There are many ‘background’ factors that contribute to Jami feeling her most productive.
Over the years I’ve found that noise, environment, people and technology seem to be the most important to me. Everyone has their individual unique preferences, whether that be with the kind of noise level that works for them or their environment. Here are a few thoughts which may help you think about your own factors of productivity!
I have specific playlists I listen to while I’m working. They tend to be populated with songs I’m familiar with but not enough that I’m distracted by humming or saying the words in my head. I find fast-paced music or lyrically strong tracks difficult to work with as they demand too much attention while I’m listening to them. YouTube has some excellent 24/7 radios created for studying and focused work – these have no lyrics and use low, simple sounds which are perfect for giving you background noise without occupying your brain space.
Here is an enormously informative and detailed article on how noise affects your working.
As many mums/dads have said – tidy home, tidy mind! This works for desk space too. I’m fairly easily distracted by having piles of papers or folders around me as I’m subconsciously looking at them in my peripheral and thinking about what they mean and when I’m going to get around to them. However, it’s not just my immediate surroundings that I find affect my productivity. There is lots of research on how colours can affect our mindset. A friend of mine used to work in a school where they changed the colour of the classroom walls from canary yellow to light blue based on a suggestion from a student with high sensitivity to colours. The change positively impacted on most – if not all – students in the classroom. The atmosphere was calmer, students seemed more focused and disruptions in the lessons became less and less.
I find it difficult to work on multiple tasks when I’m alone. If I have more than a couple of tasks to work on through the day, I much prefer having people around me. However, if I am working solidly on one project for all or most of the day, it’s the exact opposite. I know I’m not the only one though! At Rambutan HQ, we’re very lucky to have a meeting room which is regularly booked by bunch members to sit in alone and concentrate.
There are numerous apps, programs and add-ons you can install to customise your desktop experience. I’ve spent time reading through blogs and the Chrome extension store to find the best ones for me. Personally, having intuitive technology with lots of little aids supporting me with whatever I’m doing makes me much more productive than paper and pencil. Maybe it’s a generation thing, who knows?
Even though these factors generally work for me, they can lose their effect, much like a lot of stuff we get used to, in routine. Switching up my background noise can give me a much-needed boost in productivity, so I mix up my playlists every couple of months. The environment can be tricky sometimes, but there are always ways to switch this up too. As I mentioned, you can book a meeting room for a change of scenery. If your organisation supports out of office working, LinkedIn recently created a thread on how public spaces like innovation centres and coffee shops provide good environments for working. With technology, there are constantly new and improved apps and programs to replace the old ones you’ve become accustomed to.
Even if your workspace or technology isn’t so flexible, there are always options, however minute, to switch up your atmosphere and background energy to maximise your productivity. Have a go! What could you change?