I returned home yesterday from almost a week in New Jersey’s frigid temperatures. We intended to stay four days, but our flight home was rescheduled three times due to bad weather. The flight cancelations out of our control, we hunkered down with family, grateful for a warm home with a full refrigerator in which to stay, happily passing hours binge watching House of Cards Season 3. I spent most of this time curled up on the sofa under a mass of blankets, which started me thinking about how cold weather affects creativity.
I am a warm weather girl who tends to be much happier and more productive in warmer environments, which leads to my creative juices flowing more freely. I’ve noticed I don’t feel like doing much when I am cold. Is it just me or are most people more creative when warm?
Professor Alan Hedge from Cornell University examined this question, testing people working in different office temperatures at a large insurance company in Florida. He found the problem to be more than simply feeling cold and uncomfortable; he found that people who are cold are generally distracted. A substantial amount of energy goes to keeping warm instead of towards concentration, inspiration and focus. Employees in the study actually made 44% more mistakes when thermostats were low (68 degrees) than at optimal room temperature (77 degrees).
Upon returning home, I purchased a large heater to place in my garage studio to spur my creativity so I can get moving on filling some of the orders that came in while I was in New Jersey. The temperature is not freezing in the studio, but definitely colder than I like.
How does the weather affect your creativity? Are you better in warm climates as the study suggests or does the cold weather and snow inspire you in ways that tropical weather and beaches do not?