You can cultivate a clean space that makes you feel productive — an environment without distractions or clutter. The goal should not be a perfect, Instragrammable work environment — unless that is your business. The goal for productivity should be to foster a physical environment that encourages success and does not impede it.
Think about all of the incredible technology you have access to. Your physical environment should not deter your quest for productivity, instead it should propel you through your journey.
Wealth magnifies your impact on the world. Whether good or bad, it does not change you into a better or worse person but amplifies who you already are. A good person will have a greater positive impact with a billion dollars over five dollars. A bad person will have a greater negative impact with a billion dollars over five dollars. This same philosophy applies to your environment — it amplifies your impact through your work. If you have a better environment and you have a great mind — your impact will reach the stars. If you have a worse environment with a great mind then you may only reach the second floor. Your environment amplifies your ability to produce, create, and cultivate.
Everything within reach → breaks are deliberate
I don’t mean this in the sense that you ought to sit down at your desk and never get up. But once you have worked from home for long enough, you realize that the 30 seconds it should take you to grab a glass of water ends up being 15 minutes because you talk to a family member or cat along the way, clean up that messy that has built up on the counter, and of course grab a snack.
The most productive people have different modes, methods, and environments for working
When we are in the identical environment working in the same manner day after day, we can begin to feel like a rat in a cage. We don’t want that. We can achieve a sense of variety by changing a multitude of factors. We can change the work that we are doing, but that’s not always possible. We can change our physical environment. This has grown more difficult in a global pandemic but is still very much achievable.
We know from research that our mind starts to associate different environments with doing different tasks. Our mind starts to pre-load the procedures that you will need to operate in that environment, even if you don’t know it. Use that to your advantage and build different environments for the different types of work you may be doing. Even if you only have a tiny studio apartment, you can do this.
Some of the factors of the environment that you can tweak include:
Location: you can physically move to a different room or even building
Sitting →standing: by doing one or the other, your mind will very much associate it with a different feel and environment
Music: you can listen to electronic music without vocals, or a coffee shop playlist on Spotify, and in doing so can replicate the feel of a different environment
And when all else fails, blare intense non-vocal music in your headphones
When nothing else works — when I can’t seem to stay on track or get anything done, this is my go-to. Put in your headphones (affiliate link to my absolute favorite pair that are not AirPods), play an “Electronic Study Music” or other playlist, and get back to crushing your goals.
You can choose to be remotely productive
Productivity is important. Your environment is important. It affects your mindset and thinking capacity in more ways than you can imagine. A shitty environment can melt your brain from the inside. But if you just optimize a few things on the front-end, you can set yourself up for a productive day. And then you can get your work done, and feel good about taking an evening for yourself. You earned it.