We are all looking for ways to make ourselves more productive. Often, we get so comfortable in the routine which results in feeling a lack of creativity or intense stagnation. Sound like you? Keep reading.
Before I go into the external environment we get my work done, I thought it was important to start at the home. I am a cancer and one of the things we value is matters of the home. From childhood, my home was a place where I felt safe, warm, and cozy. As an adult, I make it a priority to make my home feel like a place for me to recharge and recenter. Taking the steps inward will allow you to channel energy into making your external world serve a different purpose.
Every environment you occupy space in serves a different purpose. Your office is a place of work, a gym is a place of endurance, your home is a place of renewal. Each place should have elements where you can be the most successful within each vain.
Start at home
In my bedroom, it is set up in a way that allows me to feel grounded and secure. Whenever I walk in, my bed is (usually) made, my plants are around me, there’s no clutter or major mess. Now, if you’re a family member reading this you may think I’m lying but when it comes to my personal space I protect it at all costs. I can’t stand clutter, it stresses me out.
Everything about my room makes me feel calm. I love being in my space it’s the best feeling ever. I recommend you not work in bed and if you can, try not to be on your phone in bed (this is something I have a hard time doing). Otherwise, your brain is always “on” and may feel the pressure of needing to work. Your bed is a place of rest, keep it that way. Because of how comfortable and cozy my room feels, I feel empowered each day to do something positive. I also come back to an environment that will allow me to ground myself in it no matter how hard my day was. My room is my sacred place. My plants get rid of the bad air, my crystals purge the bad energy, and my weighted blanket helps ease my anxiety.
Adding a touch of color or a low maintenance plant will really change things in your space (even if it’s fake). Plants detox the energy and air in your room and give you something to be responsible for. If you suck at keeping something alive, then I recommend cacti or a succulent. I water my plants once a week and they’re on the same schedule usually so I can remember. I also am big on my room smelling fresh, clean, and warm. My two favorite scents in the whole world are Honey Nectar or the Cashmere Wool. I get all of my candles from TJMaxx or Target. Unless it’s a gift, I will not spend more than $13 on a candle, that’s crazy to me. I love those two scents because they are not too overpowering or floral. I like warm scents but not earthy if that makes sense. I am not a vanilla cupcake or beach smelling candle type of gal. I like my scents to be natural. I try to have them lit throughout the day so at night I can go to sleep feeling calm. I also have an essential oil burner. You put water into it and a few drops of your favorite essential oils (Lavender + Teatree are my go tos) and press a button and it steams. It smells really good plus different essential oils can offer other holistic benefits. Underneath my candles, I have a stack of books that I have read or am currently reading. Again, this is my space so when I look at the shelf everything sits on I am so proud of it.
Your space should be an area you are proud to be in. You should feel good energy especially since you sleep. Even for you fellas out there, your space matters. Get a throw blanket or soft sheets, it’ll change your life I swear. Or even get a candle or something. At the bare minimum, keep it clean and please get an extra pair of sheets.
My room is very minimal. I do not like a lot of color. The more minimal the better. I wish I didn’t have my TV in my room because I never use it unless I want to stream something. I usually watch everything from my laptop anyway so it doesn’t really matter to me. My plants have taken over my TV stand and I kind of like it that way LOL. Even the details in my room are very modern and minimal. Black, white, touches of green, and brown throughout the space. Also, blue comforters and stuff to be a very neutral environment.
Keeping things neutral keeps your mind from being scattered or all over the place. It’s also very visually pleasing to look at a very clean space. Put things in your room that bring you joy and comfort. Play around with different scents and textures. I like a very modern looking space because it allows me to add pops of color as time goes on. Open your windows up every morning to allow fresh air into your space. It’ll change the energy and air quality and just cleanses the air. I love having a big window in my room because it allows for natural light to come in. The change of air will boost your energy level.
The moment I decided to take how my room feels like more seriously my attitude towards a lot of things changed. I wanted to take my clothing more seriously, my work, what I say, what energy I welcome in, what energy I kick out. All of that shifted because I started looking at my environment and what was existing in it.
Now, let’s get productive.
If you follow me on Instagram (@techytk) you know I am always at a coffee shop. I spend way too much of my money on coffee that I probably don’t need to be drinking but I became inspired to write this post because I am reading this book called Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind and in this book, I am learning so many tips + tricks to help me work as efficiently as possible. Like I said, I work from home most of the time and my bed is not the best space where I feel productive. Since I spend a lot of time relaxing and unwinding I don’t want to associate work and sleep. What the book suggests is: pick a location to do a specific type of work. When I want to creative or strategic thinking, I don’t mind a lot of background noise so I go to a coffee shop or a coworking space. But when I want to sit and write, I like it to be mute. I get easily distracted by the noise around me and I lose my train of thought way too quickly.
Pick an area or a space that you can have access to often that you feel productive for the things you want to do. Consider the following things as you’re finding out that place: noise level, crowdedness, natural vs artificial light, smells, clutter, etc. Think about a time where you accomplished a big task. What environment were you in? What did it look like? What did it feel like? How did it make you feel afterward? I know some people who work best in a dark environment with dim lighting. For me personally, the more natural light the better.
This is something many of us don’t think about. If you’re in a creative rut, change your space. Go to a coffee shop or a library to do some work and see how that feels. I love going to different coffee shops. I even go to different shops to do different types of work. Since I live in Charlotte, I am putting together a list of my favorite coffee shops to do work in.
If you work from home often or are your own boss it can be super hard to stay disciplined. Getting out of your house forces you to add some structure into your life. My morning routine goes like this: wake up at 7, go to a workout class between 8:30-9:30, and straight to a coffee shop to do some work. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish that day and from there you’ll have an idea of what you need to adjust. I do things in 3’s so before I get into my work I like to sit down and make a list of things that will make me feel accomplished. It keeps you on track and allows you to stay focused.
If you’re a student, it can look something like
- Finish my discussion posts for the week
- Start on this upcoming essay/project
- Schedule in some “me” time
What’s on your list doesn’t need to be work-related. Sometimes one item from my list is work-related and other’s may be dedicated to reading, meditating, or self-care.
For example (my current to-do list):
- Work on a blog post for next week
- Call my mom
I write it all down BY HAND. It makes a difference. If you write it on a piece of paper, studies show that you’re more likely to do it. There is so much power in that. You also get to see what you did yesterday or what you didn’t get to that one time. The 3 items you list should be things you know you can accomplish today. It can be a small task that sets you up for another big one but it’s that extra effort that will get you to accomplish your goal.
During the time that you have while you out stay focused on what is important to you for that day. Think about that big goal you want to accomplish. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a big goal but focus on each step of the process.
Be honest with yourself when finding your most productive place. I know the comfiness of your bed may seem enticing but getting dressed and getting out of your space will boost of productivity you didn’t know you needed. When I am out for the day I think to myself “If I can get up and workout and come here, I better be productive”. You’re less likely to waste your time by stepping out of your cozy space.
Maybe a coffee shop isn’t your jam but find a coworking space, a friends apartment, your leasing office’s workspace, a library.