The Don't Quit Podcast

How to Work Your Space Before Your Space Works You

Having a mindset of being more productivity and the right tools at your disposal makes all the difference of getting things done.

But do we see what we are surrounding ourselves with? Our working environment says a lot about our work ethic and structure.

Most have a set it and forget it approach to it. Like our mattresses and couches, we spend most of our time at our desk or at a coffee shop.

So why not make it the best it can be?

Wherever you are, there’s always something you can do to improve your work space that works for you.

Here’s why our work environment matters even when you don’t notice it.

Studies show our work habits are based on the external triggers from our surroundings. Because we’re at the same place at the same desk, there’s a lot of influencing factors.

That’s all great to find an environment that work best for our productivity, but there’s more to it than that.

Our brain essentially wants to protect us even when we don’t know it. When there’s dire situations, we act more quickly which is called ‘thin slicing’. This means it takes a small section of reality and form into whatever behavior we act upon it.

So your work environment aren’t just affecting you as you physically work, but also the way the brain subconsciously thinks and acts.

For an example people at a Starbucks holding a hot coffee were more likely to describe other people in their surroundings to be more warm and friendly than those who were holding iced coffee.

People actually behave more professionally when there’s a briefcase in a room. This even happens if there’s just a picture of it as well and even when there’s no conscious memory of seeing a briefcase afterwords.

Same way if you talk down to yourself - you’ll start believing it. Fragrance changes perception of the products being shown. So how do we create an environment that can work the same way?

Remove the clutter before it removes you

There’s many creative and productive people who have messy desks. As Albert Einstein said:

“If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

But, there is a negative impact that your surroundings can have on your negative impact of your ability to focus and gain information.

The neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that as well. The people’s performance in organized environment vs unorganized ones had a huge impact in productivity.

Now I understand it’s not that easy to just remove stuff from your life. Clutter isn’t actually from laziness but rather the restraint one would feel by losing something in their life.

Researchers of Yale have found that losing things can be the same thing as receiving pain. So our brain was subconsciously keep that prevent self harm.

So we view loss as literal pain.

So what can we do to reduce the clutter?

* Use constraints. This can be as easily as limit the mount of websites, magazines, social media, texting, you do on a regal basis. Stick to only what you need so you don’t have more than you should.

* Use smaller storage. The less you can hold the less you force yourself to live without.

* Set a monthly cleaning time to make sure that your clutter is in check

* Use the best place that inspires you.

Large spaces or places that have large windows tend make us feel more inspired. Architectures know very well that building a corporate building will affect on its performance.

Use different places for different places of mind

So different environments are going to change how we feel and think so it’s best to take advantage of that.

Human nature loves habits. So we know what triggers them so let's take advantage of that.

What's regarded as task association is where your brain knows you are in a certain area and proactively meets your expectations.

Gregory Ciotti, a famous writer says he changes his productivity based on the device he uses. when he’s on his laptop, he knows he’s going to be reading long form articles.

When he's at his desktop he knows he's going to be writing seriously. His tablet would only be for reading smaller content.

This is the same way people use to treat insomnia by only going to the bedroom when they feel tired. If they didn't fall asleep in a certain time limit then they have to move on to some other activity and try again later.

If you have multiple workspaces it might be worth a chance to use them all for specific tasks.

While saying you have the willpower to make certain things happen sounds good and all but that doesn't always work that way. We are inherently lazy at some point or another.

So if you want to have a workspace be easier for you and your work then focus on that. As well as making it more difficult for the work you don't want to do.

Design to make being lazy hard.

Having a drawer for your desk so you can put distracting away such as your phone can make all the difference.

It’s not any different from turning off the tv or listening to music that’s too distracting. Some can be good background noise - some aren’t and only you will know that.

Bad news for those of us in shared spaces or offices.

Chances are you have to work in a noisy setting regardless of your choice. That’s why I always recommend good noise cancelling headphones. They drown out everything you don’t want to listen to and keep the ones you do.

Human nature will always win regardless of what we do so the best way is fight with it - not against it. We all have triggers so the best way to manipulate them is to understand them in the first place.

Mindfulness goes a long way and once you have it does your workspace work for you.

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