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5 Unexpected Places to Boost Productivity

5 Unexpected Places to Boost Productivity

The environment of a typical office or a quiet library may sometimes lessen your productivity as the unchanging views fail to stimulate your senses and keep your brain running. If you are the kind that dislikes absolute silence or minimal noise when working, these unexpected places to work may boost your productivity level!

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    1. Coffee shops

    Research has shown that an adequate amount of ambient noise stimulates your senses and keeps you alert. Where else better to find some chatter and clatter to boost your creative juices? Working in the coffee shop also guarantees something else: unlimited supplies of caffeine! Caffeine wakes you up by fooling adenosine receptors and speeds transmitting activities up in your nerve cells.If you do decide to try this place out, make sure that your work computer is facing the coffee shop customers so you will be less likely to procrastinate or go to inappropriate sites because people are secretly watching you ;) If your workplace requires you to be in the office, try this website and/or phone app that provides you with sounds from coffee shops around the world. Want to work at a cafe in Paris? No problem, it’s just a button away.

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      2. Cafeterias

      Similar to coffee shops, company cafeteria or food courts provide consistent noise and the smell of food. The aroma of food makes you look forward to your next break and should motivate you to complete your work. The act of eating likewise keeps your brain alert and produces dopamine. But make sure only to snack and stay around 60% full so that each bite is rewarding and invigorating. Snacking every 90 minutes should keep your brain balanced enough to focus on the work at hand.

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        3. Empty university classrooms  

        Whether or not you’re an university student, we have all been a student at some point in our lives. And when you’re in a classroom, your brain is primed to stay focused because you have been conditioned to concentrate in class. In comparison to your bedroom, where your brain is primed to relax, sleep and have fun, the environment of the classroom triggers your memory to stay alert (unless you never listened in class) and work. If you do decide to try working in an empty university classroom, be sure to bring a studious friend. Once you see that your friend or coworker is working hard, you would feel guilty for procrastinate and be more competitive. Ever heard of environmental context-dependent memory? Research has shown that environmental context influences the way we encode information. If you study in the same place you first learned the material, your chances of recalling the information are significantly increased. Use environmental cues to your advantage so you spend less time doing more work!

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          4. Outdoors

          Fresh air, sunlight, cool breeze. Talk about getting your vitamin Ds the natural way. A healthy body is crucial to being productive. If you have a porch, use it to maximize your productivity! On a cool day, the crisp air is good for waking your brain up. If your work station is indoors and poorly ventilated, the build up of carbon dioxide will cause your brain to be less active, hence, less productive. Try to bring some work to a park nearby or an unsheltered town square where you are exposed to the sun. Fresh air will vitalize your brain and the warm sunlight will bring a smile to your face :)

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            5. The shower 

            Many people experience their “Aha!” moments when they’re in the shower. Why is that? The hot water helps with circulation and improves blood flow to your brain, giving it more oxygen and nourishment to break down your work block. If you aren’t motivated to work or feeling bored, a good shower will not only open up your pores, but also give your brain a boost of energy. Keep a waterproof white board and markers in the washroom so you will never lose those wonderful ideas again!

            Featured photo credit: http://imgkid.com/productive-worker.shtml via willoch.no

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            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

            Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

            Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

            Do you like making mistakes?

            I certainly don’t.

            Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

            Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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            Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

            Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

            • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
            • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
            • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
            • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

            We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

            If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

            Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

            Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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            When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

            Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

            We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

            It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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            Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

            Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

            Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

            1. Point us to something we did not know.
            2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
            3. Deepen our knowledge.
            4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
            5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
            6. Inform us more about our values.
            7. Teach us more about others.
            8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
            9. Show us when someone else has changed.
            10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
            11. Remind us of our humanity.
            12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
            13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
            14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
            15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
            16. Invite us to better choices.
            17. Can teach us how to experiment.
            18. Can reveal a new insight.
            19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
            20. Can serve as a warning.
            21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
            22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
            23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
            24. Remind us how we are like others.
            25. Make us more humble.
            26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
            27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
            28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
            29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
            30. Expose our true feelings.
            31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
            32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
            33. Point us in a more creative direction.
            34. Show us when we are not listening.
            35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
            36. Can create distance with someone else.
            37. Slow us down when we need to.
            38. Can hasten change.
            39. Reveal our blind spots.
            40. Are the invisible made visible.

            Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

            The secret to handling mistakes is to:

            • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
            • Have an experimental mindset.
            • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

            When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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            When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

            It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

            When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

            Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

            Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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            Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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