Understanding the Role of Environment on Productivity


Why is it that when you listen to a motivational talk, you get so pumped up to work, but as soon as you go to sleep and wake up in the morning, that motivation is nowhere to be found like mist evaporated by sunrise. A lot of people rely on willpower to get things done, but that’s inefficient because willpower is known to be a finite source of energy. And you can’t always run on motivation as you are sure to crash the moment you hit an obstacle. One possible idea is to set up your environment to be conducive of productivity. You’re surrounded by your environment every single day and so it’s always there to push you forward especially when you’ve hit a slump. These are some characteristics of a good environment that I’ve learned from experience.

1) People, people, people. I can’t empathize this enough because you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The meaning that you derive from the incidents that happen to you are half-influenced by the worldview of those people, so be very, very careful who you let in. If everyone around is a complainer who thinks what you’re doing is pointless, then you’re better off alone than with the wrong company. Until you find people who are supportive of your dreams, you could put on earphones and listen to inspirational podcasts like Thrive or The School of Greatness to reprogram your mental chatter.

And nowadays, thanks to technology, the supportive people in your life do not need to be physically there to be part of your environment. You can have an accountability partner on Whatsapp in a different country, like I do.

2) Pace. Every environment has a certain pace. Sometimes it’s a function of the life cycle of the projects the company churn out, or the funding of the project (esp in research or academia). Other times it’s a function of management and the people. Having come from academia, I realize how slow the pace can be there, because research is always an inefficient process. It’s also very easy to live in a bubble for years (as long as there’s funding) while technological advances in the world outside fly right past you.

3) Visual Reminders. As humans, we are visual beings. You always have to have visual reminders to connect you to your vision and why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. This could be in the form of a vision board hung to your wall, or you can also carry it in your phone. Whenever you’re trying to build something big, there is no doubt you’ll hit some road bumps on the way, so you’re going to have to keep that fire alive in your belly, always reminding you of your big picture….

What you are working towards?

Why is it important to you?

4) Use your flow sessions to guide you. Whenever you get into flow, deconstruct the physical environment that put you in flow. Where you sitting on the floor or on a desk? How was the lighting? What were you drinking? Was there white noise?

So what change will you make to your environment today to make you more productive.

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