I get it, you’re like me - crazy, eccentric, and awesome. You work when inspiration hits you, whenever that might be.
In this post, I aim to give you a practical approach to getting your muse on. Any time you want it. And yes, this will work when you’re tired or unproductive. Let’s get to it!
Framing your way to success
Being creative and productive is something that I’m sure you’d like more of. Who doesn’t?
The problem is getting there. Yes, self-reflection, mindfulness, and training your focus are something that everyone should do, but there are other things that can help, too. Other things that are much more practical and quite less time-consuming.
One such thing is framing. Framing simply means that your actions are affected by your environment. You have a tendency towards different things in different environments. Sitting on the couch might get you to turn on the TV, riding the tube might get you to check your phone, and you might play Clash of Clans when you’re taking a sh…ower (water resistant phones - the future is now!).
Of course, the same concept applies to work as well. If you have an office, you know it. You enter the office and it feels like work. But what if you’re not at the office? Or if you don’t like working at an office?
You still should dedicate a place to work. A place that feels like work. You’ll thank me for it in a minute.
Even your muse has habits
At this point, you’re thinking “I have a good desk, a great chair, and a sweet setup” and asking yourself "Why should I bother dedicating a space only for work?" And the answer is simple - habits.
We, humans, are driven by habits. A monumental part of what you do, say, and even think is a habit. From driving a car to being an optimist - it’s all habits. That tells us two things:
So, what habits and creativity or productivity have in common?
Yes, you can leverage your habits to get more done and be more creative.
Have you noticed extreme bursts of creativity when in the shower (while not playing Clash of Clans)?
I bet you did! Showering gives your mind a space to wander and your mind automagically puts its’ creative hat on. If you’ve showered a couple of times in your life, you’ve crafted that as a habit. You can’t do one without the other.
Now, imagine having something that triggers a habit that gets you to be productive. Or creative. Even when you’re tired and don’t feel like it.
Yes, that something will be your work location.
Building a boon of productivity
First, you’ll need to establish a location and a pre-work ritual. At first, you’ll have to do those then try to be productive, but after the pattern establishes in your head, it’ll happen automatically.
Here are some tips on picking the location:
Now, this might be enough for many, but there are cases in which the location by itself doesn’t cut it. In those cases, you can amplify the effect with a simple pre-work ritual that’ll help your brain set in the right frame of mind. Here’s how to approach that:
So, build your ritual, pick your destination and get to work. The more you do the first part, the more you’ll associate it with being productive and creative. In no time you’ll automagically get super-productive and ultra-creative by just sitting on your couch and putting your headphones on.
Finally, you can leave the work location to the experts and visit the awesome Treehouse Society coworking space. The coffee is better than at home!
Author Bio: Jordan Georgiev is a programmer at day and productivity expert at night. Jordan can’t stay still. Every minute of every day must be filled in with something – coding, design, a Rubik’s cube or a pack of cards. He insists that time should never be spent doing nothing. Jordan is the person behind of neverproductive - the promised land for a productivity junky.
by Kelley Oreglia from Ann Kelley
In today’s world, with never ending streams of emails and Slack pings, it can be very difficult to stay focused and productive throughout the day. If you find yourself overwhelmed, and unable to efficiently execute tasks, time blocking can be a powerful tool to increase productivity.
Time blocking is a simple and effective strategy to prioritize tasks, and stay focused. The basic idea is to set-aside a certain amount of time to every task you need to complete. This helps accomplish multiple things; it blocks off this time from other projects or interruptions, gives you a set amount of time to complete something, and helps you prioritize what you need to get done.
Implementing time blocking is easy. You just need to create a plan, set-up your schedule, and commit to forming a new habit.
Time Blocking Plan
The first thing you’ll need to do is set up a “time blocking plan”. Sit down and list out all the tasks you need to get done in a day or week, both at work and in your personal life.
Larger tasks should be broken out into steps that can be accomplished in about 25 minutes, smaller tasks should be grouped together with other similar tasks.
Breaking your tasks down into 25 minute batches is called the Pomodoro Technique. It allows you to plan your tasks efficiently, and make the best use of your time instead of jumping for one stream of thought to another. The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s as a tool to help him focus in college.
Once you have your list, prioritize them by what is most critical and what will be the most challenging to complete.
Set Up Your Schedule
The best tool for time blocking is whatever electronic calendar you’re already using.
Take your high priority tasks, those that will be most challenging to complete, and block off your peak performance time to complete these tasks. For most people this is the early afternoon, but if you’re a morning person or night owl do what works best for you.
Schedule empty blocks throughout the day to allow for flexibility, and breaks.
Overtime, you’ll gain accurate feedback on how well you are able to execute tasks throughout the day. If you find you’re not getting enough time for replying to emails, and spending too much time on something else, you can adjust your schedule as needed.
Commit for a Month
New habits form over time, to ensure you make time blocking a habit commit to using the technique for a month. Set aside time at the beginning of each week to create your time blocking plan, and set-up your schedule.
One of the biggest challenges to time blocking is handling distractions. New requests coming in can throw off your schedule for an entire day. Cirillo uses a strategy called “inform, negotiate, schedule, call back”. You need to inform those around you that you’re busy, find another time that you can address their need, schedule it, and call them back in that time block.
Once you've successfully implemented time blocking you will experience significantly improved productivity throughout the day. With scheduled time to reply to all those emails, and Slack pings, you will no longer be constantly distracted and pulled in different directions. Enjoy your new found sense of drive and focus, and get to work!
(in Chinese thought) a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.
With thousands of history of practice, it is now an ancient art and science to balance any energies in any given space. If your feng shui is set up correctly in your workplace, it could greatly enhance your overall productivity and health. Since we spend a large chunk of our time in the office, it is important that we make it as comfortable as possible. Below are some tips on some spaces that might be hard to set up.
Feng Shui Tips for a Small Office with No Windows
Many freelancers in San Francisco declare their closet as a home office. And of course, the closet has no windows. When you work in an office with no windows, you can liven it up by adding more lights so it looks brighter and less prison-like. This way, you get to enjoy your workspace without feeling like you are under pressure to deliver.
Create Good Feng Shui Backing in Your Office
It is better to have your back facing a wall to create great energy and support system that keeps you in focus. If your back is not facing a wall, it creates a feeling of instability as you may not be sure of what is happening behind you.
Dealing with a Blocking Wall in Your Office
The location of your wall matters a lot in feng shui as it can lead to a steady flow of energy and also make you feel more comfortable in the office. This is why it is important to have an office space where you are not facing the wall. If you do, make sure you add some
Clear Your Office Desk Clutter
A cluttered desk creates a cluttered mind. A clutter can usually create confusion and drain energy out of you. Your desk does not need to look like a zen-like minimalist's desk, but you definitely want to have a clean and organized space when you work.
Bring Some Live Energy with Office Plants
Now that you have cleared your clutter and have no more confusing energy, you need to liven your space with some plants. Plants represents fresh energy from nature. They should stay alive to bring you fresh energy. Plants have another benefit of purifying the air as well.
Here are 5 plants that would work well in your office space: Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Dracaena Janet Craig, English Ivy, Boston Fern.
Here at Treehouse Society, our feng shui is organized correctly. We had a professional interior design from Hong Kong who set up our space to ensure the energy is flowing correctly. If it is a practice that is around for thousands of years, there might be a reason behind it!
Related: Benefits of a Coworking Space