Light It

The kind of light you choose is the most important factor here. Of course you want to get pretty looking fixtures for your creative environment, but carefully consider what kind of bulbs you will be using before popping the cute lamps in your cart as some types of bulbs don’t work in fixtures with dimmers or three-way switches.

Compact florescence should be a part of your lighting enviro, but don’t rely on them entirely. CF bulbs, while taking far less energy to run, still have the same problem that all florescent have—they cycle, which is to say that they flicker really fast and may cause headaches or eye strain. Their light also tends to be harsher than incandescent bulbs—but until LED lights come down in price they are the best energy efficient solution for small lighting applications.

Balance your lighting with some incandescent lighting which create a warm and comforting glow. These lights are not great for checking color but they are good are creating an inviting atmosphere. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to be creative and enthused about what you are doing.


Sound is a great way to create the right mood for any situation. When we are working there are several different playlists that we use to help us brainstorm or drive through a late night session. And of course there is my own playlist entitled Worth Hearing where anything that is, well, worth hearing resides. As an iTunes user I set up smart playlists that load only songs that haven’t played in the last week so there is always something fresh on.

Toys for Your Creative Environment

Having something tactile to play with, juggle or just fiddle around with can really keep your mind pumping away even when it looks like you aren’t doing anything. This is a slightly different, though related concept to what I talked about in “playtime”. Sometimes letting your mind wander when you appear to be unproductive is where real inspiration and magic happen. Toys, puzzles, games and little gadgets can tangentially help solve problems. Plus they are so darn fun.