Life

Changing Your Location Can Boost Productivity

If you have ever sat staring at your computer screen with no motivation, you may benefit from changing locations.

If you have ever sat staring at your computer screen willing words to appear beneath the blinking text cursor, you may benefit from some productivity tips.

Everyone has experienced that post-lunch slump or sat dreaming of the weekend on a Wednesday afternoon. Still, there is always something that you can do to help improve productivity during your workweek and overcome this common obstacle.

Your Brain Craves Stimulation

According to science, humans are not creatures who thrive on predictability and routine. The human brain seeks out thrills. It is in our nature. We crave excitement and novelty; we are always looking for that next big thing. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are always seeking new and exciting opportunities. You can blame evolution for this characteristic.

Think about it.

As Dr. Marvin Zuckerman, best known for developing the sensation-seeking scale in 1964, explains in a 2009 interview,  “Homo sapiens were the only group of early hominids to emigrate over the entire world, which entailed great risk.” Thus, thrill-seeking behaviors may be ingrained in our DNA as a survival tactic passed down through centuries.

Outside an evolutionary perspective, our brains are built to crave pleasure. When you are presented with something new or exciting, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is known as the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical because it makes you feel good and inspires reward seeking.

The reward of changing your location is essentially a blank canvas for productivity. In this new environment, your brain will gain a new stimulation level, and you will get more accomplished. This increase in productivity occurs because when our brains encounter new stimuli (such as a new environment), they respond by creating new pathways to complete tasks. Essentially your brain adapts to its surroundings to achieve maximum productivity.

Your environment plays a massive role in your productivity, and a change of scenery can make all the difference – even if it is only in your head!

It Is Too Easy To Fall Into An Unproductive Rut

Despite a natural need for excitement, humans also require stability and routine (we are complex creatures, after all). Unfortunately, we often tend to fall into notoriously unproductive patterns because they are easy, and we are accustomed to them.

If you have ever fallen victim to the ever-consistent YouTube black hole, then you can see the drawbacks that routine can have on your productivity and the way your brain seeks stimulation. However, you can break the cycle by seeking inspiration in a new environment instead of online.   

In an article in Psychology Today, Ralph Rayback explains how routine is essential to success and the challenges such routine presents. “Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more often can tell you how tricky it is to keep up such momentum for more than a few days.”

While we crave novelty, we tend to favor routine. It goes against the evolution theory but has proven true, numerous times. For example, in a study of moviegoers, it was found that whether given fresh or stale popcorn, participants still ate identical amounts. These findings can be boiled down to the routine of eating popcorn while watching a film, the quality of the snack is an irrelevant factor.

How do you switch up a routine that has become a natural part of your every day?

If you want to be more productive and up the ante, you need to fight the urge to stay in your comfort zone.

Goals and habits are stored differently within the brain, according to a study published in Neuron. Thus, turning your wish to be more productive into a routine (or vice-versa) can help you accomplish this dream.  

How?

Being consistent is the best way to form a habit, according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and discussed in the New York Times. The study looked at how people form patterns of behavior in the real world and found that they developed habits faster when they implemented them regularly and did them consistently. Researchers on the project also found that starting small or breaking habits into more manageable goals is more effective than overhauling your way of living in one shot.

However, if moving your work environment is not an option, there are still ways to increase your productivity and change your setting.

The Power of Color

Color has been found to play a significant role in productivity. Color affects your daily life far more than you realize. The use of color in your office space can impact your productivity levels and encourage or discourage productive behaviors. The field of Color Psychology has taken off in recent years, with more and more companies revamping their office spaces using color to promote productivity.  

According to Color Psychology, each color has a specific meaning that is either biological or innate. According to Color Psychology, perception of color causes evaluation, leading to motivation. Colors typically influence people automatically, and the effect and symbolism of color can depend on the context in which it is used.

For your office, it has been found that blue encourages organization, green encourages stability, yellow leads to increased energy, and red is associated with power. However, light blue tends to enhance productivity most, according to Color Psychologists, and is an excellent choice for the office environment.

Red is also a good choice, but only in small doses. Red increases your heart rate and boosts blood flow, making it an excellent choice for fast-paced work environments.

The use of yellow helps to improve memory, and orange can stimulate both the mind and the body.

Color is an excellent option if you can not get away from your physical space but are craving a change. A little bit of paint or some small pops of color can go a long way to increase productivity.

Light Up Your Space To Lighten The Load

The lighting in your workspace can have a dramatic effect on how productive you are throughout the day. A Workplace Wellness study by Future Workplace in 2019 found that 7 out of 10 employees rated Environmental Wellness as integral to their workplace well-being. Environmental factors include physical comfort from air, light, temperature, and acoustics. Poor Environmental Wellness factors can account for more than 60 minutes of lost work per day.

Proper lighting is a significant factor in Environmental Wellness. An article in Forbes outlined that comfortable lighting was the second most crucial wellness factor for employees after air quality. Sadly, findings show that 60% of companies don’t provide an adequate level of light.

Inadequate lighting can cause headaches and eyestrain, but it can also lead to drowsiness and inner weakness, impacting efficiency and overall productivity.

While a dim workspace can get you down, a workplace filled with artificial lighting can also cause issues.  The harsh, high-intensity glare that artificial lighting gives off is among the top causes of migraines among workers, and artificial lighting makes it hard to focus on tasks, according to Good Therapy.

If you are looking to up your productivity, try to find ways to incorporate natural light into your workspace. While windows are always the best option, if this is not possible, look for lighting that mimics the natural world. It is best to avoid halogen bulbs and instead seek out an LED light that allows you to adjust the brightness and tone. This approach will enable you to mimic the world outside and can significantly improve productivity.

You should also have more than one type of light in your workspace. Having a variety of lighting allows you to choose and adjust the light as needed. If you remember sitting under the fluorescent lights at school, you probably remember the strain it put on your eyes. Having ceiling lights that mimic the natural sunlight and various lamps available can help you adjust throughout the day.

Consider the Layout of Your Space

Once you have adapted your colors and lighting to suit your specific needs, it is necessary to consider the layout of your workspace.

With much of the world working online during the pandemic, home offices have become all the rage. The furniture within your space should not only be comfortable to use it should also appeal to your aesthetic.

Seek furnishings that are both ergonomically designed and attractive. Having a workspace that you love can help to create a job that you love. Ensure that your workspace is comfortable, efficient, and appealing. Create a space that works for the way that you work, and enjoy the benefits of loving your environment.

While not all of us can slip away to a coffee shop for a change of scenery throughout the workday, there are plenty of ways to change our current environment to enhance productivity. If the ability to change your physical location is an option for you, give it a try. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to get the ball rolling again and get the juices flowing. 

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