Several times recently I have observed the work areas of other people. Some are in a cramped and cluttered cubicle, one friend works on a board over stacked concrete blocks under the stairway in his house, another uses a shelf inside a closet, and another has found his dedicated work space eliminated because of his growing need for storage for his online business – so he just grabs his computer and stands wherever he can. I often see at-home offices that are combinations of cobwebs, tangled wires and cords, bare walls, dirty carpets, and half-filled coffee cups. I see others who have no office but go hang out at Starbucks, surrounded by people coming and going, kids crying and trucks passing by.
Personally, I could not do any valuable work in those conditions. If we consider our “work” doing the minimum to get a paycheck, then I suppose any conditions will do. If we’re just cranking something out and the quality is not a big issue, then doing it hit and miss in the middle of chaos and disruption is probably sufficient. If your work uses only your left brain – you’re just putting pieces together, or counting widgets, or assembling boxes – then I suppose the conditions are not as important.
But if we consider our “work” our art, the release of the very best that we have to offer the world, then I think the setting is of maximum importance. Creativity, brilliance, mastery, talent, virtuosity, and genius are not likely to be engaged if our back is cramped and a co-worker just bounced a paper airplane off the side of our head.
I consider my working area a sacred space. (I resist even calling it my office because of the connotation of hard work, bright lights and pressure.)
Here are some dictionary definitions of “sacred”
- reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object
- highly valued and important
- regarded with reverence
- secured against violation, infringement, etc.
- entitled to reverence and respect
That’s where I’m likely to do my best art. If it’s distilling the wisdom of the ages into a new book to give hope to people today, or coaching someone, or scrolling through the tons of questions coming in to then deliver a weekly podcast, or making comments on Facebook, or even just working with my accountant on understanding the flow of money that has been entrusted to me, I want the peace of my sacred space to set the tone.
I had trusted advisors help me design my work space – the colors, the lighting and the sounds – because I knew it would be the place I would either create mediocrity or excellence.
So what about you? Does your work space impact your “art” or are you immune to your surroundings? How have you designed the space that nurtures the release of the very best that God has put in you to share with the world?