Aside from the occasional out-of-town trip or out-of-office meeting, I spend most of my time working in two locations – my office at HouseValues and my home office.

The majority of that work time is at the HouseValues office. I feel fortunate to have a great working space here, but sometimes it’s way too familiar. The same distractions and stimuli surround me every day, people know exactly where to find me if they need something, and I typically have the exact same things to stare at (in the office, and out the window) in my constant search for inspiration.

I spend less time at my home office (thankfully), but still enough that it’s a steady work environment for me. Same issues apply there – the window I stare out at, the cat that constantly wants to sit on my keyboard, etc. – all the same, almost every day.

Despite the significant time I spend at these two desks, some of my best ideas have come elsewhere. Sometimes it’s something on a weekend that sparks the right brain cells. Sometimes it’s forcing a lingering cup of coffee with my Molskine notebook on a weekday afternoon.

Too often, it’s in the shower or during a workout, when neither the Molskine or Jott are readily available.

So if some of my most productive, creative thinking comes away from my primary work stations, why not capture more of that time for myself?

How could you plan such “out of office” work time into your schedule, specifically to think about particular challenges you have in your work or personal life? How can you use this time to spark new creativity, and actually increase your productivity?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about this time as less productive or valuable. If you need a chance of scenery to be creative, do it. Use your primary work stations for execution, not creation.