Put Down Your Phone: Get $h!t Done by Optimizing Your Environment
Change your habits and your space to trick productivity’s greatest enemy (that’s you)
We’re not saying that you are enemy number one when it comes to your lack of productivity. However, if you said that, we’d be all, “mmm-hmm, girl,” as we nodded along heartily in agreement.
Don’t take it personally. We’re the same way – we’re all doing our best, but sometimes our version of “best” that day doesn’t get much done. It doesn’t mean we’re not Beyoncé-level of fabulousness because WE ARE. Most days. Some days, anyway. That one day, for sure.
We just are, okay?
Let’s put it into perspective (aka absolve ourselves of guilt.) Technology, including the internet and all it has to offer (special shoutout to Netflix and social media), has made our lives easier in many ways but has also shortened our attention spans dramatically.
We used to read news articles, and now we read 280-character posts or skim headlines. Phone calls used to wait until you were available to take them, and now you’re always available. Email is everywhere, and our colleagues expect a prompt response, regardless of the day or time.
The constant ding of notifications has tethered us to our smartphones, like the wireless and technological version of an umbilical cord. And we kind of like it. In fact, we’re biologically hardwired to crave an incoming alert. Don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to talk about:
- Putting your phone out of reach to maximize productivity
- Placing your organizational command center in a central area
- Decluttering your environment for a peaceful space
- Limiting your to-do lists to three essential items
- Creating an enjoyable atmosphere to thrive in
Catching a buzz
Notifications are a form of social stimuli that stimulates the brain’s reward center and releases dopamine. So, that little ping that accompanies a notification actually gives us a little buzz.
Consequently, we’ve unintentionally trained ourselves to seek out the “reward” of distraction constantly … oops. The resultant erosion of our attention spans affects our offline lives as well.
So, there you have it – your lack of productivity is not your fault. Phew. Time for a break, right? Wrong. Stick with us. We can do hard things together!
(I just mindlessly checked Twitter after finishing that sentence – no joke.)
Anyway, here’s how you can change up your physical environment to promote productivity.
Here’s the thing – you don’t always have to be available. Most of the notifications we feel compelled to respond to aren’t actually urgent.
Remember how you used to come home and check your answering machine? Are any of you that old? It was a thing, and we didn’t know it at the time, but it was glorious.
Schedule some productive time each day that your phone isn’t invited to – you’ll both survive the separation.
Set a timer so you know when the torture will end, put it on “do not disturb mode,” and slip it into a drawer. Yeah, it seems dramatic, but you can’t trust yourself. Trust us on that. Now enjoy some uninterrupted time to finish your tasks.
Set up a central hub
A significant part of accomplishing goals involves ease and accountability. Set yourself up for success by hanging your command center where you will see it, and where it will be convenient for you to update or review on-the-go.
Placing your 1THRIVE Center by the door that you use to enter and exit your home is ideal for maximum visibility and access. The kitchen is another great place since there’s really no avoiding it.
Let the presence of your calendar, to-do list, or chore chart nag you – I mean, inspire you – into action. Nothing feels better than crossing something off your to-do list.
Being disorganized weighs us down in more ways than one. Not only does the accumulation of stuff add to a sense of hopelessness and defeat, but the time spent looking for things could be better spent binge-watching shows on Netflix.
Dedicate time to go through each room and seek out items that are out-of-place, unnecessary, or that need mended or upgraded. Shake off the guilt of throwing things away by donating what you can and enjoy your newfound freedom instead.
Doable to-do lists
So, all our suggestions pretty much amount to, “DO ALL THIS STUFF,” if you look at it cynically, but that’s a bad take.
If you could just do all this stuff, you wouldn’t be looking for ideas on increasing your productivity, would you? Our tips are more along the lines of “Maximize the stuff you have to do, so that you can eventually do less boring stuff.”
Look – you’re great. We know it. No doubt. But you’re not going to wake up tomorrow and decide to organize your entire life. Well, you might decide to, but are you going to accomplish that? It’s a lot. Like, a lot.
Strive for progress and not perfection.
Each night make a list of the three most important things to get done tomorrow. Three things. Anyone can do three things. Focus on those – it will add up more quickly than you think. Then write them down where you will see them and do those things.
If you’ve read many of our blogs, you’ll start to notice a recurring pattern where we suggest treating yourself to nice things.
If you haven’t read many of our blogs, why not? It kind of hurts, to be honest. I mean, it’s fine, you’re busy. But they’re there for you, and they want you to treat yourself.
Make your living space and your work environment a place you want to be.
Introduce aromatherapy, splurge on some cute office supplies, buy some potted succulent plants to nurture. They’re super hard to kill, so they won’t suffer while you get your act together.
It may seem self-indulgent when you have serious stuff to get done but doing simple things to improve your life can help you build momentum in other areas.
Plus, let’s face it, you’re more likely to hang out in your work area if it smells like citrus and has a cute little cactus that you named Cornelius. You’ll want to work. You have to support Cornelius.
Our environment is an important part of who we are and doing little things to improve our surroundings can support our productivity in a multitude of ways. Take the time to organize, personalize, prioritize, and incentivize your productivity, and make it easier to accomplish your goals.
1THRIVE creates beautiful, customizable command centers with interchangeable components that support your efforts to live a more organized life. Find your ideal 1THRIVE Center and follow us on Facebook for more advice on living your best life.