To be continually creative and productive as a coder, you need to create and maintain a positive working environment. We’ve talked about your seated position before – but this time we mean the actual environment itself.
Having surroundings that you feel comfortable in is incredibly important. As a whole, offices in general tend to be more than a little under stimulating – certainly not sources of inspiring creative juices.
Lighting helps set the mood – daylight helps keep the energy levels up. If you have a home office or working space that you use, its worth getting a few smaller lights dotted around the office, rather than using a single overhead light. If you have spot lights, try bouncing the light off walls or the ceiling for a softer, more creative light source.
Having familiar objects around you also helps – character models always seem to appear on the desk of many a geek. Framed posters, collectables, models – whatever floats your boat…anything that promotes a positive mind is good to have around you.
Music Stimulates The Working Mind
One of the biggest and most effective ways of focusing your mind to the task in hand, is to listen to music. Personally, I find chill out tracks, classical or electronica work for me. I also find that music with lots of vocals can distract me – experiment and see what works for you. Some artists/albums seem to work better than others – anything that helps promote a freedom of thought is a great choice. Exploring and finding new music also helps keep the production levels in full flow.
I have also found that my mind can associate a project with a specific album. If I come back to work on the same project a few months later – stick that album on again & you mind is instantly transported back to when you were first working on it…it sounds a little odd, but it does work!
Seal Yourself Away From The Office
If you work in an office surrounded by other people, then you should really invest in a decent set of headphones or earphones. Not only will they inject your chosen music directly into your brain, but they will also shut out a lot of the general office shuffle and chat. Most of the best in ear headphones for office use are of the sound isolating type – this means that they create a seal in your ear that blocks out a significant amount of the external noise. It is worth noting that you don’t need to spend a fortune on a good set of earphones either, an affordable set, such as the Soundmagic e10 earphones, are absolutely perfect.
As you will typically be listening to music for long periods of time while coding, its a good idea to keep a check on your listening volume. Keep it at a level that shuts out external noise as much as it needs to and yet creates that soft warm, fuzzy environment that you brain needs to keep it going throughout the day (coffee is optional).