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Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

    This week I went conference room shopping with a fellow speaker, Shirley T. Burke. Fortunately Shirley T. “gets” feng shui and understood that I would have some very specific requirements for the meeting room in which we’ll present our seminar, “Back on Track: Get More of What You Really Want From Life.” I speak best in spaces that feel good. And, I want the space to have a life-affirming energy that will complement our life-affirming message.

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    The first room was the right size and shape and was nicely appointed, but what really made it stand out from all the other meeting rooms we visited was it had windows with a view of green trees and shrubs. By comparison all the other spaces we saw seemed like lifeless boxes. Today’s experience reminded me of a similar experience I had several years ago. I attended an annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers in Reno, Nevada. It seemed like an odd location to have the annual conference of a group of left-brained, highly organized people, but I was willing to see what Reno had to offer us.

    As I moved through the hotel lobby I found myself repelled by the glitz of the decor. When I ventured into the casino I felt disoriented by the cave-like space with the mirrored ceiling, busy carpet pattern, and noise of the machines. I was told that casinos are deliberately designed to encourage people to gamble. They are intentionally designed to be disorienting. What a strange place! I was most struck by the lack of connection between people. All around people were sitting alone at machines or focused on games at tables. It all seemed incredibly sad to me. I couldn’t wait to get out of the casino each time I had to walk through that space.

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    What a contrast it was to go upstairs to the conference rooms! Gone was the noise and glitz. It seemed like any other conference center – pretty lifeless. We spent time in windowless rooms and ballrooms divided by partitions. Although those rooms were clean and functional, they lacked natural light, color and positive energy.

    After experiencing the casino and meeting rooms, two different types of impersonal and uncomfortable environments, both with no windows, both with no plants, it was such a relief to emerge into the lobby that offered beautiful views of the mountains in the distance through large picture windows. I stood at those windows and drank in the view. I felt like my soul was being nourished by the view. Never before had I been so struck by how depleting the man-made environment can be when it is devoid of elements of nature.

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    People can create all kinds of environments. Without having a consciousness awareness about how you are affected by those environments, you can spend enormous amounts of time in spaces that are not life-affirming. For most of us it’s not a casino, but our home or office. Spaces lacking views of nature or objects of nature are uncomfortable and will affect performance and productivity.

    The natural habitat of a human being is the out of doors. Therefore, when you bring the outdoors inside, in the form of plants, rocks, shells and water; you feel more comfortable. When you feel more comfortable, you perform better.

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    If you don’t have windows that give you a view of nature, one quick way to improve the energy of those spaces is to bring the outdoors inside by adding elements of nature. Add a print of a beautiful landscape. Add plants and water features like fountains and aquariums. I was in a windowless bathroom recently that came alive with shell prints, real shells and a silk plant. Nature feeds our souls in ways that man-made environments cannot.

    To bring the outdoors inside add:

    • Live or silk plants
    • Art with scenes of nature
    • Water fountains
    • Rocks
    • Shells
    • Driftwood
    • Fabrics with plant patterns
    • Blue and green colors
    • Fresh flowers

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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