A Desk With A View

Mark Gregory discovers that squirrels and ice cream make perfect accompaniments to quality thinking time.

This really is his 'thinking face'. Honest!

Some years ago, a radio group I was working for, introduced - ‘Duvet Days’. The concept may be familiar. You wake up, then phone work to proclaim you’ll be spending the entire day at home… ‘thinking’. Usually about a big new project which sorely needed your undivided attention, or suchlike.

The cynic in me generally imagined the reality was that once the phone call had ended, the ‘duvee’ would simply decamp to the nearest beer garden for the next eight hours. Perhaps surprising then that after some gentle encouragement to do so, I recently took a debut ‘Duvet Afternoon’, for some distraction-free thinking of my own.  Albeit without the aid of any bed linen or sadly - beer.

I’d actually planned the trip to Northumberland’s Bolam Lake the week prior, so at least I could dismiss the clear blue skies and seventy degree temperature as genuine coincidence to my Get Carter colleagues. Before setting up office thirty minutes later, on a hand carved ‘wooden sofa’ under a canopy of trees, with views across the glistening water.

Ideas came... 'out of the blue'

Having splashed out on a Magnum ice cream from the gift shop, I eventually settled down to ‘think’. And here’s the thing, I actually did! Free from physical distractions and regimented thinking and with only a family of swans and the occasional squirrel to keep me company, I quickly came up with four initial ideas. After celebrating with a lukewarm Capri Sun orange drink, I then found myself gushing forth another stream of consciousness which saw me scribbling more concepts onto the already crowded page.

To be honest, everything I worked on needed some significant refinement back at the ranch next day. I even binned some of it entirely, but the ideas had been important starting points. And removing myself from the hurly burly of the conventional work environment certainly acted as the catalyst for a particularly productive afternoon.

So, whether you gain your inspiration under a duvet, or, out in the open air, next time you need some clarity of thought, I could recommend putting the ‘Out Of Office’ on for a few hours.

Mark Gregory

That's the new office furniture sorted.