5 Surprising Ways to Be More Productive – Make Your Workspace Work For You

At Innerwealth, we work with nature to make life better. Productivity gets you home earlier, lowers stress, increases your income and makes you more satisfied. Working with nature to be more productive is a win win  on all levels. On the other side, fighting nature is a battle that you can’t win. If you can’t beat em, join em. So lets use nature to up your productivity and get you home early, with more energy than you left with in the morning.

There are five elements in nature. Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether. Each of us responds to those differently. Earthy people love earthy things and fiery people love hot chilli… So, there is no panacea for productivity. Each of us responds uniquely to change based on our preferences and the focus of the change. So, lets not fall into the trap of thinking that one productivity improvement technique is good for everyone.

1. Clear the FOG before you get to Work

Even if you’re not employed by a company that offers Ping-Pong tables, nap rooms and on-site massages, you may not be the sort of person who responds to those sort of things with increased productivity. Sometimes you can simply get more out of your day with a few simple design tweaks. Productivity improvements however, do come down to the look and feel of your work area. “What differentiates great offices from average ones is the extent to which employees’ basic emotional needs are met,” says psychologist Ron Friedman, PhD, author of the new book The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace. But I think he’s missed the point. If you are so psychologically messed up that you are hoping the design of your office get’s your emotional needs met, well, you’re on a short path to an asylum or at the least, anti depressants. So, lets take step one, Turn Up inspired and don’t overload your work with your emotional baggage. That’s the key here, productivity comes if you clear the fog and deal with your emotional issues before you get to work.

2. Get Nature On Board

I’m a big fan of Biophilia, in fact I think it’s the hidden secret to better relationships, education and workplace design. I recently went to the open plan offices of a pharmaceutical client to run a workshop and it felt like I was inside the sterile environment of one of their foil childproof pill packages. Not a plant in sight. Shocking for a company that gives rhetoric to caring and supposedly spends millions on HR to make people happy and more productive. Maybe its time to swing the budget from alcohol and elaborate parties that waste time, to real human sustainable space management. So, nature up… “numerous studies have linked plants in the workplace to improved well-being, and research shows a little greenery may also enhance attention. A report in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that when people were assigned to a room with orchids, a Chinese evergreen and a dwarf umbrella tree, they scored higher on a word recall exercise than those in plant-free rooms. Any plant should do the trick, so if you have a brown thumb, try a hardy succulent.” But for goodness sake, sticking a pot plant up your nose with a flower in your hair is not productivity. Biophilia means nature up. It means working in, connecting to, feeling a part of nature. And that can be helped by a succulent, but it’s really a lifestyle choice, not a pot plant on your desk for goodness sake.

3. Explore and Try new things
The latest body of total BS research, validated by yet another university, (probably funded by an air-conditioning firm) suggests that the best way to control your productivity is to change the temperature of the room – Which is totally trivial and bordering on absurd. They say “If your office is too warm or too cold, it could affect your focus, especially in the afternoon. Between 1 and 4 P.M., your body temperature naturally dips slightly, thanks to your internal circadian rhythm—which means a chilly office may feel even colder, potentially impairing your performance. Another researcher at Cornell University found that typing errors decreased when the thermostat was set at 71 degrees or above.” So, an academic does a doctoral thesis on typing errors and equates this to productivity? My arthritis has more impact on typing errors in a cold room than my brain. I’d say room temperature is important but it’s so low hanging fruit, you’d get a far better bang for your buck if you “went for a walk, or stood while on the phone, or did the samba while in a meeting. Heating your body externally makes you sick. (on top of Mt Everest it may be justified). We need to cut the rhetoric and really focus on those things that make quantum differences in productivity, like when, how and what we eat.
4. Be Creative 
There is no magic bullet. Generic stuff works for five minutes and then returns to the status quo. Be observant. Explore your options. Try something, anything, move the desk, sit on a pin. Avoid BS rhetoric disguised as revolutionary and transformative. – here’s something to demonstrate how important it is to be skeptical: One study found that doing physical activities while working, like using a treadmill desk, may reduce your efficiency. You may not realize how much mental energy you’re devoting to keeping yourself balanced. Plus, research from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, revealed that people who sat on exercise balls were unlikely to have better abs or posture than those who sat in chairs. So they say “Dim The Lights, But Up The Noise” Frankly, if you do that for me, I’d go nuts. (or more nuts)
5. Be in Your Element
If you work from home you might get the opportunity to look at the design of your work space. This is where your particular constitution must be taken into consideration. Generic ideas about furniture, design, interior decoration do not consider the diversity of human animals we are when it comes to space. One clumsy report (probably by a company who sold curved desks) suggested investing in a curved desk—it could help you feel more relaxed, according to research from Oregon State University. “When study participants viewed rooms with furniture that had softer, rounded edges, they reported that the space was more inviting and they felt calmer than when they saw similar rooms with rectangular furniture,” says study coauthor Sibel Dazkir, PhD. “While more research needs to be done, choosing the right office furnishings could potentially lead to less stress.”
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