4 Overlooked Details That Can Improve Your Productivity

Sometimes the best solution can be the simplest one.

Merve Alsan
May 29, 2020 · 4 min read
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

You know how to be productive. You’ve already read all the tips on Medium. You always turn off your phone before you start studying and your work timeline is perfectly planned according to the Pomodoro Technique.

But if you feel like there is still something preventing you from performing your best, you could be overlooking these 4 important factors that might be the game changer.

1- Temperature

The temperature of your workplace is probably something that you never pay attention to unless you are freezing or sweating. However, studies have shown that the optimal temperature might have substantial effects on your productivity.

Although, there is no perfect degree that works for all, research has shown that females exhibit better cognitive performance at warmer temperatures. On the other hand, men seem to perform better when it is cooler. This is because women have a significantly lower metabolic rate than men.

But even for the same gender, not everyone has the same metabolism and what is considered warm or cool might depend on the person. So, what you can do is to be aware of how your body feels and try slightly warmer or cooler temperatures to see what works for you best.

2- Smell

Odors are known to have a great influence on our mood. Naturally, this reflects on the way we think and perform. Numerous studies have conducted that pleasant smells can increase your creativity, concentration, and ambition. On the other hand, bad odors can make it harder for you to focus and make you less tolerant of stress.

Luckily, there are a variety of pleasant scents and each can have a different effect. For example lavender helps to reduce stress and peppermint is known to have energizing effects. A study found that diffusing lemon oil in an office resulted in 54% increased work performance among data entry operators.

So start by trying out different scents to see which one helps you achieve your desired performance. Then, make lighting your favorite scented candle a part of your pre-work ritual.

Photo by Esther Wilhelmsson on Unsplash

3- Sound

“Sound affects us psychologically, cognitively and behaviourally, even though we’re not aware of it”

— Julian Treasure, CEO of The Sound Agency.

A British journal of Psychology study found that background noise is the ultimate productivity killer. The Sound Agency, notes that the most destructive type of noise is other people’s conversations.

It is so impactful that The World Health Organisation estimates the annual cost of excessive noise to be £30 billion for Europe, due to the lost working days, healthcare costs, and reduced productivity.

However, it might not be very feasible for everyone to have a noise-proof workplace. So consider using noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. You can even try listening to white noise soundtracks or nature sounds, as both are shown to increase your concentration.

There is still no consensus on whether music increases or decreases your productivity. However, it is known that music with lyrics can be distracting and end up lowering your productivity. So maybe give Chopin a chance next time.

4- Light

The right lighting can work wonders from decreasing depression to improving your mood and energy. The ideal lighting for productivity is considered to be the good old natural daylight.

However, if your workspace is not receiving daylight, you can try to use artificial lights that mimic daylight. Also try to avoid fluorescent lighting as it is linked to negative effects such as migraines and eye strain.

Another important light to consider is the one that comes from your computer screen. As most of us use our computers to work from home, it is important to note that excessive exposure to blue light can cause headaches, fatigue, and dryness in the eyes.

Although minimizing your screen time can be an effective solution, it is not always a viable option to stay away from our computers. So try using a screen filter such as f.lux to warm up your computer display and to match your indoor lighting.

As you know by now, your fatigue, headache or frustration can be the result of your poor workspace conditions and they are avoidable. So take the time to find what temperature, smell, sound and light work best for you and start improving your productivity today.

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Merve Alsan

Written by

Former lawyer, current student, future marketer | Trying to figure out life, one curiosity at a time 🎡

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

Merve Alsan

Written by

Former lawyer, current student, future marketer | Trying to figure out life, one curiosity at a time 🎡

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +793K followers.

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