There was mention of mountains and streams (her preference, not mine), and while a quiet cabin in the woods sounds good, my immediate thought went to… well, you know… wifi.
Better for me? Anywhere with a great coffee machine! Cue the espresso! The cappuccino! And beyond that, the beach – the Caribbean, the Riviera – Hell, I’d be thrilled to set foot in South Florida.
And yes, naturally, I also thought of Paris.
My ability to find focus, productivity, and creativity means recognizing that there are environments that are more conducive to doing my best work. When it comes to defeating distractions and getting down to business, I think that’s true of all of us.
My preference is – and always has been – for a touch of the city. Paris, not only for its energy and infinite stories, but for its hidden courtyards, verdant parks, and livability despite the dirt, the crowds, the chaos, and the expense.
Be still my heart! (It’s been too long. May I at least pretend I work for French Elle?)
Given that I don’t live in Paris at this time in my life, I find ways to recapture the feeling of it any way I can – books, movies, speaking French with friends – and recreating the vibrancy of an urban setting.
Sometimes that means parking myself (with laptop) in a noisy café, and the busier the better. Or I may rearrange a few potted plants on my tiny deck, in an effort to imagine myself in a French courtyard, shaded by a striped awning, my bare feet planted on the cool slate floor. I find nothing quite so delicious as the privacy of an oasis of green in the midst of a bustling city.
But if I’m struggling?
I’m intensely influenced by my surroundings – by colors, by clutter, by dust, by dirt, by too little quiet – or possibly too much, as I find I’m sensitive to noise of certain types. My mood is enhanced (and the likelihood of productivity, increased) when I’m settled into a comfy chair, with bright colors and books within view.
When all else fails?
There’s thinking in the shower! There’s drinking in the shower! (Yes, coffee.) Otherwise, there’s exercise – which usually entails a brisk walk to boost my well-being, ratchet up my energy, and result in being able to tackle whatever task requires my best effort.
What about you?
- Where do you do your best thinking?
- Where are you at your most productive?
- Do you have a favorite place or activity for problem resolution?
- Does that differ in the personal realm as opposed to the professional?
- Are there times that despite all efforts, you can’t perform at your best? Then what?
Image, Vivre Côté Paris, October-November 2008 (print).
And if you don’t know the Vivre Côté Maison magazines, whether you speak French or not, check them out. They’re gorgeous!
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