Thinking inside the box: work inspiration from my cat

My cat, Elphie, loves sitting in boxes. Ever since she was a kitten they have been comforting places for her to sit and think.

Seeing her sitting there got me thinking too – where do we, as humans, go to think? Open plan workplaces are noisy and modern life is full of distractions; a barrage of phone calls, instant messages, and emails punctuate our day.

Good thinking comes from taking a moment away from the grind, the noise, the pressure and just being – like a cat in a box.

How do we establish that place of quiet and calm?

Making space for creativity

We need creative energy in our lives and our businesses, but it’s not something we can switch on and off at will.

Now, more than ever it’s important to make space for thought. It might be a literal space, like a quiet room; it might be the time and freedom to pursue an idea; it could be the flexibility to work from home, or to work non-standard hours.

“We need creative energy in our lives and our businesses, but it’s not something we can switch on and off at will.”

Whatever the approach, making the space for it can take you places you hadn’t expected. If you’ve ever had a moment of inspiration in the shower, after a good night’s sleep or over a simple cup of coffee then you’ll know that it’s true.

Thinking ‘outside the box’ is desirable but to achieve it, ought we not first create a place of comfort and think from inside it?

Finding your box

Finding your own box can be surprisingly simple, and inexpensive. One of my favourite things to do is take 15-20 minutes out to explore the great local art galleries – it’s free to do, wonderfully peaceful and full of inspiring works. Equally a walk in the park or a round of golf can provide the space and time to think differently about a problem.

The first step is creating the mental space to do it – a culture where taking a break and protecting work life balance is considered good form and where we acknowledge that the constant grind is counterproductive. From there, we can explore and find out what works best for us.

Find a place where you can think – stop and think in it.

How do you make space for creative thinking? What or where, are your boxes?

Read next: You’ll be great. You just have to go for it.


Photographer: Clarissa Moditz
Model: Elphie the cat

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