What’s the best temperature for writing?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on the best temperature for writing….

As I write this blog post, I’m staring at the thermomter on my office wall. It is 29 degrees centigrade (for my American friends, that’s 84 degrees F). This is way too hot for me.

I am a delicate flower when it comes to temperature. I become uncomfortably cold at anything below 20 degrees (68 F) and uncomfortably hot at anything above 24 (75 F). If you put a pea under my mattress, I’m sure I would feel it.

I felt less delicate, however, after reading an informative temperature-related blog post by Chris Bailey. Here is what he found:

  • 70-72ºF (21-22ºC) is the temperature range that makes us the most focused and productive.
  • Our productivity begins to decrease in temperatures above 73ºF (23ºC). At 86ºF (30ºC), your productivity drops to about 90% of what you’re capable, and drops precipitously beyond that point.
  • Any temperature below 68º (20 ºC) significantly decreases our productivity. Lower temperatures increase the number of errors we make, and also increase our chances of getting sick.

I think this advice is particularly useful for writers. For most people the best temperature for writing will be between 70-72ºF (21-22ºC). You don’t want to be sweating too much — or shivering too hard — when you’re trying to write.

I particularly liked his suggestion to lower the temperature in office meeting rooms. Why? If it’s uncomfortably cold, meetings will be shorter!

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on July 30/18.

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