The Office Is The Worst Place To Work For Creative People

- - Working

“People — especially creative people — need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get things done. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough. Thirty minutes isn’t enough. Even an hour isn’t enough.” — Jason Fried

via, @photoeditornyc

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. This is so true. Great post. Edgar Degas used to claim solitude was the ideal work environment. I get more work done, when cellphone ringer is off, music on, office door closed. It’s creative paradise.

  2. “People — especially creative people — need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get things done. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough. Thirty minutes isn’t enough. Even an hour isn’t enough.” — Jason Fried

    This man understands me!

  3. In my long work history.. I’ve never once worked in an office environment. I must have a M&M allergy.

    lucky me

  4. McDonalds: I get more done there in an hour than I get done all day at “work”, complete with unlimited Diet Coke refills for $1.08 and none of the faux pretense of the average coffee shop.

  5. Very true, although I tend to disagree with Instant Message not being an interruption.

    Email and a text message on your cell phone is something that doesn’t necessarily require immediate response. Although many people who IM do think of it as warranting an instant response.

  6. Yes… strange how this is the exact opposite of most business environments….

    This dynamic plays out in agencies…. the account side CANNOT understand how anyone can be productive when alone and isolated, they’re sales-extroverts who need constant interaction reassuring them that the is some constant visible progress….

    The creative side wants to hang up a huge sign that says STFU above their desks…. but for web/interactive projects, there’s a bit of a paradox, the more hidden interdepencies you have to remember to think about, the more quiet you need it, but the more you have to occasionally ask your co-workers… text-chat is okay, but walking over is okay sometimes, as long as the freaky need for “your immediate full attention” that seems to emmenate from account-side extroverts doesn’t ruin the vibe… you may still be able to retain a bit of your train of thought after you get the details understood….

    But seriously, some interaction is good sometimes…. but at the right time…. like when you need a small detail….

    The biggest fear of creative side seems to be “are we even going the right direction” …. wheras the biggest fear of account side seems to be “going dark, so client isn’t comfortable and starts to doubt us….”

    I can photoshop zits and color correct all day long while talking to people, but multi-layer compositing requires serious quiet….

  7. Very true, but I’d turn your cell phone and iPads off too. Get in the practice of prioritizing time–like take an hour each day away from “life” to brainstorm a bit on any project, concept or idea you have and save it the old way, on a note pad with a pen. BTW, my work day is not 8-hours, more like 20 ;)

    I like the part of getting work done on planes, as a Delta Platinum member, I basically wrote one of my books on many flights. And he’s right about “sleep,” we don’t go to sleep, we work towards sleep. Just my two centavos…rg.

  8. Stan Brakhage, the late ikon of indie film art, always said that the artist should be “hermetically sealed” in order to work, away from all distractions – even to the point of eliminating influences of other artists and artwork.

  9. Very interesting, very true.
    Half the reason I couldn’t adapt to the office/studio work environment when I left university last year.

  10. I thought this was pretty disappointing for a TED talk. Not much of what he had to say covered any new ground for me, which they normally do. I guess since worked in an corporate office environment for 10 years I’m well aware of the “M&M” problem. Also, I don’t his suggested solutions would work in most traditional work environments. I think Paul Graham does better job of explaining the “creatives vs. managers” issue. Here’s a link: